Naturopathic medicine is a primary health care system that uses natural therapies to support and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine addresses the physical, mental, emotional, environmental and spiritual aspects of health to identify and treat the root causes of disease.
Naturopathic doctors have at least 7 years of post secondary training. To enter an accredited naturopathic medical college you must have a university degree that includes three years of pre-medical studies. The naturopathic program is a full-time, four-year program. None of the CNME accredited institutions off any portion of the ND degree program via correspondence, and graduates of non-accredited institutions are not eligible to sit for the national board exams in naturopathic medicine and therefore cannot be regulated NDs.
In our first two years we study medical and clinical sciences similar to those studied by medical doctors. The next two years we study advanced medical diagnostics; naturopathic medical therapeutics; and receive extensive clinical experience. Graduates receive the title “N.D.” or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Naturopathic doctors are the only health care professionals who have extensive training in natural medicine as well as the ability to diagnose disease using conventional methods.
Naturopathic doctors are primary care providers who have graduated from a naturopathic medial school recognized by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) and have successfully completed the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX). In Ontario, they are also registered with the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy.
Naturopathic doctors treat the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of health with natural therapies to support and stimulate the body’s innate healing ability.
Naturopathic Doctors use a variety of natural treatments including: clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, physical medicine and lifestyle counseling.
The focus of naturopathic medicine is to establish optimal health and to prevent disease. It is based the knowledge that the body has an innate ability to heal when the obstacles to cure are removed and the fundamentals of health are provided. Naturopathic medicine recognizes the importance of addressing the physical, mental, emotional, environmental and spiritual aspects of a person in order to identify and treat the root causes of disease.
Naturopathic Doctors are primary care providers. They are trained to treat almost all health concerns from acute to chronic, pediatric to geriatric and physical to psychological. Naturopathic doctors also treat patients who want to maximize the effectiveness but minimize the side effects of drugs, surgery or other conventional treatments. As well, Naturopathic Doctors treat patients who are looking to maintain their health and teach patients how to live a lifestyle that can help prevent disease.
The first visit to a naturopathic doctor can take an hour or longer because it includes a comprehensive medical history of your current and past health concerns, physical examination, possible laboratory tests, and discussions about your nutrition, lifestyle, emotions, exercise, stress and other significant health factors. At the end of the visit, your ND will discuss treatment options and develop an individualized course of therapy that is focused on addressing your health concerns.
Subsequent visits range from 20 to 60 minutes, depending on your health concerns, the treatment options that have been chosen to address your health goals, the frequency of your appointments, and the predetermined goals of the particular visit.
Naturopathic services are not currently covered by OHIP, however, most extended health benefit plans cover a significant portion of a naturopathic doctor’s consultation fee. Check your benefits package, or call your insurance provider to see if all, or part, of the consultation fee is covered in your plan.
In Ontario, a regulated naturopathic doctor has completed a naturopathic medical program at an accredited college, has passed the North American licensing examinations, and has registered with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario, which regulates the naturopathic profession in Ontario. You can check with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario to check whether a naturopathic doctor is certified. The Canadian and Ontario Associations of Naturopathic Medicine can also be use to obtain a list of naturopathic doctors in your area.
Both Naturopathic and Medical Doctors are primary care providers with similar training in medical and clinical sciences. The main differences between our approaches to health care are the length of the visits, the types of therapies uses and the philosophical approach to health and healing. By nature of the medical system in Canada, medical doctors do not have the time fully explore all of the possible contributors to your health concerns and are often limited to treating your specific symptoms with pharmaceutical products to provide relief. Medical doctors are also trained to perform surgical techniques and to treat emergency medical conditions in a hospital setting. It is the goal of many naturopathic doctors to work with you and your family doctor to provide you with the best health care possible.
All kinds of health concerns can receive some benefit from naturopathic medicine, from chronic to acute. Some of the many conditions that can be managed with naturopathic medicine are listed below.
Colds and Flu
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Urinary tract infections