The Doctor of Naturopathy is broadly composed of three main areas of study, the biomedical sciences, the clinical sciences and the art and practice of naturopathic medicine.
CCNM's four-year accredited professional program in naturopathic medicine provides more than 3000 hours of classroom training and 1200 hours of clinical experience.
Naturopathic medicine is founded on the principle of healing through the cooperative power of nature. Individuals who choose to practice as naturopathic doctors pledge to "encourage others to strengthen their health, reduce risks for disease and preserve the health of our planet for ourselves and future generations." The focus is on promoting health, not on alleviating symptoms. To address the fundamental causes of disease, to heal the whole person through individualized treatment, to teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine—these are among the principles that drive the content and structure of the Doctor of Naturopathy.
Naturopathic medicine is a primary health-care profession that focuses on the promotion of health, assessment of the physical and mental condition of an individual, and the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases, disorders and dysfunctions. It does this through the integrated use of therapies and substances that promote the individual's inherent self-healing mechanisms.
The principles underlying the practice of naturopathic medicine include:
The biomedical sciences segment of the curriculum provides an in-depth study of the human body through lectures and labs. Students take courses in anatomy (including gross anatomy, prosection, neuroanatomy, embryology and histology), physiology, biochemistry, immunology, clinical pathology, environmental and public health (including infectious diseases), pharmacology and pharmacognosy.
The clinical sciences segment of the curriculum thoroughly prepares students to educate patients and the public in health promotion and disease prevention. It also prepares them to diagnose the causes of a range of primary care conditions and to effectively help patients manage their conditions using a broad range of therapeutics. Laboratory and clinical demonstrations are utilized to foster the development of practical skills.
Diagnostics courses include physical and clinical diagnosis, integrated clinical pathology and differential diagnosis and diagnostic imaging. A range of primary care issues are covered in courses ranging from maternal and newborn care to pediatrics. Primary care management is covered in the study of botanical medicine, homeopathy, emergency medicine, nutrition, physical medicine (including naturopathic, osseous and soft tissue manipulative therapy, physiotherapy, sports medicine, therapeutic exercise and hydrotherapy), psychological counseling, nature cure, acupuncture and Asian medicine and minor surgery.
A defining element of naturopathic medicine is the integration of naturopathic philosophy and principles with medical knowledge in the care of patients. In the program, students are exposed to the practical application of this knowledge and are encouraged to develop an appreciation of both the art and practice of naturopathic medicine. In addition, students will develop the skills to practice in a manner that exemplifies professionalism, strong ethics and a commitment to the principles of naturopathic medicine.
There are six major modalities that help to define naturopathic practice. Each is a distinct area of practice and includes diagnostic principles and practices as well as therapeutic skills and techniques. The integration of these modalities to effectively meet the individual health needs of each patient is one of the major outcomes of CCNM's Doctor of Naturopathy. Below is an overview of the major modalities covered in the program.
Below is an overview of the major modalities as they are covered in the program.
Students learn about the philosophy and principles of Asian medicine: Yin and Yang theory, the meridians and channels system, the five-element theory and the symptoms and signs involving the 12 master meridians. Applying these principles in the context of patient assessment and treatment is emphasized, with acupuncture and therapeutic botanicals being the main approaches.
The pharmacognosy, clinical indications, interactions and toxicology of plants and crude plant extracts are examined. Examples of traditional herbal lore are studied from a current research perspective. Field trips for identification of local botanicals are part of the program, along with an exploration of herbs in light of their ecological significance and contribution to the history and evolution of medicine.
This part of the program provides students with current knowledge and research in clinical nutrition, and its application in the prevention and treatment of disease processes. Macro and micro nutrients and their interacting biochemical roles in human metabolism are investigated; the concept of biochemical individuality is highlighted. Etiological considerations and clinical manifestations of nutritional imbalances and food sensitivities are discussed. Diagnostic evaluation of nutritional status is presented while prescriptive therapeutic strategies such as fasting, detoxification, specific diets, supplementation, orthomolecular therapy, use of food extracts, glandular concentrates and digestive aids are evaluated.
The history, principles and philosophy of homeopathy are discussed in depth. Practical application of homeopathic principles in patient assessment and management is emphasized for acute and constitutional cases. Skills are developed in case analysis, repertorization, materia medica search, remedy differentiation and selection and prescribing the appropriate posology.
Students are taught a variety of assessment techniques ranging from orthopedic tests to naturopathic manipulation. Students learn to manipulate the osseous and soft tissues in order to correct structural and/or postural imbalance or pathology, including active and passive manipulation of spinal, costovertebral, costosternal and limb articulations. The prescription of restorative and/or preventive exercise for patients requiring these measures is also taught. The therapeutic effects of physical modalities such as hydrotherapy, physiotherapeutic machines and naturopathic manipulation are discussed. Internal and topical therapeutic uses of water are examined, including immersion baths, douching, thermal body wraps, fomentations and constitutional hydrotherapy.
Courses in health psychology review current psychological theories and help students acquire practical counselling skills. These courses discuss the importance of the mind-body connection and teach approaches to enhance this connection in patient care. Lifestyle counselling is taught throughout the program.
The Doctor of Naturopathy's extensive classroom training prepares students for their roles as primary interns co-managing patient care in the Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, the main teaching clinic of CCNM. It hosts approximately 26,000 primary care patient visits per year and is equipped with 40 patient treatment rooms and six media equipped preview/review rooms. The clinic offers a range of services, from IV therapy and lifestyle counselling to hydrotherapy and acupuncture. In addition, students complete a four-month placement in an external clinical site, where they gain in-depth knowledge of the practice of community based medicine. The external sites are located in five community health centres (Sherbourne Health Centre, Anishnawbe Health Toronto, LAMP Community Health Centre, Parkdale Community Health Centre and Queen West Community Health Centre).