What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is primary care and complementary medicine that treats the underlying cause of disease; it is the art and science of supporting the natural healing processes of the patient and removing any obstacles to those processes when possible. It is the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of physical, mental and emotional conditions; and it is the promotion of well-being using therapeutics that primarily support or enhance a patient’s overall health.
In BC, naturopathic doctors (NDs) are licensed to provide primary health care: Health care that emphasizes disease prevention by providing an individualized, patient-centered focus on healthy living, natural health products and therapies, diet, appropriate diagnostic testing and, when appropriate, integrating conventional medical care with complementary care.
Seeing an ND for the first time may be similar to seeing an MD—all primary care providers review health history and request standard diagnostic tests—but a consultation with an ND also encompasses a thorough assessment of personal health risks, including diet, exercise and stress.
An emphasis on disease prevention, nutritional advice, and natural health products are common practice amongst NDs. Underlying causes of disease are addressed with patients, not just symptoms. Educating patients on risk, considering contraindications / synergistic actions with drug and natural supplements, and encouraging self-responsibility for health are the foundation of the ND-patient relationship.
Patient care focused on wellness encompasses physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors. Using evidence-based and evidence informed therapeutic options for patients, your ND may recommend botanical (or herbal) medicines, techniques used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) such as acupuncture, as well as physical medicine to correct stress or trauma-induced misalignments of muscle and the skeletal system.
Many naturopathic doctors in BC have additional college-certified training in pharmaceutical prescriptions, immunization for those five years and older, IV and injection therapies, and physical medicine procedures such as prolotherapy.