Frequently Asked Questions

Naturopathic frequently asked questions

What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a unique primary healthcare system that combines modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural medicine. It is based on the healing power of nature and the ability of the body to heal itself when supported and stimulated.

What is a naturopathic doctor?

Naturopathic Doctors or NDs are primary health care practitioners trained in natural medicine. They are rigorously trained in the application of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, physical medicine, botanical medicine and lifestyle counselling.

Naturopathic doctors are trained as primary care practitioners and they also complement and enhance health care services provided by other health care professionals. NDs cooperate with other branches of medical science, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate. Naturopathic Doctors provide patients with a truly integrative form of health care.

What type of education do naturopathic doctors have?

A naturopathic doctor has graduated from a four-year, graduate level, accredited naturopathic college after completing a minimum of 3 years of pre-medical education. A naturopathic doctor is rigorously educated in basic sciences, advanced medical sciences, as well as natural treatment modalities and assessment methods. Click here for more info on naturopathic education.

Are there additional requirements to practice as an ND in Nova Scotia?

Naturopathic doctors practicing in Nova Scotia must:

  • hold a doctor of naturopathic medicine degree/diploma conferred upon him/her by an accredited or candidate school of naturopathic medicine, legally chartered to grant a four year degree or diploma;
  • have written and passed both NPLEX (Naturopathic Physician Licensing Examinations) exams, the recognized, standardized North American board examinations;
  • maintain membership in the Nova Scotia Association of Naturopathic Doctors (NSAND) and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND);
  • maintain continuing education requirements set by NSAND and CAND;
  • and carry professional liability insurance.

How do NDs diagnose?

When you visit an ND they will take an extensive health history, do a physical examination, review your medications and evaluate laboratory tests and diagnostic imaging in order to make a proper diagnosis.

What is the difference between a naturopathic doctor and a homeopath?

Naturopathic Doctors are primary healthcare practitioners and general practitioners of natural medicine. They receive a minimum of 3 years of pre-medical university education, followed by 4 years of education from an accredited naturopathic medical college. Naturopathic doctors utilize a range of treatment modalities, including Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, physical medicine, botanical medicine and lifestyle counselling.

A homeopath is a healthcare practitioner who has been trained in the use of, and prescribes solely, homeopathic medicines.

Is a visit to a naturopathic doctor covered by MSI?

Naturopathic medicine is not covered by MSI, however, most private health insurance plans cover naturopathic visits.

Does my health insurance cover naturopathic medicine?

Most private health insurance plans provide naturopathic coverage which will cover a percentage (depending on your individual plan) of appointments with a naturopathic doctor. You can contact your insurance provider for details on your naturopathic insurance coverage. Appointments with a naturopathic doctor are not covered by health insurance under the category of “acupuncture” unless the proving naturopathic doctor is also a licensed acupuncturist (LAc.).

How much does a visit with a naturopathic doctor cost?

In Nova Scotia an initial visit with a naturopathic doctor is typically 1 to 1.5 hours long and will cost between $150.00 and $200.00. Subsequent visits will last 20 to 45 minutes in length and will cost between $80.00 and $100.00. Appointments with a naturopathic doctor are HST exempt so HST is not charged on their visits.

Do I need a referral to see an ND?

Naturopathic doctors are primary care health providers and therefore you do not need a medical doctor’s referral to see a naturopathic doctor. Some health insurance plans require a referral from a medical doctor for naturopathic care to qualify for coverage. Find a Naturopathic Doctor in your area.

What is the purpose of the Nova Scotia Association of Naturopathic Doctors?

The mission and guiding purpose of NSAND is:

  • To be the resource for reliable and current information, news and events related to naturopathic medicine.
  • To protect the public by upholding the national standards of competency in naturopathic medicine.
  • To increase the visibility and understanding of naturopathic medicine among Nova Scotians.
  • To act as a resource and support system for members of our association.

Click here to learn more about NSAND.