What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine blends centuries-old natural, non-toxic therapies with current advances in the study of health and human systems, covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care.
Naturopathic medicine concentrates on whole-patient wellness; the medicine is tailored to the patient and emphasizes prevention and self-care. Naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient's condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment. Naturopathic physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that addresses the root causes of illness, and promotes health and healing using natural therapies.
The therapies used in naturopathic practice include:
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has diagnosed, treated and prevented illness for thousands of years and incorporates acupuncture, acupressure, diet, massage, and Asian herbs and foods.
According to TCM, when your energy flow, or Qi (pronounced "chi") is out of balance, your body cannot adapt to stress, making you more likely to develop chronic illness and pain. TCM seeks to relieve these imbalances by adjusting the circulation of Qi and balancing the forces of yin and yang energy. A harmonious flow of Qi, achieved by balancing cold and heat, internal and external, yin and yang, will help sustain long-term physical, mental and emotional health.
Acupuncture and acupressure is often beneficial in relieving:
- back pain
- migraines, and
- other chronic pain concerns
Acupuncture technique employs inserting and manipulating fine metal needles into acupuncture points or specific spots relating to the body's meridians.
Chinese herbal medicine is also based on the concepts of yin and yang, and aims to balance the two. Chinese medicine is often successful in treating a wide range of health conditions, including:
- skin problems
- urinary tract infections
- immune deficiencies
- chronic fatigue, and
- respiratory conditions (asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, etc.)
Botanical medicine utilizes diverse plant substances from around the world for their powerful healing and nutritional values. Naturopathic doctors use herbs from Europe, the Americas, China and India to prevent and alleviate illness. The flowers, roots, leaves or oils of a plant may be used in the remedy. Therapy may take the form of:
- essential oils
Harnessing the healing properties of plants is an ancient practice. People in all continents have long used thousands of indigenous plants for treatment of various ailments.
Some herbal remedies have the potential to cause adverse drug interactions when used in combination with various prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. bull; respiratory conditions (asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, etc.)
Nutrition is the cornerstone of good health. Like medicines and drugs, foods affect the way your body functions. Some foods help you heal, while others damage your body and contribute to chronic illness. A healthy diet–consisting of the right balance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, anti-oxidants, fibre and amino acids–is the most important tool for your body to manage stress and prevent and recover from illness.
Clinical nutrition is utilized to analyze your health and nutritional intake to address deficiencies, and promotes immunity and health through:
- nutrient-rich foods
- nutritional supplements, and
- IV therapy
The therapies involved are geared towards improving health and preventing disease. Your naturopathic doctor may ask you to keep a diet diary, which is the first step in helping to determine:
- food allergies
- digestive issues
- risk for disease associated with diet, and
- overall diet quality
Clinicians can then recommend dietary changes to support healthy living and treat diseases like:
- high cholesterol, and
- heart disease
Homeopathic medicine is a natural, nontoxic therapeutic system of healing that assists in the inherent ability of the body to heal itself. Homeopathic medicines or "remedies" use minute amounts of plant, mineral or animal substances to stimulate a person's innate healing ability and to strengthen the entire system. It attempts to treat "like with like", using substances that, in larger dosages, would develop the illness's symptom in a healthy person.
Homeopathy restores the body to homeostasis, or healthy balance, which is considered its natural state. The symptoms of a disease are regarded as the body's own defensive attempt to correct its imbalance, rather than as enemies to be defeated. Homeopathic remedies are designed to stimulate this internal curative process rather than suppress the symptoms. Homeopathic remedies are particularly effective for:
- gynecological concerns
- skin conditions
- digestive problems
- chronic and acute conditions including colds and flu
Homeopathy is a popular therapy throughout the world, particularly in Great Britain, Europe and India. It is also gaining popularity with veterinarians, who offer homeopathic remedies to treat dogs, cats and other animals.
Physical medicine includes massage, hydrotherapy, peat therapy and other physical therapies such as ultra-violet and infra-red therapy. Physical medicine works in two ways. First, it restores structural soundness to the skeletal system, joints, and soft tissue. In addition, it builds immunity and supports healing and detoxification.
Treatments offered include:
- various massage techniques
- muscle-stretching, and
- manipulation of the spine and extremities
Hydrotherapy Hydrotherapy is one of the oldest forms of medical treatment. It involves the use of water for soothing pains and treating diseases. Constitutional hydrotherapy, a method of stimulating the body's vital force, is often prescribed.
Treatment can involve alternate applications of hot and cold water to promote circulation. Hydrotherapies include:
- hot and cold packs (general and local)
- saunas and steam baths
- general hot and cold baths
- sitz, head and foot baths
- wet and dry bandages
- poultices, and
- peat baths
To achieve the best results from your naturopathic treatment, you need to understand and practice the principles of healthy living.
Mental attitudes and emotions are important elements in overall health and should be considered when treating illness and disease. As part of their education, naturopathic doctors are trained in various counseling techniques. Lifestyle counseling, in conjunction with other naturopathic therapies, can provide support for those dealing with depression, fatigue, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), work-related stress, relationship issues, life transitions, and health problems, particularly chronic health problems.
Integrative medicine looks at the patient holistically, and therefore may assess a patient in different ways in addition to traditional medical examinations and tests. These assessments look at the different systems of the body and are useful in telling us how the body is functioning, or in finding the root cause of your body imbalance or illness.
We view your health from a different perspective and may offer more treatment options for healing. Call us at 713.840.9355 to make an appointment.