Naturopathic medicine - FAQ
During the initial assessment, which usually takes about 1 ½ hour, a naturopathic doctor will perform a thorough review of the chief concerns, past medical history, family medical history, diet and lifestyle, current medications and supplements. A physical exam will also likely be done and lab tests will be requested if necessary. Therapeutic recommendations will be discussed at the end of the visit.
Prerequisites including three years of pre-medical sciences at a University. Prerequisite courses: biology, biochemistry, chemistry, organic chemistry, introductory psychology and humanities. – Successfully complete a 4-year-full time program in 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. – Meet the Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits as required by the provincial regulatory boards on an ongoing basis.
Naturopathic Doctors undergo training similar to medical doctors plus they include the naturopathic disciplines.
The four areas of training in the four year, full-time Naturopathic Medicine curriculum are:
- Basic Sciences – This area of study includes anatomy, physiology, histology, microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, pharmacology and pathology.
- Clinical Disciplines – Diagnostic medicine areas of study are physical and clinical diagnosis, differential and laboratory diagnosis, radiology, naturopathic assessment and orthopaedics.
- Naturopathic Disciplines – There are six major disciplines that define the areas of naturopathic practice. Each discipline is a distinct area of practice and includes both diagnostic principles and practices as well as therapeutic skills and techniques. They include: clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulation and lifestyle counselling.
- Clinical Experience – All students must complete 1,500 hours of clinical requirements and demonstrate proficiency in all aspects of Naturopathic Medicine prior to graduation.
People of all ages and walks of life visit naturopathic doctors. They may come in with an acute or chronic condition, or may be healthy and want to focus on prevention in order to optimize their health. Naturopathic doctors address the entire body, looking at the underlying cause of disease, looking at the entire person – the physical, emotional, and mental components of each person.
Acute conditions, such as colds and flus, respiratory infections (bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis…), urinary tract infections, migraines, strains and sprains, sciatica, etc. – Chronic condition: hormonal imbalances (PMS, menstrual irregularities, menopause), digestive problems (reflux, indigestion, constipation, colitis, etc.), allergies, migraines, musculoskeletal problems (arthritis and osteoarthritis, back pain, knee problems, osteoporosis, etc.), skin problems (eczema, acne, urticarial, etc.), cardiovascular problems (high cholesterol, hypertension, varicose veins, etc.), cancer (prevention, treatment, chemo and radiation side-effects), and most things in between.
A variety of natural medicines are used by Naturopathic Doctors, ranging from herbal and nutritional supplementation to acupuncture, homeopathy, lifestyle counselling, and physical treatments like the Bowen technique.
Many employers, such as the federal and provincial governments and the high tech industry have coverage, as well as third party insurance companies. Check with your employer to determine what kind of coverage you have.
No, naturopathic medicine is not covered by OHIP. However, most insurance plans do reimburse the cost of visits with a licensed naturopathic doctor. The maximum yearly amount varies depending on the plan. Please refer to your insurance company for details on your coverage.
Yes, your naturopathic doctor works with the rest of your health care team, which may include a combination of practitioners such as: medical doctors, homeopaths, osteopathic doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists, optometrists, and massage therapists.