1. What is the Difference between an ND & MD?



Family MD

Focus treament on…

Whole Person



7-8 years postsecondary      

University  + Naturopathic Medical College

7-8 years postsecondary

University + Medical College

How you pay

Employee benefits (via employer) & out of pocket

OHIP (via taxes) & out of pocket

Regulated Profession



Referral ability

Refer to family MD for other MD specialists. Direct for other healthcare providers

Direct referral to other MD specialists

Trained in Pharmaceuticals



Treatment & services

Frontline screening, Physical Assessment, Laboratory analysis, Nutrition, Lifestyle, Botanical Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Hydrotherapy, some have IV therapy.

Frontline screening, Physical Assessment, Laboratory analysis, Pharmaceutical prescriptions, referral to specialist, some have hospital priviledges and or specialties.


Naturopathic physicians are trained in medical standards and guidelines similar to a family doctor/general practitioner (MD/GP). Both have at least 7 years of postsecondary schooling and have passed a number of regulatory medical licensing exams. Both base their medical decisions on scientific research, best practices, patient preferences, diagnostic tests and screening guidelines.

One difference is your family doctor is part of the OHIP insurance system and therefore it is the taxpayer that covers the medical bill. An ND is a direct pay healthcare model, and often your work health insurance coverage will cover part of your visit costs, much like it will for your dentist. If you are not sure, ask your employer for a copy of the pamphlet for your employee benefits plan or contact your provider.

Since people in Ontario deem their MD services to be "free" they chose often to go to them for their annual physical and basic needs. There are many great services your MD can offer. 

Your MD is the only one to prescribe most medications and is the one to go to for a referral to a conventional medical specialist. 

Another key difference is your ND will take a holistic perspective and look at the fundamental cause of your condition and treat you, the patient, rather than the disease. ND’s treat with nutrition and lifestyle, botanical medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Hydrotherapy and various physical modalities. Your MD is trained extensively on pharmaceutical medications and dosing to prescribe for specific conditions. Sometimes you need both perspectives to help you along your healing journey. As your Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Laura encourages transparency in treatment among your healthcare “team”.