The following are a few of the most common queries about Naturopathic Medicine. If your questions aren’t answered below, please feel free to ask me.
1. What happens on the first visit?
Your first visit will take one hour. It includes a comprehensive medical history, physical examination, possible laboratory testing, and a discussion of your health concerns. If you need treatment, I will work with you to develop an individualized plan of therapy.
2. What training do licensed Naturopathic Doctors go through?
Naturopathic Doctors must complete a minimum of three years of pre-medical study at an accredited university (most have a four year Bachelors degree). This is followed by a four-year Naturopathic Medical Degree program at one of seven accredited teaching institutions in North America. The first two years follow a standard medical school curriculum, branching thereafter into naturopathic disciplines. The last year is dedicated to an internship at the college’s clinic. To be licensed, Naturopathic Doctors must pass comprehensive oral and written government exams. As of 2010, Naturopathic Physicians in B.C. have completed a thorough series of courses and exams in order to be granted a license to prescribe medications. To retain certification, graduates must periodically take continuing education courses and seminars required by their professional College.
3. Are naturopathic visits covered by B.C. medical?
At this time, B.C. Health does not cover visits to Naturopathic Doctors. However, naturopathic treatment is now covered by most extended health care plans offered by employers. Check your medical plan to find out what services are covered.
4. How many times should I expect to see a Naturopathic Doctor in order to get better?
The number and frequency of follow-up visits will depend on the severity of the condition, how long you have had it, your vitality, and your dedication to getting better. Subsequent visits are extremely important so that your Naturopathic Doctor can monitor your progress, update your treatment protocol, and discuss any concerns as they come up.
5. Can I still see a M.D. if I decide to also see a N.D.?
Absolutely. Naturopathic Doctors are primary healthcare physicians who work to complement other practitioners, such as Medical Doctors.
6. Can N.D.’s treat the same diseases as M.D.’s?
Naturopathic Doctors employ the same diagnostic tools and skills as Medical Doctors. The difference lies in the treatment plan – M.D.’s primarily rely on pharmaceuticals and surgery to address a specific medical condition and set of symptoms. Naturopathic Doctors take a broader approach, looking for the cause of the illness in the whole person rather than seeking primarily to ameliorate the immediate symptoms. To this end, we employ an array of modalities that are designed to treat the disease but also to support the healing power of the body.
7. Can Naturopathic Physicians provide the same range of services as an M.D.?
Thanks to recent changes in BC legislation, NDs can now prescribe prescription drugs as needed, and will soon be able to order laboratory and diagnositc tests. Negotiations are on-going with the provincial government to secure rights of referral and hospital privileges.
8. What is the difference between Naturopathic Medicine and Homeopathy?
Naturopathic Doctors are trained as general practitioners in alternative medicine, and are licensed and regulated just as MDs, nurses, chiropractors and other health professionals are. While homeopathy is not recognized as a separate branch of medical practice in BC, N.D.s are trained in its techniques and employ them as just one of many modalities in their practice. Homeopathy, which uses dilute concentrations of plants, animals, salts, or minerals to encourage health by reinforcing the body’s own natural healing ability, is more widely used in Europe, and some entire hospitals are based on its principles.
Initial consultations are one hour long. They include a thorough case history, physical exam, and any relevant tests. Lab work may be required in order to complete the assessment.
Follow-up visits may be scheduled anywhere from several times a week to quarterly, depending on the needs of the patient. On average, these visits last about half an hour.
There is a 24-hour cancellation policy in effect for all patients.