What is Naturopathy?
Naturopathy, also known as Naturopathic Medicine, is a field of “natural” or “alternative” medicine that is founded on the belief that the body has the ability to heal and maintain itself. The philosophy is that imbalances in diet, exercise, mental health and other factors are the cause of most diseases and as such are important factors in the treatments recommended. True naturopathic medicine is a drug-free medical treatment. Instead, “Naturopaths” use diet, vitamin supplements, herbs, acupuncture (oriental medicine), homeopathy, detoxification programs, lifestyle counseling and other natural remedies to bring about health physically and emotionally.
Naturopathic medicine uses wholistic (meaning whole body), and holistic (meaning natural) approaches to restore health. We prefer methods that are not invasive, and address the underlying reason for the health challenge.
Most patients see a Naturopath because they want to take greater control of their health, or they are tired of taking medications and are looking for an alternative. Yet there is some concern that a Naturopathic physician will make a patient go off their medications. This is not generally the case. The preference is to get the patient well, then the need for the medication goes away. It is a process that takes time and work on the part of both the practitioner and the patient, but the results are well worth it!
According to the American Cancer Society, naturopathy is “a complete alternative care system that uses a wide range of approaches such as nutrition, herbs, manipulation of the body, exercise, stress reduction, and acupuncture.”
The concept of Naturopathy is that nature is the healing power, and to be able to heal a patient, we must empower people to make the lifestyle changes necessary to obtain and maintain vital health. We treat the body, not just the pathogen or "broken parts". We treat the underlying deficiencies or excesses that contribute to the symptoms, not just the symptoms themselves. In short, we treat YOU, not your disease.
We are able to ascertain what went wrong by a comprehensive interview process that takes into consideration past and present medical history, lifestyle, stressors, environmental exposures, diet, supplement history, family history, exercise, etc. Then with a combination of physical exam and testing, along with oral findings and any labs or other reports presented, are able to establish what may be needed to help restore health.
This could include dietary changes (which we will gladly help you through), nutritional supplements, exercise recommendations, acupuncture treatments, detoxification, bowel habit counseling, stress reduction suggestions, herbal treatments, massage, chiropractic or anything else needed. When any of these modalities are not available in the office, you will be referred out to do them (such as chiropractic).
We are often asked what conditions a Naturopathic Physician can treat. Well, they treat anything from acute conditions such as a common cold or ear infection to more chronic conditions such as an immune deficiency condition, cardiovascular health, asthma, arthritis, migraines, sequele of stroke or other brain injury... the list is endless. We don't treat the disease name, per se. We treat the condition in the body that set the stage for the disease to occur.
We are also asked about cancer. There is much we can do to support a person through their cancer treatment of choice. Many tools are available to help strengthen the immune system, mitigate adverse symptoms, and support the healing process. Some come to us towards the end of their life with the goal of improving the quality of their life until the end.
The benefit of Naturopathic training is that there are such a variety of tools at our disposal that we are able to treat a myriad of different conditions with satisfying results. It is the most wholistic (whole) method of health care available today.
Naturopathic medicine”. American Cancer Society. 01 Nov 08. http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/ MindBodyandSpirit/naturopathic-medicine. Retrieved 20 Nov 10.
Frey, Rebecca (April 1). “Naturopathic medicine”. Encyclopedia of Medicine. Gale (Cengage). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g2601/is_0009/ai_2601000954. Retrieved 20 Nov 10.
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At Vital Health we help people find clarity regarding the root causes of their health challenges and provide step-by-step guidance on what to do, and when to do it, in order to restore health naturally.