Interested in Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathy, Bowen Therapy or the Neuroemotional Technique?

As the profile of Naturopathic Medicine in North America has been on the rise in recent years, I have increasingly been contacted by prospective Naturopathic Medical students who are interested frank feedback on my education and career as a Naturopathic Doctor in Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver & Port Coquitlam.

In fact, just this week, I received emails from three different individuals who, despite hailing each from different continents, all posed near-identical reiterations of this basic question.

When synchronicity blugeons me on the head like this, I can't help but take notice. :)

So, without further adieu, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a Naturopathic Medical career in the Greater Vancouver region of BC.

Lets start with some pros.

In short, my experience as a naturopath in the GVRD has been very rewarding thus far.

I mean that primarily in an emotional and spiritual sense, although this profession can no doubt be financially lucrative.

Of course, the value of doing something for which you have a passion cannot be underestimated, and certainly cannot be properly in mere dollars and cents.

On the other hand, there have naturally been downsides as well.

For instance, after completing my undergraduate Systems Engineering degree, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to both naturopathic (ND) and conventional allopathic (MD) medical schools.

While that doesn't sound like much of a downside, you'll see what I'm getting at soon! :)

I chose the former because, after having just left the cold, analytical world of engineering, I was careful to avoid thrusting myself back into another rigidly-mechanistic and numbingly-clinical program.

The scope of education at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine was certainly well-rounded enough to allow for training in somewhat non-clinical or alternative disciplines, such as electrotherapy and exercise rehabilitation training.

Additionally, the inclusion of the naturopathic core treatment disciplines:

  1. Homeopathy
  2. Botanical Medicine (Herbalism)
  3. Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM / TCM)
  4. Therapeutic Nutrition
  5. Psychological Counseling (including that of patients and their loved ones in near-death cases, or even through the death process, and cognitive behavioral therapy), and
  6. Physical Medicine (Naturopathic Physical Manipulation, similar to chiropractic, as well as Massage, Hydrotherapy, UV light, and ultrasound therapies)

gave me a plethora of useful skills that I still regularly use in my daily practice.

Nonetheless, as most graduates of the seven fully-accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools:

  1. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
  2. Bastyr University
  3. Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
  4. National College of Natural Medicine
  5. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
  6. University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine 
  7. National University of Health Sciences

would no doubt attest to, there's no shortage of clinical work involved in getting the ND degree! 

With extensive training in conventional clinical and biomedical sciences, such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Biomedicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Lab Diagnosis
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemical Connections
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Differential Diagnosis
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Oncology
  • Physical Clinical Diagnosis

as well as an additional post-graduate phamaceutical therapy course, I along with many of my collegues have attained sufficient training to prescribe all but the most restricted pharmaceuticals along MDs.

However, note that this does not imply that I choose to prescribe pharmaceuticals on a daily or even monthly basis.

Instead, as eloquently stated by Dr. Christoph Kind, ND, the president of the British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA),

“In a sense, the ability to prescribe legitimizes the decision not to prescribe."

So, despite their seeming differences, there are many similarities between the depth, direction and focus of study in naturopathic and conventional (allopathic) medical schools alike.

This chart highlights the similarities between accredited ND and MD education - as well as the striking differences between the fully-accredited ND programs administered by the aforementioned seven schools (the leftmost two columns in the chart) and the non-accredited "ND" knockoff degrees issued in non-regulated states (the rightmost two columns).

As for my experience in my early years of practice, there were again some positives and some negatives.

One of the positives was that, by the completion of my ND degree, I had received a plethora of clinical training - over 2000 hours devoted specifically to seeing patients and making real-life treatment decisions - via the Boucher student clinic and intership.

This naturally helped to create a relatively smooth transition into the working world.

In fact, the interships I had completed presented me with job opportunities at multiple clinics on graduation.

As a result, I was able to begin part-time work between preparations for my week-long board exams, and this transitioned nicely into full-time work immediately thereafter.

On the other hand, due to the relatively low profile of NDs in North America today, as well as the degree of competition in Vancouver and, to a lesser extent, Port Coquitlam, I could not simply put out my shingle and magnetically begin attracting patients.

Admittedly, this magnetic force has become increasingly stronger in recent years.

However, I reason that has more to do with the positive word-of-mouth being spread by some of my wonderful patients than the modest increase in either Naturopathic Medicine's public image or the general demand for NDs in the GVRD, particularly in the heavily-saturated Vancouver city proper.

However, going back to the beginning of my career, I certainly could not then rely on word of mouth.

Instead, I was forced instead to wear the dual hats of physician and entrepreneur, and to manage the health of my business in tandem with that of my patients.

Despite having been well-trained for this businessman role, it was one I once long resisted, idealistically (and very stubbornly) shunning self-promotion in favour of intensive focus on patient care - which, after all, was what I became a doctor to do!

But at the end of the day, if one chooses to take the road less traveled, it's only natural that one must learn to blaze a trail.

And once that path has been cleared, the possible destinations to which it may be followed are limited only by a Naturopathic Doctor's drive, passion and imagination.

Naturopathic Medicine & Homeopathy Testimonials

I've had three heart attacks, and my doctor told me I probably wouldn't survive another.

When he recommended Dr. Somody, I was afraid I would be put on a strict diet and exercise regime, or have to take lots of supplements.

But Dr. Somody just gave me one homeopathic remedy to take once, did some gentle Bowen therapy, and went back into the past causes behind my heart problems with his neuro-emotional releases.

I first noticed that I was less stressed in pressured situations, like at work or with my children.

I stopped getting the painful pressure in the chest, and could exercise and enjoy life again.

My blood pressure and weight have both dropped without me having to do anything with diet or exercise.

Although I think I am eating better now, since I seem to have a better internal sense of what is good for me now.

B.K., Quebec City, Quebec

I had a constrictive sensation in throat – like someone was pushing on it with a nail – and stabbing pain where the jaw meets the ear.

The left side of my head went numb and I had a really really loud & tinny sound in my ear.

Then I started having bursts of vertigo. Andy's homeopathic and naturopathic treatments, and all the neuro-emotional work we did, made my throat pain,  much less, and after a couple of months, they went away totally.

A.P., Richmond, BC

The TIAs and stroke had left me weak, debilitated, paralyzed and unable to take care of myself.

I had given up hope when I was referred to Dr. Andy, and honestly didn't believe his weird-looking homeopathic treatment would be of any use at all.

My wife had to convince me to give the homeopathy, neuroemotional technique and Bowen therapy a try.

I didn't notice anything at all at first, but my wife, children, and friends all told me I was speaking, moving and looking better.

I don' t know, maybe the changes happened too slowly to notice.

However, the difference is obvious even to me now.

My face, speech and movements are more symmetrical, and I am more independent and capable than I have been for a long time, even since before the stroke.

Tom E., Vancouver (West End / Downtown), BC

My 100 year old aunt suffered a bout of shingles after which she had severe neuralgic pain in her left arm and around her torso. The pain was so bad that even her clothing couldn't be tolerated.

Dr. Andy conducted a thorough interview and prescribed a wonderful remedy especially for her.

Within days the pain was forgotten by her body and mind and has never returned. 

Margaret Ball, Vancouver (Kitsilano), BC

Physically, I wasn’t sick in the sense of major disease or sickness. But if I was to keep going the way I was. I would have been for sure soon!

Being troubled with stomach issues for sometime, and having emotion issues I wasn’t even aware of.  

Before I met Dr. Andy Somody, my journey first started at a walk in clinic, where I was put through some blood and stool test after a quick intake. 

My test came back and I was told I have a parasite. I was put on antibiotics and it completely wiped me out. It wasn’t a pleasant experiences at all! 

After all that, I still had painfully stomach issues. I guess it wasn’t the parasite. That upset me a lot to think I poisoned my body for no reason with drugs. I was then told that I had IBS.

After doing some research about IBS I thought it was time to get a second opinion. Why do western doctors just treat the “what” and not want to figure out the “why” so it wont happen again? The reason I went to the walk in clinic in the first place was because my family doctor was a drug pusher who really didn’t listen to me and made me stupid for not wanting to put drugs into my system. 

I chose then to see Dr. Andy Somody.

I called him up made an appointment for the next Saturday. 

I was very pleased that I didn’t need to take anymore time off work and that he was available on Saturday.

My first appointment reassured me that this was the right choice for me.

Andy listened to everything I said.

He asked me question, that I never I been asked before.

He provoked thoughts in me that I never even new existed in me.

My cure was a simple but profound one.

I was stressed out from work and I was going down the wrong path in life. The balance in my life was way off.

I am pleased to say that the pieces of my life are coming together and I’ve never been happier!

(which I never thought could happen, because I thought I was already happy.)

The pieces were always there in front of me - I just didn’t know what to do with them.

I owe Andy for helping me figuring it out, by opening my mind and spirit.

By listening and showing me love and compassion.

Andy has a true calling for naturopathic medicine.

Which has inspired me do what I love.

I am free of all pains and have learnt the ability to listen to my body for what needs it has at the time.

Thank you, Dr. Andy!

Jennie Robinson, Richmond, BC

I don't get the tingling, throbbing, or burning herpes nerve pain in my back and pelvic area since your homeopathy treatment!

The blood pressure is getting lower, especially the diastolic, and my blood sugar has gone down with the neuroemotional releases.

Jackie, Port Moody (Anmore / Belcarra), BC

Dr. Andy's homeopathic remedy really helped to eliminate the lichen planus I had been dealing with. My sex drive and ability to have sex without pain have also gotten much better with the homeopathy and naturopathic counselling.

T.L., Langley, BC

When I was first introduced to homeopathy by Dr Andy Somody, I was skeptical about treatment, thinking it may be something superstitious or spiritual. Nonetheless my curiosity prompted me to give it a try.

I was impressed when Dr. Andy was able to first improve and then cure my spitting of blood and aches in my neck and arms areas. These issues had been bothering me for several months (or even years) and had not responded to Western medicine, but were cured under Dr. Andy's treatment.

I've since realized homeopathy involves not just physical healing, but mental and emotional forms of healing as well. Unlike the regular doctor who usually sees one only through a physical model, visits to Dr Andy also helped me be in touch with my inner self, a part which I've left behind for years in this high-paced society. 

I've become more at peace with myself, more calm, more patient and understanding as a human being.

I believe some sicknesses and diseases are emotional and not purely organic in nature. Homeopathy seems to address conditions where regular Western medicine cannot. It is drug-free and it treats the person as a whole being and not just a body part.

This is for those who are looking for a trust-worthy and responsible healthcare provider who sees people as individuals and not one of the masses, who gives customized good service irregardless of one’s financial status, beliefs or creed, a doctor who dedicates his life and stays committed to his calling even at the expense of his time and energy.

I do not give testimonies freely but I give credit when credit is due.

I was glad I took my first step towards homeopathy with Dr Andy Somody. Not only have I benefitted from it, on the lighter side, I’ve also found a new friend here in Vancouver.

Dr. Edison Teo, Vancouver (Kerrisdale), BC

Back & sleep both are very good now - I don't feel pain or tight muscles any more! Mind is less anxious and worried too, and eyes don't blink without control as before.

Christine R., North Vancouver (Pemberton Heights), B.C.

Before coming to see you, if I ate anything but raw food, I'd feel like my abdomen was so bloated, painful and swollen.

I would get tired and fuzzy in the head from eating almost anything!

Another naturopath diagnosed me with leaky gut, but the supplements she prescribed didn't really help that much.

Your homeopathic remedy and Bowen therapy made a huge difference though.

And I was happy to not have to take so many vitamins!

The mental-emotional technique also made me aware of the past events that had probably contributed to my health problems.

I also appreciated that you could tell me what foods were good for my body, and which foods I was allergic to.

Although, as you told me would happen, it seems these allergies have become less with time, I can now eat almost anything without having any gas, pain, confusion or tiredness.

Bernadette, Vancouver (West Point Grey), BC

Pages