Naturopathic medicine is a natural and holistic form of primary health care. It combines modern scientific knowledge with natural forms of medicine. Treatment practices are based on naturopathy’s six guiding principles: the healing power of nature, identify and treat the cause, first do no harm, treat the whole person, the physician as a teacher, and prevention. Naturopaths aim to determine and treat the underlying cause of disease symptoms.
By addressing the root cause and stimulating the body’s natural healing process, patients often gain a greater understanding and control of their own health. Naturopathic medicine can be used in conjunction with traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of health problems, from allergies to chronic pain. Here are some ways naturopathy might be able to help you:
1. Disease Prevention & Management
There are some risk factors for certain diseases that we have no control over – age and genetics for example. However, there are many things in our lives that we do have the power to change. Lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise play a huge role in our overall health and well-being. The World Health Organization acknowledges the importance of diet in prevention and management of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers1. Naturopaths have an understanding of how our bodies interact with environmental factors and how making lifestyle changes greatly impacts our health. They can provide nutritional counseling, diet management and recommend supplements as needed.
2. Desensitization Therapies
This involves allergy testing and making recommendations for environmental and nutritional modifications. Allergies happen when the body overreacts to a (normally) harmless substance, such as pollen or gluten. The immune system detects the allergen as a threat and initiates an attack. This causes inflammation, can lead to malabsorption of nutrients or be potentially life-threatening. Desensitization therapy involves giving a person small doses of what they are allergic to in a controlled and supervised manner. This trains the immune system not to overreact2.
3. Correction of Hormone Imbalances
Our hormones are the biochemical messengers responsible for ensuring all of our body’s systems work properly. Hormones are essential for growth, development, reproduction, immunity, emotional health, metabolism, and the list goes on! Many things in our day to day lives can disrupt our hormones – from inadequate nutrition to high stress levels. Some symptoms of hormone imbalances include: fatigue, weight gain, problems with fertility, anxiety, low libido, hair loss, and acne. A naturopath will use a whole-body approach to help you with these symptoms by addressing the underlying imbalances.
Health is more than just physical illness. Naturopaths understand this and can provide spiritual and emotional counseling. They also encourage personal growth, guiding you on your journey to achieving an overall sense of wellbeing.
- “Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases
Report of the joint WHO/FAO expert consultation.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, 2003. Web. 07 June 2017.
- Olivier, Celso Eduardo. “Food Allergy.”Journal of Allergy & Therapy S3 (2013): n. pag. Web. 7 June 2017.