Visiting a new healthcare provider can be nerve wracking. If you have never seen a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) before, you may have questions around what to expect at an appointment, and what treatment options are available. To put your mind at ease, we’ve compiled a shortlist of frequently asked questions about Naturopathic Medicine, so you can feel confident that seeing a Naturopath is the right fit for you.
What services do Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) provide?
Naturopathic Doctors are primary health care providers, just as general practitioners (GPs) are. Their practices have an emphasis on natural and integrative medicine, meaning they integrate standard medical diagnosis (ie. medical history, physical exams and lab work) with a wide range of natural therapies. This includes Diet & Lifestyle Counselling, Vitamin & Mineral Supplementation, Herbal Medicine, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Intravenous Nutrient Therapy, and Bioidentical Hormone Therapy. NDs in British Columbia and Ontario can also prescribe pharmaceutical medications.
Can a Naturopath order lab tests?
Yes, NDs are able to use private laboratory services to provide a wide range of functional laboratory tests for their patients. In BC they also have access to conventional medical labs (ie. Life Labs). Unfortunately, when ordering lab tests the cost is NOT covered through MSP (it is billed privately to the patient). When a Naturopath does a PAP test for a patient in BC, samples are sent to the BC Cancer Agency. The cost is covered (not the appointment) through the Cervical Cancer Screening Program.
Do I need a referral to see a Naturopathic Doctor?
Naturopathic Doctors are primary health care providers, so you do NOT need a medical doctor’s referral to see a ND. To book an appointment with one of our Naturopathic Doctors at Juniper Family Health click here.
How do Naturopathic Doctors compare with conventional Family Doctors (General Practitioners)?
Both NDs and GPs offer
Can perform physical exams
Diagnose medical conditions.
Prescribe medications. (NDs in British Columbia and Ontario ONLY have prescriptive authority)
Provide lifestyle counselling
Recommend vitamins and minerals
- Philosophy: NDs take a holistic approach to medicine - they consider the whole person (physical, mental and emotional health), their environment and their lifestyle when compiling a diagnosis and recommending treatments. NDs practise in a patient first manner, provide consent, and strive to treat the underlying cause of disease. Treatments are tailored to long-term goals, disease prevention, and improving quality of life. GPs are trained in a disease-focused manner, and often look at an isolated group of symptoms rather then addressing the whole person. Although underlying cause of disease is considered, treatments often involve suppressing symptoms through pharmaceutical medications.
- Appointment times: GP visits are 5-10 minutes. ND visits vary between 15-60 minutes. At an appointment with a Naturopath you are asked various questions about your main health concerns, diet, lifestyle, prior health history, family medical history, medications & supplements you are taking, as well as anything else pertinent to your health goals.
- Treatment options: NDs are experts in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and use natural forms of medicine whenever possible. GPs primary treatment tool is pharmaceutical medications.
- Specialist Referral, Imaging, Maternity Care & Vaccinations: GPs can refer patients to specialist and order diagnostic imaging. NDs cannot. Some GPs provide primary maternity care, while others refer. NDs cannot provide primary maternity care unless they have additional training in midwifery. In BC, NDs who have their immunization certification can provide vaccinations to adults, and children over the age of 5. GPs can provide vaccinations to individuals of all ages in all Canadian provinces. NDs refer their patients to GPs for all services that are out of their scope of practice.
- Medical Coverage: GPs appointments and testing are covered through our public health care system. NDs appointments and testing are covered through extended insurance.
Can I see a Naturopath and a conventional Family Doctor (GP) at the same time?
Yes, many individuals see both a GP and a ND for their health care needs. NDs work in partnership with other health care providers to ensure patients receive the best care possible.
How much does an appointment with a Naturopath cost?
The first visit with a Naturopathic Doctor is typically 1 hour and costs between $150-200. Follow-up visits range between 15-45 minutes in length and will typically cost between $60-145. Appointments are covered through extended insurance. To learn about Juniper Family Health's Direct Billing program, click here.
Do you need to bring anything to the first appointment?
Yes, it's a great idea to write down medical history and issues you’ve been having before your first appointment (this is often done through an intake form provided to you by the Naturopath). The great thing about having an appointment with a Naturopath, is that they take TIME with YOU. The first appointment can last an hour, so the Naturopath has the time to ask a number of questions and get a thorough understanding of your health and wellbeing. It also allows time for you to ask any questions you may have about your health. You can help to focus the conversation by thinking about your health goals, and main reasons for booking your appointment. Focus on the biggest concerns you have, any symptoms you may be experiencing, and be prepared to answer questions about your medical history and lifestyle. Questions may include: how much sleep you get each night? What are your energy levels like? What do you typically eat in a day? How are your stress levels? For more questions answered take a look at our FAQ page.
To book an appointment at Juniper Family Health please contact the clinic at 778-265-8340 or firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to book online.