Naturopathic Medicine in North America dates back to the turn of the century and was founded by Benedict Lust, a German immigrant. Lust set up the first school of Naturopathic Medicine in New York, in 1905. Over 20 schools were established in the United States during the early 1900s.
Interest in Naturopathic Medicine waned after World War II, as the introduction of antibiotics and advances in surgical techniques made some of the more traditional healing practices seem obsolete.
By the 1960s, the pendulum began to swing back as society and government began to recognize the limits of drug- and surgery-based medicine. The notions of disease prevention and individual responsibility for health – the cornerstones of Naturopathic Medicine – have gained increasing prominence.
There is a resurgence of public interest in how diet affects health, as well as in herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines and time-proven medicines from other cultures. Scientific interest in these traditional healing methods is growing as well.
Ontario’s new Naturopathy Act will move the regulation of NDs from the Drugless Practitioners Act (DPA) to the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA).
Moving NDs into the RHPA provides more clarity about the regulation of NDs for the increasing number of Ontarians who are choosing complementary health care. Just as importantly, this change provides a better foundation for collaboration with other health professions in the care of these patients. The improved regulation of NDs is occurring at a time when the provincial government is continuing to look for new strategies to respond to the shortage of primary care providers, and to respond to some of the main pressures in health care, including an aging population, chronic diseases, and more flexibility in the use of available care providers.