Naturopathic Medicine

Aoife Earls Edu­ca­tion

Bach­elor of Sci­ence; Major Psy­cho­logy, Minor Biology

1998 – 2002 McMas­ter Uni­ver­sity, Hamilton ON

Mas­ters of Sci­ence; Spe­cialty in Beha­vi­oural Neur­os­ciences

2002 – 2004 McMas­ter Uni­ver­sity, Hamilton ON

Thesis: Rodent Mod­els of Lupus-like Dis­ease and their affect on social bond­ing hor­mones oxy­to­cin and vasopressin.

Doc­tor of Natur­o­pathic Medicine

2005 – 2008 (Accel­er­ated 3-year pro­gram), Cana­dian Col­lege of Natur­o­pathic Medi­cine, Toronto ON

What is Natur­o­pathic Medicine?

Natur­o­pathic medi­cine is a primary health care pro­fes­sion. Natur­o­pathic doc­tors are edu­cated in a four-year med­ical pro­gram that com­bines both con­ven­tional med­ical courses ( i.e. ana­tomy, physiology, immun­o­logy, phar­ma­co­logy ) as well as courses that com­bine other modes or meth­ods of treat­ment ( i.e. tra­di­tional Chinese medi­cine and acu­punc­ture, botan­ical [ herbal ] medi­cine ), nutri­tion). Natur­o­pathic doc­tors at min­imum have a 3-year post-secondary uni­ver­sity level degree with basic sci­ence courses on top of their 4 year med­ical school courses, and such most natur­o­pathic doc­tors have been in school for at least 7 years. All natur­o­pathic doc­tors in North Amer­ica write board exams and per­form clin­ical board exam­in­a­tions in order to become licensed in their province ( or state ).

Natur­o­pathic doc­tors are qual­i­fied to send out for labor­at­ory test­ing, and some natur­o­pathic doc­tors have labor­at­or­ies in their clin­ics. All natur­o­pathic doc­tors per­form phys­ical exams. Natur­o­pathic doc­tors are cur­rently reg­u­lated under the Drug­less Prac­ti­tion­ers Act, and gov­erned by the Board of Drug­less Prac­ti­tion­ers –Natur­o­pathy. Natur­o­pathic doc­tors are edu­cated to pre­scribe phar­ma­ceut­ical med­ic­a­tions, but in Ontario are not cur­rently reg­u­lated to do so as in other provinces and in the United States. The Trans­itional Coun­cil of Natur­o­pathic Doc­tors in Ontario is involved in open­ing this treat­ment for natur­o­pathic doc­tors in Ontario. Until then, this does mean that natur­o­pathic doc­tors safely pre­scribe vit­am­ins or nutri­ents that will not inter­act with your medications.

As natur­o­pathic doc­tors are not covered by OHIP but are covered with a major­ity of private insur­ance com­pan­ies, natur­o­pathic doc­tors will work in con­junc­tion with other reg­u­lated health care pro­viders to ensure com­pre­hens­ive and effect­ive patient-centred treatment.

What types of treat­ments are admin­istered by a natur­o­pathic doctor?

Natur­o­pathic doc­tors have many ways to assist with improv­ing your health; how­ever this treat­ment will vary from patient to patient based on their per­sonal needs. Tech­niques and imple­ments that can be used by a natur­o­pathic doc­tor include:

Clin­ical Nutrition

Explores the rela­tion­ship between diet and health. Treat­ment may include diet­ary modi­fic­a­tion and nutri­tional sup­ple­ment­a­tion such as vit­am­ins or min­er­als. If in-depth nutri­tional coun­selling is required, a refer­ral to a nutri­tion­ist may be considered.

Botan­ical ( Herbal ) Medicine

This is where our cur­rent phar­ma­ceut­ic­als or drug ther­apies have their ori­gins — from plants. Many plant extrac­tions through dried herbs (in cap­sule form), liquid forms (called tinc­tures), and teas can be used to sup­port your body and to treat a vari­ety of med­ical con­di­tions. Most import­antly, not all qual­it­ies of herb are the same, and as such there is a reason for spe­cific prescriptions.

Tra­di­tional Asian Medicine

Based on bal­an­cing the flow of Qi ( pro­nounced “chi” ) or what is con­sidered the energy in the body through lines or path­ways called meridi­ans. Con­ven­tional medi­cine does under­stand meridi­ans and Qi as what we know as our nervous system.

Acu­punc­ture

Refers to the inser­tion of sterile dis­pos­able needles through the skin into under­ly­ing tis­sues at spe­cific points along our nervous sys­tem or along meridi­ans. For acu­punc­ture to be truly effect­ive, diet­ary advice and herbal pre­scrip­tions are included.

Life­style Counseling

Involves identi­fy­ing risk factors and mak­ing recom­mend­a­tions to help optim­ize one’s phys­ical, men­tal, and emo­tional health. This may simply involve you and your natur­o­pathic doc­tor identi­fy­ing pat­terns or trig­gers that con­trib­ute neg­at­ively to your health, or may involve the refer­ral to a qual­i­fied and trus­ted psy­cho­lo­gist, psy­cho­ther­ap­ist, or psy­chi­at­rist that can be a sup­port­ive part of your health care team. Your body and your mind live in the same place, and if one is imbal­anced, the other can­not be stabilized.

Homeo­pathic Medicine

Homeo­pathy is based on the prin­ciple of “like cures like” and uses minute amounts of nat­ural sub­stances to stim­u­late the self-healing abil­it­ies of the body.

Phys­ical Medicine

Includes the use of hands-on tech­niques to manip­u­late the spine, joints and soft tis­sues. Use of light, water, heat and cold tech­niques will be taught for you to per­form at home to con­tinue thera­peutic pro­to­cols and goals out­side of the office.