Naturopathic medicine is a medical movement and profession that has recently moved to the forefront of health-care innovation in North America and elsewhere in the world. Naturopathic medicine is a comprehensive medical approach which integrates scientific knowledge with several well-established alternative therapeutic systems. Focusing on prevention and using natural substances and treatments, Naturopathic Doctors (ND’s) support and stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself.
The primary goal of naturopathic treatment is to address the cause of illness rather than simply treating or suppressing symptoms. Naturopathic Doctors take into account the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of an individual when diagnosing and developing a treatment plan. Naturopathic Doctors complete a minimum of seven years post-secondary education. This training includes the study of medical sciences comparable to that of a general practitioner (MD), in addition to exposure to many alternative treatment modalities. Some ND’s work as general practitioners, utilizing a variety of modalities
Naturopathic philosophy has its roots in antiquity, In modern form it dates back to the late 1800s when it was established as a profession by European immigrants to North America. According to naturopathic medicine, the actual symptoms that patients complain of do not represent the disease but are the manifestation of some underlying imbalance in the organism. Because human beings are incredibly complex, there is usually no unique perspective that fully explains any given imbalance. Instead, factors such as heredity, early childhood environment, family relationships, social environment, temperament (psychological tendencies, strengths, weaknesses), past medical interventions, unusual events causing physical or psychological trauma, food intake, physical activity, and exposure to toxins all constitute the complex web of interacting factors that form the physical and non-physical self.
This philosophical perspective translates into treatment methods that do not target symptoms directly but instead strive to shift the organism away from its current state toward a state of better overall health. The attainment of a better state often requires one to stop chasing symptoms as they arise but instead focus on fundamental, long-term improvement, during which process discomfort might take a while to be alleviated. Naturopathic medicine is an evolving, open-ended system, requiring of the practitioner creativity in adapting the treatment to the peculiarities of the individual patient, resulting in a customized application of techniques rather than advocating the same treatment to everyone with the same condition. Hence any therapy that agrees with the basic principles of the system can be called ‘naturopathic’.
The Naturopathic Appointment
The goal of a Naturopathic Doctor is to understand the patient and the material and spiritual factors influencing his or her health. The ND will perform an in-depth interview in order to understand your complaints, symptoms, family and past medical history, present pharmaceutical or supplement intake, and anything else you wish to discuss. The Naturopathic Doctor will also consider objective medical results, and may request blood work or other tests to be performed by your MD. The ND will then design a personalized treatment plan tailored to the patient’s needs and goals.
Cooperation with conventional health-care providers
Naturopathic Doctors are considered primary health-care practitioners in Saskatchewan. They have the rights and possess the skills of working closely with your family physician. As naturopathic doctors focus on patient-centered care, we are motivated and pleased to cooperate with all other health-care practitioners who agree to cooperate with us.