See below for our most frequently asked questions regarding naturopathic care. If your questions remain unanswered, please email or call our office.
About Our FAQ
The Naturopathic Doctors at the Downtown Wellness Centre are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the naturopathic services provided at our office. The most common questions have been listed here. If you have a question that has not been answered, please feel free to get in touch by calling or emailing our office.
Naturopathic FAQ – Asked, and Answered
Provincial subsidies for naturopathic medicine were cut by the liberal government on January 1, 2002. At present there is no MSP coverage available for visits to an ND unless you are on premium assistance. There is limited coverage for premium assistance patients; find out if you have coverage and whether your ND will see premium assistance patients before making an appointment. Most extended health plans (i.e., private plans usually through your employer) do cover visits to NDs. Most plans pay 80% of patient visits but make sure you clarify coverage with your benefits manager.
Naturopathic Physicians, or NDs, are trained as primary care physicians and perform physical exams, Pap smears, diagnostic laboratory tests and imaging studies familiar to all types of family physicians and general practitioners. Naturopathic physicians are also trained in when and how to refer to specialists and for urgent care. They have been licensed in British Columbia for nearly 70 years.
There are three major differences. The first is training. The second is regulation. The third is treatment.
In regard to training, naturopathic doctors are generalists in alternative medicine. They receive at least 3-years pre-medical training at university, then 4-years at an accredited naturopathic college. They are primary care physicians using a variety of therapies and modalities according to each patient’s need.
In BC and many other provinces and US states naturopathic medicine is regulated just as MDs, nurses, chiropractors and other health professionals are licenced and regulated. At present, homeopathy is not a licenced or regulated health profession in BC. In one sense, only NDs are licenced to practice homeopathy.
Another difference is treatment. A homeopath would only prescribe a homeopathic medicine. An ND may use botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, physical medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, or any combination to treat a patient.
Your first visit with an ND may be one hour or more in length. A very extensive patient history eliciting information about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health is taken and a complaint-oriented physical exam performed. Your ND may then suggest further specialized testing.
With your input, your ND will propose a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve your health goals.
Yes. NDs are primary health care practitioners, which means that they can treat the same conditions as a family doctor, including both acute concerns and chronic health conditions. In the event that an ND is unable to treat your condition, they will refer appropriately.
No. In BC doctors must be licenced as either an MD or an ND. They cannot be licenced as both at once. In addition, there is no billing fee code for alternative or complementary medicine. There is a fee for alternative medicine provided by an MD (e.g., chelation) just as there is a fee with seeing an ND. NDs are trained as and licenced as doctors. Many NDs do provide primary healthcare however, and all NDs are trained in and complete board exams in both pharmacology and pharmacognosy.
A Naturopathic Physician is trained in the methods of treatment commonly referred to as alternative medicine. When you see an ND for health care your treatments may include therapeutic diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes, such as a stop smoking program, herbal medicines, nutritional medicines, manual manipulation or physical therapies. Your naturopathic physician may refer you for massage, acupuncture or midwifery services as needed. You and your chosen ND would work together to determine the best possible treatments available including those traditionally provided by specialists such as cardiologists, allergists, pulmonary specialists and so on.
Yes. Homeopathy is a highly systematic, scientific method of therapy that respects the wisdom of the body. It is a method based on the implementation of a pharmacological law called Similars. A German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann first pronounced this law, in 1796. He described it in this manner:
“Any substance which, when given in a strong dose, produces specific symptoms in a healthy person, is likely, if given in a homeopathic [i.e., infinitely small] dose, to cause those same symptoms to disappear in a sick person.”
Homeopathic medicine will not result in toxic or allergic side effects. Homeopathy stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Proper nutrition, rest and exercise will enhance its effectiveness.
NDs may have ‘special interests’ in health conditions in which the ND has had extensive treatment experience or holds keen interest, or a modality used preferentially with a high degree of success.
We do not refer to these as specialties, as this implies that the ND has special training in a particular area.
At present, there are no specialist-level educational programs for NDs provided by naturopathic colleges, although NDs may have special training beyond their training at a naturopathic college (for parenteral therapy, for example).
Although an ND may have a special interest in a specific disease or treatment modality, naturopathic care is always holistic in nature and highly individualized and unique to each patient.
Dr. Tejinder K. Ghag
About Dr. Ghag
Dr. Ghag, known to her close friends and family as TJ, is a licensed Naturopathic Physician who is passionate about hearing your unique health story and providing guidance where needed. A firm believer in individualized health, Dr. Ghag strives to identify the root cause of dysfunction as she believes there is no single cause. Using a multidisciplinary approach, Dr. Ghag will work with you to explore any physiological imbalances, mental emotional triggers, life stressors, and environmental toxicities and create a unique treatment plan that caters to your needs.