Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between naturopathic medicine, homeopathic medicine and conventional medicine?
Naturopathic doctors are aware of and updated on conventional care as well as natural approaches to each condition. This requires ongoing continuing education and dedicated time for studying the latest information available.
The major differences are in the philosophical approach and therapeutic methods. Naturopathic medicine promotes the body’s self-healing processes and focuses on the symptoms differently than conventional medicine. Symptoms are viewed as the language of the body. It is possible that symptoms seem unrelated but are actually the complex pattern or picture of the individual. The body must be looked at as a whole as well as the parts. The human body is a highly coordinated unit despite how modern medicine has broken down the entire body into systems for simplicity. Not a single process in the human body takes place in isolation. Treating the whole person is the ultimate in successful care and focusing on the most significant aspect will start the road back to balance.
Homeopathic medicine is a therapy commonly used within a naturopathic treatment plan. It is integrated into this along with other considerations such as dietary support, physical therapies, herbal medicines, and stress reduction, focused on the goal specific to the individual’s needs. A naturopathic doctor is trained to coordinate all of these therapies using a truly integrative medicine approach. Homeopathic medicine alone does not employ this full spectrum.
How do I know if a Naturopathic Doctor is adequately trained?
Naturopathic doctors take a minimum of 3 years of science at university prior to attending a recognized college of naturopathic medicine. This is a 4 year full time program which includes clinical and medical sciences, naturopathic principles and therapeutics and 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience. After completion there are regulatory exams and standardized tests. There are currently five accredited schools of naturopathic medicine in North America. Trained as a primary health care provider means that the work of the naturopathic doctor is complementary to other health care practitioners including medical doctors, chiropractors, dentists, physiotherapist, massage therapists, and midwives.
Where is the science in Naturopathic Medicine?
Today there is a lot of discussion regarding evidence based medicine. Many studies are available which support a variety of the methods used in naturopathic medicine (along with clinical evidence for natural substances such as glucosamine sulfate, St. John’s Wort, homeopathic arnica to name a few). Frequently, comments are made that do not support these therapies but more often than not they have not been applied correctly, meaning it was not the right condition to obtain the best results, perhaps too low a dosage, or not given for long enough. Naturopathic colleges encourage and facilitate research. Funding from independent sources is critical in obtaining important data that supports noninvasive methods to return to health. Often these methods or therapies are not patentable or financially viable for the investigative sources and therefore not pursued.
Will naturopathic medicine help my health issue?
Everyone can benefit from the knowledge of a naturopathic doctor. There is an appreciation of biochemical and genetic individuality and the focus of treating the whole person. A comprehensive personalized assessment of every patient will create a treatment plan that will start the road back to health.
There is often an overwhelming and even conflicting amount of information available regarding natural medicines. Optimal wellness is achieved through a balance of all aspects of being. Whether a person is coping with a long-standing degenerative condition, training for a marathon or seeking preventative medicine - identifying obstacles and either eliminating them entirely or limiting their impact is the goal. Targeting these with nutrients, homeopathy, herbal medicine or physical therapies to re- create a balanced healthy state is the role of the experienced practitioner.
How long will it take to start to feel better?
This is an interesting question to address. In many instances the individual may start to feel better within a few days of treatment. However, how long will it take to fully recover varies according to the illness and the individual. The body may have its own priority of healing that may be in a different order to that desired by the patient. There is a reason we use the word “patient.” A sluggish elimination system may slow the healing process. As digestion and liver function improve, the body becomes less burdened or congested and healing becomes the automatic response.
Digestive discomforts - gas, bloating, heartburn, belching, etc.-are usually the first to disappear. Constipation and/or diarrhea are often quickly improved. Fatigue starts to lift as the liver improves. Moods stabilize. Menstrual cycles normalize. Weight slowly balances itself out. Eczema sometimes disappears rapidly. Acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis may be slower.
Conditions such as asthma, allergies, chronic infections, swollen lymph glands, headaches, chronic deficiencies, poor memory and concentration, behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, arthritis, bursitis, infertility, and others have all shown remarkable improvement with time and the correct program. It is important to follow up with your treatment plan so that progress can be monitored and modified as phases of improvement are achieved.
Is a referral required and are naturopathic visits covered by insurance?
It is not necessary to obtain a referral by a medical doctor to seek naturopathic consultation. Many extended health benefit plans cover the services offered by licensed naturopathic doctors. Check with your provider to understand the details of your coverage. Reimbursement is from the insurance provider.
Is it necessary to follow treatment or dietary programs? Can supplements be purchased at the office or elsewhere?
The purpose for recommended guidelines is to restore health and balance. Supplements not only correct deficiencies (despite good eating practices) but augment metabolic pathways for healing. Those that follow prescribed dietary guidelines and supplements routinely achieve the best results.
The office supplies most supplements prescribed and often more. Some supplements are available only though health practitioners while others can be purchased in stores. For patients out of town, these can be easily supplied via mail or courier. Health Canada is going through many changes with regards to natural health products primarily in the best interests of health and safety. Availability, quality control, and application are other issues and hence Dr. Kodnar endeavors to be aware of cost- for- effectiveness in her recommendations.
Does Dr. Kodnar associate herself with any other treatment approach?
Dr. Kodnar’s professional training as both a pharmacist and naturopathic doctor provides the basis for a comprehensive approach blending the benefits of current scientific understanding with the principles of natural health care. It is to everyone’s advantage to seek out the most effective solutions to treat their personal circumstances without negative long term effects. The goal is not to inhibit, but enhance and balance health. This allows an abundance of resources to facilitate treatment. Dr. Kodnar can advise those looking for options.
In addition, Dr. Kodnar has done extensive observations in Dr. Jonn Matsen’s clinic in Vancouver and regards him as an icon of the naturopathic community. She augments her own treatment plans with his well established EATING ALIVE PROGRAM for liver support, correcting dysbiosis and heavy metal elimination.