Over the years you may have heard people talking about naturopathic medicine and wondered: what is it? What do naturopathic doctors do? What are the benefits? Although it is much easier to find naturopathic doctors now than it was before, naturopathic medicine is still considered an alternative healing method, and there is still some controversy about this type of healing.
1. What it is
Naturopathic medicine is the practice of healing patients of their ailments using only natural methods. This includes using herbs, traditional methods, vitamins and minerals, among many other natural healing methods, to cure patients of their illnesses.
Naturopathy is based on the belief that nature can cure any illness humans may experience, however naturopathic doctors still include modern science and knowledge in their practices as well. It is believed that by combining the strengths of both naturopathic and conventional medicine, patients will receive the best care.
2. What naturopathic doctors do
Naturopathic doctors will analyze the whole body to find what is wrong and where, and will ask the patient questions about their life and their health to help with the diagnosis. Once the body is analyzed, the naturopath will design a specialized plan for the patient based on their diagnosis. For example, two patients may have the same deficiency in a certain vitamin, however could be prescribed very different regimens to follow.
Each person is different and requires specialized care in order to help them with their specific problem. Naturopathic doctors also put a focus on preventing illnesses as opposed to just temporarily healing the symptoms.
3. Benefits of naturopathic medicine
Naturopathic medicine offers patients medical help without putting unknown chemicals, taking addictive medications or using methods of healing that could be harmful to the patient later in life.
The goal is to completely rid patients of their illnesses, not provide temporary fixes. When successful, naturopathic medicine can help rid patients of chronic, incurable health problems.
Another benefit is that naturopathic medicine encourages patients to be aware and in control of their own health. This means making sure patients understand what is happening to them and why, and how to take control of the situation and change that.
4. Naturopathic medical education and licensing
Naturopathic physicians are educated for years before they can practice, just like doctors of conventional medicine. These doctors learn much of the same information as other physicians, however they also learn about additional practices that are more focused on the values of naturopathic medicine.
These physicians are licensed and are legally recognized in most provinces including Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia. However, this does not mean that naturopathic doctors cannot still be found in the remaining provinces. It is not illegal to practice naturopathic medicine in a province that does not license naturopathic professionals, however they are more susceptible to charges for practicing without a license and are more easily held liable for anything that goes wrong in their practice.
5. Choose carefully
Not everyone is convinced of naturopathic medicine’s validity and effectiveness. Some say that there is not enough research to prove that naturopathic medicine has any benefit other than a placebo effect on patients. However, as time goes on, more and more research is done on naturopathic methods which proves the effectiveness of certain treatments.
There are also more naturopathic doctors now than ever before, which is necessary to combat the ever-growing demand by patients seeking naturopathic medical care.
Naturopathic medicine is not out to destroy conventional methods, it is out to work with and maybe eventually combine with conventional methods to make them even better for patients suffering from illnesses.