Naturopathic Medicine

Over the next months I will investigate and experience healthcare practices outside of my own field to better understand the science and tradition behind them.  I intend to share my findings with my clinical team, my clients, and the public, so that we can all make more intelligent decisions about our healthcare choices.

I will start by looking into naturopathic medicine, since ND’s are the general practitioners of complementary healthcare.

A few days ago, I visited “Natural Terrain Naturopathic Clinic” located in the Callingwood Professional Building (west side of Edmonton), where I met with Dr. Chris Bjorndal and Dr. Michael Mason-Wood.  I learned that they like to take time with their clients to fully assess their condition, and have a very thorough intake process.

In meeting with them it was clear that not only do they really want to understand a client’s problem, but also they want to see his or her health beyond the main complaint and work toward supporting health from a holistic framework.

Dr. Bjorndal explained the practice of naturopathic medicine to me:

dr-chris-bjorndalWhat is naturopathic medicine?

“Naturopathic medicine refers to a distinct system of primary healthcare that uses natural methods to support and stimulate the body’s inherent self-healing process.  It is a system of medicine that is based on prevention and promotes the optimum health and wellness of the individual by taking into account the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of one’s life when diagnosing and developing a treatment plan. Naturopathic Doctors view individuals as an integral whole where symptoms are seen as warning signals of improper functioning or imbalance in the body and with one’s surroundings. The objective of Naturopathic medicine is to address the root or underlying cause of disease, rather than to simply treat or suppress symptoms.”

What techniques do naturopathic doctors use?

“In treatment, naturopathic doctors use safe, gentle, non-invasive therapies including two or more of these treatment methods used either at the same time or sequentially, for the synergistic effect this has on health improvement. Specifically, they use therapies such as clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulation and lifestyle counselling to assist the whole person in healing. Some therapies offered at Natural Terrain are not offered by all NDs, such as prolotherapy, PRP therapy, and apitherapy.  As with the other core therapies, these are all based on initiating natural and therapeutic healing responses of the body.”

How are naturopathic doctors trained?

“Naturopathic doctors have a minimum eight years of training: four years of university pre-medical sciences, then four years at an approved naturopathic medical college. Here they cover the same western medical diagnostic studies as MDs, which is followed by specialized training in several systems and modalities.”

How are naturopathic doctors regulated? 

NDs are regulated in Alberta by the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA).  The CNDA defines the entry level and continued competence qualifications for Naturopathic Doctors in Alberta, and administers standards of practice and professional conduct, and investigates ND related complaints on behalf of the public.”

I hope to meet both Dr. Bjorndal and Dr. Mason-Wood again and experience their practice of naturopathic medicine first hand over the coming months, and will write more about it soon.

Contact Information:

Dr. Chris Bjorndal and Dr. Michael Mason-Wood

Natural Terrain Naturopathic Clinic

Callingwood Professional Building

200-6650 177St NW, Edmonton, AB T5T 4J5.

(587) 521-3595

You can go to the website of the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta to find other registered naturopaths in Alberta: