The practice of naturopathic medicine is of broad scope. We are trained in many modalities, which include Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Botanical Medicine, Chiropractic Manipulation, Nutrition, Hydrotherapy, and Holistic Counseling.
Each patient is unique and each case starts by keeping in mind that the body has a strong innate ability to heal. To heal the patients in a holistic manner, one must first find the root cause(s). This is done by thorough investigative work-up. As a result, the most effective and appropriate modality (or combination of modalities) is then chosen to help the patients, and to guide them through their healing process.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine that are our guiding compass:
First, Do No Harm (Primum non nocere)
Gentle and non-invasive therapies are chosen, which support the innate healing ability of the body rather than suppress disease; insight and awareness of how ones lifestyle choices and environment affect ones health.
The Healing Power of Nature (Vis medicatrix naturae)
This reiterates the body’s inherent healing ability to focus on strengthening and stimulating the body and mind, thus reducing susceptibility to disease.
Identify and Treat the Cause (Tolle causam)
The primary aim is to identify, address, and remove if possible the underlying cause(s) of disease. This can at times be a stepwise process, whereby each layer must be addresses before finally reaching the root cause(s) of disease. When there is a disruption in the balance the body tries to compensate and can ultimately manifests as symptoms. Going back to the time of the initial disruption will give clues in determining the specific trigger, event, or behaviour that needs to be addressed.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
Education is empowerment. It allows one to take responsibility of their health into their own hands. Unbiased advice specific to the health needs of each individual whether it is pertaining to nutrition, environment, exercise, state of mind, hygiene, etc. – all of which impact health and healing.
Treat the Whole Person
The body, mind, and spirit are inseparable and do not work in isolation. There is complex interaction that science has not yet fully ascertained but cannot be ignored. Because there is such interconnectedness a naturopath must address all aspect of each individual with regards to the environment, family history, genetics, lifestyle, emotions, nutritional status, and other factors.
Disease Prevention and Promotion of Wellness
Based on the thorough overall assessment of each individual a naturopath increases ones awareness to take a proactive stance on ones health. This health approach prevents development of disease in future based on risk factors, susceptibility, and lifestyle. It can also prevent a minor illness from developing into more severe chronic disease.
Resource for more information:
Lloyd, Iva. The History of Naturopathic Medicine, A Canadian Perspective. McArthur & Company: Toronto, 2009.