What should I expect when I visit a naturopathic doctor?

You should be 15 minutes early for your first appointment with a naturopathic doctor. This time will be used to fill out an intake form regarding health history.

The first appointment lasts approximately one hour. During that hour the naturopathic doctor gathers information regarding chief health concerns, lifestyle, nutrition, etc. A physical exam is also performed.

Follow-up appointments are used to gather more information, if necessary, and to implement treatment plans. These appointments last between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on the situation.

The goal of naturopathic medicine is to guide the patient to optimal health at a rate that is comfortable for the individual. Patients are encouraged to become active in making treatment decisions.

What kind of training does a naturopathic doctor have?

Regulated naturopathic doctors are required to complete a minimum of 3 years at a recognized university. They must, then, be accepted in to an accredited college of naturopathic medicine where they complete the four year naturopathic medical program.

The first three years of the program consist of basic medical sciences, diagnostics and extensive training in natural therapeutics. The final year is comprised of 1,500 hours of hands-on medical experience under the supervision of licensed, experienced naturopathic doctors.

After graduating with a degree in naturopathic medicine the doctors must pass a set of North American regulatory board exams, and the appropriate board exams for the province in which they plan to practice.

How is naturopathic medicine regulated?

In Canada, naturopathic medicine is provincially regulated in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Regulation ensures that naturopathic doctors are properly qualified to practice naturopathic medicine and that they maintain the appropriate standards of practice.

The Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy (BDDT-N) are responsible for public protection in Ontario with respect to the practice of Naturopathic Medicine. The board retains a list of all naturopathic doctors who have met the educational requirements and passed the North American and provincial board examinations.

Other licensed professionals in Ontario:

  • Chiropractors
  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Midwives
  • Physiotherapists

What conditions are treatable by naturopathic medicine?

Virtually all chronic, and most acute, conditions may be improved with naturopathic care.

Acne • Allergies • Anxiety • Arthritis • Cancer • Colds/flu • Chronic pain • Depression • Diabetes • Digestive disorders • Ear and throat infections • Eczema • Fatigue • Fertility • Heart disease (atherosclerosis, hypertension, CAD) • Hormonal conditions (PMS and menopause) • Mental or Emotional Stress • Sleep disorders • Weight management

Is naturopathic medicine covered by OHIP?

OHIP does not cover naturopathic visits. However, many private health insurance plans provide coverage for naturopathic visit fees. Contact your health insurer to find out what services are covered for you, and how much coverage you have per year.

How do medical doctors differ from naturopathic doctors?

Medical doctors are experts in diagnosing diseases based on physical symptoms. Disease is defined by objective, measurable signs and symptoms. Once a diagnosis has been made, medical doctors prescribe pharmaceutical drugs and/or surgery to manage symptoms.

Naturopathic doctors focus on optimal health and wellness. Being disease free does not always mean that you are healthy. Health is a feeling of energy, vitality and balance. Unfortunately, this feeling cannot be objectified or measured. Many individuals become lost in the medical system because their illness cannot be found on a laboratory test.

Naturopathic doctors use physical, mental, and emotional symptoms to find the root of illness. Safe, effective, non-invasive therapies are then used to manage symptoms and strengthen the body’s ability to heal itself.

Note: both conventional and naturopathic medical treatments have valid and important roles in health care. They complement each other and are often quite effective in combination.

Are naturopathy and homeopathy different?

Homeopathy is one of several treatment modalities used by naturopathic doctors. There are individuals trained solely in homeopathy. For a naturopath, homeopathy is just one of several therapies used in treatment plans.