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Scope of Practice

BC: regulated health-care providers

Legal Aspects are Varied

The legal aspects surrounding the practice of naturopathic medicine vary according to province, territory and state.

In British Columbia, naturopathic physicians are regulated, licensed and insured as primary health-care providers.

In British Columbia, Naturopathic Physicians:

  •  Have prescribing authority.
  •  Are licensed to perform minor surgery.
  •  Are trained in medical assessment and diagnosis.
  •  Treat most health-care concerns - both acute and chronic.
  •  Have similar legal responsibilities as conventional medical doctors.
  •  Complete the standard pre-medical degree followed by four to six years of naturopathic medical education.

Scope of Practice in B.C.

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) can choose from a range of treatments (referred to as modalities) to support the body's ability to heal.

Clinical Nutrition
NDs believe that diet and digestion are integral to health, healing and disease prevention. NDs address a number of medical conditions with dietary changes and nutritional supplements, minimizing the side effects that can occur with other treatments.

Botanical Medicine
The use of plant-based medicine continues to be the most common therapy used across the globe - around 80 per cent of world's population use botanical medicine. Fundamental to naturopathic medical practice, botanical medicine is central to the curriculum at the Boucher Institute.

plant-based medicine: common therapy

Physical Medicine
Physical medicine encompasses all forms of manual therapy, including massage, physical therapy and structural realignment. Physical medicine is used to treat a variety of injuries and conditions - both acute and chronic.

Psychological Counselling
The use of counselling, biofeedback and visualisation techniques to help patients understand, explain and change their behaviour and lifestyle habits.

Acupuncture & Traditional Asian Medicine
Traditional Asian Medicine is a holistic medical system which combines the use of acupuncture, acupressure, Asian botanicals and movement exercises to bring the body into balance.

Because Traditional Asian Medicine is part of the curriculum, graduates from the Boucher Institute are eligible to practice acupuncture without any further training.


Homeopathic remedies are made from plants, animals and minerals. Three central doctrines inform this evolving modality:

  •  The law of similar (like cures like).
  •  The effect of medication can be heightened by its administration in minute doses.
  •  Nearly all diseases are the result of suppression.

Pharmacology involves studying the sources, chemical properties, biological effects and therapeutic uses of drugs. Pharmacology is part of the curriculum at the Boucher Institute, enabling graduates to acquire prescription authority upon licensure.

Minor Surgery
NDs in B.C. are authorized to perform minor surgery, which does not involve anaesthesia or respiratory assistance during the procedure.

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