How do I know if I am see­ing a reg­u­lated Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic doc­tors are reg­u­lated health pro­fes­sion­als in the field of nat­ural medi­cine, and train­ing to become a natur­o­pathic doc­tor requires a uni­ver­sity under­gradu­ate degree as well as four years in a col­lege of natur­o­pathic medi­cine. Training to be a natur­o­path involves both a classroom and hands-​on approach, and there are 2 years of part-​time intern­ships and a full intern­ship year to com­plete the pro­gram. Naturopathic doc­tors must write 2 board exams with the North American Board of Naturopathic Examinations ( NABNE ) and per­form writ­ten and clin­ical board exam­in­a­tions with their province or state reg­u­lat­ing bod­ies in order to prac­tice. In Ontario, the BDDT-​N ( Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy — Naturopathy ) is the reg­u­lat­ory body for natur­o­paths, gov­erned under the Drugless Practitioners Act.

What con­di­tions do natur­o­pathic doc­tors treat?

Naturopathic doc­tors are qual­i­fied to treat and man­age a wide vari­ety of con­di­tions. Here are a few examples:

  • Gastrointestinal con­cerns: Heartburn, IBS, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s dis­ease, Ulcerative Colitis, Constipation, Diarrhea, Parasitic and bac­terial infections
  • Skin: Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea, Ringworm, Acne
  • Women’s Health: endo­met­ri­osis, dys­men­or­rhea ( men­strual cramp­ing and pain ), poly­cystic ovarian syn­drome ( PCOS ), pre­men­strual syn­drome ( PMS ), amen­or­rhea ( absence of men­strual cycle ), fer­til­ity, pre and post-​pregnancy sup­port, lacta­tion, men­o­pause, urin­ary tract infec­tions, yeast infections
  • Men’s Health: Prostate health, Impotence
  • Mental Health: Anxiety, depres­sion, bipolar disorder
  • General: Insomnia, chronic fatigue, com­mon cold, flu, pneu­mo­nia, bronchitis

What is the dif­fer­ence between a natur­o­pathic doc­tors and my gen­eral prac­ti­tioner ( con­ven­tional med­ical doctor )?

Naturopathic and con­ven­tional phys­i­cians are alike in that they both study bio­med­ical sci­ences at a four-​year accred­ited gradu­ate med­ical school. Included in this rig­or­ous cur­riculum are courses such as ana­tomy, physiology, neur­o­logy, bio­chem­istry, micro­bi­o­logy, phar­ma­co­logy, car­di­ology, minor sur­gery, and oth­ers. Both kinds of phys­i­cians can dia­gnose a dis­ease, pre­dict its course, and pre­scribe treat­ment. The dif­fer­ence is in the meth­ods of treat­ment prescribed.

Is there any sci­entific basis to natur­o­pathic medicine?

Yes. The effect­ive­ness of natur­o­pathic medi­cine is sup­por­ted by a mul­ti­tude of research, ran­dom­ized– con­trolled stud­ies, and con­tin­ues to grow. Research on natur­o­pathic treat­ments ( i.e. vit­am­ins, herbs, acu­punc­ture, the rela­tion­ship between the body and mind ) have pos­it­ive res­ults and can be found in many reput­able sci­entific journals.

Will my natur­o­pathic doc­tor expect me to stop tak­ing my phar­ma­ceut­ical med­ic­a­tion ( s )?

No. Naturopathic doc­tors have stud­ied phar­ma­co­lo­gical inter­ven­tions ( drugs ) that you have been pre­scribed by your med­ical doc­tor, and are trained to work together with your other health care prac­ti­tion­ers to give a med­ical pro­tocol that will not inter­act with the med­ic­a­tion you are taking.

Is a natur­o­pathic doc­tor covered by OHIP?

Naturopathic doc­tors are not covered under OHIP, how­ever most private insur­ance com­pan­ies do have extens­ive cov­er­age for natur­o­pathic doc­tors. You will be provided with a receipt to send to your insur­ance com­pany for reimbursement.

Are labor­at­ory tests with a natur­o­pathic doc­tor covered under OHIP?

Unfortunately, no. Laboratory tests that can­not be com­pleted through your med­ical doc­tor are not covered by OHIP and must be paid by the patient. Some insur­ance com­pan­ies will cover the costs of these tests. The costs of the labor­at­ory tests vary depend­ing on sev­eral factors includ­ing such as indi­vidual lab com­pany and type of test.

Why does my first appoint­ment so long with a natur­o­pathic doctor?

The first appoint­ment with a natur­o­pathic doc­tor is an hour in length, and is a very import­ant first visit. This visit the prac­ti­tioner must assim­il­ate inform­a­tion from your entire med­ical his­tory ( past and present ), which may or may not include labor­at­ory test­ing, and a phys­ical exam. Additionally, emo­tional, social, men­tal, and envir­on­mental stresses are included in this assess­ment. If a natur­o­path is truly going to treat you prop­erly ( body, mind, and soul ), this requires time and research to tailor a pro­gram that is truly going to bene­fit you and your lifestyle.

How long will it take me to get better?

This depends on the per­son. Some con­di­tions are easy to treat and can be resolved very quickly. If your med­ical con­cern has been an issue for quite some time, it may take some time to get to the spe­cific causes of what is mak­ing you feel unwell. Naturopathic medi­cine is a very effect­ive method of assist­ing the body back to well­ness; how­ever it can be ini­tially a slower pro­cess. Additionally, it may require some work by you as the patient to change cer­tain things in your life which may be imped­ing your health ( ie. your diet, your life­style ). You and your prac­ti­tioner will work together towards your goals at a pace that is right for you.

Is natur­o­pathic medi­cine the same as homeopathy?

No. Homeopathy is an ener­getic heal­ing method that stim­u­lates the body’s vital force to improve health — it is only one aspect of natur­o­pathic medi­cine. Naturopathic medi­cine util­izes sev­eral treat­ment options — includ­ing homeo­pathy — to treat the causes of dis­ease and sup­port the body’s innate heal­ing abil­ity. Homeopaths are not cur­rently licensed in Ontario, and do not fall under the gov­ern­ing of the Drugless Practitioners Act.

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