Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are highly-educated regulated healthcare providers who integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. Naturopathic medicine plays an important role in integrative health care, and treatments can be used on their own or together with conventional medicine. As a distinct system of healthcare, naturopathic medicine addresses the root causes of illness. Naturopathic medicine health using treatments and prevention techniques that include acupuncture, botanical (herbal) medicine, intravenous nutrient therapy, clinical nutrition, and lifestyle counseling.
To obtain a naturopathic medical credential (ND) that qualifies the recipient to sit for licensing examination students must have the following:
Prerequisites including three years of pre-medical sciences at a University. Prerequisite courses: biology, biochemistry, chemistry, organic chemistry, introductory psychology and humanities.
Successfully complete a 4-year-full time program in an accredited school of Naturopathic Medicine that includes more than 4,500 hours of classroom training and 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience.
Pass NPLEX board exams that are written after the 2nd year and 4th year of study. NPLEX is the standard examination used by all licensing jurisdictions for Naturopathic doctors in North America.
Meet the Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits as required by the provincial regulatory boards on an ongoing basis.
Naturopathic Doctors undergo training similar to medical doctors plus they include the naturopathic disciplines. The four areas of training in the four year, full-time Naturopathic Medicine curriculum are:
Basic Sciences - This area of study includes anatomy, physiology, histology, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, pharmacology and pathology.
Clinical Disciplines - Diagnostic medicine areas of study are physical and clinical diagnosis, differential and laboratory diagnosis, radiology, and orthopedics.
Naturopathic Disciplines - There are six major disciplines that define the areas of naturopathic practice. Each discipline is a distinct area of practice and includes diagnostic principles and practices as well as therapeutic skills and techniques. They include: clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulation and lifestyle counseling.
Clinical Experience - All students must complete 1,500 hours of clinical requirements and demonstrate proficiency in all aspects of Naturopathic Medicine prior to graduation.
Every naturopathic doctor in the province must meet the provincial regulatory body’s (College of Naturopaths of Ontario - CONO) standards for entry into the profession and standards for professional conduct and practice. It sets rules and develops programs to ensure that members of the physiotherapy profession practice in your best interests. Only individuals who are registered with the CONO may use the title "naturopathic doctor" or "naturopath". Naturopathic doctors are accountable to the BDDT-N for the quality of care they provide their patients and their professional conduct.
Naturopathic medicine is for people of all ages and health histories who want to take their health into their own hands. NDs are healthcare providers and are qualified to see and treat everyone, though some NDs specialize in specific areas, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, cancer care, sports medicine, digestive health, pain management, etc.
Treatments can include, but are not limited to:
Naturopathic doctors are primary care practitioners. This means that people have direct access to naturopathic services without the need for a physician referral. Extended health insurance plans usually do not require a physician referral.
Naturopathic medicine is usually covered by health benefits (extended health insurance) – check with your provider. Naturopathic medicine is not covered by OHIP.
Many people either self-pay or have some coverage for naturopathy through health benefits (extended health insurance) that can easily be verified with your provider.