What to Expect

First Visit:

A first visit with a naturopathic physician is about 1 hour. A detailed history is taken and physical exam is usually given which may include blood pressure, abdominal exam or other pertinent tests. Recommendations are then made that may include the use of supplements, botanicals (herbs), nutritional work, lifestyle counseling, acupuncture, other natural therapies or occasionally prescription drugs. A referral may also be made for further lab tests or to acquire a copy of recent medical test results.

Educational Background:

A naturopathic physician (ND) is a primary health care provider licensed with the province. An ND has a minimum of 7 years of post-secondary education including 3-4 of pre-medicine from university and then the ND program is another 4 years thereafter including an internship.

Why a Person Chooses to See an ND:

Patients appreciate the amount of time they are given with an ND to discuss their health concerns. Naturopathic physicians are trained as holistic physicians with the goal of getting to the root cause of the health concern while treating patients with the least invasive methods as possible. NDs are experts of natural health care.

Working with Medical Doctors:

Most often, an ND does not replace a medical doctor (MD), but will work in conjunction with the family physician or other health care practitioner to act in the patient’s best interest and provide complementary care. Naturopathic physicians are also trained to know when to refer to MDs for conditions that may require further opinions.

Lab Testing:

A variety of tests that include stool, urine, saliva, hair or blood work can be ordered depending on the health concern. Please see Tests for more information.


Most naturopathic physicians will carry a dispensary of natural health care products that are not commonly found in health food stores. These are usually professional brands that are specialty items, hypo-allergenic and may need monitoring due to the level of active ingredients. These professional companies adhere to the highest standards for manufacturing and will test and ensure the purity of all their products. Please see Dispensary for more information.