Frequently Asked Questions About Naturopathic Medicine

Q: What is Naturopathic Medicine?

A: Naturopathic Medicine is a unique and comprehensive approach to improving health and treating illness. Focusing on prevention, and using natural substances and treatments, naturopathic doctors support and stimulate the body's ability to heal itself.

The primary goal of naturopathic treatment is to address the cause of illness, rather than simply treat or suppress symptoms. The patient is seen as a whole person and the naturopathic doctor takes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions into account when diagnosing and developing a treatment plan.

Q: How are Naturopathic Doctors (ND's) trained?

A: Naturopathic doctors take a minimum of three years pre-medical studies at university, followed by four years at one of four recognized colleges of naturopathic medicine. The only two in Canada are the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (North York, ON) and the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic medicine (British Columbia).

The education encompasses basic medical sciences, naturopathic principles and therapeutics, and 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience.

In regulated (or licensed) provinces and states across North America , graduates must also pass rigorous standardized exams to qualify to practice. In Canada, naturopathic doctors are regulated in British Columbia , Manitoba , Ontario and Saskatchewan . Legislation is pending in Alberta and Nova Scotia.

Q: What's the difference between naturopathy and homeopathy?

A: The difference is twofold: First of all homeopaths only use homeopathy as a treatment tool, whereas Naturopathic doctors use homeopathy as one of several treatment tools.

The second major difference is that homeopaths are not regulated and licensed in the province of Ontario . Therefore anyone can call themselves a homeopath regardless of training, whereas only those individuals following the steps outlined above can call themselves Naturopathic Doctors.

Q: What's the difference between a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Natural Medicine?

A: A Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM) is not regulated and licensed in Ontario.

Anyone, regardless of training and education, can call themselves a Doctor of Natural Medicine in this province. There is no independent regulatory body that ensures that these individuals have appropriate training, or that standards of practice are being maintained. If a patient/client has any concerns their only recourse is a court of law. Most insurance companies only cover practitioners that are licensed.

The regulatory board for Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario is the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy - Naturopathy (BDDT-N) see www.boardofnaturopathicmedicine.on.ca/. This board is a government-appointed board that is independent of any of the naturopathic associations and its job is to protect the rights of the public and to ensure a standard of patient care.

Q: How do I know if I'm seeing a licensed naturopath?

A: The Board of Directors or Drugless Therapy maintains an up-to-date list of registered naturopaths in the province of Ontario at: http://www.boardofnaturopathicmedicine.on.ca/doctors_list.html

Q: What assessment methods are used by Naturopaths at KIH Clinic?

A: Various tests can be utilized to investigate the cause behind your particular health concerns. These include:

  • Blood lab tests
  • Salivary hormone testing
  • Hair mineral analysis
  • Toxic urine analysis
  • Neurotransmitter testing
  • Food sensitivity testing
  • Physical exam

Requests are often made for various ultrasound/x-ray images.

Q: What types of health problems can be treated?

A: Virtually all chronic and most acute conditions may benefit from treatment by naturopathic doctors. People of all ages can be helped.