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Dr. Karin Wagstaff / What is a Naturopathic Physician?

What is a Naturopathic Physician?

Naturopathic physicians are required to have a 4 year undergraduate degree (Bachelor degree), with an emphasis on science and humanities, followed by 4 years of accredited residential medical school. Naturopathic training via correspondence does not qualify a naturopath for licensure or to take the national qualifying examination (NPLEX). Once a candidate has graduated from an accredited naturopathic medical school there is the NPLEX exam and a provincial or state licensing procedure that once successfully completed, the candidate can be licensed to practice medicine in their jurisdiction. Naturopathic physicians are governed by a College of Naturopathic Doctors. In British Columbia it’s CNPBC.

The education is much the same as that of your family doctor (MD) with an emphasis on using natural therapies for any medical condition. Naturopathic medicine students often say “We study twice as much as MD’s because we study conventional medicine therapies as well as natural medicine.” These natural therapies include, but not limited to, nutrition, homeopathy, physical manipulation, physical therapy, botanical medicine, minor surgery and counselling.

An ND (Naturopathic Doctor) uses a set of principles to guide his practice of medicine: first do no harm, treat the whole person, treat the cause, doctor is teacher, prevent disease and in nature we can find the power to heal.

In Canada, the naturopathic medical profession’s infrastructure includes accredited educational institutions, professional licensing, national standards of practice, participation in many federal health committee initiatives and a commitment to the state-of-the-art scientific research.