More and more people are discovering the many ways naturopathic medicine can help them obtain optimum wellness. It is a science-based approach to medicine designed to treat the whole body. Not only do naturopaths treat symptoms, but they also explore them to discover the underlying causes. Treatments use non-toxic natural therapies that do not just mask or end symptoms, but instead restore physical and mental health using a preventative approach to achieve a completely balanced whole-body wellness. Treatments will vary drastically from person to person based on your health challenges, lifestyle and overall well-being.
Naturopathic Medicine Defined
According to the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, naturopathic medicine offers a distinct primary health care system that combines modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. One of the reasons it is considered effective is that it stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal in order to treat the causes of disease, not just the symptoms. Naturopaths use symptoms as red flags that something is not functioning properly, as opposed to using them as the focus of their assessments. This allows them to find the cause, improve wellness and prevent further health issues.
Causing No Harm
Naturopaths approach medicine differently than medical doctors do. They look at several principles with a focus on providing treatments that won’t cause further harm. Every day, there is a new study or medical report listing issues with common medications prescribed by general practitioners and specialists. This can include long-lasting health challenges as well as unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. Naturopathic doctors believe that treatment should never cause harm and therefore use gentle, non-invasive treatments that won’t cause unwanted side effects to raise their ugly heads.
Treating the Cause
Taking steps to figure out what is making you sick avoids the necessity of handing over a prescription to rid you of symptoms. Not only do most medicines cause side effects, but they are often prescribed over long periods of time or are required for the rest of your life without the benefit of healing. By treating the cause, you can deal directly with the imbalance. In addition to physical causes, naturopathy also looks at other aspects of your life, such as mental and emotional influences. By considering all factors, you can focus on becoming well, not just masking the symptoms.
Part of treating the cause involves education between the doctor and the patient. Education empowers you to live a healthier lifestyle to trigger your body’s natural ability to heal and stay well. You can take control of your own health by improving your lifestyle, diet and level of activity and acknowledge behaviours that are causing you to feel ill.
Prevention for Wellness
As you can imagine, being able to prevent illnesses will be easier and less costly than trying to constantly treat diseases with medications, doctors’ appointments and testing and retesting to see if treatment has worked. By looking at subjective and objective information, a naturopath can discover susceptibilities to future diseases and recommend strategies to avoid them. These strategies will vary with a focus on lifestyle changes, together with nutritional supplementation, exercise, acupuncture, massage and other approaches that will help you avoid stress and obtain both emotional and spiritual balance.
Listening to a patient is one of the most important approaches naturopathic physicians take, as it allows them to find clues that might be affecting your overall wellness. With so many outside factors that can negatively impact your health, a naturopath considers all aspects of your life, from your job and the environment in which you work, to your past and emotional episodes that can remain with you. Addressing this information can help you heal both physically and mentally. More can be learned through progressive appointments and treatment priorities can change as new information is revealed.
What can be Treated?
You can speak to a naturopath about any health issues you are experiencing because it is personalized medicine that is not restricted by any controls or preconceptions. Chronic conditions are a perfect example that you need more than conventional medicine to help achieve wellness. Typical issues can include fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance and digestive disorders. These are just a few examples of chronic health issues many of us live with and that also see little improvement when being treated by modern medicines. A naturopath will work with your inherent ability to heal yourself to restore and maintain health. Many of these common complaints can be treated with lifestyle changes that include removing certain items from your diet that can be aggravating your symptoms or using supplements.
There are also studies that support the fact that naturopathic treatments are effective in many chronic conditions, including fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, depression, asthma, hypertension and type II diabetes. Successful treatments for these types of conditions and diseases can include a combination of approaches, such as botanical medicine, nutritional therapies, acupuncture and physiotherapy. Treatments are based on proven results, such as using riboflavin and B vitamins to treat migraines. However, naturopaths will also speak to patients about potential triggers that might lead to headaches, dizziness and pain in order to help eliminate these factors as part of your wellness plan.
Your Initial Naturopathic Appointment
Unlike a typical doctor’s appointment where you provide complaints you are currently experiencing, a naturopathic appointment will involve an initial appointment to assess your overall health. We use a unique Physiomed Healthscore assessment that will allow us to understand your current state of health while also looking at potential health risks you might be facing in the future. We look at your wellness as a whole, so we can come up with a treatment plan that will both begin the healing process and prevent further issues from arising.
An overview of your current health can identify risks that we can target with proactive measures that will prevent long-term health issues. Your assessment uses a detailed online health questionnaire, a physical examination that includes a series of biometric measurements and a laboratory blood analysis. The resulting wellness report card and wellness prescription are valuable tools in planning treatment, lifestyle recommendations and patient education.
Many patients are surprised that we use laboratory tests and other objective data to come up with the most effective treatment. We do what is in your best interests to create a treatment plan that will keep you engaged in caring for yourself for the best possible results.
If you would like to learn more about naturopathy or book an assessment, please contact us here.