What is naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a form of primary health care that combines the best of scientific, research backed therapies with traditional and natural forms of medicine to provide the best treatment for each individual patient. In addition to treating various forms of disease including chronic illness, naturopathic medicine also places a large emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion.
Much like medical doctors, naturopathic doctors can assess and diagnose conditions by asking about the patient’s health history and symptoms, performing physical examinations, requisitioning laboratory tests and analyzing imaging to further verify their diagnoses.
Treatments are evidence based and can be a combination of various modalities including but not limited to:
Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture
Medical dietary modifictions
Most importantly, naturopathic doctors can treat both acute and chronic conditions, and each treatment is selected for the individual patient. No two patients are alike, and there is no one approach that fits all. Naturopathic medicine is truly a tailored, comprehensive health solution suited specifically for your needs.
Critical to looking for a qualified naturopathic doctor is ensuring that they are licensed and registered in the jurisdiction you are searching in. For Ontario, you can look up every registered naturopathic doctor on the College of Naturopaths of Ontario’s website.
How are Naturopathic Doctors Trained?
All licensed and registered naturopathic doctors must have completed their undergraduate degree, and have then been accepted into one of 7 accredited naturopathic medical programs in the world. Upon completion of the 4 year naturopathic medical program, each student must write and pass standardized North American Board Exams (NPLEX), jurisdictional ethics exams, and regional standards of practice clinical exams based on which province they would like to practice in.
In years 1-2 of the naturopathic medical program in Ontario, students are required to achieve competency in the following areas:
Physical and clinical diagnosis
Principles in research
In years 3-4, students are required to achieve competency in:
Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupunture
Maternal and newborn care
Men’s and Women’s Health
Radiology and advanced imaging
In office procedures
Ethic and jurisprudence
As you can see, naturopathic doctors undergo a rigorous, intensive 4 year program to emerge as experts in the fields of primary and preventative care, and chronic illness.
Who is naturopathic medicine for?
Naturopathic medicine is for anyone looking to take their health into their own hands and make lasting improvements to their overall health and well being. Our Collingwood Naturopathic doctors treat a variety of patients from all age groups, and with various conditions.
What can naturopathic medicine treat?
The following is a short list of conditions treated by naturopathic doctors:
Digestive concerns such as heartburn, IBS, IBD, food sensitivities, diarrhea/constipation, etc.
Cardiovascular concerns such as high blood pressure and cholesterol
Depression, anxiety, stress management, and burnout
Pain management and sports injuries
Headaches and concussion management
What to expect in a visit
The first visit with your naturopathic doctor will be between 60-90 minutes in length and will include taking a detailed health history including your presenting symptoms, personal health history, family health history, contributing factors, and more. Relevant physical examinations will be performed, and if the doctor deems it necessary, laboratory tests will be requisitioned. If a copy of recent lab work is provided, the doctor will go over the results with you and explain their findings. Towards the end of the appointment, the doctor will recommend a course of treatment and a follow up appointment may be scheduled to monitor your progress.
Treatments will vary from one patient to the next. The beauty of naturopathic medicine is the individualization of each treatment plan to suit the needs of the patient. No two patients are alike and therefore no two treatment approaches are alike. While the form of therapy used is evidence based and might be similar to that used for other patients, the approach that your doctor will take for your specific needs will be different and customized just for you.
It’s important to understand that for longstanding, chronic conditions, seeing results takes time. Chronic conditions take time to develop and likewise, it takes time to treat them. Naturopathic doctors excel at addressing the root cause of your condition and aim to not only alleviate symptoms, but target and treat the condition at the cause so you end up with the best result. Each appointment with our patients is interactive and discussion is encouraged! Our goal is to help you understand your own health, your treatment plan, and what to expect from us with regards to treatment. We want to make sure you are a big part of your own health journey!
If you think naturopathic medicine is right for you, click the link below to book your complimentary session today.