What type of training do NDs receive?

A naturopathic doctor is licensed as a primary care physician, trained in the conventional medical sciences, and a variety of different natural therapies.  These include botanical/herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, vitamin supplementation, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, lifestyle counseling, homeopathy and spinal manipulation. NDs are highly trained in medical diagnosis, physical examinations, and the interpretation of laboratory tests.
Naturopathic doctors require 4 years of pre-medical undergraduate training, followed by 4 years of naturopathic medical training, including a 1-year internship treating patients. Upon graduation, they are required to pass the rigorous NPLEX licensing exams (Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination) to be able to practice.

There are only 2 accredited schools in Canada and 5 in the USA who offer naturopathic medical training: http://www.aanmc.org/


Are Naturopathic Doctors regulated?

Yes, naturopathic medicine is a regulated profession in Ontario. Naturopathic Doctors are currently regulated under the Naturopathy Act, which governs the quality and scope of practice that NDs can provide. In Ontario, licensed naturopathic doctors must be registered with the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy Naturopathy (BDDT-N). The BDDT-N sets the guidelines and standards of practice for NDs.  You can check out their website for a complete listing of licensed NDs. If you don’t see the name of your naturopath on this website, they are not legally licensed to practice naturopathic medicine in Ontario. http://www.boardofnaturopathicmedicine.on.ca

Additionally, many NDs are also members of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and/or the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, or another provincial association affiliated with the CAND. This registration is not required, but beneficial.

Regulation of naturopathic medicine in Ontario is under transition to the Regulated Health Professions Act, the same regulatory body of medical doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, etc.  Under the new regulatory board, the College of Naturopaths of Ontario, NDs will gain prescribing rights (eg. limited pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics) and a fuller scope of practice.


Are naturopathic medical treatments covered by OHIP?

No, OHIP does not cover naturopathic services. However, most extended health insurance plans do cover visits to licensed naturopathic doctors. You will be issued an official receipt after paying for your visit, which you can send to your insurance company for reimbursement.


Can I see a Naturopathic Doctor if I already have a Family Medical Doctor?

Yes. Naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine are quite unique – people need both forms of treatment to suit different needs, at different times. You can continue to see your family doctor as you seek naturopathic care. NDs and MDs often collaborate on patient care.

If you don’t have a family doctor, your ND can take care of your primary care needs (e.g. annual physical exams, basic check-ups, acute health concerns, etc).

NDs are highly trained in pharmacology, so we will ensure that your treatment plan does not interact with or interfere with pharmaceutical medications that your MD has prescribed.


Do I need a referral from my family doctor in order for my insurance to cover naturopathic visits?

No. You may book an appointment directly, and you will be issued a valid insurance receipt.


What is the difference between a naturopathic doctor and other holistic practitioners (such as a naturopath, or naturopathic practitioner, NP, natural health practitioner)?

A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) is a licensed physician, who has received medical training through one of 7 accredited naturopathic medical colleges in North America. A naturopathic doctor is a “naturopath”, however someone who uses the title naturopath is not necessarily a licensed naturopathic doctor.  An ND is trained in the use of natural therapies, but also has full medical training, the ability to diagnose, perform physical examinations and order lab tests.

There are many programs offered in natural medicine that are not medical training, some through correspondance (requiring no actual experience treating patients). Practitioners using these titles are not regulated: naturopathic practitioner, NP, naturotherapist, natural health practitioner, etc.
The title “naturopath” is used by both regulated and un-regulated professionals, so it is best to check the BDDT-N website to find out if they are licensed as an ND.

Under the new regulatory act, the title “naturopath”, “naturopathic doctor” and variations of, will be a protected title. This means that only practitioners that are licensed and have gone through the same rigorous medical training will be able to use those titles. When seeking naturopathic care, make sure that the practitioner is registered and licensed in Ontario.


What is the difference between a naturopathic doctor and a homeopath?

A Homeopath is trained only in the use of homeopathic remedies, while a Naturopathic Doctor is trained in the use of a variety of natural treatment modalities: these include botanical/herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, vitamin supplementation, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, lifestyle counseling, spinal manipulation and homeopathy. NDs are also highly trained in the skilled art of medical diagnosis, physical examinations, and the interpretation of laboratory tests.  Homeopathy is just one of the tools that a naturopathic doctor can use to treat a condition.

While many homeopaths are highly skilled in this treatment modality, the homeopathic profession is not currently regulated in Ontario. Practitioners widely range in their level of training, with many programs offered through correspondence, requiring no experience treating patients before graduating. If you are looking specifically for a skilled homeopath, please contact us for a referral or recommendation.