The roots of Naturopathic Medicine date back to 19th Century Europe where it was known as “Nature Cure.” The practice of Nature Cure used the gifts that Mother Nature generously provides – water (hydrotherapy), herbs, whole foods, fresh air, and sunshine – to treat each patient holistically.
Naturopathic Medicine encompasses the art, science, and soul of medicine. It integrates traditional healing medical practices, and the modern medical science to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease.
The philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine is to support and honour your body’s natural wisdom to heal itself. Disease occurs when there is disharmony between body, mind, and spirit. As your body tries to rebalance and heal itself, symptoms arise. Healing begins by understanding and removing the obstacles to health, and treating the cause of the symptoms and disease. Naturopathic medicine looks at more than just the physical symptoms of disease, but also the emotional and spiritual aspects. Healthy self-care practices and positive lifestyle changes are encouraged and established to reach optimal health. Naturopathic doctors help to guide their patients back to physical, emotional, and spiritual harmony.
The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. – Thomas A. Edison
Education and Training
Naturopathic Doctors have an undergraduate degree at an accredited university. This is followed by a 4-year, 5000 hour, full-time intensive program at an accredited Naturopathic Medical College. The program involves training in the clinical medical sciences, diagnostic skills, naturopathic principles and therapies, and a 12-month clinical supervised internship. Graduates receive the designation of N.D. ~ Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.
Naturopathic doctors must successfully complete two sets of rigorous, written regulatory board exams (total of 5 days) that are standardized across North America. At the end of 4 years, they must also complete provincially regulated oral & written exams.
What will my first visit be like?
Your visits are time devoted to you. I provide a safe confidential environment for you to express your health concerns. During our first visit together, (1 hour – 1 ½ hours), we will talk about your concerns, and your present and future health goals. We will develop a treatment plan that addresses your needs, setting the foundation to support you on your healing journey. I will suggest healthy lifestyle choices, and encourage you to look at yourself from a place of wholeness.
A complaint-oriented physical exam may be done in the first or second visit to help with an assessment and treatment plan. Follow up visits are between 30 and 45 minutes. They are scheduled based on your individual case to assess progress of your treatment plan.
Will my ND and MD work together?
As a primary health care provider, I am part of your health care team. I will work with your MD to ensure you have the best care for your health. It is important for me to know what medications you are taking that are prescribed by your MD. As a ND, I am also trained to recognize concerns that are outside my scope of practice. I refer to other practitioners accordingly – Osteopath, Therapist/Psychologist, RMT, or your MD.
It is better to know the patient that has a disease than the disease a patient has.– Sir William Osler
Foundation of Naturopathic Medicine
These principles form the foundation of the naturopathic approach to health and healing.
- Primum non nocere – First, Do No Harm – The practice of Naturopathic Medicine acknowledges a self-healing wisdom that is inherent in every individual. Naturopathic Doctors respect and work with the body’s self-healing wisdom using natural non-invasive therapies.
- Vis medicatrix naturæ – The Healing Power of Nature – It is the Earth and nature that sustains us, and we must remember that we are a part of nature. Mother Nature has given us many healing therapies – herbs, whole foods, sunshine, fresh air. Naturopathic Doctors use these therapies from nature, and other naturopathic therapies, to support and restore the powerful natural ability of the body to heal itself.
- Tolle causam – Identify and Treat the Cause – Symptoms are expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal itself. In addition to healing acute and chronic symptoms, Naturopathic Doctors identify and remove obstacles to healing and the underlying causes of disease, supporting the body in healing and health.
- Docere – Doctor as Teacher – The word “Doctor” comes from the Latin, docere, which means “to teach”. A Naturopathic Doctor educates, empowers, and encourages patients to take responsibility for their health, and to understand their body and health.
- Tolle totum – Treat the Whole Person (Body, Mind, Spirit) through individualized treatment. Naturopathic Doctors acknowledge that illness and dis-ease affect each person individually. They also understand that physical, emotional, spiritual, genetic, environmental, and social factors contribute to the health of each individual.
- Preventare – Prevention and Health Promotion – Naturopathic Doctors teach the principles of healthy living. They emphasize prevention of illness and dis-ease by assessing risk factors, heredity, and susceptibility to disease. They promote wellness by encouraging everyone to seek naturopathic care even when healthy to ensure you’re on the road to optimal health.
Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its works. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.
Father of Western Medicine