There are many naturopathic medicine guides online, but not all of them are created equal. Naturopathic Medicine is a healthcare profession that combines traditional and natural medicine with modern science and research. It is guided by six main principles.
- To do no harm.
- To recognize the healing wisdom of nature.
- To identify and treat the cause of imbalance.
- To teach and provide tools that empower health literacy.
- To treat the person as a whole by exploring beyond the immediate symptoms.
- To promote the prevention of disease.
Naturopathic doctors (ND) are trained in the foundations of health sciences, including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, and pharmacology. Their tools for treatment include lifestyle counseling, nutrition, supplementation, western herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). An ND is in a unique position to understand conventional medicine and play a supportive role or a primary role by using these tools. This means that a naturopathic doctor may play a vital role on your healthcare team, supporting you while you also work with a conventional medical doctor. Or you may choose to seek out a naturopathic doctor to act as your main health care provider.
All licensed naturopathic doctors (ND) come from 1 of 7 schools in North America. Graduation from a naturopathic medicine program that is accredited or is a candidate for accreditation guarantees eligibility to sit for the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX), the passage of which is required to obtain licensure. Licensure is offered by regulated provinces or territories, including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario, Northwest Territories. There are 26 states in the United States offering regulation or licensure of Naturopathic Doctors. The scope of practice varies between provinces, territories, and states.
Naturopathic medicine is a complete, holistic, and personalized approach to healthcare. NDs work to identify the underlying causes of disease and take steps to support your body’s natural ability to heal. Each individual is unique with their own environment, biochemistry, genetics, and belief system. Naturopathic medicine acknowledges that individuality should be taken into consideration when preparing a treatment plan or a wellness plan. Although the specific therapies may vary between practitioners, these guiding principles remain the same.
FAQs About Naturopathic Medicine
Is naturopathic medicine right for me?
Naturopathic medicine often involves lifestyle and dietary changes which will benefit your health in the long term. Most NDs will work at a pace you are comfortable with to make these changes over time. Whether you are interested in gaining information on how to improve your health in 1-2 visits or whether you want coaching over the long-term, an ND can help. Most naturopathic doctors will offer a complimentary 15-minute consult for you to learn more.
How will my naturopathic doctor know which therapies are right for me?
During an initial consultation, your ND will assess which therapies are best for you. This will be based on your main concerns, your overall wellness as well as your preferences. For example, if you prefer to work solely with nutrition or supplementation, your ND will take this into consideration with your treatment plan. If you feel this was not explored, you should mention to your ND that you prefer to work with specific therapies. Your ND will recommend what they think is best based on their training and clinical experience, but there is room to refine your treatment plan based on your preferences and comfort level.
How long will it take to heal?
Healing is an individual process and can vary depending on the individual. We encourage people to think about healing as a spiral. With time and consistent effort, your health will make improvements gradually. There are certainly individuals who feel the immediate health benefits of naturopathic medicine, while others take more time. An ND will not make guarantees but rather will work with you to find the right plan.
How many visits will I need?
Our NDs require 2 visits to do a full consultation, collect information, and then provide a treatment plan. After this, follow-ups depend on your needs and preferences. It is best to discuss this during your first visit.
Will my naturopathic doctor work with my medical doctor?
NDs are trained to work in a complementary way with all types of healthcare providers, including medical doctors. It is best that all of your healthcare providers are made aware of the treatments or therapies you are using.
Is naturopathic medicine covered in Ontario?
Naturopathic medicine is covered by most extended health benefits or health savings plans provided by your employer. It is not covered by OHIP
Can naturopathic doctors run labs, and is this covered by insurance?
NDs in Ontario can run many types of labs with some exclusions. They can run basic laboratory testing such as blood and urinary analysis as well as advanced testing for metabolic health, hormone health, digestive health, etc. Some health benefits plans will cover testing. You will need to check with your provider.
If you found this naturopathic medicine guide informative, but would like to know more, contact us today and we will be more than happy to answer your questions.