Naturopathic doctors use a range of different therapies to address a patient’s physical, mental and emotional health. The therapies used assist the body’s healing response and can be more effective when combined.
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 been, and will continue to be a valuable part of health care. These plants and plant substances are highly effective and safe in the right dosage and when used correctly with other herbs and treatments. Herbs can be prepared in many forms, such as teas, tinctures and capsules. Naturopathic doctors are extensively trained in both the art and science of botanical medicine. Naturopathic doctors are currently the only health care providers in Canada to be regulated for the use of botanical medicine.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and 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 which are inserted into specific meridian points on the body. The practice of acupuncture has been used for over two-thousand years and has proven to be very effective especially for pain relief and chronic illness.
Prevention and Lifestyle Counselling
Mental attitudes and emotional states are important elements in healing and disease. Addressing all aspects of a person’s life, identifying and addressing the effects that stress and life events have on a patient’s health is an important aspect of naturopathic treatment. Naturopathic doctors are trained to counsel patients about diet, lifestyle, specific stressors, exercise and occupational or environmental hazards; counselling is an integral part of the naturopathic treatment program.
Other Natural Therapies
The therapies used by naturopathic doctors varies by practitioner and province. Some naturopathic doctors will have additional training and certification in other therapies.