What Is Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine is a unique discipline of clinical sciences that merges the modern medical diagnostic tools, with evidence-based as well as time-proven holistic treatments.
The role of a naturopath is to help the patient establish the conditions for health by addressing the fundamental cause of illness, rather than just addressing the symptoms that are present.
Our integrative approach to medicine blends training from biomedical sciences, botanical medicine, nutritional science and Traditional Chinese medicine, to accurately diagnose and effectively treat your health based on your individual health.
Not only do naturopathic doctors offer alternative medical solutions to conventional approaches, they also offer treatments that can work alongside your current medical prescriptions.
What to Expect
The goal of our naturopathic doctors is to thoroughly assess our patients through an in-depth clinical intake and necessary diagnostic testing. Safe and effective treatment plans are developed to address the whole person (their mental-emotional, physical and spiritual attributes) through individualized care.
Many of these treatments include a combination of botanical medicine, clinical nutrition and nutraceuticals, traditional chinese medicine, physical medicine and if and when indicated, pharmaceutical treatments. Dietary and lifestyle modifications provide the foundation to which all other treatments are built upon.
Naturopathic doctors require a 4-year undergraduate degree including prerequisite medical sciences from an accredited university, before applying to a four year post graduate program at a CNME accredited naturopathic college.
During and after their 4 years of study, naturopathic doctors are required to write two sets of board exams administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE), before they are able to register for their license. Our naturopathic doctors are licensed and regulated by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario. Naturopathic medicine is not covered by provincial healthcare but is recognized and covered by most benefit plans.
In Ontario, Naturopathic doctors have been granted a broad scope of practice. Both our naturopaths have obtained the rights to prescribe a number of prescription-only substances such as bio-identical hormones and injectable therapies after attending rigorous training and passing an examination on pharmacology and pharmaceutical prescribing.
Botanical medicine, or phytotherapy, is a powerful and gentle form of medicine, that has been around as long life has inhabited the Earth. Botanicals were the first “drugs” used to treat many conditions in humans and animals alike. Each plant has its own unique medicinal properties specific to re-establishing balance to the body and its specific organ systems.
Most modern pharmaceuticals are based on the medicinal action of a plant, but they are only isolated, synthetic derivatives of the “active ingredient” within the plant. This single ingredient is widely known to produce unwanted side effects as a pharmaceutical drug, which in the long run may cause more harm than good. The side effects of the active ingredient still exists within the whole botanical plant, but much like the human body, whole plants are a unique system of balance (homeostasis).
With this active ingredient, the plant also contains ingredients specifically there to counteract these side effects, as well as other ingredients to enhance the action of the active ingredient. Other plants can also be implemented to enhance the positive action of the primary plant, while counteracting the side effects. Following the whole body approach of naturopathic medicine, botanicals are used to treat the root cause of the many health conditions.
There are a wide variety of ways one could take a plant, such as alcohol, or aqueous-based tinctures, herbal teas, powdered capsules, and tablet forms. Naturopathic doctors are extensively trained in the use, dosage and type of botanicals, indicated for your condition.
The health of our body is dependent on what we feed it – our body is designed to pull out every single bit of nutritional content from food and utilize it for basic functioning. That being said, putting unhealthy foods provides our body with low quality fuel, causing our bodies to become deficient in numerous vitamins and minerals needed for daily functioning.
These deficiencies manifest as symptoms people experience everyday, such as headaches, fatigue, poor sleep and poor immune functioning. Our job is to find the root cause of these deficiencies, whether it be from deficiencies in the diet, or pathological causes, such as impaired absorption due to stomach or intestinal conditions.
Naturopathic doctors are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of nutritionally-based conditions, and gastro-intestinal disorders. We will provide patients with full dietary assessments and individualized treatments to optimize the nutritional capacity of your daily diet.
Musculoskeletal ailments are one of the most difficult concerns to live with. The pain from sports and posture-related injuries common in active and non-active individuals make it difficult to get through daily activities, leading to mental and emotional distress.
Naturopathic medicine offers a number of different treatments to help alleviate pain, while finding and treating the root cause of the pain. We utilize all forms of our treatments, from supplements, soft tissue work, to acupuncture to help alleviate pain.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest forms of medicine to date. Its understanding of the human body and the disease process is based on thousands of years of clinical observation and is explained through flows of energy through each organ system. Many disease syndromes discovered through TCM theory parallel diseases discovered and explained by modern science today.
Its principles revolve around the balance between the “Yin and Yang” of the organs; disease occurs when Yin and Yang are imbalanced. Naturopathic medical doctors are trained extensively to recognize imbalances between the organs, Liver, Heart, Spleen, Kidneys and Lungs (and their counterparts) through thorough case-taking and physical examination of tongue and pulse observations.
Treatments are based upon the rebalancing of these organ systems to achieve optimal health. Acupuncture is a system that works both physically and energetically though the insertion of needles to specific points of the body. It has been used for centuries and works through promoting the flow of energy throughout the body.
It can be useful in a number of conditions, such as sleep disorders, anxiety, digestive concerns, fatigue, fertility, and even the common cold. It is also useful in musculoskeletal health, from relieving minor muscle tension, to more serious conditions, such as sciatica and back pain.