Naturopathic Doctors are Primary Care Practitioners, so yes, they are real doctors. Just like any other general practitioner, naturopaths have the power to requisition and interpret lab tests as well as sign-off on physical exams. Naturopaths have been put through a 4-year professional medical program that is comparable to most allopathic medical schools.
Yes, Naturopaths have nearly the same panel of lab tests to choose from as conventional doctors. But lab work is an additional cost through a Naturopathic Doctor. Often, there is the option of going to your conventional doctor, who can run the tests for free, but any blood tests ordered by the Naturopath will have an associated cost.
It depends on the province, but “Medical Doctor” is generally reserved for conventional doctors. In Ontario, Naturopathic Doctors are NOT medical doctors. The investigation and clinical work up may be similar, but the treatments are very different. If you want to know when to see a medical doctor vs a naturopathic doctor, go here.
The focus of naturopathic medicine is the understanding that the body has the ability to heal itself. All organisms have a vital source; Naturopathic Medicine supports that vital source to not only heal people from disease, but to prevent disease in the future.
Naturopathic Doctors are primary health care practitioners with the ability to assess and treat most health concerns – from acute to chronic, from physical to psychological.
According to Dr. Christopher Maloney, ND:
“The training in pathology is the same as a conventional M.D. or D.O. But an N.D. is much less practiced in hospital level diagnosis and much more experienced in “subclinical” issues that can be missed by conventional doctors. Standard clinical labs will be done, although interpretation may differ. If necessary, referral to conventional specialists will also happen. Generally, because of the more detailed labs done, thyroid disease, adrenal fatigue, metabolic syndrome, and hormonal imbalance are far more likely to be caught by an N.D. than a conventional doctor.”
Naturopathic Medicine will save you time and will save you from having more serious problems in the future. Right now an ER visit can be anywhere from 6-12 hour wait. Although OHIP provides free medical treatment, it still costs your time, and your health. If you find the right doctor for your health conditions, they can be incredibly helpful in fixing the root cause of your condition to help prevent future disease. Education is also a large part of Naturopathic Medicine (Doctor as teacher); nothing is more empowering than knowledge.
It depends. In some provinces, including Ontario and B.C., NDs have to be licensed to practice, but some provinces haven’t put these regulations into place – yet. The list is growing, and eventually, it will likely be in all provinces. Naturopathic licensing in Ontario ensures there are regulations kept in place to provide safety for the public.
Yes, The College of Naturopaths of Ontario regulates more than 1400 naturopathic doctors in Ontario.
In British Columbia, it’s the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia.
For Alberta, it’s the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta.
In Saskatchewan, it’s the Saskatchewan Association of Naturopathic Practitioners. Upon Royal Assent the SANP will become the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Saskatchewan.
In Manitoba, it’s the Manitoba Naturopathic Association.
Other provinces are in process.
If we look at Toronto naturopaths as an example, the average fee for your first visit is usually around $200, the second visit is often $100-$150, and subsequent visits are often less than $100.It can feel expensive to spend that $200 upfront, but even that one session can make a large difference in a person’s perspective on their health. Treatment protocols start on the first visit, as do any necessary lab requisitions. A good Naturopathic Doctor is a liaison to better health. They can best counsel you on how to use your money so that you don’t get cheated by the wrong practitioner.3-4 visits per year end up being very affordable and worth the expense for most patients.
Naturopathic visits are usually covered by most extended benefit plans but aren’t covered by the provincial healthcare system (e.g. OHIP) yet. You should look into the details of your coverage; a visit with a Naturopath may not cost you anything at all.
Each naturopathic doctor will choose if they want to become licensed to write prescriptions. If that’s something you’re looking for, there are Naturopathic Doctors that have access to certain regulated prescriptions such as bio-identical hormones and desiccated thyroid.
If you’re working with a licensed naturopathic doctor, they should be practicing safely, in accordance with their regulatory body. Naturopathic treatment, such as supplementation, acupuncture, dietary advice, and counselling are non-invasive. One of the most important pillars of Naturopathic Medicine is to ‘Do No Harm’