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Frequently Asked Questions

Are Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) regulated in Ontario?

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are now regulated in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA), joining all other regulated health professions.  The Naturopathy Act, 2007 and a new regulatory body, the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO), serves the public’s right to safe, competent and ethical naturopathic care. The College does this by setting requirements to enter the profession, establishing comprehensive standards, and administering quality assurance programs. Acting in the public interest, the College holds Ontario’s regulated Naturopaths accountable for their conduct and practice.

Currently, in order to obtain licensure in Ontario, NDs must graduate from an accredited naturopathic medical institution. There are two accredited colleges in Canada (The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine & Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine) and five in the United States. In Canada, NDs are also regulated in the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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What kind of training do Naturopathic Doctors receive?

Prerequisites for acceptance into an accredited naturopathic medical institution include three years of pre-medical sciences at a university. Prerequisite courses include: biology, biochemistry, chemistry, organic chemistry, physiology, introductory psychology and humanities.

Naturopathic Doctors undergo training similar to medical doctors, in addition to education in the naturopathic treatment modalities. The four areas of training in the four year, full-time Naturopathic Medicine curriculum are:

  1. Basic Sciences
    This area of study includes anatomy, physiology, histology, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, pharmacology and pathology.

  2. Clinical Disciplines
    Naturopathic Doctors much also be trained in diagnostic medicine, including physical and clinical diagnosis, differential diagnosis, laboratory diagnosis, radiology, physical medicine and orthopedics, and naturopathic assessment

  3. Naturopathic Treatment Modalities
    There are seven major treatment modalities that define naturopathic practice.  Each modality is a distinct area of practice and includes diagnostic principles and practices, as well as therapeutic skills and techniques.  The modalities are: clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), homeopathic medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulation and lifestyle counseling.

  4. Clinical Experience
    All students must complete 1,500 hours of clinical requirements and demonstrate proficiency in all aspects of Naturopathic Medicine prior to graduation.

To obtain and maintain accreditation as a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), the following criteria must be met:

  • Successful completion of a 4-year-full time program at an accredited school of Naturopathic Medicine that includes more than 4,500 hours of classroom training and 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience.
  • Pass NPLEX board exams that are written after the 2nd year and 4th year of study. NPLEX is the standard examination used by all licensing jurisdictions for Naturopathic Doctors in North America.
  • Pass licensing examinations as set out by the provincial regulatory board (College of Naturopaths of Ontario - CONO)
  • Obtain continuing education credits as required by the provincial regulatory body (CONO)

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Why should I see a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are primary care practitioners who take the time to listen and work with you to find specific solutions for your health concerns. NDs are skilled to effectively treat acute and chronic conditions in all age groups and view each patient with a whole body approach.  NDs can also provide adjunctive or alternative treatment options to conventional therapies.  We strive to work in conjuction with all forms of medicine.

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Is Naturopathic Medicine covered by insurance?

Naturopathic Medicine is not OHIP covered.  However, most extended health insurance plans provide some coverage for naturopathic care.  Check your extended health insurance policy or call your insurer to understand your specific coverage.

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What is the difference between naturopathy and homeopathy?

Naturopathy utilizes seven different treatment modalities, one of which is homeopathy.  Homeopathy is a distinct medical system that uses minute amounts of plant, mineral and animal substances to stimulate the inherent ability of the body to heal itself.  A homeopath utilizes homeopathic remedies as their primary mode of treatment, while NDs may use several treatment modalities in conjunction with each other.

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Can NDs work with my current health care team?

Absolutely! Naturopathic doctors prefer (when possible) and are trained to work with all of your health care practitioners to provide you with the most comprehensive treatment options available.

NDs are knowledgeable in pharmacology in order reduce treatment interactions for patients on prescription medications, as well as recognize potential drug side effects, including drug-induced nutrient depletions.

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How long will it take to reach my treatment goals?

Naturopathic modalities are gentle therapies that work subtly to encourage your body’s innate capacity to heal, re-establishing balance and bringing about healthy change on all levels. Improvements in your health will be noticed over time and require patience. The number of treatments required will depend on the condition being treated, the treatment chosen and the commitment of the client to the plan. We work to create goals which are reasonable and attainable for the individual. The time needed to achieve your health goals will vary but, in general, it is expected that for every year you have experienced a health concern, we expect at least one month for change to be felt. This is not a guarantee. Some individuals notice change immediately and others require a longer period of treatment.

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