What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine tries to find answers to the underlying causes of disease, not just focus on the symptoms. Yes, symptoms are important to address, but more important is asking why that symptom is there in the first place.
Let’s look at an example. Say for instance, Mr. X goes to a doctor because he suffers from headaches. We can all agree that there are many therapies, alternative and conventional alike that can help manage the headaches. However, did anyone ask why is Mr. X getting these headaches? It is unlikely they are due to a deficiency of an herb or medication. Could it be an emotional or spiritual issue? Or maybe it’s related to an overburden of toxins in the system. Maybe it’s a nutrient deficiency. But then we have to ask why Mr. X is deficient in this nutrient. Is his diet deficient? Or maybe he is not optimally extracting nutrients from the food he is eating. Well if this is the case we must again ask why. Is the stomach acid too low, or are the pancreatic enzymes deficient? Again we must ask why. Why? Why? Why?
This is what Naturopathic Doctors do. We ask why in an effort to extract the root causes of disease and suffering. Only managing and addressing the symptoms is not enough.
Unfortunately, not all diseases can be addressed at the underlying cause because the body has lost the ability to regulate itself. Like in the case of type 1 diabetes where the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin have been destroyed. Most likely, a person with this condition will always be dependent on administered insulin. However, there are still many ways to naturally support the proper regulation of blood sugar. Naturopaths are trained to use botanical medicine, homeopathy and clinical nutrition to support optimal functioning of the body. These complementary therapies can help minimize the long term consequences of having such conditions.
So not only does Naturopathic Medicine strive to ask why, it also focuses on all that can be done to improve health. In a sense, Naturopathic Medicine encourages health vs. fighting disease. The healthier we are the more resistant we are to disease. Is it not true that we most often get sick when we are run down or stressed out or not taking care of our self’s. So doesn’t it make sense to also focus on treating our health before we get sick? This concept of preventative medicine lies at the foundation of Naturopathic care.
I am going to take this one step further and say that even if one does enter a disease state, encouraging health, not fighting the disease is the ultimate path to cure. As we improve the overall health of the organism we become more resistant to disease. This is true whether we are preventing disease or addressing disease.
Our bodies have the natural ability to achieve and maintain health. By addressing the underlying causes of disease and naturally supporting the body’s innate ability to heal itself we work towards achieving a true state of health.
The Naturopathic doctor has the necessary training to be able to work in conjunction with primary care physicians and specialists to develop a treatment team capable of helping people reach higher health goals.