What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. NDs seek to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease, rather than simply palliate symptoms.
Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body, and unfavourable lifestyle habits. Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity in of itself.
Treating both acute and chronic conditions, naturopathic treatments are chosen based on the individual patient – their physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environment and lifestyle factors.
In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation and traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, may also be used during treatments.
In Canada, the naturopathic medical profession’s infrastructure includes accredited educational institutions, professional licensing, national standards of practice, participation in many federal health committee initiatives, and a commitment to state-of-the-art scientific research.
What is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND)?
Naturopathic Physicians, or NDs, are intensively trained as primary care physicians and can perform physical exams, Pap smears, diagnostic laboratory tests and imaging studies familiar to all types of family physicians and general practitioners. Naturopathic physicians are also trained in when and how to refer to specialists and for urgent care. They have been licensed in British Columbia for nearly 70 years.
What are the similarities and differences between a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) and a conventional Medical Doctor (MD)?
An ND is trained in both the many methods of treatment commonly referred to as "alternative medicine", as well as in conventional western medical diagnosis and treatment.
When you see an ND, your treatment will likely include one or all of the following: Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Botanical Medicine, Nutritional & Lifestyle Counselling, Naturopathic Manipulation or Bodywork (such as the Bowen Technique), and Energetic Therapies which enable the body and mind to be rebalanced (such as the Neuroemotional Technique (NET), the Neuromodulatory Technique (NMT), and Homeopathy).
However, NDs are also trained to be able to perform, when appropriate, the same diagnosis and treatment offered by a conventional doctor, including Differential Diagnosis, Radiology, Complete Physical Examination, and even Pharmaceuticals (drug therapies). NDs also receive specific targeted training in particular conventional specialty fields, such as Cardiology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, or Pediatrics.
You and the ND work together to determine the best possible treatments available - the best of the alternative and conventional medical worlds.
In fact, NDs have recently been granted pharamaceutical prescribing rights in BC. Although I personally seek to treat every patient through purely natural, non-suppressive methods, and have rarely met one for whom pharmaceuticals were, in my humble opinion, the ideal treatment option, I prefer not to be dogmatic about any treatment philosophy such that I can remain open to the individual needs of each patient.
What is the difference between a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) and a Certified Classical Homeopath (CCH)?
Naturopathic Doctors receive generalized, balanced training in all disciplines of alternative medicine. They are required to take the same premedical (typically 4-year) degree as conventional doctors, then an 4-years at an accredited Naturopathic Medical School. They are primary care physicians using a variety of therapies and modalities according to each patient's need. Homeopaths receive specialized training in this particular alternative treatment method. The CCH is typically attained at the end of 4-years of training as well, without any undergraduate training required, as Homeopathy is currently considered an unlicensed profession in BC.
However, an ND may also attain a CCH as a post-graduate Homeopathic designation in order to offer the best of both worlds, and to be able to provide expert Homeopathic care on top of whatever other appropriately selected naturopathic and conventional treatment options are deemed necessary.
In BC, as well as many other provinces and US states, Naturopathic Medicine is regulated in the same manner as MDs, nurses, chiropractors and other health professionals. At present, Homeopathy is not a licenced or regulated health profession in BC. In one sense, only NDs are licenced to practice homeopathy.
A homeopath would typically only prescribe a homeopathic medicine. An ND may use botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, physical medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, energetic therapies, or any combination to treat a patient.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is one of the Naturopathic medical therapies which NDs have under their scope of treatment.
It has at it's core a deep respect for the body's ability to heal, as well as for the unique, holistic individuality of every patient.
It can also, in the hands of a trained, dedicated professional, be incredibly powerful - even life-altering - yet being completely free of toxic or allergic side effects.
From thousands of possible homeopathic remedies which a Naturopathic Doctor (particularly one with additional homeopathic training [CCH]) may stock, he must select the one most appropriate for you as an entire individual.
Because the treatment is so specific to everything about you, rather than simply being based on your diagnosis, the risk of side effects is eliminated, and the improvements in both your condition and your overall state of health are often both very pronounced, as well as permanent!
Homeopathy is a truly comprehensive form of medicine, and can be used for any condition.
Please refer to my testimonials for the wide range of conditions that have been very successfully treated, or even cured completely, under my treatment - a treatment style which, while encompassing all Naturopathic modalities in it's scope, has Homeopathy - the most curative therapy I have encountered to date - at it's core.
Also, please note that the information above refers to classical homeopathy, in which a single remedy that is best matched on all levels with you as an individual is selected by a trained professional with a specialized focus in homeopathy. Combination homeopathics, which are often sold in health food stores and intended to be used for specific conditions in a "cookbook" fashion, typically produce relatively slow, superficial, and temporary results relative to deeply curative classical homeopathic treatment.