What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health system to which patient-centred care is deeply embedded. Rather than symptom management, Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) work to uncover the root of your concerns by gathering critical information through comprehensive health histories, physical assessments, and laboratory and diagnostic tests. Information is applied to arrive at a diagnosis and develop treatment plans that are specific to each patient. NDs employ the use of evidence-based natural treatments to help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. Depending on the doctor’s approach and patient being treated, treatments may include clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, physical treatments, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, lifestyle counseling, or a combination of these. NDs work with their patients to help identify and remove obstacles to good health by helping to create both an internal and external environment that supports the healing process.

What is the training required to become a licensed Naturopathic Doctor?

Before a student can sit for the ND licensing examination, students must:

  • Complete 3 years of pre-medical sciences at a University with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 on a four point scale. Prerequisite courses include: biology, biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry, introductory psychology and humanities.

  • Successfully complete a 4-year full time program in an accredited school of Naturopathic Medicine that includes more than 3000 hours of classroom training and over 1,200 hours of supervised clinical experience.


Once these criteria are met, the student is then eligible to write and required to pass the Naturopathic Physician Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) in order to practice in regulated jurisdictions (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and those states in the U.S. that regulate the practice of naturopathic medicine). These are written after the 2nd and 4th year of study.

In order to maintain licensure, NDs are required to meet the Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits as required by the provincial regulatory boards on an ongoing basis.

Find out more on accredited Naturopathic Schools in North America at




Is naturopathic medicine covered by OHIP?

No. Although naturopathic medicine is not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, most extended health insurance plans cover naturopathic medicine.


Can Naturopathic Doctors order tests?


Yes. NDs have access to a comprehensive list of laboratory tests. OHIP does not cover blood work requested by ND’s; therefore patients must pay the cost which can vary depending on the test. If you have already had blood work done through your family doctor or specialist, you or your ND can request the results to avoid duplication and improve coordination of care.


Is naturopathic medicine the same as other “holistic” therapies?

Naturopathic Medicine is one of 26 health professions governed under the Regulated Health Practitioners Act (RHPA). Within this legislative framework, the College of Naturopaths of Ontario regulates the profession in the public interest ensuring that health care is provided in a safe, professional and ethical manner. This includes, but is not limited to, setting standards of practice for the profession and investigating complaints about members of the profession and, where appropriate, disciplining them. Regulation by the RHPA and associated health regulatory college guarantees that NDs have been well educated and extensively trained in their field and are recognized by the government and the healthcare community. Although other holistic or natural healing fields of practice (reiki, reflexology, iridology, medical intuitive, etc.) can offer great help to people, these are not regulated in Ontario; therefore, the level of education and quality of care can vary greatly among practitioners.

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Naturopathic Doctors are guided by 6 fundamental healing principles:

  1. First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.

  2. To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather
    than symptoms.

  3. To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients
    and encouraging individual responsibility for health.

  4. To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental,
    emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment
    protocols to the patient.

  5. To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate
    naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.

  6. To support the healing power of the body, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body's inherent
    self-healing process.


In my practice, the foundation for healing is the therapeutic relationship cultivated between you and me. I strive to make the atmosphere as comfortable and as safe as possible in order for you to share with me important and sometimes private aspects of your life and health. Although invaluable, the conventional health care system can cause you to feel fragmented, through naturopathic medicine, I will help you return to wholeness—body, mind, and spirit.

During your first visit with me I will spend over an hour gathering a comprehensive health story, understanding your health goals and what brought you to the state of health you are in today. We will touch upon the physical, mental, emotional, social, and environmental factors at play. I will conduct a physical exam and will request lab testing as appropriate. After learning about you and establishing your health goals I will create a treatment plan that is tailored to you. It will draw upon my Naturopathic Tool Box and may include nutritional supplementation, herbal medicine, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, homeopathy, lifestyle counseling, physical medicine or a combination of these tools.

The second visit, 1-2 weeks after your initial Naturopathic Consultation is where we will review your comprehensive health plan, address and troubleshoot any potential obstacles, and address any concerns or questions from your first visit health prescription. Throughout my career in nursing I have come to understand and appreciate the value in educating and empowering patients in order to make the necessary changes. When you understand the why behind the recommendations, you are more likely to follow the prescription. I will answer all of your questions and if I don’t know, I will find out.

Subsequent visits will be scheduled based on your needs and condition. They will function to support you through your health transformation, fine-tuning your plan as we go and addressing other issues or goals that may come up.


Copyright © 2020 Dr. Olivia Greenspan, ND.
All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is the opinion of the owner. It is not a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the care of a medical professional before changing your current health program. 

Newmarket, ON 

289-395-CARE (2273)


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