Questions About Naturopathic Medicine
- What is naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a comprehensive approach to health care. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained to diagnose and treat various acute and chronic conditions, just like your regular general practitioner. Our main objective is to find and treat the underlying cause of your health concerns, as opposed to treating only the symptoms. NDs follow a series of principles that guide their approach to helping you improve your health:
- First do-no-harm – effective health care with the least risk for all patients
- The healing power of nature – respect and promote self-healing.
- Treat the cause – identify and remove causes, avoid suppression of symptoms.
- Doctor as teacher – educate the patients, inspire rational hope, encourage self-responsibility.
- Treat the whole person – each person is unique with their own factors affecting their health.
- Health promotion is the best prevention – education to promote a healthy lifestyle now will prevent problems in the future, and treating the cause of health problems now will prevent them from escalating in the future.
- How are naturopathic doctors (NDs) trained?
Naturopathic doctors have seven to nine years of post-secondary education: pre-medical studies at university, followed by four years at one of four recognized colleges of naturopathic medicine. This post-graduate work includes medical science course work such as:
- laboratory diagnosis
- clinical and physical diagnosis
- minor surgery
- gynecology/ women’s health
- other clinical sciences
The education includes 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience. All told, NDs receive approximately 4,500 hours of academic and clinical training.
Graduates receive the title “N.D.” or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, and must pass rigorous international licensing and board examinations to be eligible to practice as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Naturopathic doctors are regulated in the province of British Columbia.
Dr. Macdonald completed additional training and was granted the authority to prescribe pharmaceutical medicine.
Continuing education requirements in both naturopathic medicine and pharmacology are required to ensure that physicians stay current in the ever changing field of medicine.
- What treatments do NDs use?
Naturopathic physicians use a broad range of therapies, including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, laser therapy, homeopathy, Bowen Therapy, traditional Chinese medicine / acupuncture, psychological counselling and pharmaceutical medicine. You can learn more about the services offered at The Macdonald Centre for Natural Medicine here.
- What types of health problems can be treated?
Naturopathic physicians help with a wide array of health concerns, including:
- Allergies & Environmental Sensitivities
- Hypertension (High blood pressure), High cholesterol, Atherosclerosis
- Heart problems
- Digestive disorders, Constipation, IBS
- Eczema, Psoriasis, Acne
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Cystitis, Prostatitis, Impotence
- Colds and flu
- Ear and throat infections
- Intestinal upset
- Women’s health issues
- Menopausal problems
- PMS, Menstrual disorders
- Fibrocystic Breast Disease
- Enhancing health in pregnancy
- Endometrioses, Uterine fibroids
- Is naturopathic medicine scientific?
There is an enormous body of evidence supporting naturopathic medicine, and it’s quickly becoming a common, mainstream health care choice. You’ll be surprised to discover just how practical and scientific our work at the clinic is. We rely a great deal on lab testing and logical, scientific analysis. The main difference is our desire to get to the root of what’s causing your health concerns.
- Is naturopathic medicine safe?
The safety record for naturopathic medicine is excellent. This makes sense, given the emphasis on natural, non-toxic medicines and gentle, non-invasive treatments. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are knowledgeable about contraindications between naturopathic remedies and conventional medicines. They are also trained to recognize conditions which are outside their scope of practice and to refer to other health practitioners when it is appropriate to do so.
- What’s the difference between naturopathy and homeopathy?
First of all, homeopaths only use homeopathic medicines as treatment tools, whereas naturopathic doctors use homeopathy as one of several treatment tools.
Secondly, unlike naturopaths, homeopaths are not physicians. They can not perform physical examinations, Pap smears, or blood tests, and therefore cannot diagnose illness. Naturopathic physicians provide thorough medical care.
Thirdly, homeopaths are not regulated and licensed in B.C. Therefore, anyone can call themselves a homeopath regardless of training, whereas only those individuals following the steps outlined above can call themselves naturopathic doctors.
- What is the difference between a naturopathic physician and a conventional physician?
Naturopathic physicians are similar to conventional physicians in that they are both licensed to diagnose and treat illness. They both do physical examinations, lab work, and can diagnose and treat illness. Like MDs, some NDs can prescribe pharmaceutical medicines when necessary.
Unlike MDs, NDs are thoroughly trained in a wide variety of tools, techniques and medicines to help patients. NDs can educate patients about their full range of treatment options. We follow the principle of “lifestyle first, natural medicines second and pharmaceutical medicines third.”
Blood work and urine analyses ordered by an MD are covered under a patient’s MSP medical insurance, while patients pay out of pocket for labs ordered by NDs. Some extended health insurance plans cover labs ordered by NDs.
Only an MD can access advance diagnostic techniques like CT, MRI, x-ray and Ultrasound. Only an MD can refer to a specialist or attend to patients in the hospital. Therefore it is important to have both an ND and an MD on your medical team.
- What is the difference between a naturopathic physician and other alternative health providers or holisitic pharmacists?
Naturopathic physicians are the only alternative health provider with extensive medical education and thorough training in a wide variety of hands-on techniques, natural medicines and pharmaceutical medicine. Patients know that when they go to a naturopathic physician, that person has completed seven to nine years of university training in their field, and is required to be licensed by the BC government, and has to stay current with continuing medical education.
- Can I see a naturopathic physician and my family doctor at the same time?
Of course! In fact, many people like to have a health team composed of multiple professionals. Naturopathic treatment rarely conflicts with conventional medical treatments and prescriptions, and naturopathic physicians are well-trained in understanding interactions between natural treatments and conventional prescriptions.
Even in cases that clearly call for conventional medical intervention, such as surgery or chemotherapy, your naturopathic physician can help before and after your procedure to further accelerate your recovery.
Questions About our Office
- What are your hours?
You can reach us at (250) 897-0235 during the following hours:
- Monday through Thursday 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
- Fridays 9:30 am – 3:00 pm
- What can I expect / how does it work?
The goal of the naturopathic doctor is to understand the patient and all the factors that impact his/her health. A naturopathic doctor will take an in-depth patient history, and seek information from a physical exam and laboratory tests.
In contrast to your medical doctor, a naturopathic doctor may spend far more time with you as a patient, use different tools, and will operate under differing philosophical principles. These principles are based on a belief in the healing power of nature and include treating the whole person, finding the root cause, and respecting “doctor as teacher” and prevention as the best medicine.
In our office you can expect a high degree of personal attention, strict confidentiality, and a wide range of health care services designed to help you find your best level of health.
- Are your services covered by Extended Health Insurance or MSP (Medical Services Plan of B.C.)?
Consult your benefits package for details. Naturopathic doctors are partially covered by MSP for those patients who are on the Premium Assistance Program. In that case only, the patient is reimbursed $23 per visit up to 10 visits per year. The 10 visits also include appointments with physiotherapists, massage therapists and chiropractors. Most extended health benefits packages cover visits to licensed naturopathic doctors up to a certain amount per family member per year.
- Are you accepting new patients? How can I refer friends and family?
We gratefully accept new patients, and value your trust. The patient-doctor relationship is an important one, so we offer a free 15-minute ‘meet-the-doctor’ visit to allow any new patient to get to know us a little better before they make a commitment. Just contact us at (250) 897-0235 to book an appointment.
Don’t see the answer to your question here? Please contact us, and we’ll be happy to help!