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.
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.
The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and to treat the root cause of disease. For many patients, this difference in approach to health provides them with a new perspective and awareness. By addressing the root cause(s) of disease and through the appropriate use of natural therapies many patients with chronic illness have found tremendous benefits.
There are typically three types of patients that seek naturopathic medical care:
- Patients that are looking for health promotion and disease prevention strategies. Individuals that recognize that health doesn’t just happen by chance, that it is a lifelong process that involves a clear understanding of the factors that affect health and how to deal with them on a daily basis.
- 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 treatment options. 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.
The Healing Power of Nature, (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)
Naturopathic doctors work to restore and support the powerful and inherent healing ability of the body, mind and spirit and to prevent further disease from occurring. Naturopathic doctors identify and remove obstacles to recovery, facilitating and augmenting this ordered and intelligent healing ability.
Identify and Treat the Cause, (Tolle Causam)
The primary goal of a naturopathic doctor is to determine and treat the underlying cause rather than simply managing or suppressing their symptoms. The underlying cause may be due to diet, lifestyle habits, life events, posture or environment. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal.
Each person is unique and requires individualized care. In treating the cause of any condition a naturopathic doctor takes into account not only your physical symptoms, but also mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, spiritual and other factors. Disease affects the entire person, not just a specific organ or system. Your nutritional status, lifestyle, family history, feelings, environmental stresses, and physical health are all carefully evaluated and addressed.
Doctor as Teacher, (Docere)
Naturopathic doctors will assist you in understanding health and illness. He/she will provide with an understanding of the factors that affect your health and help you balance and become more capable of maintaining your own health. Naturopathic doctors also acknowledge the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship.
What to Expect- Methods of Diagnostics used by a Naturopath
The initial intake with a Naturopathic doctor is typically one-and-a-half to two 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 may 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 regularly is an important part of the naturopathic assessment. Naturopathic doctors will often take the time to assess the effect that diet is having on health and the body’s ability to process and tolerate the foods a patient may consume.
Chinese Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis
Through tongue and pulse diagnosis, a naturopathic doctor is able to understand a person’s health status according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, which may provide additional insight and information about an individual’s health.
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 possible quality of health care and that all required information is available in order to fully understand the causes of a patient’s health concerns.
Comprehensive Laboratory Testing
Laboratory testing, including urinalysis, blood work and saliva testing, is an essential aspect of a complete medical assessment. Naturopathic doctors will use standard laboratory testing to provide further information for a complete naturopathic assessment.
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