The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Medicine (CAND) defines naturopathic medicine as a ‘distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine’. Naturopathic medicine is founded on the belief that the body has its own ability to heal itself and works to stimulate and support that ability by treating the cause of illness, rather than focusing on symptom management. By treating the person as a whole, naturopathic medicine can be used for both acute and chronic conditions and is tailored to the individual to address the physical, emotional, spiritual and lifestyle factors that might be affected.
Naturopathic doctors are licensed as medical professionals in 5 provinces in Canada, 16 states and 2 U.S. territories. In Alberta, NDs must follow national standards of practice and as of August 1, 2012 are regulated under the Health Professions Act alongside other health professionals. A team approach to health care is ideal and the most effective and as such NDs often refer patients to other professionals to ensure they are receiving the care they need. Naturopathic medicine is a growing profession and a powerful and effective tool in maintaining health and balance.