Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary care that addresses the root cause of illness or disease and promotes health and healing using natural therapies. While Naturopathic care helps to alleviate specific symptoms and improve quality of life, Naturopathic Doctors are primarily concerned with thoroughly understanding a patient’s health and addressing the Root Cause of an illness by providing individualized treatment plans.
Naturopathic Doctors approach the individuals from a more holistic and integrative perspective and aim to understand the health of the patient through physical and functional assessments which help develop a deeper understanding of the patient’s health concerns – in addition, naturopathic doctors will explore the mental, emotional, environmental, occupational, and physical factors that contribute to the health concerns and make recommendations to treat specific diseases and promote health and well-being.
Naturopathic doctors are regulated health professionals in the field of natural medicine. NDs obtain comprehensive and rigorous training in an educational structure similar to that of medical doctors. NDs require three years of pre-med postsecondary education, plus four years of fulltime study at an approved college of naturopathic medicine. Graduates receive the designation Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) and must successfully complete the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations in order to qualify for licensing in Ontario.
The Naturopathic Doctor’s Oath
First Do No Harm
Naturopathic Doctors use methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effect by supporting the natural functioning of the organs and systems and reducing unnecessary structural and functional stress. ND's also beleive that suppressing symptoms can cause harm and therefore support patients through the course of an illness while treating the underlying cause of the disease. The goal of naturopathic medicine is to optimize the body's capacity to heal in a safe, effective, and mindful way.
Identify and Treat the Causes
In addition to alleviating acute and chronic symptoms of disease, NDs seek to identify and remove underlying causes of illness. Rather than merely eliminating or suppressing symptoms, this approach moves the body toward maintaining an optimal state of health.
Doctor as Teacher
NDs work collaboratively with patients by sharing knowledge and information to create a successful treatment plan. Patients are encouraged to take responsibility for their own optimal health.
Treat the Whole Person
In addition to addressing specific complaints or symptoms, NDs look at the ‘whole picture’. The physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors contributing to the health of each individual patient are thoroughly considered.
NDs emphasize prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease in each patient. Appropriate interventions can then be made in partnership with patients to prevent illness.
Support the Healing Power of the Body
The practice of naturopathic medicine recognizes an ordered and intelligent self-healing process that is inherent to every individual. NDs work to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery and to facilitate this natural self-healing process.
Therapies Used by Naturopathic Doctors
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.
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.
Based on the principle of "like cures like", Homeopathic Medicine uses minute amounts of natural substances to stimulate the self-healing abilities of the body.
A variety of hands-on techniques for the spine, joints and soft tissues, Physical Therapy also includes hydrotherapy and the therapeutic use of light, heat and cold, massage and ultrasound.
Asian Medicine & Acupuncture
Based on balancing the flow of Chi (energy) through the meridian pathways, Asian Medicine includes the use of acupuncture and Oriental herbs.
Physical, emotional, nutritional and environmental factors affect health. Lifestyle Counseling helps patients make informed choices to reach and maintain their optimal health.