Frequently Asked Questions
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct form of primary health care that utilizes scientific knowledge and traditional forms of natural therapies to help the body heal and reach optimal health. It is an holistic approach to health that takes into account all aspects of patient's life - physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
There are 6 principles that guide the naturopathic physician as they work with the patient:
First, do no harm - The goal is to treat the patient while minimizing the risk of side effects
Treat the cause of the disease - The naturopathic doctor seeks the root cause of the problem to dispel the patient's ailments rather than merely masking the symptoms.
Treat the whole person - Understanding the uniqueness of a patient's situation allows for a well guided treatment approach that addresses all possible causes of any illness.
Support the healing power of nature - The human body has an inherent ability to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors seek to remove any obstacles that may hinder the body's own healing process.
Doctor as teacher - Each individual must take responsibility for their own health. The doctor acts as a guide and shares knowledge with the patient to aid in improving health.
Prevention - By assessing risk factors the naturopathic doctor helps the patient avert illness and reach optimal health.
What conditions does naturopathic medicine treat?
Naturopathic medicine offers treatment options for most illnesses. Remember, the naturopathic doctor treats the individual and not the disease. There is a lot that can be done to promote the body's natural ability to heal no matter what condition presents. A naturopathic doctor works with the patient and their entire health team to coordinate the best possible treatment.
What training does a naturopathic doctor have?
Following a minimum of 4 years of university and having met the prerequisites of biology, biochemistry, chemistry, organic chemistry, and psychology, one must complete a full-time 4 year post-graduate program at an accredited institution. This training requires 4500 hours of classroom training and 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience.
Naturopathic doctors have similar training to medical doctors with specialization in natural therapies. They have been trained in basic sciences, clinical disciplines and naturopathic modalities including clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulation, and lifestyle counselling.
Naturopathic licensing exams, NPLEX, are completed after the 2nd and 4th year of study.
Manitoba naturopathic doctors are also required to pass a provincial regulatory board exams and must complete continuing education credits to maintain their status.
Most naturopathic doctors take further training in various modalities.
What types of therapies are naturopathic doctors trained to use?
Is naturopathic medicine covered by insurance?
The Manitoba Health Services commission does not currently cover services or treatment offered by naturopathic doctors. Many private health insurance plans cover a portion of your naturopathic visits. Please check with your insurance broker to verify the extent of your coverage.
Does a naturopathic doctor use lab tests?
Naturopathic doctors can order typical conventional lab tests as well as specialized tests. In some cases lab tests may be required before a diagnosis can be made. Since naturopathic medicine is not covered by Manitoba Health Services, it is recommended that patients get testing done through their medical doctor whenever possible and to have this information forwarded to their naturopathic doctor.
What if I'm taking prescription medications?
Naturopathic doctors take pharmacology as part of their training and understand the use, side effects, and interactions of many medications. Your naturopathic doctor works with you and needs to understand everything you are doing for your health. Be sure to inform your naturopathic doctor about any medications you are using so that they can help you with any side effects you may have now or in the future and to prevent interactions between medications and supplements.
Do you work with other health care providers?
Naturopathic doctors encourage an integrative approach to health. With your permission, they correspond with your other health care providers to provide the best possible treatment. Communication is the key to understanding your condition. Your doctor may also refer you to other practitioners for different pertinent therapies.
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