What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct form of primary heath care that blends science and evidence-based research with traditional forms of medicine. It involves the use of safe and effective natural therapies that are designed to support the body’s own healing mechanisms. Treatments are chosen based on the individual patient and take into account their physical, mental, emotional, and social factors, as well as patient preferences and goals. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes disease prevention and long-term health promotion.
Treat the Root Cause
One of the main principles of Naturopathic medicine is treating the root cause of illness in order to achieve long-term resolution of your health concerns. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s attempt to heal and provide a road map as to the root cause. Naturopathic Doctors take a detailed medical history and thorough assessment in order to get a full picture of your concerns. This information is used to identify and treat the underlying causes, rather than simply suppress symptoms.
Treat the Whole Individual
Naturopathic Doctors also use a holistic and individualized approach by assessing the physical, mental, emotional, environmental, social and genetic factors for each patient. Being able to spend time with patients is one of the many advantages of Naturopathic medicine that allows for this in-depth approach. Since every person has a unique set of symptoms and concerns, Naturopathic Doctors provide you with a personalized treatment plan that will ensure you are getting the best possible care.
Doctor as Teacher
Naturopathic Doctors help patients achieve sustainable wellness by educating them on the fundamentals of healthy living. By empowering their patients with the knowledge and tools to make informed choices, Naturopathic Doctors help patients reclaim responsibility for their health. Furthermore, because Naturopathic visits are longer, it allows sufficient time for the doctor to provide a greater understanding of the disease process, as well as explain diagnostic testing and treatment options.
Education & Training
Naturopathic Doctors must complete a four-year medical program at an accredited school of naturopathic medicine after obtaining an undergraduate university degree. In order to apply for the Naturopathic Medical program, students are required to complete specific pre-requisite courses in the basic sciences. This science based background allows us provide an evidence-based approach to naturopathic care. During the fourth year of the program, students take part in an internship under the supervision of licensed naturopathic doctors. Interns gain extensive clinical experience with over 1000 hours treating patients in various health care settings. Finally, following the completion of schooling, NDs must successfully complete standardized North American Board exams in order to qualify for licensing.
Educated in all of the same basic sciences as a medical doctor (MD), a naturopathic doctor uses Western medical sciences as a foundation for diagnosis and treatment. They are trained to perform physical examinations, order laboratory tests and interpret lab and imaging results. Naturopathic Doctors use a wide variety of therapies, such as nutrition, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, clinical medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and lifestyle counseling. They integrate all of their areas of knowledge to help patients take ownership of their own health journey towards disease prevention and optimal wellness.
In Ontario, Naturopathic Doctors are licensed by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario. For further information see the following websites: