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About Naturopathic Medicine

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a holistic system of primary health care; an approach to finding the underlying causes of health complaints to allow for a deeper level of health, rather than simply seeking a reduction of symptoms.

Naturopathic physicians seek to find and understand the root of the patient’s illness or imbalances, which may be physical, mental/emotional, or spiritual in origin, or a combination of the three. The ultimate goal of naturopathic medicine is a long life free from pain, replete with energy, and that allows for maximal enjoyment of life.  Isn’t that a great goal?  To do whatever you choose in life with MAXIMAL enjoyment?

One of the underlying principles of Naturopathic Medicine is the Vis Medicatrix Naturae, the Healing Power of Nature. This refers both to the belief that the body has an innate ability to heal itself provided the obstacles are removed and the elements necessary for life are available, and also that external remedies that may be required to nudge the body in the right direction are all available from the natural world around us (herbs, minerals, vitamins, positivity, meditation, prayer, touch, sunlight, sleep, and so on).

Other principles are Tolle totum and Tolle causum:  treat the whole person, and treat the root cause.  Don’t be surprised if you come in for digestive symptoms and your ND asks you about your sleeping patterns, or pain, or stress levels!  We are greater than the sum of our parts.

Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine (NDs) are licensed in BC as primary care physicians and have been since 1921.  Included in the scope of Naturopathic Medicine in BC is diagnosis of disease, and treatment of those diseases with complementary medicines such as botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical and spinal manipulations, nutrition, counseling, and Traditional Chinese Medicine including acupuncture and Chinese herbs.  NDs were granted prescriptive authority in 2009 allowing the inclusion of pharmaceutical medicines as a potential therapeutic intervention, if deemed necessary.  In February 2014 the federal government acknowledged the role that NDs play as primary care physicians by adding them to the list of GST/HST exempt medical practitioners including MDs, dentists, optometrists and physiotherapists!

Regulation

Naturopathic medicine is regulated provincially under the Health Professions Act. To practice naturopathic medicine in British Columbia, an ND must be a member in good standing with the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia (CNPBC).

Education

NDs in British Columbia must complete at least 3 years in pre-medical training at University, and then complete a 4 year Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program at an accredited institution (of which there are now 7 in North America). There are two accredited schools of Naturopathic Medicine in Canada: the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster, BC, and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

After completing their studies, NDs must pass board exams in order to become licensed.  Continuing Education is required throughout their career in order to maintain their license to practice medicine.

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