What is naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine promotes wellness and the prevention of illness or disease. Naturopathic doctors integrate standard medical diagnostics such as blood work and imaging studies with a broad range of natural therapies. Naturopathic medicine treatments can be used on their own or together with conventional medicine.

Naturopathic medicine aims to address the root causes of illness. It supports the body’s own ability to heal using treatments and prevention techniques that include acupuncture/Asian medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine (such as massage and hydrotherapy), clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, and lifestyle counselling.


Who is it for?

Naturopathic medicine is for people of all ages and health histories who want to take their health into their own hands. NDs are health care providers and are qualified to see and treat everyone, though some NDs specialize in specific areas, such as cancer care, sports medicine, digestive health, pain management, etc.


What conditions do naturopathic doctors commonly treat?

Naturopathic doctors manage a variety of conditions, including:

·      Digestive complaints such as GERD, IBS, IBD, constipation, food intolerances

·      Stress management

·      Respiratory complaints, such as allergies, asthma, colds and flus

·      Depression and anxiety

·      Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia

·      Hormone problems, for example, acne, infertility, menstrual complaints

·      Pain management, for example, arthritis, and sports injuries

·      Diabetes (Type 2)

·      Cardiovascular diseases such as cholesterol and blood pressure


What will my treatments be like?

Every person will get an individualized treatment plan catered specifically to their needs. No two people are exactly alike, and so no two treatments are exactly the same. Your treatments will depend on your specific current health concerns, your general health history, your tolerances and intolerances, and what you have the ability to do at home as well as in the office.

Sometimes people with longstanding chronic conditions require more time in order to see improvements in their conditions. Because naturopathic medicine aims to address the source of a condition, rather than simply applying a band-aid fix, you may need to be patient to see results. Feel free to ask your ND questions about your treatment plan and prognosis; getting healthier is a team effort.


What kind of training do NDs have?

Naturopathic doctors are highly educated. Students complete a four-year full-time program after graduating from a university undergraduate program. The naturopathic medical program encompasses basic medical sciences (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, etc), naturopathic principles and therapeutics and 1200 hours of supervised clinical experience. Graduates must pass two sets of provincial licensing board exams and maintain ongoing continuing education.


What is a naturopathic appointment or visit like?

A visit typically runs 30-60 minutes in length. Naturopathic visits are designed to allow time to establish a detailed understanding of the patient’s history, contributing factors, current health status and treatment progress. They include physical exams, laboratory and diagnostic testing, as needed, and treatments.


Naturopathic doctors are guided by six fundamental healing principles:

·      First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.

·      To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.

·      To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.

·      To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment protocols to the patient.

·      To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.

·      To support the healing power of the body, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body’s inherent self-healing process.