Not sure what a Naturopathic doctor is or how we can help?
If these don't answer your questions, give us a call!
Can Naturopathic doctors treat ______?
Generally the answer to this question is “Yes”. NDs are primary health care practitioners, which means that they can treat the same conditions as a family doctor, including both acute concerns and chronic health conditions. In the event that an ND is unable to treat your condition, they will refer appropriately. See our page What We Do for more info on the common conditions we see.
Note: As of March 2020, an exception to this rule is for patients with suspected coronavirus/COVID-19 or symptoms of a cold/flu. In that case, please call Health Link at 811 or visit Alberta Health to complete a self-assessment and arrange testing through the public health authority. If you have symptoms of a fever, cough, runny nose, or sore throat, you are required to self-isolate for 10 days or until your symptoms resolve (whichever is longer). Please do not come to the clinic if you have these symptoms, you will be sent home and asked to contact Alberta Health.
What can I expect when I visit a Naturopathic doctor?
Your first visit with an ND is usually 90 minutes in length. During that time we ask detailed questions about you and your health concerns (including physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health) in a patient and caring manner. A basic physical exam may also be performed depending on your health concerns (lung exam, abdominal exam, etc). We may also ask for additional lab testing like blood work or diagnostic imaging to help make a complete diagnosis. Your ND will then propose a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve your health goals. Typically you can expect follow up visits 6 weeks after your initial appointment and then every 1-3 months as necessary to assess your progress and make any changes to your treatment plan. When you’ve reached your health goals, you can check in yearly to make sure your health stays on track.
I already have a family Medical doctor, can I see a Naturopathic doctor too?
Yes. A Naturopathic doctor adds a very valuable perspective to your medical team. NDs often work collaboratively with other health care pratitioners following an integrated, patient-centered model to offer the best possible health care. Our focus on diet, lifestyle, natural medicines, and counselling is often a welcome addition to a patient’s health care regimen.
Can I see a Naturopathic doctor if I’m on medications from my Medical doctor?
Yes you can. Naturopathic doctors are trained to understand the interactions between natural remedies (such as herbs and vitamins) and pharmaceuticals. We encourage open communication with the patient and their MD so each health care provider is aware of what medicines the patient is taking. We put the patient’s best interests and safety first and structure treatment plans that are both effective and safe.
What is the difference between a Naturopathic doctor and a homeopath?
Naturopathic doctors are practitioners of natural medicine. They are trained to treat ailments using clinical nutrition, acupuncture, herbal medicine, physical medicine, lifestyle counselling and homeopathy. Homeopaths are trained to practice specifically in one discipline – homeopathy. So while a homeopath would prescribe a homeopathic therapy, a Naturopathic doctor would use any of the approaches listed above, including homeopathy, as part of their treatment plan. In addition, Naturopathic medicine is a regulated health profession in Alberta but homeopathy is not.
What kind of testing can Naturopathic doctors do?
NDs can run similar bloodwork as your Medical doctor, but not diagnostic imaging such as x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, etc. We can also request the following testing through private labs:
Food sensitivity testing
Heavy metal toxicity
Vitamin D levels
Is Naturopathic medicine covered by Alberta Health Care?
No. Naturopathic medicine is not part of the public health care system in Canada. However, many extended health care benefit plans do provide coverage for services and testing done by NDs. Check with your health care plan to see what Naturopathic services you have covered.
What does it take to become an ND? Can I do a distance education course or study here in Edmonton?
No. The path to becoming an ND is a long one. In the province of Alberta, naturopathic medicine is legislated in the Health Professions Act by the provincial government. That means no one may use the term ‘naturopath’ or ‘naturopathic doctor’ unless they’ve gone through the following steps to be licensed through the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta:
Three or more years of post-secondary education. Since 2007, a full undergraduate degree is required for most programs. The NDs at Back of Track both have BSc degrees from the University of Alberta.
Completion of a four year full time degree at one of the 7 approved naturopathic medical colleges in North America
These programs incorporate over 4,500 hours of classroom training in basic medical science, clinical science and naturopathic therapies, as well as 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience
Completion of two sets of standardized North American licensing examinations
Approval by the provincial College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta
Ongoing continuing education requirements, as well as maintaining excellent ethical standards for patient care
How can I tell if someone is qualified as a Naturopathic doctor?