What Is Naturopathic Medicine?

04 Jun 2013, by Dr. Marnie Wachtler in Health Information

If you are looking for a dedicated, comprehensive medical approach to treating the root cause of an acute or chronic condition, or simply want to feel the best you can each & every day and ward off the onset of disease, Naturopathic Medicine may be the primary health care system for you.

Gaia Health Care’s philosophy centres around treating the whole individual based on their specific psychological, physiological, social, emotional, environmental & lifestyle conditions.  We believe health care is based on prevention and correcting imbalances within the body that have built up over time, erupting in unwanted, often painful or debilitating symptoms.  We will invite you to become a part of your treatment plan and value your input about your own state of health. We offer cutting edge laboratory testing & diagnostics paired with traditional & natural forms of medicine.



The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine:

  • First, to do no harm
  • To identify & treat the causes of disease
  • To heal the whole person through individualized health care
  • To emphasize prevention
  • To restore & support the natural healing ability of the body
  • To teach the principles of health & preventative medicine

Training, Licensing & Accreditation:

Naturopathic Doctors in North America are trained in the following:

  • Basic Sciences: anatomy, physiology, histology, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, pharmacology and pathology
  • Clinical Disciplines: physical & clinical diagnosis, differential & laboratory diagnosis, radiology, naturopathic assessment, orthopaedics
  • Naturopathic Disciplines: Clinical Nutrition, Botanical Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, Homeopathic Medicine, Hydrotherapy, Naturopathic Manipulation, Lifestyle Counselling
  • Clinical Experience: 1500 hours of clinical experience with the demonstration of proficiency in all aspects of naturopathic medicine

The designation of a naturopathic doctor (ND) is a protected, regulated designation.  ND’s who have graduated from a 4-year, graduate-level program at  1 of the 7 accredited institutions in North America are eligible to sit the naturopathic licensing examinations administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE).  The accreditation of naturopathic colleges is regulated by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) who is responsible for the educational standards of naturopathic doctors in North America.


Accredited programs in North America include:

  1. Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), Toronto ON
  2. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (BINM), New Westminster BC
  3. Bastyr University, Kenmore WA
  4. University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine, Bridgeport CT
  5. National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM), Portland OR
  6. National University of Health Sciences (NUHS), Lombard IL
  7. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Science (SCNM), Tempe AZ

Naturopathic doctors practicing in Alberta are regulated by the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA), formerly the Alberta Association of Naturopathic Practitioners (AANP). The CNDA joined other regulated health care practitioners under the Health Professions Act in the Summer of 2012.

“Our government recognizes that Albertans want choice when it comes to their health, especially in the areas of wellness and illness prevention. More and more people are relying on the services of naturopathic doctors, and they can now be assured that the practitioner they visit has the competency and skills required to practise in Alberta.”    -Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, Alberta Gov News Release, July 25th, 2012

In Canada, the naturopathic medical professions 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.“    – Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors

Insurance Coverage:

Naturopathic visits are not covered by provincial health care. This allows practitioners to spend the required amount of time with their patients, rather than a rushed 5 minute consultation limited to only one health concern. Many private insurance companies do cover naturopathic services and many Albertans have yearly naturopathic coverage without knowing it. We recommend calling your insurance company with your policy or plan number and asking if you are covered (and for how much) for   a.) naturopathic consultation fees    b.) any laboratory testing you may choose to have done with your naturopath (i.e. food sensitivity testing) and    c.) any natural supplements your ND may prescribe (NOTE: some companies require supplements to have Drug Identification Numbers (DIN) or Natural Health Product Numbers (NPN) for coverage to be possible).