Frequently Asked Questions
Naturopathic doctors are provincially-regulated primary care providers. With extensive education, including a pre-med degree and four years of training at an accredited naturopathic college, NDs integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. NDs are eclectic, each with a slightly different approach, but they all believe that balancing the mind, body and environment is the path to optimal health because it supports the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Naturopathic doctors are also experts at early detection, prevention and treatment of chronic disease, and their personalized treatment plans work with each individual patient's lifestyle and body chemistry.
Naturopathic medicine starts with supporting the body in its amazing ability to heal itself. By looking at the root causes of illness rather than just the symptoms and by promoting healing through natural therapies, naturopathic medicine is a successful, non-invasive way to prevent chronic illness as well as to reduce reliance upon prescription medications (and all of their side effects). Think of it as your gateway to optimal health. From diet and exercise, to understanding your body’s unique chemistry, naturopathic medicine aims to increase your overall energy level, boost your immune system, and prevent and treat chronic disease. Naturopathic treatment draws from a number of modalities and is tailored to each individual patient. Depending on the doctor’s approach and patient being treated, treatments may include clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, physical treatments, acupuncture and Asian medicine, lifestyle counseling, or a combination of these.
Yes. Naturopathic doctors are regulated in Ontario under the Regulated Health Professions Act.
Currently, OHIP does not cover visits to a naturopathic doctor. However, most extended healthcare plans include naturopathic medicine, so check with your provider to see the amount of your coverage
Both naturopathic doctors and medical doctors are primary care providers who each go through four years of training and then must pass rigorous licensing examinations to be qualified to treat patients. While both naturopathic doctors and conventional medical doctors work hard to help people feel better, there are fundamental differences in the philosophy and execution of treatment between the two types of practitioners to achieve this goal. Conventional medical doctors generally address and treat symptoms of disease by prescribing pharmaceuticals or performing surgery. In contrast, naturopathic doctors attempt to find and treat the root cause of each patient's disease using natural, non-invasive therapies. Treatments are individualized and tailored to suit each patient's physical, environmental, lifestyle, attitudinal, and emotional health. By attempting to treat the root cause of illness, patients' overall health improves.
Naturopathic medicine was introduced in North America in 1902 by Dr. Benedict Lust. By 1920, naturopathic medicine was well established in Canada. Laws regulating naturopathic practice were enacted in Ontario in 1925, in British Columbia in 1936, in Manitoba in 1943 and in Saskatchewan in 1952. After the Second World War, health care moved away from a more natural approach, focusing on the advances in surgical techniques, the introduction of antibiotics and the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. In the last twenty years, public desire for greater control in the health care process and a growing dissatisfaction with high-tech solutions to health problems has resulted in a resurgent interest in the natural methods of preventive health care. This trend has increased demand for naturopathic services as people seek ways to improve their health, cope with day-to-day stresses and avoid illness. Canada's first naturopathic medical institute, The Ontario College of Naturopathic Medicine (OCNM) was founded in 1978 in Toronto. In 1992, the College evolved into The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). In 2000, the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine opened in British Columbia to provide further educational opportunities for students seeking training as naturopathic doctors.
Many “cleanses“ have been based on fasting. Fasting provides a break to the digestive system which may have some advantages to individuals with severe digestive concerns. However, fasting reduces the metabolic process which places unnecessary burden on the liver. It has been demonstrated that when a person fasts, the liver, which is a primary organ of detoxification, reduces the metabolic process which is necessary for detoxifying. This causes toxins to accumulate rather than being eliminated. As a result, fasting is not a good solution for detoxification.
A proper detoxification cannot be accomplished in a week. Week-long cleanses temporarily purge the body, in which the bowels may be emptied and possibly the lymphatic system may be flushed. This is only the beginning of a detoxification. Once these areas are cleansing more effectively, the liver, gallbladder, and tissues need to be able to mobilize toxins to be eliminated via the lymphatic system, bowels and kidneys. This process typically takes a minimum of 6 weeks. Think how long it takes for an injury to heal. To “stop” a detoxification in a week would cause the individual to return to square one, and the effects would only be temporary.
Eating organic is great in supporting the detoxification process. As this is not always possible, using certain products to wash fruits and vegetables may help lower the amount of pesticides and herbicides consumed. Wash fresh produce in water, salt and Clorox bleach (only this brand as others contain contaminants), Neolife Green soap or Nature clean fruit and veggie wash.
It is not necessary to eat vegetarian, and for some individuals who need to be active during a cleanse it may not be recommended.
There are a number of theories on this subject. We recommend that during a detoxification process that reversed Osmosis water from a glass container is recommended. Reversed osmosis water does have all the minerals eliminated from the water source which can create a mineral imbalance in the body if minerals are not being replaced on a daily basis.
Yes, it is highly recommended that mild to moderate exercise occurs during a detoxification process as it will support the body in elimination. High intensity training is not recommended as it can create too much stress on the body.
How individuals feel on a detoxification can vary depending on how toxic their systems are and how aggressive the detoxification process they are following is. If an individual’s bowels, lymphatic system and/or liver has not been optimally detoxifying for a period of time, the initial portion of the cleanse will support these organs with elimination/detoxification. Over the period of time that this is occurring, an individual may only experience subtle changes, such as sustained energy, or improvement in appetite. As the body begins to “stir“ up toxins, individuals may experience a healing crisis, during which they might feel like they have the flu or potentially even re-experience old rashes that had been treated with cortisone. This is an indication that the tissues and cells are now “dumping” toxins into the blood stream to allow for elimination.