I get asked this question A LOT! I can see how this can get confusing. Both words rhyme and they both have to do with complementary medicine.
In order to become a registered homeopathic practitioner, you must have completed your high school diploma plus 2 years of post-secondary school education. You then must have completed your studies at an accredited homeopathic college like the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine.
A homeopathic practitioner has an in-depth knowledge of homeopathy. Homeopathy is a form of natural medicine with the principle of “like cures like”. This means that if a substance causes an illness, then the highly diluted version of that same substance can cure the illness. This may sounds really strange but it has been used for hundreds of years successfully especially in Europe. The great thing about homeopathy is that it doesn’t have any interactions with medications and has a very low side-effect profile. There really isn’t any risk in trying homeopathy. Personally I gravitate to homeopathy mostly with children and illnesses that are very difficult to treat.
A naturopathic doctor has to have an undergraduate degree and completed their studies at an accredited naturopathic college like the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (4 years full time). You also have to pass the licensing exams and taking continuing education courses.
As a naturopathic doctor you are a primary care provider with the ability to make a naturopathic diagnosis, order lab tests and perform a full physical exam.
Treatment tools that a naturopathic doctor uses include homeopathy, acupuncture, physical manipulation, counseling and nutrition. As you can see a naturopath can treat using homeopathy but because we have so many other tools in our tool belt it’s not the only form of medicine that we use. I often refer to a homeopath in more difficult cases that require a more in dept homeopathic analysis.