What can Naturopathic Medicine do for you?
Naturopathic medicine treats all forms of health concerns:
- from pediatric to geriatric,
- from irritating systems to chronic illness and
- from the physical to the psychological.
There are typically 3 types of patients that seek naturopathic medical care:
- Patients that are looking for disease prevention and health promotion strategies. Individuals that recognize that health doesn't just happen by chance, that it is a life-long process that involves a clear understanding of the factors that affect health and how to deal with them on a daily basis. People looking for health promotion as a way of life is increasing tremendously all the time.
- Patients that have a range of symptoms that they have been unable to address on their own or with the help of other medical practitioners. With Naturopathic medicine's broad understanding of health and the relationship between health, life and the environment naturopathic doctors are often able to offer patients a new perspective and provide safe and effective ways to restore health.
- Patients that have been diagnosed with an illness and are looking for alternative treatments. Naturopathic medicine is very effective in improving quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses. It is used extensively and effectively for those patients that are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects to drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine.
The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body, and unfavourable lifestyle habits. Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity.Treating both acute and chronic conditions, naturopathic treatments are chosen based on the individual patient – their physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environment and lifestyle factors.
Therapies your Naturopath may use:
Traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture
Diet and lifestyle counselling
In Canada, the naturopathic medical profession’s infrastructure includes accredited educational institutions, professional licensing, national standards of practice, participation in many federal health committee initiatives, and a commitment to state-of-the-art scientific research.
The range of modalities allows naturopathic doctors to develop treatment plans that address not only the physical aspect of a person, but also the mental and emotional aspects. The naturopathic therapies are all based on the same principles, they all assist the body's healing response, and they are often more effective when combined.
Naturopathic doctors use a range of different therapies to address a patient’s physical, mental and emotional health. The therapies used assist the body's healing response and they are often more effective when combined.Here are some of the natural therapies and treatment options naturopathic doctors use:
Nutrition and the therapeutic use of foods is a cornerstone of naturopathic medicine. Food intolerances, deficiencies, dietary imbalances or nutritional excesses have been associated with many medical conditions. A naturopathic doctor is trained to understand the impact that your diet is having on your health. With appropriate dietary modification and nutritional supplements health concerns can be treated with fewer complications and side effects.
Medicinal plants have been, and will continue to be a valuable part of health care. These plants and plant substances are highly effective and safe in the right dosage and when used correctly with other herbs and treatments. Herbs can be prepared in many forms - teas, tinctures, powders or capsules. Naturopathic doctors are extensively trained in both the art and science of botanical medicine. Naturopathic doctors are currently the only health care providers in Canada to be licensed for the use of botanical medicine.
This powerful system of medicine is more than 200 years old and is widely accepted in many countries. Homeopathic remedies are made from specific dilutions of plant, animal and mineral substances. When carefully matched to the patient they are able to affect the body's "vital force" and to stimulate the body's innate healing forces on both the physical and emotional levels, with few side effects. Some conditions that do not respond well to conventional medicine respond effectively to homeopathy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine / Acupuncture:
The key principle that defines and connects all of Chinese medicine is that of Chi, or vital energy. The chi of all organs must be in balance, neither too active nor too dormant, for a person to be healthy. The chi of the body's organs and systems are all connected in meridians or channels that lie just under the skin. A Naturopathic Doctor will use Eastern herbs and acupuncture to assist the body in regulating the Chi and achieving balance. Acupuncture is the use of very thin needles which are inserted into specific meridian points. The practice of acupuncture has been around for over two thousand years and has proven to be very effective especially for pain relief and chronic illness.
Physical medicine offers treatment for many different health concerns. Treatments can include soft tissue work (including therapeutic massage), naturopathic manipulation of muscle, bone or the spine, hydrotherapy techniques, gentle electrical impulses, ultrasound, diathermy, and exercise therapy.
Prevention and Lifestyle Counselling:
Mental attitudes and emotional states are important elements in healing and disease. Addressing all aspects of a person's life, identifying and addressing the impact that stress and life events have on a patient's health is an important aspect of naturopathic treatment. Naturopathic doctors are trained to counsel on diet, lifestyle, specific stressors, exercise and occupational or environmental hazards as an integral part of the naturopathic treatment program.
Nutritional IV and IM Therapy:
Intravenous (I.V.) therapy and intramuscular injection of vitamins, minerals and homeopathics is a safe and effective way to deliver nutrients in a timely and efficient manner. Nutritive substances are directly absorbed into the circulatory system, by-passing the gastro-intestinal tract and liver, thereby increasing the absorptive capability of the individual.For individuals with compromised intestinal absorption, asthma, fatigue, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease, seasonal allergic rhinitis, narcotic withdrawal, chronic urticaria, hypothyroidism and much more, IV therapy allows for 100% absorption of the nutrients delivered and thereby offers enormous therapeutic value over oral administration.
Diagnostics and Assessment:
Naturopathic doctors use conventional and naturopathic diagnostic tools for assessing health concerns and determining the most appropriate treatment program. The diagnostic tools used include: Thorough Health History The initial intake with a Naturopathic Doctor is usually about 1½ hours in length and includes a detailed history. A Naturopathic Doctor will take the time to find out about your family history, your lifestyle, the stressors in your life, past medical history, history of accidents or injuries and the significant events in your life that have affected your health or well being. Often Naturopathic Doctors will use questionnaires to ensure that they are aware of the factors that may be affecting your current health status.
Understanding your nutritional status, eating habits and patterns and the type of food that you eat on a regular is an important part of the naturopathic assessment. Naturopathic Doctors will often take the time to assess the impact that diet is having on health and your body's ability to handle the food that you are eating. Physical Examinations Naturopathic Doctors are trained to do complete physical exams as use them as a standard part of an assessment. As your health changes or as acute situations arise, Naturopathic Doctors will use aspects of the physical examination to aid in diagnosis and assessment of your health concerns. Having a complete physical exam on yearly basis is an essential part preventative health care. Naturopathic Doctors often take the time to ensure that the "small" symptoms are identified and addressed before they become a "bigger" problem.
Chinese and Ayurvedic Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis:
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine provides additional insight and information about a individual's health status. Through tongue and pulse diagnosis, a naturopathic doctor is able to understand a person's health status on many different levels.
Comprehensive Laboratory Testing:
Laboratory testing, including urine analysis, blood work and saliva testing, is an essential aspect of a complete medical assessment. Naturopathic Doctors will use standard laboratory testing to provide them with further information for a complete assessment.
Previous Medical Reports and Diagnostic Testing:
All medical reports, such as MRIs, X-rays or scans are valuable assets that a naturopathic doctor will use during their assessment of your health concerns. Naturopathic Doctors will refer to another medical health professional when appropriate to ensure that all patients receive the best quality health care possible and that all required information is available in order to fully understand the root causes of a patient's health concerns.