Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity.
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.
Naturopathic medical education and practice is guided by six principles:
1. First, do no harm – NDs utilize treatments that are safe and effective, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness, while minimizing side effects.
2. The healing power of nature - Naturopathic doctors identify and remove obstacles to recovery, facilitating the powerful and inherent healing ability of the human body.
3. Identify and treat the cause - The primary goal of your naturopathic doctor is to determine and treat the underlying cause rather than simply managing or suppressing the symptoms.
4. Treat the whole person - Each person is unique and requires individualized care. In treating the cause of any condition, naturopathic doctors take into account not only physical symptoms, but also mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, spiritual and other factors.
5. Doctor as teacher – the word doctor comes from the latin word docere, which means teacher. Naturopathic doctors help patients understand the factors that affect their health and understand how to be proactive in maintaining their own health and well-being.
6. Disease prevention and health promotion – Naturopathic doctors understand that health is much more than simply the absence of disease. Health entails daily functioning on the highest possible levels, and is obtained by proper nutrition, exercise, a balanced lifestyle, positive emotions, thoughts and actions.
The naturopathic medical education is similar to conventional medical school, and includes:
Four year undergraduate degree, including basic science prerequisites
Four year study at an accredited Naturopathic Medical school
Training in basic medical and clinical sciences; diagnostics; naturopathic principles and therapeutics, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, nutritional medicine, and naturopathic manipulation; and 1200 hours of clinical experience under the supervision of qualified naturopathic doctors.
Successful completion of the North American Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX)
Naturopathic Doctors in BC are licensed under the College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC (CNPBC) and the British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA)
Naturopathic Doctors in BC are the first in Canada to be granted drug prescribing authority after the successful completion of a pharmacy upgrade course and examination