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Naturopathic Medicine

written by: Amanda Roth, Bsc, N.D. to be May 2004

Naturopathic Review

"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease." - Thomas Edison

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathy is a medicine that offers expertise in many modalities practised by licensed doctors to aid in healing of any concern. Naturopathic medicine encompasses thousands of years of medical practice and theories to provide care based on certain principles.

1. This medicine works under the premise that the body has the fundamental ability to create, maintain and restore health. When obstacles are removed the body will inherently know how to heal itself.
2. This medicine is the art and science of addressing the mental/emotional, spiritual and physical aspects of the whole patient. It is in persistent search to uncover and address the underlying cause of disease.
3. Different modalities are used to gently and safely direct the body towards its own path of healing.
4. This medicine aims to educate or 'coach' patients in achieving their own healthy and happy lifestyle in order to prevent disease and promote optimal ageing.

Though there are many forms of natural therapies, the main modalities taught to licensed doctors are:

· Botanical Medicine- Nature has provided a wealth of resources in plants. These natural substances are compatible with the body's own chemistry allowing a safe and gentle method to help the body heal.
· Homeopathic Medicine- Based on the principle of "like cures like.", homeopathy introduces diluted medicines to the body that very specifically awaken the body's natural healing and immune process.
· Physical Medicine-Naturopathic Medicine has its own methods of therapeutic manipulation of muscles, bones, and spine. N.D.'s also use ultrasound, diathermy, exercise, massage, water, heat and cold, air, and gentle electrical pulses.
· Traditional Chinese Medicine-TCM theory incorporates its own method of evaluating the body's disease state. Using herbs and acupucture it is able to restore and harmonize the imbalances present in disease conditions.
· Psychological Medicine-Mental attitudes and emotional states may influence, or even cause, physical illness. Counseling, stress management, biofeedback, and other therapies are used to help patients heal on the psychological level.
· Nutritional Medicine-Educating patients on what to eat that will allow the body to function optimally is possibly the most important duty of a naturopath. This modality incorporates many schools of thought on diet and nutrition.

Who Should See a Naturopath?

Many people see a naturopath on a regular basis as a primary care physician. Naturopaths receive the same basic medical training as M.D.'s. Even healthy people see a naturopath to find out how to maintain their health. From injuries, allergies, digestive, hormonal, skin problems to depression a naturopath will be able to provide suggestions to help manage your concerns. Every naturopath will have their own type of practice, emphasising certain modalities and therapies. Find out who is in your area and check it out. Though naturopathic care is not covered under OHIP, most health plans provide insurance for care. Remember, in the long run, prevention is always cheaper and easier than the difficult process of trying to cure disease.

What can you expect from a naturopathic visit?

The first visit to a naturopath will certainly not be like what you experience in going to your regular doctor. After you spend over an hour filling out lots of questions about your background and medical history, most first visits are over an hour and a half long. Your naturopath will want to understand you in many aspects of your life. He/she will treat you as a unique individual and will allow you to tell your whole story. Your treatment plan will include ways in which you can make positive changes in many areas of your life to live a healthier life!

Is Naturopathic Medicine Regulated?

Naturopathic medicine is a regulated health profession (in Ontario), licensing graduates of accredited programs. Regulated naturopathic doctors are required to complete 3 years of pre-medical studies at a recognized university, 4 years of full-time naturopathic education at an approved college, and pass rigorous regulatory board examinations that are standardized across North America. The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Toronto, is the only institution training naturopathic doctors in Canada. The demand for naturopathic care is growing drastically in the province and is presently under governmental review to see how to better fit it into the present health care system.

To find a Naturopath in your area:

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