The increasing role of NDs in sports and athletics

Hear from naturopathic doctors across North America, including a silver-medalist Olympian, biathlete, and NDs who’ve worked with the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, and the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners of MLB.

Naturopathic doctors can be a key part in providing
top-notch sports medicine and treatment.

After suffering a sports-related herniated disc injury, Canadian rower Rachelle Viinberg turned to her team’s naturopathic doctor for a treatment plan.

“I really believe her advice helped me recover quicker and better,” Viinberg said. “My immunity improved. I recovered from workouts better. Overall I was in a greater state.”

Not only did Viinberg recover from her injury, but she and her team went on to win the 2012 Olympic Silver Medal in Rowing. Viinberg now uses her experience as an athlete, coupled with the tools she acquired at Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, as a practicing naturopathic doctor.

Viinberg’s personal experience – as an athlete –with naturopathic medicine is becoming more and more common.

ND’s are becoming increasingly more prevalent throughout sports medicine. Both casual weekend warriors and professional athletes alike are turning to NDs for:


  • Injury prevention
  • Rapid recovery
  • For nutritional support
  • And to improve their performance



Recently, the pros seem increasingly interested in naturopathic medicine for safer options to fine-tune their performance. It’s no surprise, then, that Dr. Mark Strom (SCNM 2008) was invited by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals in 2015 to join its medical staff.

“The [Cardinals’] management and medical staff saw that many of their top players were seeking treatment from different naturopathic physicians in the Valley, so they wanted to see what it was like to have a naturopathic doctor on staff and offer uniformity for the team,” Dr. Strom explained. “I predominately offered sports-specific nutritional IVs, which were very well received by the players.”

After his work with the Cardinals, Dr. Strom moved onto the Arizona Diamondbacks Major League Baseball (MLB) team:

“Professional athletes are drug tested so often that they are now seeking out naturopathic doctors for nutritional IVs, regenerative medicine and other non-toxic alternatives that MDs and DOs are not trained in,” Dr. Strom said. “Naturopathic medicine offers [athletes] safer and more effective options.”

“As someone who works with athletes, I want to help them harness their life force, their will, and desire to reach the greatest expression of that potential.”

Dr. Aaron Wong (BINM)

Working with athletes is a significant part of Dr. Aaron Wong’s day.

Wong, who runs Butterfly Naturopathic in North Vancouver, BC, believes that naturopathic medicine is the ideal fit for athletes on a quest for elite athletic performance through optimal health.

“Sport offers the opportunity for self exploration through mind, body, and spirit. Naturopathic medicine brings a holistic perspective on training, injury recovery, and long term health sustainability. “

As Dr. Wong sees it, naturopathic doctors have so many modalities at their disposal to help with training, optimizing nutrition and diet, injury prevention, and recovery.

Learn more about Dr. Wong:


Dr. Wong’s fellow BINM alum, Dr. Christopher Halldorson, also understands the impact naturopathic medicine on sports medicine – both as an athlete and an ND.

Outside of his practice in Kelowna, BC, Dr. Halldorson is an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for nordic skiing, running, mountain biking, yoga, hiking, backpacking, canoeing and camping.

He is also a former competitive biathlete and is a regional provincial biathlon coach in British Columbia.

Read his essay on The Role of Naturopathic Medicine in Athletic Performance now.

Learn more about Dr. Halldorson:


“As a Naturopathic physician, I do not really differentiate myself from allopathic physicians. First, I think of myself as a physician and then as a Naturopath.” – Masahiro Takakura, ND, DC, LAc

Masahiro Takakura, ND, DC, LAc has an unwavering passion for helping athletes. He’s the founder and sponsor of Bastyr‘s Sport Medicine Club (BSMC), and is also the first naturopathic doctor and chiropractor to travel and treat MLB players for a full season. He is currently the naturopathic and chiropractic consultant for the Seattle Mariners.

The work he and the BSMC does includes volunteering at such events as:

  • Seattle Marathon
  • Gigantic Bike Festival
  • Emerald City Classic Volleyball Tournament

The difficulties of treating athletes are often not simple. There are multiple layers and complications involving athletes, coaches, family members, and team members. – Dr. Takakura

Read more about Dr. Takakura’s perspective on sports and naturopathic medicine now.

Interested in a career that combines sports and naturopathic medicine?

Getting free information from our accredited campuses across North America is your first step toward a new and exciting career.