FAQ – Naturopathic Medicine

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic Medicine is medicine that treats the underlying cause of disease; it is the art and science of supporting the natural healing processes of the patient through the removal of any obstacles to these processes. It is the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of physical, mental and emotional conditions; and it is the promotion of well-being using therapeutics that support or enhance a patient’s overall health.

In BC, naturopathic doctors (NDs) are licensed to provide primary care. They are trained as general practitioners in complementary medicine, providing a full range of diagnostic tests and therapies.

How are Naturopathic Doctors trained?

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) in BC receive a minimum of three years pre-medical training at university then complete four years post-graduate training at an accredited naturopathic medical school. NDs complete roughly 1500 hours of basic clinical sciences, 1900 hours of standard medical therapeutics (e.g., pharmacology, family medicine, internal medicine etc.) and extensive training in naturopathic treatments.

Doctors complete board exams prior to receiving licensure. In addition, many NDs complete certification programs and exams in specific certifications such as acupuncture.

What are the advantages to naturopathic care?

Naturopathic medicine emphasizes the promotion of health and prevention of disease.  It promotes patient education and individual responsibility which makes it one of the most therapeutically and cost-effective approaches to preventing and treating chronic disease. Doctors individualize treatment based upon the objective observation of the nature of health and disease, blending centuries-old natural and non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems.  It covers most aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care.

Most patients find there are three major benefits to seeing an ND: general practice prevention-oriented medicine; valid alternatives to elective surgery or to drugs that are causing side effects; or chronic diseases for which orthodox medicine has no effective treatment.

What are the treatment modalities that the naturopathic doctors in this office use?

Preventative Medicine, Clinical Nutrition, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Botanical (Herbal) Medicine, Homeopathy, Physical Medicine, and CranioSacral Therapy.   For more information please see the BCNA website: www.bcna.ca

What can I expect at my first naturopathic visit?

NDs conduct a comprehensive intake focusing on a patient’s health history as well as their current medical issues. This history may involve a physical exam and the use of standard diagnostic instruments and laboratory tests. Naturopathic protocols are developed using not only standard lab tests but also lifestyle details such as dietary habits, emotional stress, exercise and exposure to environmental hazards.

Does insurance cover naturopathic care?

Most extended health care plans cover naturopathic doctors, usually between $200-500 per year. Some plans also include lab or diagnostic testing coverage. You can clarify coverage with your benefits manager. For individuals with a Health Spending Account, visits to an ND are 100% covered. In respect to the provincial MSP plan, there is limited coverage for individuals on Premium Assistance or social assistance only.

Do I need to bring anything special to my appointment?

Please bring any supplements and medications you are currently taking as well as copies of any recent lab testing that has been done.

How many appointments will I need?

The number and frequency of appointments depends on your condition or symptoms, their underlying cause, and your health goals.