Naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine, is an alternative holistic healthcare system that utilizes natural remedies and treatments to assist and sustain the body’s natural healing abilities. Naturopathic physicians seek to bring about resolution of illness or disease through the least intrusive methods possible while supporting and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. The philosophy of naturopathy maintains that the first step is to understand the whole person; mind, body and spirit, to use a wide range of natural methods and therapies to heal any illnesses, and to educate people in order to prevent disease and maintain optimal health.
With a focus on natural self-healing, naturopathic doctors will utilize a number of modalities in their treatments. These vary depending on the instruction and training they received, along with the extent of their individual practice. All naturopathic medicine practices, however, emphasize prevention of illness or disease through adopting a healthy nutritional and lifestyle pattern as well as reduction of stress, while minimizing the use of drugs and surgery. The variety of therapies and techniques employed by naturopathic doctors include the following:
- Nutritional Counseling
- Vitamins and Supplements
- Herbal Medicine
- Heat or Cold
- Fresh Air and Sunshine
- Chelation Therapy
- Colonic Enemas
- Meditation and Relaxation Techniques
- Hair and Stool Analysis
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Applied Kinesiology
- Lifestyle Counseling
- Stress Management
A “team effort” and a focus on individual empowerment is a critical element in naturopathic medicine; you will be an active participant in your health plan, making changes where necessary with regards to your diet, exercise and sleep patterns.
The Naturopathic Consultation
The first visit to a naturopathic physician will usually begin with an in-depth discussion to gain a thorough picture of you as a whole person; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This consultation will focus on your lifestyle, diet, medical history, stress levels, any physical complaints and a physical examination, which may include blood work or other laboratory testing. Any diagnosis will require a naturopath to consider all aspects of your life, with treatment focused on lifestyle changes and approaches that support the body's innate healing potential.
Principles of Naturopathy
Established and supported from the tenets of traditional medicine and science, there are six enduring principles that are the basis of a naturopathic practice.
- First, do no harm. Provide each patient with the most effective health care available using minimal-risk procedures and natural remedies, tailoring each treatment plan to each patient.
- Allow for natural healing. Discover, respect, nurture and promote the self-healing power naturally inherent in each person.
- Identify and treat causes. Find the root cause of the illness rather than eliminating or suppressing symptoms.
- Educate. Teach, encourage and inspire patients to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing.
- Treat the whole person. Consider all individual health factors and influences that impact health and include these factors in a customized treatment plan.
- Promote health through prevention. Prevent illness and disease by emphasizing and promoting a healthy lifestyle for greater well-being.
By having thorough involvement in the complexity of each patient, seeing them as a whole person and not as a symptom or disease, a naturopathic doctor (ND) will create a complete, all-inclusive health plan to not only treat illness, but to also promote health and wellbeing.
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Carina Bachman / CrystalSpringsHealing.com