Frequently Asked Questions

How are Naturopathic Doctors trained?

Naturopathic doctors obtain comprehensive and rigorous training in an educational structure that is similar to that of medical doctors. Naturopathic Doctors receive a minimum of 7 years of post-secondary education; this includes 3 years of pre-medical university studies combined with 4 years of full-time schooling at an approved college of naturopathic medicine. In Canada, there are two accredited colleges of naturopathic medicine – the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto Ontario and the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine.

The four-year naturopathic program incorporates the following:

  • Basic Medical Sciences - e.g., anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, microbiology, and pathology
  • Clinical Sciences - e.g., differential, laboratory, and physical diagnosis
  • Naturopathic Therapies - e.g., nutrition, botanical medicine, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, and homeopathy
  • 1500 Hours of Supervised Clinical Experience

Following the completion of the program, Naturopathic Doctors must successfully complete licensing exams (known as Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations or NPLEX) in order to qualify for licensing to practice in Ontario. NPLEX is the standard examination used by all regulated provinces and states across North America.

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Are Naturopathic Doctors regulated in Ontario?

Yes. Naturopathic Doctors are governed under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA). This same legislation regulates 25 other health professions, some of which include chiropractors, dentists, and medical doctors.

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Is naturopathic medicine covered by OHIP?

No. At this time, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) does not cover naturopathic medicine. However, naturopathic services are covered by many extended health care plans and can be claimed as a medical expense deduction on income taxes.

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How can I tell if someone is qualified as a Naturopathic Doctor?

The College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO) has a registry that lists all licensed Naturopaths in Ontario.  This registry can be found at www.collegeofnaturopaths.on.ca

In addition, the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND) can also be contacted to verify if a ND is licensed. The OAND can be reached at 1-877-628-7284 or www.oand.org.

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What is the difference between a Naturopathic Doctor and a Medical Doctor?

Both Naturopathic and Medical Doctors receive a minimum of seven years of post-secondary education, which includes training in all of the basic medical sciences. Both are primary health care providers who are trained and licensed in Ontario to perform physical examinations (including gynecological exams and PAP smears), order lab tests (e.g., blood work), and treat disease. In order to become licensed to practice in Ontario, both types of doctors are required to pass rigorous licensing examinations.

One of the main differences is that Naturopathic Doctors focus on using natural therapies to treat and prevent disease. Naturopathic Doctors may prescribe herbs, supplements, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, whole foods, exercise, or other safe and effective therapies. Whereas the medical approach to health care focuses more on the treatment of symptoms, the naturopathic approach focuses on investigating and treating the underlying causes of illness. In Ontario, naturopathic medicine is not covered by OHIP but it is included under many extended health care plans.

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What is the difference between a naturopath and a homeopath?

Naturopathic Doctors are general practitioners of natural medicine.  Depending on a patient’s health needs, a Naturopathic Doctor may include homeopathy in an individualized treatment plan but it is only one of many treatment methods that ND’s are trained to use.  Homeopaths are trained solely in homeopathy and do not use other methods.

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Will herbs interact with my prescription medications?

Certain herbs and nutrients can have adverse effects when combined with prescription medications. Your Naturopathic Doctor is aware of the interactions and will avoid all known interactions when prescribing your supplements. However, it is essential that you provide your Naturopathic Doctor with a list of all current medications as well as any allergies.

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