What is naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary health care that addresses the root cause of illness or disease and promotes health and healing using natural therapies. Treatment modalities may include clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, physical treatments, acupuncture and lifestyle counselling.
The primary goal of naturopathic treatment is to address the cause of the illness rather than simply treating or suppressing symptoms. While naturopathic care helps to alleviate specific symptoms, NDs are primarily concerned with addressing the root cause of an illness.
Naturopathic doctors are trained through a 4 year post graduate program at an accredited naturopathic medical school. Currently there are two colleges in Canada and five in the United States. Students are trained in the same basic medical sciences as medical doctors but also attain a thorough education in preventative medicine and natural therapeutics. Although the basic training is the same, they learn different philosophies and therapeutic approaches than their conventional colleagues. Upon successful completion of the 4 year program, students attain the designation N.D. or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Students must sit for national board exams to become licensed naturopathic doctors within licensed provinces/states. In Ontario, students must also pass the provincial board exam.
What is the difference between naturopathic medicine and homeopathy?
Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are general practitioners of natural medicine. They are trained to treat ailments using clinical nutrition, acupuncture, botanical medicine, physical medicine, lifestyle counselling and homeopathy. Homeopaths, on the other hand, are trained to practice in one discipline – homeopathy. So while a homeopath would prescribe a homeopathic therapy, a naturopathic doctor would use any of the approaches listed above, including homeopathy, in their treatments. In addition, homeopathy is not a regulated or licensed health profession in Ontario. Naturopathic medicine is regulated and licensed in Ontario.