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Dr. Julie Goldring B.P.E, ND
What is Naturopathic Medicine?Naturopathic medicine is a medical system that combines modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of healing. It is the art and science of disease diagnosis, prevention and treatment using natural therapies that include botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation, Traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, and lifestyle counseling.
As a primary care provider, a Naturopathic Doctor seeks to restore and maintain optimum health by enhancing the body's self-healing process. In the eye of naturopathic medicine, health is affected by physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environment and lifestyle factors. Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body and unfavorable lifestyle habits and the primary goal is to treat the underlying cause of the disease.
In order to assess health concerns and determine the best treatment approach for each patient, Naturopathic doctors use both conventional and naturopathic diagnostic tools. A thorough health history is first obtained during the initial assessment which is usually 1 ½ hours long. A nutritional evaluation is also performed in order to determine the impact of ones dietary habits on overall health. Naturopathic Doctors are trained to do complete physical exams and use them as a standard part of an assessment. Finally, laboratory testing, including urine analysis, blood work and saliva testing, is an essential aspect of a complete medical assessment.
Naturopathic doctors complement and enhance health care services provided by other health care professionals. They cooperate with other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate. Naturopathic Doctors provide patients with a truly integrative form of health care.
In Canada, the naturopathic medical profession's infrastructure includes accredited educational institutions, professional licensing, national standards of practice, participation in many federal health committee initiatives, and a commitment to state-of-the-art scientific research.
What can it do for you?Naturopathic medicine treats all forms of health concerns -- from pediatric to geriatric, from acute to chronic illness and from the physical to the psychological.
There are typically three types of patients that seek naturopathic medical care:
1. Patients that are looking for disease prevention and health promotion strategies.Individuals that recognize that health doesn't just happen by chance, that it is a life-long process that involves a clear understanding of the factors that affect health and how to deal with them on a daily basis.
2. Patients that have a range of symptoms that they have been unable to address on their own or with the help of other medical practitioners.With Naturopathic medicine's broad understanding of health and the relationship between health, life and the environment naturopathic doctors are often able to offer patients a new perspective and provide safe and effective ways to restore health.
3. Patients that have been diagnosed with an illness and are looking for alternative or complementary treatments.Naturopathic medicine is very effective in improving quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses. It is used extensively and effectively for those patients that are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects to drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.
The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and to treat the root cause of disease. For many patients, this difference in approach to health provides them with a new perspective and awareness. By addressing the root cause(s) of disease and through the appropriate use of natural therapies many patients with chronic illness have found tremendous benefits.
Areas of Training
Naturopathic Doctors undergo training similar to medical doctors plus they include the naturopathic disciplines. The four areas of training in the four year, full-time Naturopathic Medicine curriculum are:
- Basic Sciences - This area of study includes anatomy, physiology, histology, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, pharmacology and pathology.
- Clinical Disciplines - Diagnostic medicine areas of study are physical and clinical diagnosis, differential and laboratory diagnosis, radiology, naturopathic assessment and orthopaedics.
- Naturopathic Disciplines - There are six major disciplines that define the areas of naturopathic practice. Each discipline is a distinct area of practice and includes both diagnostic principles and practices as well as therapeutic skills and techniques. They include: clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulation and lifestyle counselling.
- Clinical Experience - All students must complete 1,500 hours of clinical requirements and demonstrate proficiency in all aspects of Naturopathic Medicine prior to graduation.
- Is naturopathic medicine covered by OHIP? No, naturopathic medicine is not covered by OHIP. However, most insurance plans do reimburse the cost of visits with a licensed naturopathic doctor. The maximum yearly amount varies depending on the plan. Please refer to your insurance company for details on your coverage.