Naturopathic treatments are holistic in nature and are selected to treat the individual’s presenting condition, taking into consideration particular symptoms and overall health status. The body of knowledge that underlies the treatments provided by Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) incorporates both traditional knowledge and the latest advances in medical science. NDs are trained in the integration of the following tools briefly described below:
This is the cornerstone of naturopathic practice, which examines the relationship between nutrition and wellness. More than ever before, we are recognizing that inadequacies in the nutritional content we are consuming is resulting in disease. Naturopathic application of clinical nutrition involves the use of nutritional substances for the prevention and treatment of disease, as well as the correction of dietary inadequacies for the promotion of wellness.
Plant substances have been utilized safely and effectively for centuries in the prevention and treatment of disease. Their clinical uses and effects are described in detail in traditional literature dating back to the beginnings of civilization demonstrating the safe and effective use of many botanical medicines over generations. They are the foundation upon which modern pharmacology is based on, and the foundation upon which new scientific research is being explored. Though “natural”, botanical medicines also have pharmacological properties that necessitate their appropriate use by a trained healthcare provider.
Also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or Oriental Medicine and acupuncture comprise a unique system that has been in use for 5,000 years for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. It is based on balancing the flow of chi (energy) through the meridians of the body. This system employs unique methods for evaluating the flow and balance of energy in the body, and includes the specialized use of Oriental herbs and acupuncture. Naturopathic doctors are trained to use this system when indicated as part of an integrated approach with Western diagnostic methods.
Homeopathic medicine was originally developed during the 18th century by German physician Dr. Samuel Hahnemann and is widely used throughout the world. It is based on the principle of “like cures like” whereby minute amounts of substances prepared and prescribed according to strict homeopathic principles are used to evoke a physiological and/or psychological response to stimulate the innate self-healing abilities of the body. The practice of homeopathic medicine includes a unique and detailed method of case taking and analysis, and an in-depth knowledge of homeopathic materia medica (remedies).
Physical Therapy or Mechanotherapy
Mechanotherapy, or hands-on therapy, includes both the manipulation and mobilization of the joints of the spine and extremities, as well as other physical and mechanical techniques applied to connective tissue. This modality has been part of naturopathic medicine since the turn of the century and is used in conjunction with one or more naturopathic modalities. Naturopathic medicine has traditionally utilized a wide variety of physical modalities for the treatment of pain and to stimulate circulation and healing. These may include heat/cold, light, ultraviolet and infrared, electrical pulsation, magnetic field, therapeutic ultrasound, diathermy, interferential, cold laser, hydrotherapy, colon therapy, traction, massage and exercise.
Lifestyle Counselling, Modification and Public Health
A tenet of naturopathic medicine is that emotional health and physical health are interdependent. Naturopathic practice includes the integrated use of counseling techniques along with stress management and biofeedback when indicated. Contamination of food, water or the local environment, and extremes in diet can cause a significant risk for the patient. NDs are trained to help patients make informed choices to reach and maintain optimal health in response to the physical, emotional, nutritional and environmental factors that affect well-being.
Additional therapies may be offered by Naturopathic Doctors for which they have received additional training.