In the last few years, Naturopathic medicine has become an increasingly popular alternative to conventional medicine; however, it is not a `new` medicine. Its methods and theories date back over 2400 years to Hippocrates, a Greek physician. In North America, the roots of Naturopathic medicine date back to its first graduating class in 1902. So, this `new` medicine isn`t really that new at all.
Naturopathic Doctors are primary health care professionals, who are highly educated and deeply compassionate towards their patients. They are dedicated to improving their patient’s lives by treating both acute and chronic conditions naturally to promote healing, while at the same time teaching preventative medicine.
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct form of medicine that combines the best of modern scientific knowledge with natural and traditional forms of medicine. This unique form of medicine works to identify and treat the root cause of disease, and also promotes health and healing using natural and gentle therapies. The art of practicing Naturopathic medicine is based on six unique principles:
- First, Do no harm
- Cooperate with the healing power of nature
- Address the cause of disease
- Teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine
- Heal the person as a while using individualized treatment
- Emphasize prevention
Naturopathic doctors work with each person individually, designing a treatment plan to restore health and wellness within the body, and teach each patient how to sustain a healthy lifestyle once health has been achieved. Treatment modalities include: Asian medicine/acupuncture, botanical (herbal) medicine, physical medicine (massage, hydrotherapy, etc.), nutrition, homeopathic medicine and lifestyle counseling.
Naturopathic doctors view disease as a process that occurs in the body due to a number of different factors. When we experience symptoms, they are warning signs that some function in the body is not working correctly. Many factors contribute to the development of disease including: poor lifestyle habits, environmental factors, etc. Naturopathic doctors are trained to look at the entire scope of a patient`s life to determine the root cause of their disease process.
In Ontario, Naturopathic doctors are highly trained and provincially regulated. Naturopathic doctors must have at least a 3-year pre-medical undergraduate degree from a recognized University and graduate from a comprehensive and rigorous 4-year Naturopathic Doctor program at one of the seven accredited institutions in North America. The program itself includes more than 1,200 hours of clinical experience and over 3,000 hours of classroom training. After graduation, ND`s must pass 3 days of intensive North American board examinations and 1 day of demanding provincial practical examinations before qualifying to become licensed in Ontario.
Please Note: Since Naturopathic doctors are not covered by OHIP, they have the luxury of spending time with their patients, in order to discover the root cause of their disease and teach the art and science of living healthy to their patients. Although OHIP does not cover Naturopathic medicine, most extended health insurance plans have yearly coverage, so be sure to ask your insurance company if you are covered.