Becoming an Naturopathic Doctor is a long and gruelling process and not one to be taken lightly. For me, it first started with a 4 year University Honours Degree. My path took me to York University's Kinesiology program where I learned many things about the body and about health in general. This is what first sparked my ambition into the health field. Learning and seeing evidence of how something as simple as a lifestyle change can keep your cholesterol levels in check or by adding an appropriate exercise program, blood pressure levels will stay low or mood improvements can be felt. This was all amazing and after 4 years I became a kinesiologist with an appetite for more.
The Naturopathic approach provides health care to people of all ages, focusing on the use of natural therapies to support and stimulate the healing processes. This methodology was in line with what I was learning about already and a natural progression in learning after I would graduate. At that point, Naturopathic Medicine did not have their own college and wasn't recognized as much in the healthcare community as they soon would be. So it was a tough decision, but I decided that this was the path I wanted and set out to ensure acceptance to their 4 year medical program.
Fast forward to getting that hard earned acceptance letter from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and the start of my official medical training. This 4 year program really left no room for error and little time for a social life. Your classmates became your friends because you were all in this together and lets be honest, not everyone was going to make it. So for 4 years, I kept my head down buried in the books and taking what seemed like endless exams. Even during the summers off, they weren't exactly off. I would be spending my time working as a physiotherapy assistant and studying for my board exams that happened during the summer and would decide your fate of allowing you to continue in the program.
While at CCNM, in my clinical year I was accepted to the Sports Medicine Shift which is not given to everyone, but needs an applications and a whole interview process. This helped me take my knowledge from my kinesiology degree and my practical experience as a physiotherapist assistant and added to it natural therapies and modalities that would help my patients even further.
I am happy to report I graduated with a Bachelor of Naturopathy. I became licensed by the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Ontario in 2014 and I have been practicing ever since.
Choosing to become an ND, was a natural progression for me. The way I choose to live my life and the health benefits obtained from doing so is something that I love sharing. Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor, allows me to do this with my patients and take it even further by exploring their individual health concerns and applying what natural medicines are best applicable.
This part of the website is about getting to know why I got here, so let me fill you in on what drove me here.
Growing up, I was always drawn to how the body was able to get cuts, scrapes, and bruises, but then magically heal given the right treatment. Whether is was a simple bandaid or a special cream, the body would go back looking like new again. As I got older, I started watching all the medical drama shows and was just fascinated with the profession of being a doctor. The long hours, the intense schooling, the amount of money it cost, never bothered me. I wanted to help people get or stay healthy and I would do what I needed to do to get there.
During my first year of University, my Grandfather got sick with lung cancer and passed away about 6 months after his diagnosis. I felt so helpless, not being able to do much for him except go to those doctor appointments with him and help make sure that he ate. What got to me was how the current medical system was more reactive than proactive. Months and months before he was diagnosed, he had been complaining of pain in his chest/back when he breathed and english not being his first language, he tried to tell his doctor's but due to his long long years of smoking they told him it was emphysema and pain is to be expected. It was months of this before he finally got an X-Ray and guess what was found? The dreaded cancer, which was expected with the amount of years that he smoked but could have been identified sooner if only the medical system had taken the time to listen. Now, in their defence, they don't have the time to listen for too long. They have to see a plethora of patients in a day while cutting down wait times in order to keep our healthcare system running. If it was caught sooner, maybe more could have been done, maybe not, but it was then I decided that being a medical doctor was too rushed for me. I wanted a profession where I could still heal patients but also take the time to listen and not be limited to what the government hands down.
In comes Naturopathic Medicine, where I learn that not only is it an approach that uses natural herbs (which is where pharmaceuticals come from) and vitamins to help heal the body, but also introduced me to the idea of Acupuncture as an adjunct to treatment. Before learning about acupuncture, I had heard very positive feedback about it's benefits and was eager to apply it. Aside from the treatment aspect, I would also get to set my own time limits with patients. I could take 30 minutes or 60 or even 90 minutes with a patient if I thought that would be appropriate.
I believed that if I could give patients the tools they needed to get back to health or to stay healthy, then I would not only be helping that individual but also society by reducing the burden on the health care system.
And so, I set out to be a Naturopathic Doctor and haven't looked back since. My biggest surprise however, is how open medical doctors can be to my alternative approach. More and more research keeps coming out about how living a healthier life by eating more of this or taking more of that or exercising more, that it is good to know that society as a whole is taking notice. In the end, I am not against western medicine. I believe that for specific conditions it works really well and when people need surgery, we have made leaps and bounds in that field and it all definitely has a place in keeping people healthy. The alternative approach is also very fitting in the society by focusing not only in treatment of a condition but also the prevention of reoccurrence by getting to the root of the problem. All in all, both sides have a place and it is up to us practitioners to give the patient all the information they need to make the best decision for their own healthcare.
Copyright © 2018 Dr. Albert Iarz, ND - All Rights Reserved.
I am now offering Registered Massage Therapy Services at New Roots Therapy. Massage Therapy can help soothe tired and achy muscles, relieve muscle tension, and reduce pain.