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  • Naturopathy 101

    What you need to know about naturopathic medicine, and if it's right for you.

    By Savannah Menton · September 3, 2021 · 0 Comments

    Innovations and advances in modern medicine have improved the overall quality and duration of life. Despite this, the risk of negative side effects associated with a number of treatments and drugs may deter one from seeking treatment. Each individual is also incredibly diverse in their genetic makeup, and therefore can sometimes respond to treatments differently. Because of this, modern medicine may not work for some, even after reaching out to several professionals and receiving different types of treatments for their health issue(s). This can be frustrating, discouraging, and can also have a detrimental impact on your health if left untreated. Does this sound like you? Then you might be interested in seeking a naturopathic doctor for help.

    What is naturopathic medicine? How is it different from modern medicine?

    Naturopathic Medicine involves the use of natural remedies in combination with some aspects of modern medicine to heal. Naturopathic Medicine employs a holistic approach to health, and naturopathic doctors (NDs) explore several avenues to find the root cause of the problem. It is used to treat a broad spectrum of health issues, including hormone imbalances, weight loss/gain, chronic pain, and acne. Naturopathic Medicine can also be used for maintaining overall health or improving it. 

    Natural medicine vs. modern medicine

    Like modern medicine, NDs may use similar examination and testing methods to screen for disease, illness, and injury. NDs, however, target the body’s natural healing process for treatment and supplement it with traditional and natural remedies such as botanical medicines, exercise, nutrition & diet, and massage. Whereas modern medicine often tries to solve the immediate problem, NDs take time to explore and investigate all possible causes to treat them naturally, often using an evidence-based approach.

    Is it safe?

    Just like conventional medicine, naturopathic medicine also has its risks. NDs try to minimize risk by taking time to learn about you and your health in detail before recommending treatment, just like a conventional doctor would.

    Like doctors in Canada, NDs must also undergo extensive training and education to receive licensing to practice. Completion of a four-year undergraduate degree must be completed before entering an accredited four-year naturopathic medicine program. Upon completing their training, NDs must also successfully write and pass a standardized exam, in addition to clinical training that is directly supervised by experienced NDs. They can receive additional training based on their interests and/or specialties.

    Different provinces may have varying regulations and qualification standards. Before choosing your ND, it is important to check with your provincial regulatory body what qualifications are needed to practice naturopathic medicine in your province.

    Furthermore, research on naturopathic medicine is increasing and shows that support for naturopathic medicine and its health outcomes is increasing1,2.

    Is it covered?

    Currently, naturopathic medicine is not covered by OHIP and many other provinces. Extended healthcare insurance plans can cover some or all of your visits to an ND, and typically coverage details can be found under the ‘registered specialists’ section of your insurance plan. Contact your insurer or employer to discuss your coverage.

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    Sources:

    1. Estimated Effects of Whole-system Naturopathic Medicine in Select Chronic Disease Conditions: A Systematic Review
    2. The State of the Evidence for Whole-System, Multi-Modality Naturopathic Medicine: A Systematic Scoping Review

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