About Naturopathic Medicine

What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. It is based on the healing power of nature and it supports and stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine is the art and science of disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention using natural therapies including: botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation, traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, lifestyle counselling and health promotion and disease prevention.

How does naturopathic medicine compare to conventional medicine?

Both are doctors, both provide primary care and both are similarly trained. The primary differences between naturopathic and conventional medicine are the philosophical approach and the therapies used. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) treat patients as individuals by addressing the physical, environmental, lifestyle, attitudinal, and emotional aspects of health. This allows naturopathic doctors to find and treat the cause of the disease using a variety of therapies. Conventional doctors generally address and treat the symptoms of disease and use pharmaceutical therapies or surgery.

What can naturopathic medicine do for you?

Naturopathic medicine treats all forms of health concerns — from pediatric to geriatric, from irritating systems to chronic illness and from the physical to the psychological. Naturopathic medicine is beneficial for the following types of patients:

  • Patients that are looking for disease prevention and health promotion strategies.
  • 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.
  • Patients that have been diagnosed with an illness, often serious or chronic and are looking for treatment options. Naturopathic medicine is very effective for improving quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses.
  • Patients that are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects of drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.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.
  • Patients that have been diagnosed with an illness, often serious or chronic and are looking for treatment options. Naturopathic medicine is very effective for improving quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses.
  • Patients that are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects of drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.

What is the history of naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine was introduced in North America in 1902 by Dr. Benedict Lust. By 1920, naturopathic practice was well established in Canada. Laws regulating naturopathic practice were enacted in Ontario by 1925, in British Columbia in 1936, in Manitoba in 1943 and in Saskatchewan in 1952. The CAND has been representing the profession’s interests in Canada since 1955.

After the Second World War health care moved away from a more natural approach, focusing on the advances in surgical techniques, the introduction of antibiotics and the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. In the last twenty years, public desire for greater control in the healthcare process and a growing dissatisfaction with high-tech solutions to health problems has resulted in a resurgent interest in the natural methods of preventive health care. This trend has increased demand for naturopathic services as people seek ways to improve their health, cope with day-to-day stresses and avoid illness.

Naturopathic medical education began in Canada in 1978 with the founding of the Ontario College of Naturopathic Medicine (OCNM) in Toronto. In 1992, the College became the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). In 2000, the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine opened in British Columbia to provide further educational opportunities for students seeking training as naturopathic doctors.

Diagnostic & Assessments

Naturopathic doctors use conventional and naturopathic diagnostic tools for assessing health concerns and determining the most appropriate treatment program.

Thorough Health History

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.

Clinical Nutrition

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.

Naturopathic medicine today

Today, more people than ever before are seeking and benefiting from naturopathic medical care and the number of naturopathic doctors is growing at record rates to accommodate this increased demand. Currently there are naturopathic doctors practicing in every province and and all but one territory in Canada. The more than 2,400 naturopathic doctors across the country continue to be an emerging answer to Canada’s health care concerns.

Naturopathic doctors are experiencing greater recognition as health care practitioners and as experts in the field of natural and preventive medicine. They provide leadership in natural medical research and are enjoy increasing politically active at the federal, provincial and territorial levelsinfluence. Positions for naturopathic doctors are opening up in hospitals, multi-disciplinary clinics and specialized health centres across Canada.

In Canada there are five provinces that have naturopathic regulations: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. The Naturopathic Doctors Act of 2008 grants title protection for naturopathic doctors in the province of Nova Scotia. All of Most of the other provinces and territories in which there are naturopathic doctors are also in the process of seeking regulation.

Currently, the naturopathic profession finds itself well positioned in health care. With more research emerging that supports the therapies used by naturopathic doctors, and the public demand for greater choice and increased access to more natural approaches to health care, naturopathic medicine is meeting the health needs of an ever increasing number of Canadians. poised to make the transition from “alternative” medicine to “mainstream” medicine.

If you haven’t experienced the benefits of naturopathic medicine yourself, take the time to get a second opinion on your health by contacting Dr Meera to schedule an appointment.