Frequently Asked Questions
What health problems can be treated by Naturopathic Medicine, Holistic Nutrition and Acupuncture?
A: Most common health complaints that you would visit a family physician for, can benefit from one of these health care systems. Usually they are integrated where patients will receive these treatments in the process of their care. Specific examples of conditions that can be treated include:
- Acute conditions: Colds, Flus, Ear infections, Headaches, food poisoning.
- Chronic conditions: Allergies, Environmental illness, Arthritis, Back Pain, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
- Women's Health: Peri/Menopause, Fibrocystic Breast Disease, PMS, Menstrual flow changes, Fibroids, Endometriosis, Fertility.
- Cardiovascular disease: (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, stroke).
- Digestive disorders: (Crohn's, Ulcerative colitis, gallstones, Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Neurological disorders: Parkinson's disease, MS, Alzheimer's/Dementia.
- Pediatric Neurological disorders: Autism, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, OCD, Tourette's Syndrome.
Are any of these services covered by OHIP or insurance?
A: At this time, none of our modalities are covered by OHIP. Extended Health Insurance coverage is available from most providers for Naturopathic Medicine (ranges $350 to $1200/year per person is average) and Acupuncture ($300 to $500 per year per person, possibly more) but you must check your specific policy to understand your coverage. Your insurance company may reimburse for supplements or natural medicines: check your policy for further details.
You might consider a Health Savings Account (HSA) as an option. These are ideal for people who don't have Extended Health Insurance. They can also be arranged for those with benefit plans. Contact your bank, human resources contact, or companies like Benecaid to learn if this option is available to you, and is right for you. HSA's offer flexibility in that you can use them to pay for up to 20 different health services, or for supplements, or for testing, or for any combination.
Visits or consultations can be applied as medical expense deductions on your income taxes; consult your tax advisor for more information. You may not be able to claim the deduction every year. Supplements are not treated as medical expenses by Revenue Canada.
What kind of medicines will I be getting?
A: This of course varies by the practitioner you're seeing. Your Naturopathic Doctor could recommend any of the following:
- Nutritional supplements - vitamins, minerals, powders
- Herbal (botanical) medicines as pills, tablets or tinctures/liquids
- Homeopathic medicines - single remedies or complex formulas, in pellets or liquids
Are natural medicines safe? I'm taking a few prescriptions medicines - will the natural medicines affect them?
A: This is a very important question, and actually is two questions.
First, natural medicines are generally thought to be safe. Some natural medicines have short-term side effects that resolve in a few days to one week. Examples include taking magnesium or Vitamin C and experiencing diarrhea or looser stools: once your body adjusts to the supplements, the diarrhea/loose stool stops. Your practitioner will advise you if the recommended medicines could cause any short-term or long-term effect (e.g. skin rash after exposure to sun in patients taking St. John's Wort).
In some cases, patients will experience reactions or side-effects to natural medicines that are not known. You must report any such reaction to your Naturopathic Doctor (or other practitioner) as soon as possible. There is a responsibility to report these reactions to Health Canada. Such reactions can be caused by product contamination, unexpected interactions with other medicines, or unexpected allergic reactions.
Finally, your Naturopathic Doctor or practitioner is responsible for recommending natural medicines that are safe to use with your prescription medicines, and avoid known contraindications. Pharmacies often provide patients with interaction information: if you are concerned about a possible interaction, do not start the supplement until you have spoken to your practitioner. One of the best resources for checking interactions is a database called "Natural Standard" (www.naturalstandard.com) which is available to all CAND (Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors) members.
What is the difference between a homeopath and a naturopath?
A: At this time, the differences between these two systems of natural medicine are training and professional regulation. Naturopathic Medicine has always been a regulated profession in Ontario since 1925. Under the regulatory act, Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario have been required to complete their training at a recognized, accredited college and pass NPLEX licensing exams. ND's in Ontario are also required to pass a Jurisprudence test and practical examinations. Homeopaths on the other hand have had the option of college training programs (often 3 year programs), but in Ontario this training has not been required. Therefore, some homeopaths are lay-practitioners who learn from books or other sources. This will change in the near future when the College of Homeopaths of Ontario completes its Transition phase.
Another way to compare the professions is this: Homeopaths will tend to focus on homeopathy as the main approach to treating their patients. They may offer nutritional and lifestyle advice, or recommend herbs or supplements, but the basis of their treatment is with single, constitutional homeopathic remedies. ND's will consider, and usually include homeopathic medicines in their recommendations. ND's will likely take an integrated approach where every patient will be offered recommendations for diet changes, lifestyle advice (exercise, sleep, stress management), herbal and/or homeopathic medicines (single or complex formulas), as well as physical medicines/treatments and possibly acupuncture.