What is the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath?

What is the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath? Now that I have designations as both a naturopathic doctor and a homeopathic doctor, this question seems to be popping up a lot more frequently.

Here`s a video by my colleague Seth Yates explaining the basic concepts of naturopathic medicine, treatment methods and education of a naturopathic doctor, I especially like the funky background music:

Now that you`ve familiarized yourself with naturopathic medicine, watch this video of my mentor Julie Henry explaining the basic concepts of homeopathy as well as the difference between homeopath and a naturopath:

Next, let`s summarize some of the key similarities and differences between a naturopath and homeopath:

Philosophy of health

Both naturopaths and homeopaths work under a wholistic view of health.  They strive to do no harm and treat using the most least invasive method available.  Health is considered to be influenced by physical, mental, emotional, social, and environmental factors which are all taken into account when deciding on a treatment plan.  Symptoms are an expression of an imbalance within a person and the different systems of the body are interconnected.  Both a naturopath and homeopath work to heal the root cause of a person`s health issues, rather than suppress symptoms.

For more information on the guiding principles of wholistic medicine: http://www.drellensimone.com/guiding-principles.html

Types of treatments

A naturopath uses homeopathy as part of their overall healing toolkit.  They also use nutrition, supplements, lifestyle counseling, botanicals, Chinese medicine and acupunture, and physical medicine when treating their patients.  A homeopath is considered a specialist in using homeopathy and this is the primary treatment method used.  Both use their tools to provide specific and individualized care for their patients.

Education

A naturopath and a homeopath both have knowledge of the core health sciences such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, immunology and pharmacology as well as training in physical examination, appropriate assessment, and knowledge of when to refer to another practitioner if warranted. Both professions undergo rigorous clinical training and examinations to ensure graduates meet the standards required to practice their form of medicine.

Educational institutions in Ontario:

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine

Regulation in Ontario

Currently, both naturopathic medicine and homeopathic medicine are in a transition process to become regulated in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professionals Act (RHPA).  Naturopaths were previously regulated under the Drugless Practitioner Act and the Board of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy.  Homeopaths have not been regulated in Ontario for a number of years and this re-regulation follows a renewed use of homeopathic medicine as a form of alternative medicine treatment.

Regulation resources:

The Transitional Council of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario

The Transitional Council of the College of Homeopaths of Ontario

Integration with other healthcare professionals

Regulation under the RHPA will hopefully lead to an increasing number of naturopaths and homeopaths being included in a patient`s current health team.  Integrating homeopathic and naturopathic medicine can effectively augment a patient`s conventional treatment plan leading to higher patient satisfaction and more comprehensive patient care.

Insurance coverage

Homeopathic and naturopathic medicine are currently not covered under OHIP and patients pay for these services.  However, the majority of private insurance companies like Great West Life and Sunlife provide coverage for these services to assist patients in seeking complementary forms of healthcare. Your employer decides what services are covered in your insurance plan and if naturopathic and homeopathic medicine are not currently covered, you may ask your employer or human resources office to explore the option of including these services.

Resources to help you find a qualified naturopath or homeopath:

Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors

Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors

The Canadian Naturopathic Foundation

Ontario Homeopathic Association

The National United Professional Association of Trained Homeopaths

I hope this post provided you with answers to this very common question. If you have other questions you would like answered let me know and I will try to address them in future blog posts.

Feel free to share your thoughts about naturopathic and homeopathic medicine, as well as resources you think others would find useful!

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About drellensimonend
Dr. Simone strongly believes that the mind and body are connected to your overall health and wellness. As a primary health care provider, her practice provides ongoing support throughout your healing journey. Her role as your Naturopathic Doctor is to assist you in discovering your needs, support you in personal growth and help you reach your health and wellness goals. With the belief that happiness and balance is possible for everyone, Dr. Simone strives to help her patients live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. Dr. Simone focuses on family wellness and has special interests in women and children’s health. She has experience with reproductive health, working with women through different phases in their lives; to regulate the menstrual cycle, ease PMS symptoms, optimize fertility, provide support during and after pregnancy, maintain breast health and welcome menopause. Children have also been a primary focus in Dr. Simone’s life in both her professional role as a naturopath and in her volunteer work. She believes that setting healthy habits at a young age can be critical for long-term health and wellness.

7 Responses to What is the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath?

  1. Pingback: It’s the one year anniversary of my blog! « Dr. Ellen Simone, ND

  2. susan says:

    I am suffering from severs cramping, bloating and gas. This has been going on for several days.
    I do have IBS. Should I see a naturopath or a homeopath?

    • Hi Susan, both a naturopath and a homeopath will be able to help you. A naturopath will focus more on your diet, nutritional supplements, herbs and acupuncture as well as homeopathy. Whereas, a homeopath will focus on finding the best homeopathic remedy to match your symptoms. It really depends on what you have already tried and which direction you wish to go next. Another factor may be extended health insurance which currently covers naturopathic doctors but not homeopathic doctors.

      I’d recommend asking to meet with whomever you decide to see and asking them about their practice philosophy and what they think they can do for you since each practitioner is unique.

      I hope this helps!

  3. rhonda says:

    i totally love what you are doing as a lifestyle and career, its sooo admirable. im a 5ft4inches with a med-large frame 36yr old female and have had diabetes type 2 since i was 25. i was always active and healthy and ate well until age 18 when i started college. thats when the bad lifestyle started. my dad, dads father, moms mother and a few aunts and uncles have diabetes. (type 1 and 2). my grand-mother uses insulin and my father now uses insulin, and is in poor health awaiting a kidney transplant. ive used glyburide, metphormin, and now im using janumet only twice a day. i cant stand drugs and wish i knew an alternative way to treat this horrible condition and get rid of it forever without the heavy price-tags. some people tell me i can and that if i just lose the weight and keep it off forever and eat healthy, every 3 hours, exercise, and remain stress free i will be diabetes “free”. i have changed my diet this past month and started exercising in hopes to lose 100 pounds by next september. that would bring me to what i think my ideal weight should be. currently im 225 pounds. in my heart ive always believed that i can become medication free and reverse my diabetes thru consistent diet and exercise. its so challenging now, but dont think it will be once i lose the weight. whats your feedback? is there a way to reverse my diabetes? how? without meds prescribed by a MD and a ND?

    • Hi Rhonda,

      Thanks so much for sharing your personal story! Losing weight, eating healthy and reducing stress can have a positive impact on type 2 diabetes and I commend you on your motivation to make positive lifestyle changes. I definitely think seeing a naturopathic doctor can help you on your journey as there are many other factors with regards to weight loss that need to be assessed and possibly treated (Check out my post ’8 key factors for successful weightloss that cannot be ignored’ http://drellensimonend.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/8-key-factors-for-successful-weight-loss-that-cannot-be-ignored/). There are also some great natural therapies like chromium picolinate and gymnema which can assist in blood sugar regulation. I suggest that you see a naturopathic in your area to discuss your health concerns and you can find one using the following links:

      Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors: http://www.cand.ca
      American Association of Naturopathic Doctors: http://www.naturopathic.org

      I wish you all the best!!!

  4. Pingback: Happy two year anniversary to my blog! « Dr. Ellen Simone, ND

  5. Pingback: My Blog | Naturopathy For Life | London

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