Monday, April 27, 2009

Naturopathic Medicine Week

Next week is Naturopathic Medicine Week in Canada (May 2-10).

Check out your local Chapters/Indigo, Coles or favorite health food stores during this week for Naturopathic Doctors giving presentations. Click here for a list of free seminar locations across Canada. This is a great opportunity to learn what naturopathy can do for you and to ask questions.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's been a year!

Although I did not have the time to post nearly as much as I would have liked, I was still surprised at the interest in this site. After one year, there were between 250-400 visitors per month and people asked some very good questions.

It was an exciting year for Naturopathic Medicine in Canada. Nova Scotia was the first province east of Ontario to provide legislation for ND's, Ontario is transitioning Naturopathic Medicine under the Regulated Health Professions Act, and of course the recent approval for prescribing rights in British Columbia.

Hopefully third year will allow for a little more time to publish as the second year pace was absolutely crazy. It seems like CCNM crams a 5 year program into 4 years!. Actually, CCNM's program is longer than the "standard" 4 year length. Analogous to university, the first 3 years consist of 2 semesters for a total of 8 months of school per year (what is not analogous to university is that the days are 8-10 hours spent just in class). Finally, the 4th year internship is a full 12 month rotation from May to May.

With one week of final exams to go, I survived 2nd year-barely! Next on the agenda... is more studying. Naturopathic students who completed 2nd year write the basic science board exams in August.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A First

With some of the derogatory statements made lately by Medical Doctors about the training of ND's, I was beginning to wonder if there was something fundamentally missing from my training that would make me unable to practice as a primary care provider. My curiosity about what a GP learned about primary care that I was missing in my training abated after reading PalMD's final comments that arose from his "ND Challenge."

Occasionally I find myself agreeing, at least to some degree, with the frustrations that Medical Doctors express about Naturopaths. Certainly both sides have a vested interest in their training and have every right to defend it. But in this case, I was disappointed by the lack of substance to the attack.

The crux of PalMD's final post is where he states the naturopath is, "fanatically wrong." Then, he went on to write that this judgment was based on a point that he was not entirely clear about in the first place. Further on, the same mentioned naturopath is called a cult leader! I'm not sure exactly why but possibly because of her expertise in diabetes and selling a book on the same topic (A conflict of interest? Possibly).

So, this is a first for me... I read these blog feeds every day but have never specifically commented or posted my opinion. What I realized is that if there is a difference between MD's and ND's on the capability of being a primary care doctor, it is a matter of opinion and not the ability to function effectively and safely.

The primary care physicians and family GP's certainly have their territory infringed upon as Naturopaths continue to expand their scope of practice. I guess I can't blame them for digging in their heels. Ultimately, naturopathy needs the critiques and, although they may not agree, naturopathy influences them too (for example, nutrition is now being taught in some medical schools). My hope is that some time in the future it will all be to the patients' best interest.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

B.C. will set a precedent for Naturopathic Doctors

It's nearly official: British Columbia's Naturopathic Doctors will expand their roles as primary care providers as they attain prescribing rights and the ability to work with pharmacists. What may be more important is that Naturopaths will maintain access to certain botanicals, supplements, amino acids and other treatments that fall under the area restricted to a prescription. In regards to prescribing pharmaceuticals, Naturopathic Doctors are not limited to 9-12 minutes a patient and can spend the time determining the best way to deal with every presenting issue (and they have a wide array of treatment options). I'm certain there will be very judicious use of this privilege.

The British Columbia Naturopathic Association website is an excellent resource.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nature in the City

Education is something I believe a lot in especially when it comes to the betterment of us and our environment. Unfortunately, many people picture the environment to be this pristine place hundreds of miles from civilization and throw their Tim Horton's coffee cup into the ditch. However, there are no boundaries on the environment, it is there wherever we are.

What I really liked about the presentation I attended the other day at school was the focus on nature right around us, even in the city. If we could only slow down to notice...

Maybe this will be a good summer to begin an appreciation for nature even if you are in the middle of the city like me.

Contact if you are interested in a guided experience in or near Toronto.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Toxic plastic toys

"Health Canada tests found three-quarters of soft plastic toys and children's items for sale in Canada contained toxic chemical additives known to cause reproductive harm in children."

Here is the entire article,

My little boy has been showered with gifts of plastic toys. I really appreciate the thought but can't help but wonder about long-term effects. We really need to get our children out into some fresh air!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Online learning

Recently I have seen a lot of advertisements for online naturopathic training in the US. I have even read where some people adamantly defend their online naturopathic diplomas. Although I am sure that they worked hard, and gained insight into some areas of natural medicine, I cannot see its applicability to becoming a doctor.

In contrast to online naturopath education, accredited schools train naturopaths to be primary care providers. As an example, this year (my second year at CCNM) we had the privilege to learn and practice physical & clinical diagnosis (PCD) of every body system. We had standardized patients for the male genital and female breast exams and our final practical exams this year will be on standardized patients. Next year our PCD training will include female gynecological exams on standardized patients.

Although there is substantial reading and preparation (including lecture time on theory) required before we attend the PCD practicals, the understanding and applicability of the theory is not complete until we work through the practical sessions, get feedback from supervisors and our colleagues, and learn from our mistakes. Many times subtle differences in technique can miss a diagnosis. Nothing can replace practical learning.

I can not imagine how online training prepares for practice as a doctor since doctors treat patients not computers. Certainly, one could learn about the theoretical aspects of medicine but be left without any idea of how to actually be effective with patients. Especially for those who live in the US, for your safety, please make sure you see a naturopath who graduated from one of the Accredited Schools.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quote of the Month

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."

Albert Einstein