NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE


OUR APPROACH


Naturopathic medicine is a diverse and distinct system of primary healthcare characterized by the art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. On a foundational basis naturopathic practice focuses on the guiding principle of ‘vis medicatrix naturae’, a phrase coined by Hippocrates which means “healing power of nature”. In essence, naturopathic doctors believe that everyone has an inherent self-organizing, ordered healing process, which establishes, maintains and restores health. It is the doctor’s role to support, facilitate and augment this process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery, and by supporting the creation of a healthy internal and external environment.

Naturopathic doctors are also licensed primary care physicians who strive to integrate alternative and complementary strategies with conventional allopathic standards of care in assessing and treating their patients. As a result, naturopathic doctors have a considerably more diverse set of tools than that of traditional physicians. There are a range of modalities and therapies used by naturopathic doctors that are gentle, minimally invasive, and designed to support the body’s own healing mechanisms. A naturopathic physician will rely on a blend of traditional and modern scientific approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention and keep themselves up-to-date on the latest scientific research and incorporate this evidence into their treatments.

Naturopathic doctors see each person as unique and take into consideration several factors when assessing, diagnosing and treating their patients. Instead of focusing on individual symptoms, naturopathic doctors will typically consider the person as a whole and will address the root cause of an illness; they will focus more on the “why” of a disease or illness rather than the “what.” Specific therapies will depend on the details of each case and naturopathic doctors will often spend hours trying to come up with a personalized and effective treatment plan.



“The physician should not treat the disease but the patient who is suffering from it”

-Moses Maimonides


Naturopathic doctors are trained and are fully invested in helping their patients achieve the highest state of wellness and ensure their patients are not just living but thriving!

OUR SIX PRINCIPLES


VIS MEDICATRIX NATURAE

‘Nature’s Healing Power’

The inherent underlying forces that govern our healthy default state


PRIMUM NON NOCERE

Do No Harm’

Interventions that do the least harm and that do not further disrupt a system attempting to regain homeostasis


TOLLE CAUSUM

‘Treat the Cause’

Seeking to understand the totality of fundamental causes that disrupt the equilibrium and not just suppression of symptoms



TOLLE TOTUM

‘Treat the Whole’

Consideration of the totality required in order to identify the cause of the illness


DOCERE

‘Doctor as Teacher’

Engaging and empowering while offering guidance and support on the journey to optimum wellness


PREVENTIR

‘Prevention’

Assessing risk factors and recommending appropriate interventions to prevent illness


OUR TRAINING


In line with conventional medical training, training in naturopathic medicine requires the completion of an undergraduate degree, followed by the completion of a four-year, accredited, naturopathic medical education before being allowed to register as a Naturopathic Doctor in Alberta.

Naturopathic education encompasses basic and diagnostic sciences – including anatomy, clinical physiology, pathology, immunology, pharmacology, biochemistry, embryology, physical and clinical diagnosis, and lab diagnosis. In addition they receive extensive training in a variety of naturopathic disciplines including clinical nutrition, acupuncture and Asian medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine, lifestyle counselling and homeopathy.

For at least the final two years of their medical program, naturopathic students intern in clinical settings under the close supervision of licensed professionals and must meet minimum requirements in terms of hours and patient contacts.

With a minimum of 4,100 hours of classroom training in basic medical science courses, naturopathic principles, and therapeutics, as well as a minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised clinical practicum, naturopathic training is quite intensive. In addition, graduates must pass two sets of provincial licensing board exams and are required to keep their registration current throughout their career by completing at least 70 hours every three years of approved continuing education.

4748

Total Education Hours – ND


4800

Total Education Hours – MD



3348

Academic Hours – ND


2600

Academic Hours – MD



1400

Clinical Hours – ND


2200

Clinical Hours – MD



ND – Naturopathic doctor; MD – Medical doctor. Source. More info.

**It is important to note that when comparing the training and philosophies of NDs and MDs, there are plenty of similarities and differences but it is important to remember that each field is unique and offers distinct benefits to the medical field.

OUR PROCESS


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REMOVE OBSTACLES TO HEALTH

Identify and remove the obstacles to health (disturbing factors that prevent healing) and institute a more healthful regimen.


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STIMULATE THE VIS

Once the terrain is beginning to clear of disturbing factors, we begin to apply stimulation to the self-healing mechanisms.


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STRENGTHEN WEAKENED SYSTEMS

Some organs and systems are weakened or damaged and require extra support more than just stimulation.


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CORRECT STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY

Address structural problems that could be resulting from internal stressors or vice versa.



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USE SPECIFIC NATURAL INTERVENTIONS TO RESTORE

Sometimes it is necessary to address pathology especially when it is threatening to quality of life. In this case natural substances, interventions  directed specifically against the pathology become important.


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USE PHARMACOLOGICAL SUBSTANCES

This involves science of pathologic-based treatment, using pharmaceuticals. There are times when such an approach is necessary to preserve life, limb, or function and naturopathic doctors are well trained to identify and refer these cases to the medical doctor.


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SUPPRESS OR USE SURGICAL METHODS

Sometimes it is necessary, for the preservation of life or limb, to suppress or surgically remove the pathology. MDs are especially trained in this art and have powerful tools with which to do this. This is however NOT the ideal situation as many times the pathology resurfaces as the root cause has not been addressed.


**The above steps are an adaptation of the THERAPEUTIC ORDER – a hierarchy of therapeutic intervention dictated by naturopathic philosophy and practice. Most of these steps are well within the competence and training of a naturopathic physician except for the last two, which if required and necessary, may need allopathic intervention – especially pharmaceutical and surgical procedures which also depends of jurisdiction of practice.**


**For more information on the similarities and differences between naturopathic doctors and conventional medical doctors, check out the FAQ page

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