1. What is naturopathic medicine? Naturopathic medicine (sometimes called “naturopathy”) is a distinct form of primary healthcare addressing both acute and chronic conditions while emphasizing disease prevention by using natural therapies to harness the intrinsic, self-healing processes of the body and mind. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) combine the wisdom of centuries-old medical traditions and the philosophy of nature cure with the latest empirical medical research to bring their patients a truly holistic, integrative and functional approach to healthcare. NDs follow a model of person-centered medicine rather than the disease-centered model practiced by many conventional physicians. The focus becomes the underlying cause of disease rather than an isolated set of symptoms. Furthermore, NDs educate their patients on their personal health management empowering them to live healthier lives for the long term. Naturopathic doctors will provide primary-care assessment (including lab testing) and treat with singular applications or combinations of clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, Chinese medicine, botanical medicine, homeopathy, bodywork, and lifestyle counseling. Their methods are supported by research drawn from peer-reviewed journals covering many disciplines, including, but not limited to: naturopathic medicine, conventional medicine, complementary alternative medicine, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, pharmacognosy, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine, psychology, bodywork and spirituality. For more information about Naturopathic Modalities click here.
  2. How are naturopathic doctors trained and licensed in Ontario? Naturopathic candidates are required to complete at least three years of post-secondary education plus a number of pre-requisite pre-medical courses before being accepted into an accredited four-year program at a CNME-approved college of naturopathic medicine, of which there are only two in Canada. The four-year program is comprised of over 4,500 hours of classroom training in basic medical science courses, clinical sciences, pharmacology, and naturopathic therapies, as well as 1,500 hours of supervised clinical practicum. Graduates from an accredited naturopathic college receive the designation Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND). Following the completion of their courses and training, NDs must successfully complete the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) and College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO) exams to become licensed. NPLEX is the standard examination used by all regulated provinces and states across North America, while the CONO exam is specific to Ontario. A naturopathic doctor cannot practise in Ontario without completing the training and passing the exams. NDs are also required to earn continuing education credits on an ongoing basis to maintain their registration and good standing with the regulatory body.
    For more information please visit:
    The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM)
    Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND)
    Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND)
    College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO)
  3. Who regulates naturopathic doctors in Ontario? As of the July of 2015, Ontario’s new Naturopathy Act came into full effect. This placed naturopathic doctors under the Regulated Health Professions Act, joining all other regulated health professions, including dentists, medical doctors, chiropractors, nurses, etc. The College of Naturopaths of Ontario has become the new regulatory body of naturopathic doctors replacing the Drugless Therapy Act and the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy-Naturopathy (BDDT-N). Each licensed ND undergoes a rigorous licensing process overseen by CONO including numerous written and practical tests as well as a thorough background check to ensure that naturopathic doctors are properly qualified to practise naturopathic medicine and that they follow the appropriate standards of practice. Other Canadian provinces where naturopathic doctors are also regulated are: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
    For more information please visit:
    College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO)
  4. How does naturopathic medicine compare to conventional medicine? Naturopathic doctors and conventional medical doctors are both doctors; we both provide primary care and have training in basic and clinical sciences. The primary differences between naturopathic and conventional medicine are the philosophical approach and the therapies used. What sets NDs apart from conventional practitioners is that they spend time with their patients listening to their histories and looking at the interactions between the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that may influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.Naturopathic doctors address and treat the root cause of disease, while conventional doctors generally address and treat the symptoms of disease and use pharmaceutical therapies or surgery. Naturopathic doctors do not prescribe pharmaceutical drugs, but rather use clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, pharmacognosy, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine (including acupuncture), counseling, and bodywork.
    For a comparison of training curricula, please visit this link:
    http://www.bcna.ca/documents/comparativecurriculacombined.pdf
  5. Is naturopathic medicine the same as functional or integrative medicine? Naturopathic Doctors practice functional, integrative medicine. The term functional medicine is a way to describe the paradigm used in approaching patient care, rather than a new system of medicine. Naturopathic medicine uses a functional medicine approach in that it addresses the underlying causes of disease. They use a systems-oriented method that engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. This is a practice of medicine that better address the healthcare needs of the patient by focusing on the patient rather than focusing on the disease, as often experienced in conventional medical practice.
  6. Does OHIP cover naturopathic medicine? Naturopathic medicine is not covered under OHIP, however, depending on your benefits package from your place of employment, your insurance might provide coverage. The invoice presented to you at the end of each session is used to submit to your insurance provider to receive reimbursement. P.S. You can claim 100% of your naturopathic visits on Line 330 of your Personal Tax Return. And self-employed individuals can use a Health and Welfare Trust to tax deduct 100% of their naturopathic visits and supplement purchases as a business expense. Please consult your accountant for details.
  7. What can I expect on the first visit? Prior to your first visit, you should complete an Initial Intake Form and bring it with you to your first appointment. In addition to your intake form, please bring the actual bottles of any medication or supplement that you are taking, and if possible, a copy of your most recent blood work and any other relevant health records. Your first visit is 75-90 minutes in length and involves a thorough health history. During this time your main health concerns, health history and medical records will be carefully discussed and reviewed. Dr. Rachel may also conduct a partial physical exam based on your presentation. If necessary, further testing such as laboratory tests and/or specialized diagnostic tests may be done on the first or second visit. Dr. Rachel will make some recommendations as a starting point for your treatment plan on the first visit. Follow-up visits are typically 30-60 minutes, the timing of which depends on your needs and personalized treatment plan. The number and frequency of follow-up visits will depend largely upon the severity and duration of your condition(s), the pace of your progress and the type of therapy you’re using.
  8. When will I feel better? Any lasting change takes time. The nature of naturopathic medicine is powerful, but gentle, and works with body’s intrinsic healing abilities. It also recognizes that every patient is unique meaning timelines vary; some individuals notice change immediately and others require a longer period of treatment.
  9. My question was not answered. No problem. Send Dr. Rachel an email to get your question answered within 24-48 hours.