The range of modalities used by Naturopathic Doctors allows them to develop treatment plans that address not only the physical aspect of a person, but the mental and emotional aspects as well. Naturopathic therapies are all based on the same principles, they all assist the body’s healing response, and they are often more effective when combined. The naturopathic therapies used vary by practitioner and by province.
Nutrition and the therapeutic use of foods is a cornerstone of Naturopathic medicine. Food intolerances, deficiencies, dietary imbalances or nutritional excesses have been associated with many medical conditions. A Naturopathic Doctor is trained to understand the impact that your diet is having on your health. With appropriate dietary modification and nutritional supplements health concerns can be treated with fewer complications and side effects.
Medicinal plants have always been, and will continue to be a valuable part of health care. Plants and plant substances are highly effective and safe used in the proper dosage and/or used correctly with other herbs and treatments. Herbs can be prepared in many forms – teas, tinctures or capsules. Naturopathic Doctors are extensively trained in the art and science of botanical medicine. Naturopathic Doctors are one of only two practitioner groups in Canada currently licensed to use botanical medicine.
This powerful system of medicine is more than 200 years old and is widely accepted in many countries. Homeopathic remedies are made from specific dilutions of plant, animal and mineral substances. When carefully matched to the patient they are able to affect the body’s “vital force” and to stimulate the body’s innate healing forces on both the physical and emotional levels, with few side effects. Some conditions that do not respond well to conventional medicine respond effectively to homeopathy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine / Acupuncture
The key principle that defines and connects all of Chinese medicine is that of Chi, or vital energy. The chi of all organs must be in balance, neither too active nor too dormant, for a person to be healthy. The chi of the body’s organs and systems are all connected in meridians or channels that lie just under the skin. A Naturopathic Doctor will use Eastern herbs and acupuncture to assist the body in regulating the Chi and achieving balance. Acupuncture is the use of very thin needles inserted into specific meridian points. The practice of acupuncture has been around for over two thousand years and has proven to be very effective especially for pain relief and chronic illness.
Physical medicine offers treatment for many different health concerns. Treatments can include soft tissue work (including therapeutic massage), naturopathic manipulation of muscle, bone or the spine, hydrotherapy techniques, gentle electrical impulses, ultrasound, diathermy, and exercise therapy.
Prevention and Lifestyle Counseling
Mental attitudes and emotional states are important elements in disease and healing. Identifying and addressing the impact that stress and life events have on a patient’s health is an important aspect of naturopathic treatment. Naturopathic Doctors are trained to counsel on diet, lifestyle, specific stressors, exercise and occupational or environmental hazards as an integral part of the naturopathic treatment program.
In addition to the above, some naturopathic doctors will have advanced education and certification in additional therapies such as: