Naturopathic medicine is a comprehensive and natural approach to improving health and treating illness. It is a distinct profession of primary health care providers who emphasize preventative medicine and the promotion of optimal health through patient-centred education and individualized treatment. The primary goal of naturopathic medicine is to address the cause of illness, rather than simply treat or suppress symptoms. Naturopathic Doctors (ND’s) view their patients from a holistic perspective and therefore consider the emotional, spiritual, mental and physical aspects of a person when diagnosing and developing a treatment plan.
Naturopathic doctors are trained to use a variety of natural therapeutics including:
- Clinical Nutrition
- Botanical/Herbal Medicine
- Acupuncture and Traditional Asian Medicine
- Physical Medicine
- Lifestyle Counselling
Naturopathic doctors obtain comprehensive and rigorous training in an educational structure similar to that of medical doctors. In total, ND’s are required to complete a minimum of 7 years post-secondary schooling, including 3 years of pre-med undergraduate education, plus 4 years of full-time study at an approved College of Naturopathic Medicine.
The four-year Naturopathic Program incorporates basic medical science courses, clinical sciences and naturopathic therapies as well as more than 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience. Following the completion of their program, NDs must successfully complete Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) in order to qualify for licensing in Ontario. NPLEX is the standard examination used by all regulated provinces and states across North America.
Naturopathic doctors are the only regulated health professionals in the field of natural medicine in Ontario. ND’s are regulated in Ontario under the 1925 Drugless Therapy Act and are licensed by the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy (BDDTN). The mandate of the BDDT-N is to ensure that Naturopathic Doctors are properly qualified to practice Naturopathic Medicine and that they follow the appropriate standards of practice.
Naturopathic doctors are also regulated in Canada in the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and various states across the USA.
Your First Visit
Your first visit with a Naturopathic Doctor averages one hour or more in length. The goal is to obtain a holistic picture of the patient and the factors that impact on her/his life. A detailed history is taken from the patient—eliciting information about physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health—and a complaint oriented physical exam is often performed. An individualized treatment plan is then be created to allow each patient to achieve their own personal health goals and to optimize overall well-being.
At present, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) does not cover naturopathic services. Fortunately however, most employment insurance providers have Naturopathic Medicine coverage in their extended health care packages. Insured patients can contact their employer or individual insurance agents to see if they are covered.
Introducing our Naturopatic Doctors… Victoria Resendes and Hillary Webster