Western medicine in the 21st Century is opening the doors wider to non-traditional modalities of healing. The door is not opened very wide, yet, but it is open. An increasing number of traditional doctors are partnering with non-traditional therapies and practitioners to treat the whole patient – not just symptoms or diseases. Among the non-traditional therapies is naturopathic medicine.
The Victoria naturopath you visit today is following a healing tradition that dates to the time of Hippocrates. Naturopathy “is a distinct system of primary health care that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing processes through the use of natural therapies.” Naturopathy utilizes various therapies to assist the patient’s own capacity for healing. Some of the naturopathic therapies include hydrotherapy, heat, massage, and herbal medicines. Treatment may also incorporate acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
“Naturopathy” is a Latin and Greek word meaning “nature disease”. It is based on six principles:
- First Do No Harm
- The Healing Power of Nature
- Discover and Treat the Cause, Not Just the Effect
- Treat the Whole Person
- The Physician is a Teacher
- Prevention is the best “cure”
Your naturopaths Victoria BC practitioner may consider him or herself to be a primary care provider who seeks to identify underlying causes of disease. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) complete a rigorous four-year naturopathic medical school program and clinical training. Naturopaths in Canada are licensed health care practitioners. Some NDs also perform minor surgeries and are trained and licensed to prescribe drugs.
Victoria naturopaths work in various medical settings including private practices, hospitals and clinics, and community health centers. Patients of naturopathy are often seeking an alternative approach to treating such conditions as allergies, chronic pain, respiratory conditions, hormonal imbalances, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
A first visit with your Victoria Naturopath will be lengthy. Your ND will start with learning about your health history, diet, tobacco and alcohol use, stress levels, and any specific health-related concerns you may be experiencing. The ND will want to learn about your health goals, too.
The ND will complete an examination, discuss management options for conditions and overall health improvement. He or she may use diagnostic tests to gain as full an understanding of your health status as possible. Ultimately, your ND will be partnering with you, “to head it (disease) off before it happens.”
Western medicine is considered evidence-based and many doctors remain critical and skeptical of the naturopathic approach to health. They cite lack of scientific research and documentation to support claims made by proponents and practitioners of naturopathy. Still, many Western practitioners are choosing to partner with non-traditional therapies like naturopathy in the increasing belief that there is more than one path to wellness.