The journey to optimal wellness requires a multi-faceted approach. Many people consider it standard practice to have a general medical doctor (MD) to consult on health matters, but few realize the importance of having a naturopathic doctor (ND) on their team as well.
The Focus of Naturopathic Medicine
The primary goal of naturopathic medicine is to establish optimal health and disease prevention. It is based on the knowledge that the body has an innate ability to heal when the obstacles to cure are removed and the fundamentals of health are provided.
Naturopathic medicine addresses a person’s health from a holistic perspective – meaning ND’s take not only the physical, but also the mental, emotional, environmental, and spiritual aspects of health into consideration when identifying the root causes of disease.
Naturopathic medicine is about what you change, not what you take.
Why Choose a Naturopathic Doctor?
Both naturopathic doctors and medical doctors are primary care providers with similar training in medical and clinical sciences. The main differences between the two approaches to health care are the length of visits, the types of therapies used, and the philosophical approach to health.
Naturopathic doctors use the least invasive treatments and therapies available to support and stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal. These may include: clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, hydrotherapy, physical medicine, and lifestyle counseling. Many naturopathic doctors have additional training in intravenous and chelation therapy, advanced injection therapies, and conventional prescriptions.
Naturopathic doctors have at least 7 years of post-secondary training. To enter an accredited naturopathic medical college you must have a university degree that includes three years of pre-medical studies. The naturopathic program is a full-time, four-year program. In the first two years, studies primarily focus on medical and clinical sciences similar to those studied by medical doctors. The next two years involve advanced study of medical diagnostics, naturopathic medical therapeutics, and include extensive clinical experience. Graduates receive the title “N.D.” or Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine. Naturopathic doctors are the only health care professionals who have extensive training in natural medicine as well as the ability to diagnose disease using conventional methods.
Health is a lifelong process and it doesn’t happen by chance.
Is Naturopathic Medicine Backed by Research?
In short, yes! Naturopathic medical therapies have a long history of safe, effective use that is supported by strong evidence-based research. For example, nutritional medicine is well supported by carefully designed scientific clinical trials. Many herbal medicines also have an extensive history of traditional use that is validated by current medical research (e.g., turmeric). Furthermore, the direct link between diet, stress, and many health conditions is well documented in scientific journals. The evidence base supporting the safety and effectiveness of naturopathic medicine continues to grow as new scientific findings are included. The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) continues to conduct state-of-the-art research that is regularly published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
The path to healing starts with the same steps as the path to prevention.
One More Reason to Consider Naturopathy
Because YOU matter! Your health matters! You will find in your naturopathic doctor a partner in wellness who strives to understand you as a whole person rather than merely seeing you as a list of isolated symptoms. You are unique, and so your journey towards health and healing will also be unique.
As said by the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, “You don’t have to choose! You’re not turning your back on conventional medicine. We’re a vibrant part of Canada’s health care system – a system that allows for the best of both worlds. Those worlds are complementary. There’s a place for our natural focus…”