About Naturopathic Medicine

What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a system of primary health care that promotes wellness and prevention of illness or disease. Naturopathic doctors are highly-educated primary care providers who integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. Naturopathic medicine plays an important role in integrative health care, and treatments can be used on their own or together with conventional medicine.

As a distinct system of primary healthcare, naturopathic medicine addresses the root causes of illness. Naturopathic medicine supports the body's own healthy ability using treatments and prevention techniques that include acupuncture/Asian medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine (such as massage and hydrotherapy), clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, and lifestyle counseling.

Who is it for?

Naturopathic medicine is for people of all ages and health histories who want to take their health into their own hands. NDs are primary health providers and are qualified to see and treat everyone, though some NDs specialize in specific areas, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, cancer care, sports medicine, digestive health, pain management, etc.

What conditions do naturopathic doctors commonly treat?

As primary health-care providers, naturopathic doctors manage a variety of conditions, including:

Digestive complaints such as GERD, IBS, IBD, constipation, food intolerances
Stress management
Respiratory complaints, such as allergies, asthma, colds and flus
Depression and anxiety
Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
Hormone problems, for example, acne, infertility, menstrual complaints
Pain management, for example, arthritis, and sports injuries
Diabetes (Type 2)
Cardiovascular diseases such as cholesterol and blood pressure
What will my treatments be like?

Every person will get an individualized treatment plan catered specifically to their needs. No two people are exactly alike, and so no two treatments are exactly the same. Your treatments will depend on your specific current health concerns, your general health history, your tolerances and intolerances, and what you have the ability to do at home as well as in the office.

Sometimes people with longstanding chronic conditions require more time in order to see improvements in their conditions. Because naturopathic medicine aims to address the source of a condition, rather than simply applying a band-aid fix, you may need to be patient to see results. Feel free to ask your ND questions about your treatment plan and prognosis; getting healthier is a team effort.

What kind of training do NDs have?

Naturopathic doctors are highly educated primary care providers. Naturopathic medical students complete a four-year full-time program after graduating from a university undergraduate program. The naturopathic medical program encompasses basic medical sciences, naturopathic principles and therapeutics and 1200 hours of supervised clinical experience. Graduates must pass two sets of provincial licensing board exams and maintain ongoing continuing education.

What is a naturopathic appointment or visit like?

A visit typically runs about 60 minutes in length. Naturopathic visits are designed to allow time to establish a detailed understanding of the patient’s history, contributing factors, current health status and treatment progress. They include physical exams, laboratory and diagnostic testing, as needed, and treatments.

How much does it cost?

Naturopathic medicine is not covered by OHIP, and so each practitioner sets his or her own rates. The Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, as the teaching clinic of CCNM, offers highly competitive rates. A typical appointment in the Greater Toronto Area, depending on the region, start from $100-$150 per hour-long visit. Most health benefits packages include coverage for naturopathic medicine; check your benefits handbook or consult your HR department.