Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional forms of medicine. The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. In Canada, Naturopathic Doctors complete no less than 7 years of post-secondary education, including an undergraduate degree with pre-medical sciences before submitting a competitive application to a 4-year-full time program at an accredited school of Naturopathic Medicine. This includes more than 4,500 hours of classroom training and 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience. Professional licensing is then gained after a series of rigorous board examinations used by all licensing jurisdictions in North America.
Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) treat health concerns throughout all intensities and stages of life, from pediatric to geriatric, from acute exacerbations to chronic illness and from the physical to the psychological. NDs work hard to be a complement to an existing health team and will refer to another medical and alternative health professional when appropriate to ensure the best quality care. It is the approach, philosophy and training of naturopathic doctors that set it apart from other forms of health care.
There are typically three types of patients that seek naturopathic medical care:
- Patients that are looking for disease prevention and health promotion strategies as well as anti-aging strategies
- Patients that have a range of symptoms and diseases that they have been unable to address on their own or with the help of other medical practitioners.
- Patients that have been diagnosed with an illness and are looking for alternative treatments.
Below is a list of the most common conditions that NDs frequently treat:
- Acne, Dermatitis, Psoriasis
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia
- Allergies, Asthma, COPD
- Pain syndromes & Arthritis
- Cardiovascular diseases & High blood pressure
- Digestive complaints, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Cystitis, Prostatitis, Erectile dysfunction
- Colds and Flu
- Ear and Throat Infections
- Urinary tract infections
Women’s Health Conditions
- Menopausal symptoms
- PMS, Dysmenorrhea
- Fibrocystic Breasts
- Pregnancy Wellness
- Uterine Fibroids & PCOS
- Mood imbalances, Anxiety, Depression
- Sleep disorders
- Stress, burnout
During your visits with a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) you can expect;
- Detailed health history - 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 have affected your health or well being.
- Diet & Nutrition Assessment - nutritional status, eating habits and patterns and the type of food that you eat on a regular basis & the impact this may be having on your health.
- Physical examinations- NDs are trained to do complete physical exams and use them as a standard part of an assessment.
- Chinese Tongue and Pulse Diagnosis - Traditional Chinese Medicine provides additional insight and information about an individual's health status. Through tongue and pulse diagnosis, an ND is able to understand a person's health status on many different levels.
- Evaluation of Laboratory Testing, Medical Reports & Imaging - Laboratory testing (including urine analysis, routine blood work and saliva testing) is an essential aspect of a complete medical assessment and may be done in office or evaluated via previous medical reports.
Treatments may include any and all of the following:
- Botanical Medicine - The use of Botanical/Herbal Medicine for healing dates back to the beginnings of civilization and is the foundation of modern pharmacology. Plant substances from around the world may be used for their healing effects and nutritional value. Medicinal plants have been, and will continue to be a valuable part of health care. These plants and plant substances are highly effective and safe in the right dosage and when used correctly with other herbs and treatments. Herbs can be prepared in many forms – teas, tinctures or capsules. Naturopathic doctors are extensively trained in both the art and science of botanical medicine. Naturopathic doctors are currently the only health care providers in Canada to be licensed for the use of botanical medicine.
- Clinical Nutrition - Nutrition and the therapeutic use of foods is a cornerstone of naturopathic medicine, and clinical nutrition examines the relationship between diet and health. Special diets may be recommended. Treatment may include nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutraceuticals. Patients will also be evaluated for food intolerances, deficiencies, dietary imbalances or nutritional excesses that have been associated with many medical conditions.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine - Based on balancing the flow of Chi (energy) through the meridian pathways, Asian Medicine includes the use of acupuncture and Oriental herbs. The key principle that defines and connects all of Chinese medicine is that of Qi (‘chi’), or vital energy, and is a term used to describe the interplay of organ function which must be in balance for health to be optimal.
- Acupuncture is the use of very thin needles, inserted into specific meridian points. The practice of acupuncture has been around for over two thousand years and has proven to be very effective especially for pain relief and chronic illness.
- Lifestyle Counseling – NDs recognize that physical, emotional, nutritional and environmental factors affect health. Lifestyle counseling helps patients make informed choices to reach and maintain their optimal health.