Do you know that the body is so miraculous that it can actually heal itself given the right conditions? Do you know that nature has the power to help your body, mind, and spirit through that healing journey? And do you know that we are meant to be in deep relationships with ourselves, nature, and our community around us? Naturopathic Medicine is a part of all of these wonderous elements of life! I LOVE Naturopathic Medicine and am so excited to share this form of medicine with you.
For starters, the ROOT of Naturopathic Medicine is to treat the ROOT causes of diseases. So often when a patient goes to a doctor, they get a treatment that focuses on the symptom, often suppressing or managing that symptom to provide that patient with relief. But what if, the doctor and their patient were able to discover what the root cause of the symptom was and then put measures in place to PREVENT that symptom from occurring in the first place. For example, what if you had frequent headaches and you took ibuprofen each time a headache arose to help reduce the pain. The headache will likely come back when the ibuprofen wears off or will come back a couple days from now when your body is under the same conditions. But what if, you were able to discover that the headache was actually being caused by dehydration. You could prevent yourself from experiencing an agonizing headache by staying hydrated with water and electrolytes AND your liver will be healthier because its not being exposed to ibuprofen every time you get a headache. My goal as a Naturopathic Doctor is to help you discover the root cause of the symptoms you are experiencing and create a treatment plan that addresses the root causes to allow your body to heal.
Another aspect of Naturopathic Medicine is the wide variety of modalities, or therapeutics, used to help eliminate the root cause and allow the body to heal. Naturopathic Doctors are trained in nutrition, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, botanical medicine, homeopathy, mind body medicine, counseling, and pharmaceuticals. By having so many “tools in the tool bag”, Naturopathic Medicine offers patients and doctors a lot of different options to make the patient’s treatment plan as effective as possible and tailored to the patient’s unique constitution. To help in the patient’s healing journey, Naturopathic Doctors aim to form a therapeutic relationship with each of their patients which begins by taking the time to listen to and understand each patient’s unique story.
MOTHER NATURE is a crucial part of every modality Naturopathic Doctor’s use. Nature is a miraculous healing force by providing us with fresh water to nourish each of our cells, oxygen to bring life into us with each breath, nutrient-rich plants to sustain our bodies, lots of healing elements in plants and other beings, beautiful sights, sounds, and smells to bring us into relationship with nature, and, most importantly, a home. Nature is our biggest ally, always there for us, to help us heal and flourish.
Another fundamental principle of Naturopathic Medicine is its emphasis on healing the WHOLE person. This means addressing the patient’s mind, body, and spirit. For example, what if a patient came to their doctor with the chief complaint of jaw pain, commonly called TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain. You may just think this is a “body” only ailment, when really maybe the TMJ is due to emotional stress that is causing the neck and shoulder muscles to tighten which pulls on the TMJ causing it to be misaligned and painful. This allows us to understand that there is a “mind” component and likely a “spiritual” component playing a role as well. To help heal the whole person and to alleviate the patient’s jaw pain, the Naturopathic Doctor will likely use therapeutic massage techniques and work with their patient to either decrease stressors in their life and/or help them adapt to the stressors in their life to allow their neck shoulder muscles to relax.
Lastly, Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes the importance of “Doctor as TEACHER”. Naturopathic Doctors will take the time to explain how the body works, why a symptom is arising, how the treatment plan will impact your body, and answer any of the questions the patient may have. Naturopathic Doctors also serve to empower their patients with the right knowledge and tools to help patients take their own health into their own hands.