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. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation and traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, may also be used during treatments. 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. What can it 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. It is the approach, philosophy and training of naturopathic doctors that sets it apart from other forms of health care. There are typically three 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. The numbers of 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.
- utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects;
- avoid, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms;
- acknowledge and respect the individual’s healing process, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat illness.