Help in Understanding Naturopathic Medicine
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is the art and science of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease using natural therapies that support the body’s ability to heal. It focuses on optimizing health and well-being through individualized patient care and public education.
In plainer terms, naturopathic medicine is the drug-free, non-invasive, and all-encompassing approach to disease and other ailments. With the increasing positive research on natural healing methods and the high levels of success naturopathic medicine has so far achieved, more than ever people are turning to alternative health care practices in order to facilitate and maintain complete well-being.
These effective treatments can help you go beyond conventional medical processes so that you may discover and remedy the source of your problems rather than simply alleviate the symptoms. This is the goal of a naturopathic doctor in order to assist your body in naturally rediscovering its ability to heal properly.
Naturopathic doctors can diagnose and treat almost all acute and chronic conditions. Some of the more common ailments include digestive problems, IBS, allergies and food sensitivities, arthritis, skin conditions, fibromyalgia, colds and flu, headaches, women’s conditions such as PMS, menopausal problems, endometriosis and uterine fibroids, men’s stress, insomnia, and ADHD. Enhancing and maintaining optimal health during pregnancy is also a concern of NDs.
NDs must complete 3 years of pre-med university education, followed by a comprehensive 4-year naturopathic medical program at a recognized naturopathic college. The program incorporates basic medical sciences, clinical sciences, naturopathic therapies, and 1500 hours of supervised clinical experience.
What can I expect when I first visit an ND?
You will be asked to complete intake forms with questions designed to give the ND a well-rounded profile about you, including diet, emotions, stress, and exercise. All information given is confidential. During the initial consult, the ND will discuss with you your medical and family health history, as well as your current issues. A non-invasive physical exam will also be completed, as well as a test that measures, among other things, your hydration levels, your weight to height ratio, metabolic rate, and the toxicity of your cells. It may also be necessary to conduct blood and urine tests. The initial consultation lasts between 1 and 1.5 hours and can be at least partially covered by most extended health care plans. We accept cash, cheque, debit, MasterCard, and VISA forms of payment.
How often would I need to visit an ND?
It all depends on the needs of the patient, the extent of the problem, and the type of treatment involved. If acupuncture or Bowen is needed, weekly visits may be necessary for up to 6–8 weeks. Otherwise, follow-up visits occur from 1–6 months.
Can I see an ND if I already see a medical doctor and if I take prescription drugs?
Yes. NDs study pharmacology and the interactions between drugs, herbs, and botanicals. NDs will work with your medical doctor(s) to provide you with the best care possible.
Are naturopathic visits and treatments covered by OHIP?
Most extended health care insurance plans have coverage for naturopathic medicine. If you are not sure, contact your insurance company to find out what services are included in your plan. With your support it may be covered by OHIP in the near future, since alternative health treatments are becoming increasingly recognized.
Why should I get my vitamins and minerals and other supplements from a naturopathic doctor instead of a drugstore or grocery store?
The quality of the products you buy at a grocery store or drugstore is often quite less than what you will purchase at a naturopathic office. Generally, the more you pay, the higher the quality of the product and the more effective it will be. It is important that oils and herbal preparations in particular are good quality, because the quality can vary significantly between brands. Poor-quality oils can easily go rancid or contain heavy metals (you should keep your oils in the fridge, whether in liquid or capsule form), and herbs must be properly extracted to contain the maximum active ingredient.