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AN INTRODUCTION TO NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE

By: Dr. Sushma Shah - Naturopathic Doctor

What Is Naturopathy

NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE

Naturopathic medicine or "nature cure" is a system of primary health care that aims to treat the root cause of the problem. It is also a way of life and a concept of healing employing various natural means of treating symptoms and the root cause of symptoms. Naturopathic medicine helps in treating and preventing disease.

It is a distinct system of medicine that stresses:

  • Health maintenance.

  • Disease prevention.

  • Patient education and patient responsibility - in contrast to the currently dominant system that emphasizes treatment of disease.

  • It is a philosophy of life, health and disease.

  • Naturopathic medicine is "vitalistic" in approach.

  • Symptoms represent a constructive phenomenon that is the best response the organism can muster, given the circumstances.

  • The role of the naturopathic physician then is to understand and aid the bodyís efforts to heal from within.

As Sir Lust puts it: Naturopathy stands for the reconciling, harmonizing, and unifying of nature, humanity and God. Fundamentally therapeutic because men need healing; Elementally educational because men need teaching; Ultimately inspirational because men need empowering, it encompasses the realm of human progress and destiny.

HISTORY OF NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE

Naturopathy is a hybrid word, and was first coined in 1895 by Dr. John scheel of New York city, to describe his method of health care. The term began with the teachings and the concepts of Sir Benedict Lust (mostly hydrotherapy and nature cure traditions).

1900 - 1917 - convergence of American dietetic, hygienic, physical culture, spinal manipulation, mental and emotional healing and homeopathic systems.

1918 - 1937 - Great public interest and support, philosophical basis and scope of therapies encompass botanical, homeopathic and environmental medicine.

1938 - 1970 - Suppression and decline due to the growth of political and social dominance of allopathic medicine, combined with the infatuation with technology and miracle drugs, and surgical procedures.

1971 - present - Naturopathic medicine reemerges due to growing awareness of health promotion, prevention of disease and concern for the environment.

PRINCIPLES OF NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE

  1. Primum non nocere - DO NOT HARM, effective health care with the least risk for all patients; naturopathic physicians prefer non invasive treatments that minimize the risks of harmful side effects.


  2. Vis medicatrix naturae - HEALING POWER OF NATURE, respect and promote self-healing; nature acts powerfully through the healing mechanisms in the body and mind to maintain and restore health. Naturopathic physicians work to restore and support these inherent healing systems when they have broken down, by using methods, medicines, and techniques that are in harmony with the natural processes.


  3. Tolle causum - TREAT THE CAUSE, identify and remove causes, avoid suppression of symptoms. Every illness has an underlying cause, often in aspects of lifestyles, diet or habits of the individual.


  4. Docere - DOCTOR AS TEACHER, educate the patients, inspire rational hope, encourage self-responsibility. A principle objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self responsibility of health. The physician also recognizes and employs the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.


  5. Treat the whole person - each person is unique with their own factors effecting their health. Health or disease comes from a complex interaction of physical, emotional, dietary, genetic, environmental, lifestyle and other factors. Naturopathic physicians TREAT THE WHOLE PERSON, taking these factors into account.


  6. Health promotion is best prevention - well-being includes health individually, in the community and globally.


WHAT KINDS OF CONDITIONS IS NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE EFFECTIVE FOR?

Naturopathic Medicine is effective for all ages and most health conditions and symptoms. The naturopathic approach to health care helps to prevent adn treat minor illness from developing into more serious or chronic degenerative diseases. Patients are taught the principles with which to live by a healthy life; by following these principles they can prevent major illnesses. Therefore naturopathic medicine is useful for almost every illness, depending on the stage of the illness. Our Naturopathic clinic offers various health programs for various different health issues.

WHAT KIND OF LABORATORY TESTING DO NATUROPATHS DO?

Naturopathic doctors have access to a wide number of laboratories which include the standard and specialized blood, urine and stool testing.

We offer cutting edge specialized medical testing to aid in the early diagnosis/ detection of disease and the quantification of the processes that usually precede clinical disease.

SOME OF THE SPECIALIZED TESTING INCLUDES:

- Comprehensive digestive stool testing for digestion and parasites
- Tests to measure the acidity of the stomach
- Intestinal permeability assessment for leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome and others.
- Food allergy testing
- Hair mineral analysis
- Liver detoxification function
- Specialized hormonal panels - for thyroid hormones, ovulation, among others.

THERAPIES USED FOR TREATMENT

  • Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine - combination of acupuncture with use Seirin needles (the finest needles available), individual diets for specific problems and traditional Chinese botanical formulas for diverse conditions especially musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis and pain, various hormonal issues such as infertility and PMS symptoms among others.


  • Botanical Medicine - use of whole plants individually and in combination, as powdered herbs, tinctures, teas, creams and salves for the treatment of a wide variety of symptoms.


  • Clinical Nutrition - INDIVIDUALISED diet changes and supplementation for health promotion and disease treatment.


  • Prevention and Life Style Modification - assessment of risk factors and programs to modify behaviour emphasizing self-responsibility.


  • Homeopathic Medicine - using the "Law of similars" (like cures like). Minute doses of plant, animal and mineral substances are used for the treatment and prevention of various symptoms, especially those that have a mental emotional basis. A very gentle yet very effective way of treatment for various health issues.


  • Hydrotherapy - One of the oldest known therapies that dates back to the seventeenth century. Hydrotherapy uses the healing power of hot and cold water to aid in the treatment of certain physiological dysfunctions of the body and to aid in healing the body faster by increasing circulation and the detoxification process of the body.


  • Naturopathic Manipulation - diverse techniques for correction of musculo-skeletal and neurological conditions.

TRAINING TO BE A NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR

  • The training program is very similar to the conventional medical program with primary differences being in the therapeutic sciences.


  • A licensed and registered ND has received at least 4 years of post- graduate training from an accredited naturopathic medical institution. Admission requirements include at least three years of pre Ė medical sciences at a University.


  • Training includes the basic clinical and medical sciences such as pathology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, and natural therapeutic methods of healing such as those mentioned above, extensive clinical experience and are then subject to 2 sets of licensure examinations from the Naturopathic Practitioners Licensing Examinations and practical examinations from the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy Act.

WHAT DOES MY FIRST VISIT INCLUDE

  • The initial visit usually takes an hour. The goal is to learn as much as possible about the patient through a comprehensive patient history intake, including an assessment of the patientís diet, environment, toxic load, stress, and other aspects of lifestyle.


  • This visit will be followed by a complete physical exam and laboratory tests - standard and specialized, and other standard diagnostic procedures to evaluate the physiologic function of the individual.


  • Diagnosis of the disease is only part of the process; Once a good understanding of the patientís health and disease status is established, the naturopathic doctor and the patient work together to establish a treatment and health promoting program.

"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
THOMAS EDISON

The information on this handout is the property of SUSHMA SHAH N.D., and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease. For any questions, or concerns, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 416 913 4325 (HEAL) or email us at info@naturesintentionsnaturopathy.com


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