What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary care that addresses the root cause of illness or disease and promotes health and healing using natural therapies. The primary goal of naturopathic treatment is to address the cause of an illness rather than simply treating or suppressing symptoms.
Naturopathic doctors are highly educated primary care health care providers who integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. They try to work in partnership with other regulated health care providers to ensure patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Registration requirements for an ND in Ontario include extensive training and board exams, and continuing education. Education requirements for naturopathic doctors are a Bachelor of Science and 4 full-time years of naturopathic medical school at an accredited naturopathic college.
What Can I Expect from My First Visit to a Naturopathic Doctor?
Your first visit will be one to one and a half hours in length. A very extensive patient history eliciting information about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health is taken. Also, a complaint oriented physical exam is performed. More specialized tests may be suggested. Your ND will propose a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve your goals.
How Do I Pay for a Visit to a Naturopathic Doctor?
Visits to an ND are not covered by OHIP. Many extended health care plans do cover the costs of an appointment with an ND. It is important to check with your extended health care provider to determine the amount you may be covered for. You may also use your receipts on your income tax as a health care expense. The fee per hour with an ND ranges from $125-$180.
How Can I Tell if Someone is a Qualified Naturopathic Doctor?
In Ontario, the public can contact the College of Naturopaths Ontario to verify that an individual is registered as ND to practice in Ontario. This is the regulatory body that registers NDs to practice in Ontario.
What Types of Therapies are Used by Naturopathic Doctors?
Clinical Nutrition examines the relationship between diet and health. Special diets may be suggested. Food sensitivity testing may be performed with EAV testing or with blood work.
Treatment may include nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals and digestive enzymes.
Botanical/Herbal medicine uses plant substances from around the world for their health effects and nutritional value. The use of plants for healing dates back to the beginnings of civilization and is the foundation for modern pharmacology. Homeopathic medicine is based on the principal of “like cures like” and uses minute amounts of natural substances to stimulate the self-healing abilities of the body.
Asian medicine is based on balancing the flow of Chi (energy) through meridian pathways and includes the use of herbs and acupuncture. Lifestyle counselling helps patients make informed choices to reach and maintain their optimal health. This is in response to the physical, emotional, nutritional and environmental factors that affect well-being.
People experiencing chronic or acute conditions can benefit from naturopathic treatment.