About Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine incorporates the science of nature and human function. It is a system of natural healing that sees the body as a whole and each person as an individual.

Naturopathic medicine integrates the latest discoveries in biochemistry, physiology and diagnostic advancements to understand ‘why’ the body is sick. Naturopathic doctors prescribe natural treatments to help overcome disease and restore health.

The goal of an ND is to use scientifically based therapies that support and promote the body’s natural healing process. It is this healing power of nature combined with up-to-date scientific knowledge that makes naturopathic medicine the most important system of medicine to prevent and treat disease in today’s health care.

Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

These principles are based on the concept of health and disease and are continually shifting in light of evolving scientific knowledge. It is these principles that distinguish naturopathic medicine from other medical approaches:

  • First, do no harm.
  • Act in cooperation with the Healing Power of Nature.
  • Address the fundamental cause of disease.
  • Heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
  • Teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine.

Scope of Practice

The scope of practice for naturopathic doctors includes all aspects of family and general medicine, from pediatrics and pregnancy to geriatrics. Naturopathic doctors treat patients with acute conditions such as colds and flu, sports injuries, sleep disorders and headaches, as well as those with chronic health concerns such as arthritis and chronic pain, PMS, thyroid conditions, prostate disorders, allergies and asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fatigue, depression and mood disorders, fibromyalgia, cancer, immune disorders, weight loss and much more.

Naturopathic Training

Naturopathic doctors are required to complete a four year ‘pre-medical’ university undergraduate degree followed by four years of naturopathic medical training at an accredited naturopathic college. The program includes an in-depth study of the medical sciences, botanical medicine, homeopathy, joint manipulation, acupuncture, lab analysis and nutrition. They must also complete 500 hours of clinical training in outpatient facilities as well as 100 hours preceptoring with practicing doctors.


Naturopathic Doctors must successfully complete two sets of licensing exams set by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners, followed by provincial exams before being licensed. NDs are also required to attend continuing education seminars each year.

In Ontario, naturopathic doctors are licensed under the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – naturopathy (the BDDT-n). There are many other practitioners practicing under similar titles that are not licensed naturopathic doctors and do not have the training required to diagnose and treat patients. Such titles often include Natural Doctors, Natural Medical Doctors or Holistic Doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the practitioner’s credentials and license number.