Dr. Dave Richmond and Dr. Rebecca Tocher met while attending school in Toronto, and later married and moved to Alberta together.
Now, their business — the St. Albert Naturopathic Clinic — has been chosen by readers of the St. Albert Gazette as number one in the category of holistic health care for the fifth year in a row.
Since opening 18 years ago in 2004, the practice has grown to include two other associate doctors, two nurses, and two receptionists.
“We’ve been consistently busy for a very long time trying to help people,” Richmond said.
Richmond decided to pursue naturopathic medicine — also known as functional medicine — because he felt drawn to look at health through a holistic lens to find the root underlying causes of illnesses.
Training for naturopaths is medical in nature, Richmond said, and therefore the underpinnings mirror those of conventional Western medicine, also known as allopathic medicine. Naturopaths begin their training by studying subjects such as anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology, but approach treatment by taking a look at all contributing aspects of a patient’s health.
“Our view is to say, ‘Where is this coming from?’” Richmond said. “Therefore, what can we do with diet, lifestyle, vitamins, minerals, intravenous, etc., to get the person’s health and biochemistry back up and running?”
Richmond, who has been practicing as a naturopath for 21 years, said he views his practice as a complement to conventional medicine.
“So many patients will say, ‘Should I only see a naturopath?’” Richmond said. “I say absolutely not … the medical system is fantastic in their ability to save lives with antibiotics and with surgeries.”
Instead, Richmond said he views his work as acting as a “natural medicine quarterback,” one component on a full team of other practitioners, including physiotherapists, traditional medicine doctors, chiropractors, and psychologists. Together, the team of health-care workers sets patients on the path to healing.
The clinic hasn’t advertised much over the years, Richmond said, with word of mouth working to bring customers in.
“We have patients that come from great distances to find us,” Richmond said.
Ultimately, the clinic strives to educate and help people, said Richmond, adding that being recognized in the St. Albert community is “an honour."
“I’m blessed,” Richmond said. “To be appreciated and recognized for the work we do is an amazing compliment.”
In addition to working alongside his wife in their shared passion for naturopathic medicine, Richmond said living and raising three children in St. Albert has been another one of his blessings.
“We are proud and honoured to be a part of the St. Albert environment,” Richmond said. “The personality and community here is absolutely amazing.”