The Spirit of Naturopathic Medicine

by Dr. Olisa Mak

As I was walking back from my lunch today, on a glorious, sunny Vancouver day, I walked past a medical clinic kitty corner to my own clinic. The waiting area was full and I thought to myself, what is it that conventional medicine can offer, that naturopathic medicine cannot that brings all these people into that clinic and not into my waiting area?

If I were to walk into that clinic and explain to them what naturopathic medicine has to offer, how many people would get up and come to my clinic?

Although a small profession, the roots of naturopathy go back 2400 years, when Hippocrates first described the healing power of nature. The spirit of naturopathic medicine embodies passion, drive and dedication to make the world a better place. Harnessing the strength of diversity and the healing powers of nature, the naturopathic profession has much to offer world.

Naturopathic medicine is a profession built on an abundance of medical knowledge—knowledge that is based on clinical expertise, science, research, and thousands of years of anecdotal evidence. We give patients the information they need to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices.

Naturopathic medicine appreciates and celebrates the uniqueness of each person. Time is taken to acknowledge a person’s individual needs and priorities. The diversity amongst naturopathic doctors (NDs) is a reflection of this. NDs come from all different backgrounds, and in different sizes, ethnicities, and focuses. No two NDs are the same, and all NDs recognize the uniqueness of each patient.

What describes the care NDs provide to patients? NDs lend an ear and listen to a patient’s needs. We take the time to make a genuine connection and to understand where a person is coming from. We are compassionate. We offer an opportunity for empowerment. We believe in the healing powers of nature and a person’s inner strength. We create a safe, trusting, and supportive relationship that enables people to reflect, ask questions and to better understand themselves. After all, as Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

NDs help people do the seemingly impossible: We help patients heal past wounds. We listen to and mirror people’s unique experiences so that people can see and hear their own stories in a different light. We help dampen the falls that people must endure. We help people learn the lessons that life hands us, no matter how difficult.

NDs give people the information they need to take control of their lives. We work with people to create a plan and guide people towards creating a better life. We remove barriers, physical, emotional or spiritual. We help people become the very best that they can be – mind, body and soul.

NDs offer a unique and different perspective on seemingly incurable conditions and problems that people experience. We offer preventative measures as well as permanent solutions to both acute and chronic health concerns. We look at the whole picture and treat the underlying cause.

The spirit of naturopathic medicine embraces one’s need for genuine connection, acceptance and love. Being a naturopathic doctor is about reaching out to people and giving people the guidance they need. Doctor as Teacher. Naturopathic medicine believes in the healing potentials of nature and the human body, as well as everyone’s potential to achieve their dreams and goals and to live a full and meaningful life.

Dr Olisa Mak operates out of her clinic in downtown Vancouver.

Dr Olisa Mak Website