Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. It is based on the healing power of nature and it supports and stimulates the body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine is the art and science of disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention using natural therapies including: botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation, traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, lifestyle counselling and health promotion and disease prevention.
HOW DOES NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE COMPARE TO CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE?
Both are doctors, both provide primary care and both are similarly trained. The primary differences between naturopathic and conventional medicine are the philosophical approach and the therapies used. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) treat patients as individuals by addressing the physical, environmental, lifestyle, attitudinal, and emotional aspects of health. This allows naturopathic doctors to find and treat the cause of the disease using a variety of therapies. Conventional doctors generally address and treat the symptoms of disease and use pharmaceutical therapies or surgery.
Scientists are now starting to identify some of the physiological mechanisms at work, and there’s evidence that the insertion of needles into designated acupuncture points induces neurological responses, which can affect sensation (i.e., pain), muscle tissue (i.e., spasm, strain) as well as autonomic function (i.e., digestion, sleep). Electrical stimulation of the needles is also used to increase effects on the nervous system. These signals may increase the flow of endorphins and opiates and other pain-relieving chemicals, as well as immune system cells, which aid healing.
WHAT CAN NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE DO FOR YOU?
Naturopathic medicine treats all health concerns for all ages from acute to chronic and physical to psychological. Naturopathic medicine is beneficial for the following types of patients:
-Patients that are looking for disease prevention and health promotion strategies.
-Patients that have a range of symptoms that they have been unable to address on their own or with the help of other medical practitioners.
-Patients that have been diagnosed with an illness, often serious or chronic and are looking for treatment options. Naturopathic medicine is very effective for improving quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses.
-Patients that are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects of drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.Patients that have a range of symptoms that they have been unable to address on their own or with the help of other medical practitioners.
-Patients that are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects of drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.
NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE TODAY
Today, more people than ever before are seeking and benefiting from naturopathic medical care and the number of naturopathic doctors is growing at record rates to accommodate this increased demand. Currently there are naturopathic doctors practicing in every province and all but one territory in Canada. The more than 2,400 naturopathic doctors across the country continue to be an emerging answer to Canada’s health care concerns.
Naturopathic doctors are experiencing greater recognition as health care practitioners and as experts in the field of natural and preventive medicine. They provide leadership in natural medical research and are enjoy increasing politically activity at the federal, provincial and territorial levels. Positions for naturopathic doctors are opening up in hospitals, multi-disciplinary clinics and specialized health centres across Canada.
In Canada there are five provinces and one territory that have naturopathic regulations: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Northwest Territory. The Naturopathic Doctors Act of 2008 grants title protection for naturopathic doctors in the province of Nova Scotia. Almost of the other provinces and territories in which there are naturopathic doctors are also in the process of seeking regulation.