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What are the educational requirements to become a Naturopathic Doctor?
Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) must complete at least three years of pre-medical training including chemistry, biology, biochemistry and psychology prerequisites at the university level. After university Naturopathic Doctors complete four years of full-time training at an accredited naturopathic college where they study basic medical sciences including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and pathology. In addition to the basic medical sciences, naturopathic students also take extensive courses in each of the seven natural treatments, which comprise naturopathic medicine. In Ontario, following seven years of schooling, Naturopathic Doctors complete two rigorous sets of North American professional board exams before becoming licensed and beginning practice as well as one set of Ontario practical licensing examinations. Once licensed Naturopathic Doctors have yearly mandatory continuing education to keep their skills current.
Why do people choose Naturopathic Medicine?
There are many reasons people choose naturopathic medicine, but some common reasons we hear often include:
- To experience personalized, one-on-one treatment sessions of 30-60 minutes
- Patients are interested in trying natural treatment options
- They want a practitioner with a holistic approach
- To move beyond conventional treatments
- Looking for a practitioner with a broad knowledge of a variety of complementary health treatments
- To further investigate tests which have come back “normal” or “inconclusive”
- Learning more about the safe use of natural treatments to complement present medical treatments
- Decreasing side effects from medication
- To prevent disease and maintain health
- Wanting advice about making lifestyle changes
What conditions do you see in your office?
As Naturopathic Doctors, we see a wide variety of conditions. The following is a list of conditions we see quite frequently in the office. If you currently have a condition that is not listed, it does not mean that naturopathic medicine can’t help you. Naturopathic medicine is focused on treating the person rather than the disease, which means that the vast majority of people can benefit from treatment even if their condition is not listed below.
- Digestive system: constipation, diarrhea, ulcers, heartburn, IBD, bloating, gas, food sensitivities, hemorrhoids, celiac disease
- Immune/respiratory system: allergies, frequent colds/infections, autoimmune conditions, sinus infections, asthma
- Skin: eczema, psoriasis, acne
- Pain: headaches, joint pain, muscle pain, arthritis
- Emotional: anxiety, depression, insomnia, mood swings
- Pediatrics: colic, ear infections, ADD/ADHD, tummy aches, behavioural issues, bedwetting
- Female: PMS, menstrual cramps, infertility, menopausal symptoms, hot flushes, pre & postnatal care, yeast infections
- Male: prostate enlargement, infertility, erectile dysfunction
- Cardiovascular: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, poor circulation
- Endocrine: thyroid and adrenal imbalances
- Urology: bladder infections, stress incontinence, interstitial cystitis
- Other: osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, low energy
What treatments do Naturopathic Doctors use?
Naturopathic Doctors study seven treatment modalities: botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, physical medicine and lifestyle counselling. In my practice, I emphasize nutrition, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, and herbal medicines.
Are your treatments covered by OHIP?
Naturopathic Medicine and Registered Acupuncture are not covered by OHIP. However, if you have a benefit package through your workplace most benefit packages do cover a portion of the naturopathic visit costs. Some benefit plans also have additional coverage for Registered Acupuncture, if this is the case and you would like to use your acupuncture coverage make sure to let us know and we can book and bill accordingly (more information below). To receive reimbursement from your benefit provider you will submit your paid receipts from the clinic to your insurance company. Benefit packages usually do not cover any lab tests or supplement that are recommended.
Should you book as a Naturopathic or Acupuncture Patient?
In addition to being a Naturopathic Doctor, I am also a Registered Acupuncturist. Acupuncture can qualify for insurance reimbursement under naturopathic workplace benefit packages, through acupuncture benefits or both depending on your plan. Some benefit plans have restrictions on types of practitioners that are covered for acupuncture treatments. It is a good idea to check your specific coverage so we can book the most appropriate visit type for you.
If you have only naturopathic benefits (no separate acupuncture coverage) or no benefits coverage you should book as a Naturopathic New Patient. I perform acupuncture for these patients as part of my naturopathic practice and bill accordingly. If you are booking as a naturopathic patient but are primarily interested in acupuncture, please let us know at your first appointment. This allows us to direct our intake toward an acupuncture assessment and it will allow us to get started with the acupuncture more quickly.
If you have both naturopathic benefits and acupuncture benefits book as a Naturopathic New Patient first. We recommend that most patients with both types of coverage who are interested in acupuncture book as Naturopathic New Patients (rather than Acupuncture New Patients). This allows patients to use their naturopathic benefits for the first two assessment visits and then switch to their acupuncture coverage for later treatments. By using a mix of both types of benefits, it results in a larger number of acupuncture treatments being covered by insurance annually. This also provides the opportunity for patients to ask any questions that may fall within the scope of a Naturopathic Doctor but are not within the scope of a Registered Acupuncturist such as questions about supplements, herbs, or laboratory testing.
If you have only acupuncture benefits available because you actively are under the care of another Naturopathic Doctor or if you only have Acupuncture coverage. We recommend booking as a New Acupuncture Patient rather than a New Naturopathic Patient.
Please check your insurance benefits prior to your first visit to ensure we are booking the appropriate visit type for you and that you are filling out the correct forms prior to your visit.
What should I expect if I book a naturopathic visit at the clinic?
Prior to your visit, there will be forms for you to fill out. You can arrange to pick up the forms at our office when you book your appointment, or you may download the forms on the Resources page.
Our first visit is an hour in length. During the first visit we will review your forms, and you will be asked many questions to get a full picture of your health history and your current health concerns. If you have any relevant test results from your doctor (blood tests, ultrasound reports, MRI or CT reports, biopsy results), please bring them along, as they will be helpful in your assessment. At the end of the first visit, we will make some treatment recommendations, which will be followed up at your next visit.
Our second visit could be as soon as later that week. In most cases, it is two-four weeks after the first visit. The second visit is typically 45 minutes long. In certain complex cases we may book a longer second visit of 60 minutes. During the second visit, we will follow-up on how things are responding to any treatments suggested in the first visit. At this time, we will continue to gather information through various methods, including more verbal history taking, reviewing any remaining forms and/or performing blood or urine tests. A more detailed plan will be developed during the second visit once this additional information has been gathered. Following the second visit, subsequent visits are usually half an hour in length, though in some circumstances, we will choose to book 45-minute visits if the extra time is needed.
What is the wait time for a first visit?
Generally, we do not have a long wait time for a first visit. We will book you as soon as our schedule allows which is usually within two weeks of your call. Our evening appointments are quite popular and fill up quite quickly, so if your schedule requires you to come after work, we would suggest calling as soon as possible to book a time that will be convenient for you.
What if I have questions about my forms?
Please fill out the forms to the best of your abilities because it is very helpful at the first visit to have all of your information. If you have any questions, please call the office or make note of the questions so that we can review them during your first appointment.
Can Naturopathic Doctors prescribe medications?
Starting in July 2015, Naturopathic Doctors who have passed the Ontario Prescribing and Therapeutics Exam are authorized to therapeutically prescribe bio-identical hormones and some thyroid medications. I have passed this exam and am authorized to prescribe pharmaceuticals from this list as well as higher doses of certain natural substances that are not permitted by NDs that have not completed this exam.
What are your fees?
Please click here to see the fee schedule.