Holistic Care Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Naturopathic Medicine?
- Are Naturopathic Doctors regulated in Ontario?
- What can I expect from my first visit?
- Do you treat patients with severe health problems?
- Does OHIP cover my visits?
- Is Naturopathic Medicine the same as Homeopathy?
- Who can benefit from Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a primary health care system combining modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease.
With extensive education, including a pre-med degree and four years of training at an accredited naturopathic college, NDs integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. The ND medical program covers education in biomedical and clinical sciences as well as naturopathic therapies such as nutritional and lifestyle counseling, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, homeopathy, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, and physical manipulation. They are also trained in conventional medical procedures such as history taking, physical exams, lab interpretation and diagnostics. NDs are eclectic, each with a slightly different approach, but they all believe that balancing the mind and body is the path to optimal health because it supports the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors are also experts at early detection, prevention, and treatment of chronic disease. Their personalized treatment plans work with each individual patient’s lifestyle and body chemistry.
Naturopathic doctors are guided by six fundamental healing principles:
- First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
- To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
- To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.
- To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment protocols to the patient.
- To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.
- To support the healing power of the body, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body's inherent self-healing process.
Yes, Naturopathic Medicine is regulated under the RHPA (Regulated Health Profession's Act, 1991) in Ontario. It has been regulated by the RHPA since 2015, when the Naturopathy Act, 2007, was proclaimed. Prior to that, it was regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act - Naturopathy, 1925.
During the first visit, your ND wants to get to know you as a person, what your health goals are and how you have managed your health in the past. Expect to be there for an hour or more to give your ND adequate time to complete the picture. As well as performing a physical exam based on your health complaints, your ND will also ask you about your mental, emotional and spiritual health, your diet and lifestyle, and treatments you may be receiving from other health care providers. By the end of the visit, your ND will present an individualized treatment plan and may suggest further testing.
NDs are primary healthcare practitioners who can treat the same conditions as a family doctor, including acute concerns and chronic health conditions. In the event that an ND is unable to treat your condition, he or she will consult or refer appropriately.
Currently, OHIP does not cover visits to a naturopathic doctor. However, most extended healthcare plans include naturopathic medicine, so check with your provider to see the amount of your coverage.
No. Naturopathic doctors are general practitioners who employ various modalities, one of which is Homeopathy. Depending on a patient’s health needs, a naturopathic doctor may include homeopathy in an individualized treatment plan. Homeopathy is a form of energetic medicine and is based on the principle of like cures like. In addition to homeopathy, Naturopathic Doctors have extensive training in botanical medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, nutritional & lifestyle counseling, physical manipulations, and hydrotherapy.
People of all ages may benefit from seeing a naturopath. We often tend to seek medical help only when we are feeling unwell. However, having a family naturopath can help you optimize your health so that you not only prevent illness but also feel your best self.
Unfortunately, many individuals resort to naturopathic medicine only once the conventional medical system has failed them, so naturopathic doctors are often seen as being successful at treating patients suffering from chronic conditions that don't respond to conventional medicine. This includes, but is not limited to fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, and digestive disorders. They are able to respond to the individual needs of patients and develop a treatment plan that includes nutritional supplements, botanical medicine, and dietary modifications.