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Naturopathic medicine is a healthcare system with a holistic approach to patient care, taking into consideration the biological, psychological and social factors in development of disease. Naturopathic doctors utilize traditional knowledge and evidence-based medicine to guide their assessment and treatment plans. Naturopathic medicine supports and stimulates the body to heal itself through natural means of treatments such as clinical nutrition, behavioural changes, herbal and nutritional substances, homeopathy, physical therapies and acupuncture. Primarily, naturopathic doctors focus on health promotion and disease prevention, helping patients to take charge of their health and providing them with tools for lifelong wellness.
Naturopathic Doctors need to complete an undergraduate university degree before entering the four-year, full-time accredited naturopathic program. The two Canadian naturopathic schools are: the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto and Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster BC.
The first two years are similar in training with conventional medicine and include basic medical sciences. The fourth year is a clinical internship and students are seeing patients under the supervision of registered naturopathic doctors.
Naturopathic doctors can treat a wide range of acute and chronic conditions in patients of all ages from colds, flu, and digestive complaints to hormonal imbalances, insomnia, stress-related issues, and autoimmune disorders. By integrating naturopathic medicine with conventional medical care, patients achieve better health outcomes.
Naturopathic Doctors combine different treatment modalities, such as botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, nutritional supplements, hydrotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, and lifestyle counseling to create unique treatment plans tailored to the individual needs and preferences.
The first appointment with a naturopathic doctor is up to 90 minutes long. During the initial visit your naturopathic doctor will take a comprehensive history of your health concerns, conduct a focused physical exam and if necessary order laboratory tests to make a proper assessment and diagnosis. Typically, an individualized treatment plan will be proposed to the patient in the first visit. Depending on your specific health concerns and treatment duration, follow up appointments will be from 30 to 60 minutes in length.