Frequently asked questions

How is Naturopathic medicine different from conventional medicine?

The goals of Naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine are the same: to improve the quality of life of patients. Practitioners of naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine may differ in regards to how they achieve this goal. Naturopathic doctors receive more training in certain areas such as nutritional and botanical (herbal) medicine, while medical doctors receive more training in surgical procedures and acute health care emergencies. Naturopathic doctors generally treat more chronic health concerns and take a more holistic approach to the patient, considering numerous factors which may be causing or contributing to a patient's symptoms. Naturopathic doctors also generally have the ability to spend more time with patients, taking a comprehensive health history to investigate the root cause of disease rather than focusing only on symptoms. While not opposed to conventional methods of treatment, naturopathic doctors simply provide more health care options for patients who are either not responding to conventional treatment or are interested in treatments that may not be provided by medical doctors. That being said, many naturopathic doctors use conventional medical treatments and there is considerable overlap between the two professions.

What should I expect on my first visit?

Your first visit will be around 45 - 60 minutes in duration. It will include a detailed health history and discussion of your health concerns, any pertinent physical examination, and possibly an order for further laboratory investigation in order to create an individualized treatment plan. It is also very helpful for Dr. Sheldon if you bring any recent lab work or diagnostic imaging reports that you have access to that pertain to your health concerns. All patients should have access to recent lab work done in BC through

What education and training do Naturopathic doctors receive?

Naturopathic doctors are required to complete a Bachelor’s degree with specific medical prerequisites in addition to 4 years at an accredited Naturopathic medical program. The first 2 years of this program focus heavily on basic biomedical sciences and diagnosis. The last 2 years incorporate more training in different naturopathic modalities and approximately 1200 hours of clinical training. This equates to a minimum of 8 years of post-secondary education.

Are Naturopathic medical services covered by health insurance?

Most extended medical plans cover Naturopathic medical visits. However, additional diagnostic testing and supplementation may not be covered. Please check with your insurance provider to determine the extent of your coverage.

Is Naturopathic medicine evidence-based?

Many naturopathic therapies have solid scientific and clinical evidence supporting their safety and efficacy. Some naturopathic therapies are based on traditional systems of health care that are supported by oral and written tradition and anecdotal reports. Other therapies or methods of diagnosis used by certain naturopathic doctors are not supported by scientific or clinical evidence. It is therefore important to speak with your naturopathic health care provider about the evidence and rationale behind the therapies they provide.

Why do some Naturopathic doctors practice so differently from others?

Because of the broad scope of practice of naturopathic medicine, it is possible for several doctors to have a different approach to the same patient or health condition. It is important to speak with your naturopathic doctor about all of the options regarding your health concerns and the pros and cons of each option.

Is Naturopathic medicine regulated in British Columbia?

Yes, Naturopathic medicine is a regulated profession in British Columbia. Naturopathic doctors are regulated under the Health Professions Act and must successfully complete standardized licensing and board examinations from both the North American Board of Naturopathic Examinations (NABNE) and the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia (CNPBC).

What is Naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic Medicine is Primary Health Care that focuses on the prevention and treatment of disease and dysfunction using non-invasive means. These include nutritional supplementation, botanical (herbal) medicine, in addition to dietary and lifestyle changes which optimize health and wellbeing.