Medically Trained. Naturally Focused.
What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
In Ontario, naturopathic doctors offer alternative avenues for access to primary health care and health promotion. Naturopathic Doctors (ND) take the time to do a full history and screening of each patient and can provide early diagnosis of, and treatment for, many health-related conditions. With the ability to requisition blood tests, perform physical examinations and order additional lab testing, naturopathic doctors can obtain additional insight into an individual patient’s health while collaborating with your healthcare team.
Naturopathic doctors find the root cause of disease, and use natural therapies that encourage and support the body's innate self-healing process. By blending centuries-old knowledge of natural therapies, with cutting-edge research, naturopathic doctors treat patients with a diverse skill set and a deep understanding of the body’s physiology.
A naturopathic doctor has the training, education and expertise to design an overall treatment program that draws on a number of tools and therapies, including but not limited too; counseling, botanical medicines, nutrition, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation, vitamin/mineral supplementation, hydrotherapy; approaching each and every patient as an individual.
Naturopathic doctors can address a wide variety of patient concerns treating the underlying cause of disease. From healthy-lifestyle modifications and prevention strategies to treating acute illness or injury and managing chronic diseases. The goal of a naturopathic doctor is to determine why someone became ill in the first place. Your ND’s bottom line is to help you achieve your optimum level of health.
How are they trained?
Naturopathic doctors are licensed healthcare providers who are specialists in the natural treatment and prevention of disease. They attend four-year graduate schools that are nationally accredited by the Council for Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). The ND degree is classified as a Doctorate-Professional degree, on par with MD and DO. The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education is the authority for establishing and maintaining the educational standards for the naturopathic profession and accredits the naturopathic colleges in Canada and the United States recognized by the licensing and regulatory boards in the provinces and states. Students and graduates of programs accredited by the CNME are eligible to apply for the naturopathic licensing examinations administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE). Currently 6 schools in the US and Canada are accredited through the CNME to provide naturopathic medical education.
Licensed NDs will have completed a minimum 4 year undergraduate degree prior to the 4 years of rigorous training and practicum at an accredited North American institution for naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic training includes courses in biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, immunology, botany, homeopathy, acupuncture, just to name a few. With over 3,000 hours of classroom training and 1,200 hours of supervised clinical experience, naturopathic doctors receive extensive medical training and a variety of disciplines including; clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, hydrotherapy, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
After completeing the doctorate of naturopathic medicine degree program, prospective NDs are required to pass the North American standardized exam (NPLEX) to become licensed to practice naturopathic medicine in their respective province.
Once they become registered professionals, NDs are then required to maintain their competency with ongoing continuing education courses and yearly requirements, that must be approved by the regulator.
The main difference in education between a naturopathic doctor (ND) and a medical doctor (MD) is in the the area of specialization. Naturopathic doctors are specialists in the natural treatment of primary care conditions. While MD students do rotations in specialty fields in their 3rd and 4th years (like Oncology, Obstetrics, Surgery, etc), ND students do clinical work in naturopathic primary care, learning extensive training in alternative medicine, including but not limited too, medical herbs, manipulation techniques, nutrition, and vitamin/mineral supplementation. Also, naturopathic care differs from conventional medical care in that NDs tend to avoid the use of pharmaceuticals and major surgery unless absolutely necessary.
Working with Your health care team
Because naturopathic doctors are educated as primary care providers who integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies, they have become an integral part of health care teams. Effective collaboration between your family doctor, specialists, and other members of your healthcare team is of utmost importance.
Naturopathic Doctor's Oath
I dedicate myself to the service of humanity as a practitioner of the art and science of naturopathic medicine. By precept, education and example, I will assist and encourage others to strengthen their health, reduce risks for disease, and preserve the health of our planet for ourselves and future generations. I will continually endeavour to improve my abilities. I will conduct my life and practice of naturopathic medicine with integrity and freedom from prejudice. I will keep confident what should not be divulged. I will honour the principles of naturopathic medicine:
First, to do no harm.
To co-operate with the healing power of nature.
To address the fundamental causes of disease.
To heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
To teach the principles of healthy living and preventive medicine.
With my whole heart, before these witnesses, as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, I pledge to remain true to this oath.