Naturopathic medicine is a primary health care system that utilizes supportive and adjunctive treatments to stimulate the innate healing powers of the body and to put emphasis on treating the root causes of diseases rather than treating their symptoms. Naturopathic Medicine was founded hundreds of years ago on basic principals that viewed a person as a complex system but who could be treated with simple means.
Each person, whether suffering from an acute or chronic condition, is assessed and given an individualized treatment using various modalities naturopaths are educated in. Lifestyle management, nutritional counselling, botanical medicine, physical medicine like manipulations and hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture are the corner-stone modalities, and are used on an individualized level during treatment.
A Naturopathic Doctor combines the following modalities to design a customized treatment plan for an individual:
TCM is a medical system that was developed in China 2500 years ago. It is based on the belief that the body’s Yin and Yang represent opposing yet interdependent aspects of our lives. Imbalances of Yin and Yang cause pathologies in the body and affect the way Qi, or vital energy, flows through the body. By understanding the way these imbalances can cause pathologies in the different organ systems, Naturopaths can use acupuncture and Chinese herbs and patents to treat ailments and rebalance the Yin and Yang and promote smooth flow of Qi in the body.
Every aspect of naturopathic treatment will involve lifestyle counselling. Our physical, mental, and emotional aspects are impossible to separate out in day to day life, so it is important to assess what role each of these aspects take in our healthy and unhealthy states. Naturopaths understand the importance of daily behaviours and thought patterns and their huge impact on health.
Homeopathy is its own stream of medicine, and Naturopaths utilize it much like Homeopaths would. It is based on the theory of the Law of Similars where “like cures like”. If a remedy is given to a healthy person, we see certain adverse effects arise because of the remedy. Thus, it is these symptoms we treat in an unhealthy person to make them healthy again.
Plants have long been used in the healing of ailments and injuries. Extensive research exists on plants, their constituents, and their medical properties. The desired constituents of the plants can enter the body through various means, such as topically though poultices or compresses, or internally through tinctures, capsules, and teas (to name a few).
Treating people on a physical level is just as important as it is to treat people on an internal level. Research shows that the simple act of touching someone’s hand can reduce stress levels. Utilizing skills such as joint manipulation and hydrotherapy are used to stimulate endorphin release, treatment of physical pain, and aiding the body in healing from the outside in.
Nutritional counselling involves manipulation of foods and micro minerals and vitamins to reduce systemic inflammation, promote detoxification, improve digestion and nutrient utilization, and addressing diseases and health conditions associated with certain foods.