Frequently asked questions
What is a Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.)?
An N.D. is a primary care doctor who is passionate about improving your health and providing you with an individualized healthcare treatment so you receive results.
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
The word naturopathy is derived from the word naturae which means natural, and pathos which means suffering.
Naturopathic medicine is a comprehensive medical system that integrates an extensive range of therapeutic techniques to support the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Some of the many therapies that naturopathic doctors utilize in their practice include: clinical nutrition, physical medicine, health psychology, hydrotherapy, lifestyle counseling, botanical medicine & acupuncture. The main goal of naturopathic medicine is to treat the underlying root cause of disease where treatments can enhance healthcare services provided by other healthcare practitioners.
What is the education of a Naturopathic Doctor?
Naturopathic doctors must complete a 4-year bachelor degree with medical prerequisite courses before entering an accredited 4-year naturopathic medicine program. In Canada, there are only two regulated schools for naturopathic medicine: The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto, Ontario) and The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine (New Westminister, British Columbia).
In addition to completing the naturopathic medicine program, naturopathic doctors must pass two professional licensing exams administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. The first licensing exam, Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX-I) can be completed after your second year of studies and focuses on assessing students’ knowledge of core medical sciences, including: anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology and physiology. NPLEX II can be completed after your 4th year of studies and it consists of a three-day examination to assess whether the naturopathic medical student graduate can apply their medical skill knowledge in a clinical setting.
Upon completion of the naturopathy program and board examinations, naturopathic doctors are licensed primary care physicians who act in the same context as a conventional family physician, by following current medical guidelines, ordering lab work, and performing physical exams. Naturopaths differ from other practitioners in regards to their philosophy and treatment approaches to disease. A typical first visit to a naturopathic doctor can range from 1-3 hours to ensure a thorough medical history of the patient is understood. Naturopaths advocate an individualized approach to treatments, which are specifically tailored to each patient based on their physiological, emotional, social, environmental, and lifestyle needs. No two people are alike and as such, there is not a “one size fits all” treatment plan for any specific disease.
Is my Naturopathic Doctor licensed to practice?
The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) describes the regulating bodies for naturopathic doctors in each province and territory in Canada.
In Ontario, naturopathic doctors are regulated healthcare practitioners that are governed under the Ontario Regulated Health Professions Act. You can check with the
Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND) to ensure your naturopathic doctor is licensed and in good standing.
To practice naturopathic medicine in Ontario, you must be registered with
The College of Naturopaths of Ontario. Their mission states that:
The College regulates naturopathic doctors to ensure safe, ethical and competent naturopathic care for the people of Ontario.