Homeopathy vs. Naturopathy
Confusion between the two is what comes up most often when I meet people. I will talk about homeopathy first and then naturopathy. In addition, I have added a link at the end to a youtube video by Canadian homeopath Joe Kellerstein who elegantly describes what homoeopathy is and how it contrasts to naturopathy. I think he is qualified to comment as he is a naturopath, chiropractor and a fully trained homeopath.
Even when we are just talking about homeopathy alone, it can be confusing as to what the credentials mean (see link for credentials below) and what level of training practitioners have. Homeopathy is a complete course of study in itself. Homeopaths are specialists in homeopathy. There are shorter courses in homeopathy as well but an academic course requires 3-4 years of full-time study to attain competency. This is considered the equivalent of a university degree. These programs also require medical science courses in pathology, anatomy and physiology as well as courses in nutrition. Final accreditation is given after many clinical hours are completed and many actual cases submitted for scrutiny. In Canada, homeopaths are regulated in Ontario only, however, homeopaths are free to practice in other provinces. To ensure your homeopath has a good level of education regardless of where in Canada they practice, you may want to see if they are registered with the Canadian Society of Homeopaths or if they are in Ontario they should be registered with the College of Homeopaths. Make sure the practitioner you choose is accredited by an organization dedicated to homeopathy.
Why is accreditation important?
It reflects the quality by which an educational institution or a program conducts its business. It speaks to a sense of public trust, as well as to professional quality.
To members of the general public and prospective patients, accreditation ensures public accountability of a program or an institution -- that it has the means and demonstrates the outcomes for its educational process that are consistent with its goals and objectives; in other words, that there is 'truth in advertising.'
Registration with a College or a Professional Association means the practitioner is required to take approved continuing education courses and this further ensures they stay competent and informed about new treatment protocols, research, etc.
The Canadian Society of Homeopaths has information on courses of study and the many credentials you may run across: CSOH Credentials Link
In contrast, naturopathy is a separate course of study that incorporates many types of healing modalities and one of them might be homeopathy. Naturopathy is a broad discipline rather than a specific method. Naturopathy basically refers to any method of treatment that depends on lifestyle and diet modifications to tackle a particular disease or disorder. For example, students at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine initially receive approximately 250 hours of training in homeopathy. A naturopath who wants to specialize in homeopathy must take extensive post-graduate courses but these can vary widely.
If you choose homeopathic treatment from a naturopath, inquire as to the number of hours of formal training they have received in homeopathy. Do your research and make sure you understand the training any practitioner has.
You tube of Joe Kellerstein on what is homeopathy and homeopathy vs. naturopathy. If you want to skip to the place in the video where he talks about naturopathy vs. homeopathy, skip ahead to 11 minutes.