Many of new patients who come to Natural Terrain’s Edmonton based naturopathic clinic have a variety of questions about naturopathic medicine and our doctor’s approach to the primary health-care needs of each individual patient.
The following FAQs should provide you with a better understanding of these topics and other, additional frequently asked questions and answers can be found under the Treatments and Health Focus menus.
Can Naturopathic Doctors treat the same diseases as Medical Doctors?
Naturopathic Doctors have the same science training as Medical Doctors – we study pharmacology, we dissect cadavers and we understand the pathophysiology of disease. The difference between us lies in our philosophy and treatment – basically we do not use drugs to treat and we try to find the root cause of disease. Medical Doctors primarily use pharmaceuticals and surgery to treat diseases and relieve symptoms; Naturopathic Doctors focus on treating the whole person, using a number of different modalities (nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathy, etc) to treat the causes of disease and support the healing power of the body.
Does Alberta Health Services cover Naturopathic Medicine? Do you provide direct billing?
At the present time, Alberta Health Services do not compensate for visits to a Naturopathic Doctor. Most extended health insurance plans will cover visit fees up to $300 or $500 per year. Call your insurance company and find out if you are covered to see a Naturopathic Doctor today! Please note that we do offer direct billing to most insurance providers; in some cases where providers do not allow direct billing, a receipt is provided for you to claim under your extended health care plan with your provider.
How are Naturopathic Doctors trained?
NDs take a minimum of three years premedical studies at university, followed by four years of specific training at a recognized college of naturopathic medicine. The education encompasses basic medical sciences, naturopathic principles and therapeutics, and 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience. There are five accredited schools of naturopathic medicine in North America:
• The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto)
• Bastyr University (Seattle)
• National College of Naturopathic Medicine (Portland)
• Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (Scottsdale)
• University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine (Connecticut)
• Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine(Vancouver)
Graduates from these institutions receive a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree or diploma.
In regulated (licensed) provinces and states across North America, graduates must also pass rigorous standardized exams to qualify for practice. In Canada, NDs are regulated in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. Legislation is pending in Alberta.
Be aware that there are people in Alberta representing themselves as Naturopathic Doctors when they do not have the appropriate education and training nor do they belong to a regulating body. Dr. Bjorndal is properly trained and belongs to both the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta/ Alberta Association of Naturopathic Practitioners and Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors. Dr. Bjorndal is recognized by insurance companies for coverage.
How many times should I expect to see a Naturopathic Doctor in order to get better?
It is essential that contact be maintained between with your ND to ensure that healing is maximized Every individual is different and the number and frequency of follow-up visits will depend on the severity of the condition, how long you have had it, your vitality, and your dedication to getting better. Subsequent visits are extremely important so that your Naturopathic Doctor can monitor your progress, update your treatment protocol, and discuss any concerns as they come up. Take the time to get better now. Look at it as an investment in your health for years to come.
Is Naturopathic Medicine safe?
Naturopathic Medicine as a primary health care profession is extremely safe, as indicated by malpractice data, insurance statistics and favourable safety records. Natural does not mean harmless, so skill and knowledge are required as with any diagnosis and treatment of health conditions.
What are the benefits of Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Doctors offer a variety of treatment options. An ND has extensive training in each of the treatment modalities and will usually combine 2 or 3 types of treatment that will most effective for your condition. A Naturopathic Doctor’s mission is to effectively address the cause of the problem rather than cover up symptoms. For example, if the leaves of your plant were turning brown, you wouldn’t fix them by painting them green! You would go to the root of the problem and water the plant. It makes sense to approach your health in the same way!
Naturopathic treatments are highly individualized. Each patient has a unique story, history, genetics, dietary habits, lifestyle and associated health concerns.
A Naturopathic Doctor will work to determine the underlying cause(s) and create an individualized treatment plan to stimulate a person’s innate healing ability. Patients are also involved in their health program and learn to make effective, educated, self-care decisions that can prevent future health problems.
Good health is an investment. Invest now and it will pay an immediate return to your quality of life. When you consider how important it is to maintain your car, it’s considered smart to spend money on maintenance and upkeep. It lengthens the life of your car and keeps it running efficiently. You certainly do not want your car to breakdown going up a steep hill. If you would do that for your car, wouldn’t you do it for yourself?
You are worth it. Give it a few months and you will be amazed at the return-on-investment.
What are the costs involved?
A portion of the expenses to see a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) are covered by many employers Extended health care plans and/or Health Spending accounts, so be sure to check your plan. Since it is not covered by the Alberta government, NDs have to charge for the visits. The cost for visits depends on the treatment modalities chosen. The initial 1.5 hour consultation is $250 and the cost of prescriptions, treatments and/or lab tests are in addition to this. Labwork may be required in order to complete the assessment. Follow up visit range from $100-200 depending on how much time is spent plus the cost of prescriptions and/or lab tests. The frequency of visits depends on the individuals health concerns and ranges from weekly to monthly to quarterly depending on the treatment and severity of your condition.
What can you expect on your visit with a Naturopathic Doctor?
The goal of the Naturopathic Doctor is to understand the patient and all the factors that impact on his/her health. As your naturopathic doctor, it is my responsibility to make sure that you have the information and guidance that you need to move from where you are now towards better health. I take this responsibility seriously and I know that naturopathic medicine can help you.
The first visit is 1.5 hours long and during this time I take thorough case history, including your medical history, family background, general lifestyle, exposure to environmental hazards, stress levels, personal goals etc. In order to have a complete assessment, a screening physical is also included in this visit.
A new patient intake form must be completed prior to coming to your appointment and it can take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Please download a copy of the intake form here (insert link to download form). Subsequent visits will be determined according to the best treatment options for you and they are generally 45 min-1 hour in length.
What is the difference between a Naturopathic Doctor and a Medical Doctor?
Both are doctors. Naturopathic Doctors complete 3 or 4 years of pre-med training (usually achieving a bachelor’s degree) and then have 4 years of training at an accredited naturopathic medical college. NDs must successfully complete provincial board exams prior to being granted licensure. NDs in Alberta are licensed and regulated by the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta.
Medical Doctors use drugs and surgery to treat patients; Naturopathic Doctors use a multi-faceted non-drug, non-surgery approach to your health care. Using the most advanced technology available for diagnosis and treatments, Naturopathic Doctors look at the patient’s health history and lifestyle and treat the individual using methods such as nutrition, acupuncture, botanical medicine, counselling and other non-drug alternatives. Medical Doctors are reactive and treat the symptoms of the disease, which is already in place. The Naturopathic Doctor’s approach is pro-active and works with you to make changes to your health and lifestyle to ensure you are as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
What is your cancellation policy?
Please note that our missed appointment/no show or late cancellation fee will be the fee for the full appointment. (i.e. less than 2 business days notice). If your 45 min appointment is on a Tuesday, you need to call on Friday to change the appointment. Otherwise, you will incur the 45 min consultation fee. When appointments are missed this forfeits an appointment spot that another patient could have used. We ask for your respect and understanding with this policy.
Who should see a Naturopathic Doctor? What conditions do you treat?
Anyone from newborns to the elderly can benefit from Naturopathic Medicine and I encourage family preventative medicine. All chronic and most acute conditions can benefit from treatment by naturopathic Doctors. The most common health conditions treated by NDs include:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Allergies & Environmental Illnesses
- High blood pressure and Heart problems
- Digestion, Constipation, IBS, IBD
- Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis
- Cystitis, Prostatitis, Impotence
- Colds and Flu
- Ear and Throat Infections
- Intestinal Upsets
- Menopausal Problems
- PMS, Menstrual Disorders
- Fibrocystic Breast Disease
- Enhancing Health in Pregnancy
- Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids
- Mental or Emotional Stress
- Anxiety, Depression
- Attention Deficit Disorder
Getting general health advice for children, teens or adults is part of achieving optimal health. Many patients visit a Naturopathic Doctor when they feel that they have exhausted their options, and are extremely surprised (and grateful) to find that Naturopathic medicine can greatly relieve not only their symptoms but also help to heal the cause of their problems.
Many others see an Naturopathic Doctors as a pro-active approach to their lives. These people are not suffering from chronic conditions, but want to optimize their health and wellness and are making an effort to improve their lifestyle in a variety of ways. You don’t have to be sick to feel better. Prevention is the best cure and following a naturopathic protocol is insurance for the future. You can begin to feel better now and you can reduce the likelihood of suffering and chronic illness later in life.