There are many courses out there – some as short as a few weekends, some by correspondence – that offer participants the designation of Naturopathic Doctor, or a variation on the name. You can contact your federal or provincial association to ensure that your practitioner has completed the proper training.
Currently, the only province that provides government coverage for Naturopathic medical treatment is British Columbia. In Nova Scotia, most insurance plans cover Naturopathic medicine. Please contact your insurance provider to determine the extent of your coverage.
Your first visit with a naturopathic doctor will generally last between 1 to 2 hours. During this time they will take an in-depth medical history, perform a physical examination and run various laboratory tests.
Many people are unaccustomed to the number of questions and amount of detail that a naturopath is interested in. An ND can be likened to a health detective – using details to help piece together the patient’s health puzzle.
After the first visit, your naturopath will be able to assess the frequency of follow up visits which can range from monthly for consultations and protocol modifications to bi-weekly if you are undergoing an acupuncture or hydrotherapy protocol. Duration of your treatment will also vary from a couple of months to years.
It is important to keep in mind that a Naturopathic Doctor can take care of many of your health care needs and you may visit them much like you would your family doctor.
Homeopathy is one type of treatment that ND’s are trained in – much like botanical medicine or acupuncture.
Homeopathy and naturopathy are each based on a set of principles, that are both similar and compatible. Both systems of medicine are interested in treating the whole person, but naturopathy may use other modalities to accomplish this.
Naturopathic doctors are primary care physicians and patients at every stage of life can be helped with Naturopathic care. Many patients seek help with chronic conditions such as skin diseases, respiratory diseases, female disorders or gastrointestinal diseases and find much relief with naturopathic treatment.
Others present with acute illnesses which can be quickly improved to help avoid pain, loss of sleep, loss of work, and anxiety.
Still others seek education and prevention - you don’t have to be sick to feel better. A Naturopathic program is looking toward the future. You can begin to feel better now and you can reduce the likelihood of suffering and illness later in life.
There are currently only 4 accredited Naturopathic medical schools in North America: Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Arizona, National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Oregon, Bastyr University in Washington and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Ontario.
Applicants are required to have at least 3 years of pre-med studies and must undergo an interview process. Naturopathic medical training is a 4 year program with the first two years consisting of basic sciences including: biochemistry, pathology, immunology, anatomy, physiology, histology, gross anatomy, lab diagnosis, physical clinical diagnosis, differential diagnosis and pharmacology. The final two years of study focus on clinical nutrition, traditional Chinese medicine, botanical medicine, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation and lifestyle counseling. Graduates receive one full year of clinical internship.
Upon graduation, students are required to write internationally standardized board exams – Naturopathic Licensing Exams (NPLEX) – in order to be eligible for licensure.