When an individual seeks treatment for an illness or condition that is negatively impacting them, they’re hoping to regain complete health and move forward. In the world of Naturopathy, this means restoring balance to the human body, psyche, and structure. It also means taking preventative measures to ensure future wellness.
Naturopathic Medicine is a science-based practice that promotes natural wellness through a personalized approach to each patient. Viewing symptoms and conditions through a holistic lens means that health concerns are not treated in isolation but rather in the context of each patient as a whole. Lifestyle, stress level, diet, medical and personal history, and more are all taken into account in Naturopathy, and treatment plans are highly individualized.
Naturopathy: Alternative or Complementary Medicine
Some patients turn to Naturopathic Medicine as a replacement for traditional western Medicine (known as Alternative Medicine), but many also seek Naturopathic treatments to complement the medical advice they’ve received from healthcare professionals such as M.D.s. This is commonly known as Complementary Medicine.
Because Naturopathic Medicine is rooted in science but draws on knowledge from a variety of traditional practices and philosophies, it can effectively span what sometimes feels like an almost impossible divide between western and alternative Medicine.
When a patient comes to a Naturopathic Doctor for treatment, they’re unlikely to be written a single prescription or given just one road to recovery. Whether designed to complement advice from a medical doctor or to stand alone, an individualized naturopathic treatment plan typically involves multiple therapies, each with its own purposes and benefits.
Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
To understand why the use of multiple therapies is common in Naturopathic Medicine, it’s helpful to first take a look at the foundational principles of the practice.
- First, Do No Harm – Naturopathic treatment uses therapies that are gentle, non-invasive, and do not have harmful or symptom-suppressing side effects.
- The Healing Power of Nature – The human body has an inherent ability to maintain and restore health; Naturopathic doctors facilitate this process by removing obstacles to cure and identifying natural treatments to enhance healing.
- Identify and Treat the Cause – Symptom management may be important, but Naturopathic Medicine aims to get at the underlying cause of the symptoms. This may involve treating mental and emotional root causes as well as physical ones.
- Doctor as Teacher – A Naturopathic doctor educates, empowers, and motivates patients to maintain wellness in many ways, including diet, attitude, lifestyle, and more.
- Treat the Whole Person – As mentioned above, Naturopathic Medicine focuses on treating the person rather than the disease or symptoms. Even for two patients with the same symptoms, Naturopathic treatments may vary.
- Prevention – Naturopathy promotes wellness at all times–not just when a person feels sick. Preventative therapies may include diet changes, exercise, psychotherapy, supplements, and other natural treatments.
In a nutshell, Naturopathic Medicine’s principles are built upon a foundation that uses many modalities, treatments, and therapies to promote and maintain wellness.
When you visit a Naturopathic doctor, these are some of the types of therapies you might generally encounter:
- Diet and nutrition recommendations – This could include the elimination of certain foods, consumption of raw foods, the introduction of specific supplements, and much more.
- Behavioral changes – Examples of behavioral changes might relate to diet and lifestyle.
- Homeopathy – Homeopathy is one specific branch of natural Medicine that focuses on the body’s ability to self-heal using highly diluted natural remedies.
- Hydrotherapy – Hydrotherapy involves the use of water to heal the body. It’s often utilized for conditions such as arthritis and can involve saunas, aquatic exercise, immersion therapies, and more.
- Manipulative Therapy – This type of therapy involves the use of pressure on different parts of the body to restore balance.
- Herbal and/or Natural Supplements – These could range from vitamins to injections to teas, infusions, or tinctures. Each supplement has specific benefits and properties associated with it.
- Detoxification – This could include cleansing the body in a variety of ways, such as through the use of herbs, dietary changes, fruit juice therapy, or even colon hydrotherapy.
- Psychotherapy – A naturopathic doctor may also be trained in counseling and have the expertise to work with you in the psychological realm.
Naturopaths may also offer (or refer you to) other complementary therapies such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, Meditation, or others to further enhance your wellness. Naturopathic doctors and other alternative and complementary health practitioners can almost certainly be found near wherever you are located. If you’re seeking a naturopath in Winnipeg or massage therapy in Winnipeg, here are two excellent recommendations.
Different Therapies, Increased Benefits
Naturopathic Medicine draws on the benefits of multiple therapies because of the fundamental belief that no two people are exactly alike. Viewing patients in a holistic manner means accessing a range of different treatments and then combining them to treat each individual patient. Many therapies complement each other and are most effective when intelligently connected for maximum benefit.