- What is it?
- What Can I Expect When I Visit A Naturopathic Doctor?
- What Kinds of Health Problems Can Be Treated?
- What Treatments Do NDs Use?
- Is Naturopathic Medicine Safe?
- Is Naturopathic Medicine Scientific?
- How Are NDs Trained?
- Do NDs Specialize?
- What Does It Cost To Visit A Naturopathic Doctor?
- Is Homeopathic Medicine Different?
- Do NDs Interact With Other Health Professionals?
- Why Noumena?
What Is It?
Naturopathic medicine is a unique and comprehensive approach to improving health and treating illness. Using natural substances and treatments, naturopathic doctors (NDs) support and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself.
The primary goal of naturopathic treatment is to address the cause of illness, rather than simply treat or suppress symptoms. The patient is seen as a whole person and the ND takes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions into account when diagnosing and developing a treatment plan.
The primary therapies used by naturopathic doctors are: clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, acupuncture and oriental medicine, physical therapies and counseling.
What Can I Expect When I Visit A Naturopathic Doctor?
The goal of the naturopathic doctor is to understand the patient and all the factors which impact on his/her health. The ND will take an in-depth patient history. In addition, information from a physical exam and laboratory tests may assist in making an assessment and diagnosis.
A personal treatment plan will then be proposed to help facilitate your healing process.
What Kinds of Health Problems Can Be Treated?
Virtually all chronic and most acute conditions may benefit from treatment by naturopathic doctors. People of all ages can be helped. The most common health conditions brought to NDs include:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Allergies & Environmental Illnesses
- Hypertension, Atherosclerosis, Heart Problems
- Digestion, Constipation, IBS
- Eczema, Psoriasis, Acne
- Cystitis, Prostatitis, Impotence
- Colds and Flu
- Ear and Throat Infections
- Intestinal Upset
- Menopausal Problems
- PMS, Menstrual Disorders
- Fibrocystic Breast Disease
- Enhancing Health in Pregnancy
- Endometrioses, Uterine Fibroids
- Mental or Emotional Stress
- Anxiety, Depression
- Attention Deficit Disorder
What Treatments Do NDs Use?
Clinical nutrition examines the relationship between diet and health. Special diets may be recommended, and treatment may include nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other nutraceuticals.
Botanical (Herbal) Medicine
The use of plants for healing dates back to the beginnings of civilization and is the foundation of modern pharmacology. Plant substances from around the world are used for their healing effects and nutritional value.
Based on the principle of “like cures like” homeopathic medicine was developed in the 1700s. Minute amounts of natural substances are used to stimulate the body’s self-healing abilities.
A variety of hands-on techniques for the spine, joints and soft tissues. Physical treatments also include hydrotherapy and the therapeutic use of heat and cold, light, massage and ultrasound.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Based on balancing the flow of Chi (energy) through meridian pathways. Oriental medicine includes the use of acupuncture and Oriental herbs.
Physical, emotional, nutritional and environ-mental factors affect health. NDs help patients to make effective lifestyle choices.
Is Naturopathic Medicine Safe?
The safety record for naturopathic medicine is excellent. This makes sense given the emphasis on non-toxic, natural source medicines and gentle, non-invasive treatments. Side effects are rare and NDs are knowledgeable about contraindications between naturopathic remedies and conventional medicines.
In addition, NDs are trained to recognize conditions which are outside their scope of practice and to refer to other health practitioners when it is appropriate to do so.
Is Naturopathic Medicine Scientific?
Thousands of modern clinical studies have validated a variety of natural medicines used by NDs: Echinacea for the immune system and St. John’s Wort for depression are just two examples. Naturopathic schools encourage and facilitate research. Dr. Orest Szczurko is actively working with the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medidcine, designing and conducting clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of Naturopathic treatments.
It is important to note that, since most naturopathic remedies are not patentable, manufacturers find little financial incentive in costly scientific studies. Thus, funding from independent sources is essential for scientific validation of naturopathic treatments.
How Are NDs Trained?
NDs take a minimum of three years premedical studies at university, followed by four years at a recognized college of naturopathic medicine. The education encompasses basic medical sciences, naturopathic principles and therapeutics, and 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience. There are four recognized schools of naturopathic medicine in North America:
- The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto)
- Bastyr University (Seattle)
- National College of Naturopathic Medicine (Portland)
- Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (Scottsdale)
Graduates from these institutions receive a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) degree or diploma.
In regulated (or licensed) provinces and states across North America, graduates must also pass rigorous standardized exams to qualify for practice. In Canada, NDs are regulated in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Legislation is pending in Alberta and Nova Scotia.
Do NDs Specialize?
Many NDs take additional postgraduate training in specific therapies and focus their practices on those treatments. The most common areas are nutrition, homeopathic medicine, acupuncture and botanical medicine. In some jurisdictions NDs may obtain post-graduate certification in the use of intravenous therapies including ozone and chelation. Patients should check with individual NDs to find out more about the focus of their practice.
What Does It Cost To Visit A Naturopathic Doctor?
Fee schedules vary somewhat depending on the length of visit.
While the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) does not cover Naturopathic Doctors, visits to a Naturopath are paid for by most health insurance plans provided by employers. Potential patients are encouraged to verify that their policy includes coverage of naturopathic services.
Is Homeopathic Medicine Different?
Homeopathic medicine is one of the therapies that naturopathic doctors integrate into a total treatment program. A homeopathic practitioner, however, would use only a homeopathic approach. Naturopathic doctors are the only health care professionals trained in homeopathy as part of their standard educational program and examined in homeopathy for registration (or licensing) purposes.
Do NDs Interact With Other Health Professionals?
Naturopathic treatments are often combined with conventional medical treatments. It is becoming more common to find NDs working with other health professionals for the good of the patient. NDs also refer patients to other practitioners including medical doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists and midwives.
The concept of the noumenon was described by the great philosopher Immanuel Kant, who defined it “an object as it is in itself, independent of the mind”. This is opposed to aphenomenon, which is an object “as perceived by the senses”. Noumena are elusive because in the simple the act of seeing or perceiving them, our mind interprets what the eyes tell us and applies prior knowledge to label, categorize and attempt to understand them.
In our clinic, we strive to find the root cause of illness, without projecting any preconceived interpretations or labels on the patient. We see each individual as unique, with a rich history leading up to the presenting ailment. Our thorough and deliberate approach enables us to uncover underlying causes and treat not just symptoms, but more importantly the physiological or lifestyle processes which cause illness.