Naturopathic doctors are aware of and updated on conventional care as well as natural approaches to all health conditions. This requires ongoing continuing education and dedicated time for studying the latest information available. Conventional medicine primarily focuses on symptoms and less on the whole person.
The major difference is the philosophical approach and treatment. Naturopathic medicine promotes the body self healing processes and focuses on the symptoms differently than conventional medicine. Symptoms are viewed as the language of the body. It is possible that symptoms seem unrelated but are actually the complex pattern or picture of the individual. The body must be looked at as a whole as well as the parts. The human body is a highly coordinated unit despite how modern medicine has broken down the entire body into systems for simplicity. Not a single process in the human body takes place in isolation. Treating the whole person is the ultimate in successful care and focusing on the most significant aspect will start the road back to balance.
Homeopathy is a therapy commonly used in a naturopathic treatment plan. It is integrated along with other considerations such as dietary support, physical therapies, herbal medicine, and stress reduction focused on the goal specific to the individual needs. A naturopathic doctor is trained to coordinate all of these therapies using a truly integrated medical approach. Homeopathic Medicine alone does not employ this full spectrum.
Naturopathic doctors are Board certified in the province of Alberta. A license will be prominently displayed in the office.
Naturopathic doctors take a minimum of 3 years of science at a university prior to attending a recognized college of naturopathic medicine. This is a four year full-time program which includes clinical and medical sciences, naturopathic principles, therapeutics and several hundred hours of supervised clinical experience. After completion there are regulatory exams and standardized tests. There are currently a number of accredited schools of naturopathic medicine in North America. Naturopathic doctors are trained as primary healthcare providers meaning that the work of the naturopathic doctor is complementary to other healthcare practitioners including medical doctors, chiropractors, dentists, physiotherapists, massage therapists, midwives and acupuncturists. Dr. Kodnar’s first degree is in pharmacy, together with naturopathic medicine it enables her to provide comprehensive health solutions.
Today there is a lot of discussion regarding evidence-based medicine. Meaning, where is the science reference. Many studies are available which support a variety of the methods used in naturopathic medicine (along with the clinical evidence for natural substances such as glucosamine sulfate, St. John’s Wort, homeopathic Arnica just to name a few). Frequently, comments are made that do not support these therapies but more often than not they have not been applied correctly, meaning it was not the right condition to obtain the best results, perhaps too low a dosage, or not given for long enough.
Naturopathic colleges encourage and facilitate research. Funding from independent sources is critical in obtaining important data that supports noninvasive methods to return to health. Often these methods or therapies are not patentable or financially viable for the investigators and therefore they are not pursued.
A flaw of many research studies is that they do not encompass full spectrum care principles … such as lifestyle factors, mindset and spirituality. Statistics are often misinterpreted or applied incorrectly leading to speculations vs actual facts. Anecdotal evidence is frequently dismissed but if given consideration may lead to opportunities for investigation.
Everyone can benefit from the knowledge of a naturopathic doctor. There is an appreciation of biochemical and genetic individuality and the focus of treating the whole person. A comprehensive personalized assessment of every patient will create a treatment plan that will start the road back to health. There is often an overwhelming and even conflicting amount of information available regarding natural medicines. Optimal wellness is achieved through a balance of all aspects of being. Whether a person is coping with a long-standing degenerative condition, training for a marathon or seeking preventative medicine – identifying obstacles and either eliminating them entirely or limiting their impact is the goal. Targeting these with nutrients, homeopathy, herbal medicine or physical therapies to re-create a balanced healthy state is the role of the experienced practitioner.
This is an interesting question to address. In many instances, the individual may start to feel better within a few days of treatment, however, how long it will take to fully recover varies according to the illness and the individual. The body may have its own priority of healing that may be in a different order to that desired by the patient.
There is a reason we use the word “patient”. A sluggish elimination system may slow the healing process. As digestion and liver function improve, the body becomes less burdened or congested and healing becomes the automatic response. Digestive discomforts – gas, bloating, heartburn, belching etc. are usually the first to disappear. Constipation and or diarrhea are often quickly improved. Fatigue starts to lift as the liver improves. Mood stabilizes. Menstrual cycles normalize. Weight slowly balances itself out. Eczema and other skin irritations candisappear rapidly. Acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis may take more time and may be slower to heal.
Conditions such as asthma, allergies, chronic infections, swollen lymph glands, headaches, chronic deficiencies, poor memory and concentration, behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, arthritis, bursitis, infertility, and others have all shown remarkable improvement with time and the correct program. Cardiovascular issues such as hypertension, elevated cholesterol, stroke – improve with naturopathic medicine programs.
It is important to follow up with your treatment plan so that progress can be monitored and modified as phases of improvement are achieved.
The purpose for a treatment program is to restore health and balance. Supplements not only correct deficiencies (despite good eating practices) but augment metabolic pathways for healing. Those that follow prescribed dietary guidelines and supplements routinely achieve the best results. Programs include addressing imbalances in more than one system and hence several therapies and types of supplements will be prescribed.
The office supplies most supplements prescribed and often more. Some supplements are available only through health practitioners while others can be purchased in stores. For patients out of town, these can be easily supplied via mail or courier. Health Canada is going through many changes with regards to natural health products primarily in the best interests of health and safety. Availability, quality control, and application are other issues.
Dr. Kodnar endeavors to be aware of “cost – for – effectiveness” in her recommendations.
It is not necessary to obtain a referral by a medical doctor to seek naturopathic consultation. Many extended health benefit plans cover the services offered by licensed naturopathic doctors. Check with your provider to understand the details of your coverage. Reimbursement is from the insurance provider.
My professional training as both a pharmacist and naturopathic doctor provides the basis for a comprehensive approach blending the benefits of current scientific understanding with the principles of natural health care.It is to everyone’s advantage to seek out the most effective solutions to treat their personal circumstances without negative long-term effects. The goal is not to inhibit, but enhance and balance health. This allows an abundance of resources to facilitate treatment. I can advise those looking for options.
In addition, I have done extensive observations in Dr. Jonn Matsen’s ND clinic in Vancouver and regard him as an icon of the naturopathic community. I augment my treatment plans with his well-established EATING ALIVE PROGRAM for liver support, correcting dysbiosis and heavy-metal elimination.
Dr. Neil McKinney ND is a naturopathic oncologist specializing in cancer care. Dr. Kodnar has attended in office and seminars of Dr. McKinney’s and respects the work that he has provided to the cancer research community.
Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur ND is a specialist in women’s health and has established the Healthy Breast Program. Dr. Kodnar has completed the Healthy Breast program and received her Kundalini Yoga teacher certificate under Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur. Dr. SDK also created Beyond Addictions – a post recovery yoga program that includes naturopathic treatment. It is supported by the work of Dr. Gabor Mate, MD, a specialist in understanding addictions and the process of recovery.
Dr. Kodnar has augmented her understanding in these fields and has continued to be a part of the mentorship program provided by these individuals through various seminars and modalities.