Naturopathic medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare that tailors a treatment plan to each individual person, using evidence-based natural and alternative forms of medication to remove obstacles to health and promote well-being.
For families and individuals in the New Westminster area, the Boucher Naturopathic Medical Clinic (BNMC) offers low-cost care to anyone seeking primary careand preventative care for a range of conditions, both acute and chronic. Using an integrative approach, treatments such as botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, acupuncture, physical medicine and wellness counselling are combined in a personalized plan.
“It’s not just nutrition or herbal medicine or acupuncture, it’s all those things combined to tailor a treatment plan to the whole person,” says Dr. Jon Sheridan, BNMC’s external site coordinator and a core clinical faculty member.
“There’s never one size fits all for the patient. You see the whole patient. You would never treat two patients the same way.”
For example, if a patient comesin to treat arthritis in the knee, they would not simply be prescribed a medication to manage the pain. Instead, the naturopathic doctor would spend time building a fuller picture of that individual’s life and health to get a better sense of some of the root causes of the issue and develop a treatment plan that approaches health in a way that addresses the mental, emotional and physical aspects of health. While two people might come in with the same complaint, their treatment recommendations can vary widely.
“We look for the interconnectedness of all parts of the body,” Sheridan says.
BNMC offers new and innovative care to its patients with experienced practitioners that represent a diversity of skills and areas of interest. As an educational institute, it is committed to using current, evidence-based medicinewhile maintaining the traditional principles of holism, finding the root cause and focusing on prevention.
“There is so much research that goes into all the medicine that we use,” Sheridan says.
“Our prescriptions and treatment recommendations are very research-based even though we also use ancient techniques to some degree.”
BNMC has a large scope of treatments available, including IVs, and features state-of-the-art clinical tools and devices such as ultrasounds and LILT laser therapy. There is a full lab on site providing convenient access to in house labs and routine testing.
BNMC sets itself apart from other naturopathic clinics in the Lower Mainland by providing cost-effective care. As a not-for-profit institute, it focuses on overcoming barriers to accessing care, including offering subsidized costs and sliding scale fees.
“How the institute is set up is a great benefit to the community,” Sheridan says.
“Normally, one would have to pay $150 or more for an initial appointment. Many people don’t have insurance coverage for our care, and that’s a huge barrier. Because we are a teaching clinic, we are able to offer a really reduced rate for care. Your first visit is still an hour, and it only costs $65.”
Appointments at BNMC usually take longer than a traditional doctor’s visit because the naturopathic doctor and student team take the time to developa full picture of a patient’s life and health before prescribing a treatment plan.
“We try to focus on the individual to be completely thorough. If you’re focused on the individual instead of the condition, it’s going to take you more time,” Sheridan says.
“You need to spend time with that person to find out what’s happening in their life. We create relationships and get to know people so we can understand their health totally and completely.”
As a teaching clinic, BNMC is able to offer affordability. Patients are treated by an upper-year student who is entirely supervised by a naturopathic doctor. The doctor oversees and approves all treatment plans.
“Our students are pretty gung ho,” Sheridan says.“They want to do as much as they can and experience as much as they can before they get into the world. They put so much effort into each patient’s care.”
BNMC’s location can’t be beaten for convenience. Located between Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby and the Tri-Cities, BNMC is easily accessible inside the Columbia Skytrain station in New Westminster.