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. Treatment modalities may include clinical nutrition, botanical (herbal) medicine, homeopathic medicine, physical treatments, acupuncture and Asian medicine, and lifestyle counselling.
The primary goal of naturopathic treatment is to address the cause of the illness rather than simply treating or suppressing symptoms. While naturopathic care helps to alleviate specific symptoms, NDs are primarily concerned with addressing the root cause of an illness: the focus is more on the "why" of a disease than the "what."


About Naturopathic Doctors

What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
Naturopathic Doctors are highly educated primary care providers who integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies.

What can I expect from my first visit to a Naturopathic Doctor?

Your first visit with an ND may be one hour or more in length. A very extensive patient history eliciting information about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health is taken and a complaint-oriented physical exam performed. Your ND may then suggest further specialized testing.

With your input, your ND will propose a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve your health goals.

How do I pay for a visit to a Naturopathic Doctor?

Visits to an ND are currently NOT covered by OHIP. Most extended health care plans do cover the cost of seeing an ND. It’s important to check with your extended health care provider to determine the amount of your naturopathic coverage.
The suggested fee per hour for an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor is between $125 and $180. An initial visit can last for up to 1.5 hours. To view the current fee schedule for visits to an ND, click here.
NDs may have ‘special interests’ in health conditions in which the ND has had extensive treatment experience or holds keen interest, or a modality used preferentially with a high degree of success.
We do not refer to these as specialties, as this implies that the ND has special training in a particular area. At present, there are no specialist-level educational programs for NDs provided by naturopathic colleges, although NDs may have special training beyond their training at a naturopathic college (for parenteral therapy, for example).
Although an ND may have a special interest in a specific disease or treatment modality, naturopathic care is always holistic in nature and highly individualized and unique to each patient.
Yes. NDs are primary health care practitioners, which means that they can treat the same conditions as a family doctor, including both acute concerns and chronic health conditions. In the event that an ND is unable to treat your condition, they will refer appropriately.

Do Naturopathic Doctors have specialties?
NDs may have ‘special interests’ in health conditions in which the ND has had extensive treatment experience or holds keen interest, or a modality used preferentially with a high degree of success.
We do not refer to these as specialties, as this implies that the ND has special training in a particular area. At present, there are no specialist-level educational programs for NDs provided by naturopathic colleges, although NDs may have special training beyond their training at a naturopathic college (for parenteral therapy, for example).
Although an ND may have a special interest in a specific disease or treatment modality, naturopathic care is always holistic in nature and highly individualized and unique to each patient.

Can Naturopathic Doctors treat ________________?
Yes. NDs are primary health care practitioners, which means that they can treat the same conditions as a family doctor, including both acute concerns and chronic health conditions. In the event that an ND is unable to treat your condition, they will refer appropriately.

Are there Naturopathic Doctors who are also medical doctors?

There are no Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario who are licensed medical doctors. There are a number of Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario that trained and practised as medical doctors outside of Canada, and whom decided to train and practise as Naturopathic Doctors in Canada. These individuals are not licensed as medical doctors in Canada and thus are not covered by OHIP and do not prescribe pharmaceuticals.
Undoubtedly there are medical doctors that have an interest in providing advice on natural therapies. However, these doctors would not be considered Naturopathic Doctors and do not have the specialized training in each and all of the disciplines of Naturopathic Medicine.

 What is the difference between Naturopathic Medicine and homeopathy?

Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are general practitioners of natural medicine. They are trained to treat ailments using clinical nutrition, acupuncture, botanical medicine, physical medicine, lifestyle counselling and homeopathy. Homeopaths, on the other hand, are trained to practise in one discipline – homeopathy. So while a homeopath would prescribe a homeopathic therapy, a Naturopathic Doctor would use any of the approaches listed above, including homeopathy, in their treatments. In addition, homeopathy is not a regulated or licensed health profession in Ontario. Naturopathic Medicine is regulated and licensed in Ontario.

The following principles guide Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) and govern the practice of Naturopathic Medicine: 

First Do No Harm 

Use of methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects; 

Use the least force necessary to diagnose and treat; 

Avoid, when possible, the harmful suppressing of symptoms; and 

Acknowledge, respect and work with the individual self-healing process. 

Identify and Treat the Causes 

In addition to alleviating acute and chronic symptoms of disease, NDs seek to identify and remove underlying causes of illness. Rather than merely eliminating or suppressing symptoms, this approach moves the body toward maintaining an optimal state of health. 

Doctor as Teacher 

NDs work collaboratively with patients by sharing knowledge and information to create a successful treatment plan. Patients are encouraged to take responsibility for their own optimal health. 

Treat the Whole Person 

In addition to addressing specific complaints or symptoms, NDs look at the ‘whole picture’. The physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors contributing to the health of each individual patient are thoroughly considered. 

Emphasize Prevention 

NDs emphasize prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease in each patient. Appropriate interventions can then be made in partnership with patients to prevent illness.  

Support the Healing Power of the Body 

The practice of Naturopathic Medicine recognizes an ordered and intelligent self-healing process that is inherent to every individual. NDs work to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery and to facilitate this natural self-healing process.


references:
www.oand.org (ontario association of naturopathic doctors)

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