What is a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are highly educated primary health care providers who integrate standard medical knowledge and diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. NDs support and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself, with a focus on preventing disease. They work in partnership with other regulated health care providers in order to develop and ensure the most comprehensive and effective care for every patient. An undergraduate degree with a focus in sciences is required before the intensive four year naturopathic medical program, which includes one full clinical year caring for patients under the supervision of licensed Naturopathic Doctors.

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic Medicine is a system of primary care that identifies and treats the root cause of illness or disease. It boasts a comprehensive treatment approach that is individualized to each and every patient, recognizing that we are all unique and express ailments differently. This is our primary goal, to treat the cause and not just the symptoms.

Are Naturopathic Doctors regulated in Ontario?

Naturopathic Doctors are the only regulated health professionals in the field of natural medicine in Ontario. Naturopathic Doctors are regulated in Ontario under the 1925 Drugless Therapy Act and are registered (licensed) by the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy (BDDT-N). The BDDT-N functions to ensure that Naturopathic Doctors are properly qualified to practice Naturopathic Medicine and that they follow the appropriate standards of practice.

What is the training process to become a registered Naturopathic Doctor in Ontario?

Naturopathic Doctors obtain comprehensive and rigorous training, incorporating over 4,500 hours of classroom training in medical sciences, clinical sciences, and naturopathic therapies, as well as 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience. NDs require three years of pre-med postsecondary education, plus four years of full-time study at an approved college of Naturopathic Medicine. Following the completion of their program, NDs must successfully complete the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) in order to qualify for licensing in Ontario. NDs are also required to earn continuing education credits on an ongoing basis to maintain their registration and good standing with the regulatory body.

Is Naturopathic Medicine covered by OHIP?

No, Naturopathic Medicine is not currently covered by OHIP. However, the services of a licensed Naturopathic Doctor are covered by most extended healthcare plans. Consult with your employer or health insurance company to determine the extent of your benefits.

What are the principles of Naturopathic Medicine?

First Do No Harm

Use of methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects; Use the least force necessary to diagnose and treat; Avoid, when possible, the harmful suppressing of symptoms; and Acknowledge, respect and work with the individual self-healing process.

Identify and Treat the Causes

In addition to alleviating acute and chronic symptoms of disease, NDs seek to identify and remove underlying causes of illness. Rather than merely eliminating or suppressing symptoms, this approach moves the body toward maintaining an optimal state of health.

Doctor as Teacher

NDs work collaboratively with patients by sharing knowledge and information to create a successful treatment plan. Patients are encouraged to take responsibility for their own optimal health.

Treat the Whole Person

In addition to addressing specific complaints or symptoms, NDs look at the ‘whole picture’. The physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors contributing to the health of each individual patient are thoroughly considered.

Emphasize Prevention

NDs emphasize prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease in each patient. Appropriate interventions can then be made in partnership with patients to prevent illness.

Support the Healing Power of the Body

The practice of Naturopathic Medicine recognizes an ordered and intelligent self-healing process that is inherent to every individual. NDs work to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery and to facilitate this natural self-healing process.

What is the difference between Naturopathic Medicine and homeopathy?

Naturopathic Doctors are general practitioners of natural medicine. They are trained to treat conditions using clinical nutrition, acupuncture, botanical medicine (plant-based), physical medicine, lifestyle counseling, and homeopathy. Homeopaths are trained in homeopathy alone. While a homeopath would prescribe a homeopathic therapy, a Naturopathic Doctor would use any of the treatment modalities listed above, including homeopathy, in their treatments. Homeopathy is not a regulated or licensed health profession in Ontario. Naturopathic Medicine is regulated and licensed in Ontario.