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Centre for Natural Medicine, Calgary AB
Centre for Natural Medicine, Calgary AB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine in Calgary is an integrative and holistic approach to primary
health care that combines the latest scientific knowledge
with traditional and natural remedies.

▪ Our bodies are made up of atoms, cells, and organs and yet we are much more complex than the sum of our parts. Along with medical signs and symptoms, history and lab analysis, Naturopathic doctors take each patient’s diet and lifestyle, environmental, social and spiritual aspects into consideration when assessing and addressing health concerns. Treatment options are considered without applying “alternative” or “conventional” labels and are based on the best treatment indicated for that particular person.

▪ Symptoms are seen as warning signs of improper functioning of the body. Rather than suppressing symptoms with medication, naturopathic medicine aims to address the root cause of illness so that health can be achieved.

▪ While often identified exclusively with some of its therapies, naturopathic medicine is based on a philosophy of care rather than a set of therapies.  The guiding principles of naturopathic medicine provide the backbone from which this philosophy is based.

Benefits of Naturopathic Care

Naturopathic doctors provide a global approach.  Because of their training and the time spent with each patient our naturopathic doctors are able to get to know each person and uncover to the root of the issue.  Symptoms are viewed as warning signs of improper function and rather than just managing them with medication naturopathic doctors work to identify and address the underlying cause.

▪ You don’t have to get sick before you do something about it.  Many chronic and debilitating diseases  - diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers etc. – have a significant lifestyle component.  Illness and burn-out can lead to lost productivity and earning potential as well as a decreased ability to enjoy your free-time with friends and family.  With a primary focus on prevention, naturopathic medicine is perfectly placed to address potential health concerns before they become a problem.
  
▪ Naturopathic medicine can assist you in achieving optimal health and performance. Good health underlies our ability to function optimally.  Whether it be increased productivity at work, a boost in your athletic performance or just having the energy to do what you love, our naturopathic doctors can help provide the foundation to achieve your life goals.

▪ Naturopathic Doctors work with other health practitioners to provide  Integrative health care. Dealing with health issues often involves the input of multiple health professionals.  Naturopathic Doctors are well situated to bridge the gap between the worlds of conventional and natural medicine.  Our doctors are able to work alongside conventional medical doctors and can provide treatments that complement conventional therapies.

▪ Naturopathic doctors are primary care providers. Naturopathic doctors are trained to assess and treat virtually all health concerns, basically acting as your natural family doctor.  Both acute and chronic conditions can often benefit from naturopathic care and if an issue is beyond their scope or expertise then a referral is made.    

▪ Naturopathic medicine provides safe and effective treatments that can address both acute and chronic issues in a minimally invasive and non-surgical way.  Naturopathic therapies are backed by scientific, clinical, and traditional evidence and are aimed at supporting and restoring the body to its normal working function.  

▪ Naturopathic doctors are educated in the use of natural health products.  Just because something is natural does not necessarily mean that it is safe or effective.  With all the contradictory and misinformation out there our naturopathic doctors can help clear-up and prioritize the supplements required for your individual needs.

Guiding Principles

  1. First, do no harm - minimize the risks of treatment.
  2. Identify and treat the cause - determine the underlying cause of the disease rather than just address the symptoms.
  3. Doctor as teacher - assist the patient in understanding their bodies and what treatments are available to them.
  4. Treat the whole person - each person is unique and requires individualized treatment that takes into account the many factors that make them unique.
  5. Prevention - a proactive and preventative approach to healthcare to decrease the risk of developing disease.
  6. The healing power of nature and the body - support and restore the bodies natural ability to heal itself.

▪ Naturopathic doctors are trained as primary care providers and are able to assess and treat a wide range of health concerns, both acute and chronic. Naturopathic doctors work alongside medical doctors and other health practitioners in providing patient care. Furthermore, naturopathic doctors will refer out if a patient’s condition is outside of their scope.

Naturopathic Training

Naturopathic doctors undergo exhaustive graduate-level training in the biomedical sciences and natural medicines. They begin their training with similar undergraduate education as conventional medical students. Applicants must have a 4-year bachelor degree including specific pre-medical pre-requisites and a competitive grade point average in order to be considered for naturopathic medical school.

▪ Naturopathic medical training consists of a 4-year  post-graduate program.  The first two years are based in basic medical sciences; anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology etc. and are comparable to conventional medical education in both subjects and hours of training.  (See comparison here à link to http://www.bcna.ca/documents/comparativecurriculacombined.pdf)

▪ In addition, naturopathic students also study therapeutic modalities including clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, and counseling (these can link to the services pages).  In the 3rd and 4th years, along with advanced courses in naturopathic modalities, students undergo 1500 hours of clinical training.  Students see patients under the supervision of a licensed naturopathic doctor in a family practice clinical setting.

 
Comparison of Average Number of Hours
of Basic Sciences Curriculum

 
naturopathic

conventional

Anatomy
350
380
Physiology
250
125
Biochemistry
125
109
Pharmacology
100
114
Pathology
125
166
Microbiology/Immunology
175
185
Total Hours
1125
1079
   
Adapted from: Jensen CB. (1997) Common paths in medical education: The training of allopaths, osteopaths and naturopaths. Altern Compliment Ther; 3:276-280

 

Licensing and Registration

Naturopathic Doctors in Alberta are now regulated under the Health Professions Act.

▪ Regulation protects the public by ensuring that naturopathic doctors in Alberta have undergone extensive training and education at accredited institutions and are able to safely and effectively provide a high standard of patient care.

▪ Following graduation from an accredited school, naturopathic doctors must successfully complete the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEx) board exams, a set of internationally standardized tests.  Only graduates from schools accredited by the Council of Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) are able to write the NPLEx exams. There are currently two accredited schools in Canada – The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Ontario and the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM) in B.C.. There are five accredited schools in the United States.

▪ Depending on the province or state, the scope of naturopathic medical licensure covers everything from dietary counseling to minor surgery to pharmaceutical prescribing.  In Alberta, the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA) is charged with ensuring that Naturopathic doctors continue to meet all educational and licensing requirements as well as continued professional education and practice standards.  

▪ Alberta joins BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario as regulated provinces in Canada.