Naturopathic medicine

Naturopathic medicine is a primary health care system that blends scientific knowledge with natural and traditional forms of medicine. Naturopathic medicine treats the underlying cause of disease versus focusing on symptoms. In this way, it leads to long lasting health versus temporary symptomatic relief.

Naturopathic treatment will draw from a wide variety of treatment methods (modalities) including naturopathic manipulation, physical medicine, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, homeopathy, and lifestyle counseling.

Clinical Nutrition
Nutrition is a primary modality of naturopathic medicine. Clinical nutrition involves making specific dietary modifications and nutritional supplementation recommendations to treat health concerns. Naturopathic doctors will examine your current diet and make individualized changes according to your needs.

Botanical Medicine
Medicinal plants are highly effective and safe in the right dosage to treat illness and disease. Herbs can be prepared in many forms such as teas, tinctures(alcohol extracts), oils, creams, salves, poultices and capsules.

Traditional Chinese Medicine / Acupuncture
A system of medicine that has been around for over 2,000 years. A Naturopathic Doctor will use dietary advice, Eastern herbs and acupuncture to assist the body in achieving balance. Acupuncture is the use of very thin needles that are inserted into specific points. Acupuncture is effective for chronic illness and pain relief.

Physical Medicine
Naturopathic Doctors utilize various physical medicine treatments. These can include soft tissue work, such as therapeutic massage, naturopathic manipulation of muscle or bone and exercise recommendations. Hydrotherapy techniques are also used and involve contrasting temperatures of water.

Homeopathic Medicine
Homeopathic medicine is more than 200 years old and can safely be used by children and pregnant women. Homeopathic remedies are made from dilutions of various plant, animal and mineral substances. Treatments are chosen on the principle of “like cures like” and when matched to the patient they are able to affect the body’s “vital force” to stimulate the innate healing forces within. This helps to heal the individuals on both the physical and emotional levels with few side effects.

Prevention and Lifestyle Counseling
An individual’s emotional state is an important aspect in healing and disease. A Naturopathic Doctor will address the different aspects of a person’s lifestyle, identifying where changes need to be made. This could involve counseling regarding sleep patterns, specific stressors and exercise.

Training and Regulation
Natur­o­pathic doc­tors undergo rigorous training that requires a minimum of 7 years education. Three years of pre-medical post-­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion is required to enter an accredited naturopathic college. Naturopathic education involves four years of full-time study at an approved col­lege of natur­o­pathic med­i­cine  and includes more than 4,500 hours of classroom training and 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience. In order to qual­ify for licens­ing in Ontario, natur­o­pathic doc­tors must suc­cess­fully com­plete the Natur­o­pathic Physi­cians Licens­ing Exam­i­na­tions (NPLEX), the stan­dard exam­i­na­tion used by all reg­u­lated provinces and states across North America.

Natur­o­pathic doc­tors are also required to earn con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion cred­its on an ongo­ing basis to main­tain their reg­is­tra­tion and good stand­ing with the provin­cial reg­u­la­tory body, the College of naturopaths of Ontario (CONO).

Images courtesy of Praisaeng /