Naturopathic Doctors are like Health Detectives. By getting to know your whole story, conducting in-depth physical exams, using lab tests, and analyzing your individual needs, naturopathic doctors help you to attain your ideal health.
In a nutshell, naturopathic medicine combines conventional medical training with traditional natural therapeutics.
Instead of masking symptoms, naturopathic medicine addresses the root cause of your health concerns and helps you solve them.
"What can naturopathic medicine do for me?"
Naturopathic medicine is most commonly used for chronic health concerns, not acute. Although traditionally herbal medicine and hydrotherapy would have been used to treat injuries and acute illnesses, today conventional medicine is considered more effective in this regard.
Typical chronic health concerns that we work with are:
Hormonal (PMS, menopause, adrenal fatigue, thryoid conditons, insomnia)
Gastrointenstinal (irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's Disease/colitis, acid reflux, constipation)
Mental/Emotional (chronic stress, anxiety, depression, mood disorders)
Musculoskeletal (arthritis chronic pain, injury prevention, inflammatory conditions, fibromyalgia)
Cardiovascular (hypertension, palpitations)
Metabolic (diabetes, obesity, nutrition malabsorption)
Immune (autoimmune disease, chronic immune deficiencies)
Skin (eczema, psoriasis, rosacea)
The Naturopathic ToolBox
Naturopathic doctors receive extensive nutritional training in all years of their academic program. They are skilled in determining nutritional requirements/deficiencies, establishing dietary programs, and consulting on general nutritional guidance, including nutritional supplements.
A traditional form of medicine existing for millenia in all corners of the world, botanical medicine utilizes herbs in various preparations, including tinctures, teas, and salves. A safe and cost-effective treatment, botanical medicine is often a first choice amongst patients and practitioners.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
More recently integrated into Naturopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine is still considered a primary system of medicine in China and much of Asia. Using acupuncture, Eastern herbs and a variety of physical modalities, TCM (and especially acupuncture) is now one of the most commonly used alternative therapies in the Western world.
Perhaps the least known naturopathic tool, physical medicine includes hydrotherapy, manipulation and postural correction. Hydrotherapy is a form of healing using a combination of hot and cold water therapies to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive complaints, rheumatism, myalgia, stress/anxiety, and more. Manipulation follows the principles of chiropractic in that it assesses and corrects mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and spine.
In naturopathic medicine, patients are assessed holistically, which includes mental, emotional and spritual status. Physical symptoms are often related to mental/emotional states, or vice versa. Therefore, lifestyle practices are a crucial aspect of one's overall health. Mental/emotional/spiritual health, physical activity, stress management, sleep management, and environmental risks are some of the lifestyle factors naturopathic doctors will counsel patients on.
Over 400 years old, homeopathy originated in Germany and is now used all around the world by millions of people. Using minute doses of plant, animal or mineral constituents, homeopathy follows the principle of "like-cures-like", in that small doses of a substance should cure the symptoms of what a larger dose of that substance would cause.
Naturopathic doctors in Canada are required to complete a minimum of three years of university undergraduate studies, followed by a four-year undergraduate degree in Naturopathic Medicine at one of seven North American accredited colleges. These are the same requirements necessary for admission to conventional medical programs.
The following is an exerpt from the website of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors:
Becoming a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) requires at least seven years of post-secondary academic study. Licensed NDs will have completed a relevant undergraduate degree, followed by four years of rigorous training and practicum at an accredited North American institution for naturopathic medicine. Finally, prospective NDs are required to pass the North American standardized exam called the NPLEX. Naturopathic training includes courses in chemistry, botany, physiology, anatomy, and Asian medicine, just to name a few. Once they become registered professionals, NDs are then required to maintain their competency with ongoing continuing education courses that must be approved by the regulator.
For more information on Naturopathic education and regulations, consult the Resources page.