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A Sign of the Times


The strides gained in the naturopathic profession have been phenomenal given its near extinction only a few decades ago. Naturopathic medicine has hit the mainstream with a bang.

The strides gained in the naturopathic profession have been phenomenal given its near extinction only a few decades ago. Naturopathic medicine has hit the mainstream with a bang.

History and Definition of Naturopathy

Naturopathy in North America evolved from the teachings of Benedict Lust who emigrated from Germany to the United States in the late nineteenth century. He later founded The American School of Naturopathy in New York City, graduating its first class in 1902. Unlike allopathic medicine or “conventional medicine,¡?turopathy has embraced a host of natural healing techniques, many of which were originally popularized in Europe by Father Sebastian Kneipp. Today this emphasis has expanded to encompass therapies and techniques as varied and diverse as western and traditional Chinese herbalism, ayurvedic medicine, various physical manipulation techniques, and homeopathy, to name a few.

Although the popularity of naturopathy spread quickly during the early 20th century, subsequent government support of allopathy lead to its decline and suppression, as was the case with most other alternative medical approaches. It wasn?t until the growing grassroots interest in natural health, supported by a handful of activitists, manufacturers, growers, scientists, writers, and health food stores, surged forward into the public?s consciousness in the 1990s that naturopathy again came to the forefront of health care.

Naturopathy in Canada

In 1978, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) was founded by Asa Hershoff, Eric Shrubb, Gordon Smith, John Laplante, William Morris, and Robert Farquharson as the Ontario College of Naturopathic Medicine in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario area. Due to rapid expansion, the college has moved several times and is now situated at its modern 4.3-acre facility in North York. The growth of CCNM was made possible by three converging influences: the huge surge in public interest in natural health evident in the 1990s; the financial support of leading natural health companies as well as that of Mr. Robert Schad, president of Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. and The Schad Foundation; and a dedicated approach to a professional educational environment spearheaded by CCNM President (1996-2003) David Schleich, now President of Truestar Health Inc. (

Naturopathy Defined

According to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine:

Naturopathic medicine is a complete and coordinated approach to health care. It is the art and science of disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention using natural therapies and gentle techniques.

Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine are specialists in natural medicine and preventive health care, integrating scientific knowledge with traditional healing wisdom. They are health-care professionals who use safe, gentle, non-invasive therapies to assist the whole person in maximizing the body's inherent self-healing capacity.


The spacious and well-groomed CCNM campus is home to The Robert Schad Naturopathic Clinic, a host of modern classroom and lecture facilities, library, bookstore, cafeteria - everything you would expect to find in a modern educational facility (including its own subway stop). Enrollment, at present, is approximately 510 students and there is onsite residential housing for 200 in the college's new co-ed residential facility. In addition to an onsite public clinic, the college operates a satellite clinic program in the Toronto area in cooperation with Anishnawbe Health Toronto, the Lakeshore Area Multi-service Project, as well as the Parkdale Community and the Sherbourne Health Centres. The clinics are open to the general public and are staffed by fourth-year interns under the supervision of the clinic facility. The college encourages community involvement through various initiatives including relationships with organizations such as The Toronto People with AIDS Foundation and The AIDS Committee of Toronto.


CCNM offers a 4-year full-time diploma program in Naturopathic Medicine - fully accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME), the principal accrediting agency for naturopathic colleges and programs in Canada and the United States. Naturopathic practitioners are currently regulated under provincial law in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan with pending regulation in Alberta. The college is also closely associated with Canadian Naturopathic Association.

The college is firmly committed to meeting the preparatory needs of mature applicants as well as the ongoing educational needs of its graduates.

Educational and Research Initiatives

As of January 2004, the Ontario government is reviewing CCNM?s application for degree granting status under The Secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000. When this status is granted, the college will be able to tailor an undergraduate degree program to suit the needs of its professional studies applicants as well as allowing for the development of a graduate professional program. In addition, CCNM hopes to develop programs in office administration and nursing as they relate to a naturopathic practice.

The college is firmly committed to a strong research role and plans to become a key player in alternative medical research. It?s currently compiling an online alternative medical database (CATbank), which it hopes will be the most comprehensive compiled to date.

For more information on CCNM, visit or call 1-866-241-2266. For information with respect to a naturopathic practitioner in your area, contact the Canadian Naturopathic Association at 1-877-628-7284.



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