Naturopathic Medicine and Naturopathic Doctors
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a regulated healthcare profession in the province of Ontario, Canada. It requires members to have obtained an undergraduate degree with prerequisite medical courses, such as, human physiology, psychology, biology, organic chemistry, biological chemistry, physics, and more. Members must complete a 4-year post-graduate Doctor of Naturopathy degree at an accredited College for Naturopathic Medicine. There are currently two accredited schools in Canada, and in Ontario there is the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM).
Naturopathic Doctors are educated in scientific medical courses ranging from pharmacotherapy, clinical medicine, medical biochemistry, human physiology, diagnosis of disease, immunology, and much more. Along with the above conventional courses, Naturopathic Doctors are also educated in alternative health modalities to support treatments for many health conditions. These modalities include: botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, physical medicine, and more. Graduates are trained to use evidence-based principles to help select and recommend treatments.
Graduates can undertake additional training to be up to the regulatory standard in Ontario for Therapeutics & Prescribing and Intravenous Infusion Therapy (IVIT) if they wish to use these therapies in their practice.
A key difference between Naturopathic Doctors and conventional doctors is that Naturopaths aim to treat the individual, not the symptoms. Naturopaths address the symptoms but continue to help each individual increase their vitality and address the root cause of disease. Instead of just treating a diseased branch, Naturopaths also address the roots, so that health may flourish and future diseases may be prevented. This can be different for each patient, but may include redesigning lifestyle behaviours, exercise, dietary choices, health-promoting behaviours, such as, meditation and mindfulness, and a lot more.
Naturopathic Doctors are always learning as we are required by our regulatory college to take accredited continuing education to stay up to date on new research and practice modalities.