What is Naturopathic Medicine?
The goal of Naturopathic Medicine is to enhance health, prevent illness and treat disease by supporting our in-born healing abilities with natural substances and treatments.
Treatments commonly used in practice include: nutrition and nutritional supplementation, botanical (herbal) medicine, chinese medicine and acupuncture, Bowen therapy, homeopathy and hydrotherapy.
When you begin visiting a Naturopathic Doctor, a thorough medical history will be taken, followed by a physical exam. A lot of talking needs to be done in order for the Naturopath to have a good idea about what is happening with you. Some of the questions may seem irrelavent, but as Naturopaths we believe that everything that is occurring in the body is connected, you are a whole person, therefore we should listen to everything the body is telling us.
Treatment plans are individualized as no two people experience things alike. The focus is on you and it is not about cookie-cutter treatments for an ailment. In the beginning, visits may be more frequent, in order to carefully monitor your progress. As things improve, the frequency of visits will decrease and move towards a maintenance level.
Once you’re well or if you already feel like you are well, it becomes important to focus on prevention. We’ve all heard the cliches; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it’s time to take action and really make sure we are doing the best we can. Strive for optimal health today and in the future.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is one of many modalities that a Naturopathic Doctor is trained to provide. It is an effective treatment system that works with the body’s natural tendency to heal itself. In 1796, Samuel Hahnemann, a German doctor, discovered that when a person is diagnosed with an illness, the way they experience their symptoms can be very different from another person with the same condition. He found that instead of using medicine to oppose the disease, as in mainstream medicine, using a minute amount of medicine, that would cause the same symptoms if taken in large amounts, could cure the present condition. He called this system, homeopathy, meaning similar suffering.
A simple example of how homeopathy works is to imagine what happens when you are stung by a bee; your skin becomes swollen, hot, it stings and feels worse when heat or pressure is applied to it. The remedy Apis, is made from a miniscule amount of a honeybee and according to the homeopathic principle of “like curing like” it would be the recommended remedy for these symptoms.
Homeopathic remedies are dosed so that only a very small fraction of the actual substance is taken; because it is such a small amount there are no side effects or adverse reactions and they will not interfere with any other medications (natural or pharmaceutical) that you may be taking.
How Does it Work?
There are thousands of homeopathic remedies, this allows your Naturopathic Doctor to be highly specific in choosing the proper remedy that will match you. In order for your doctor to know exactly what is going on in your body, they will need to ask a lot of questions to have a good idea about who you are, what you like and dislike and what you are experiencing.
Homeopathic remedies stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal itself. The right remedy can be thought of as a CD that when put into the CD player (your body) produces a beautiful harmony.
What Can I Expect to Happen?
Once you have taken the remedy, you may notice changes right away or it may take up to a month for it to take effect. Sometimes after taking a remedy, your symptoms may feel like they are getting worse or an old symptom may come back, but this will not last long, it is your body’s way of cleansing these conditions out of your system and it is a good indication that the healing process has been stimulated. If you are unsure that what you are experiencing is normal or are worried by any changes, contact your Naturopathic Doctor for more information.
What is the Treatment Like?
After your interview with your Naturopathic Doctor, all the information they have gathered will be used to work up which remedy and dosage is most appropriate for you. Your doctor will ask you to purchase the remedy either from their office or from the local health food store. The remedies can be either in pellet or liquid form, these are placed in the mouth under the tongue and held until dissolved, if it is a pellet, or if liquid, it should be held for about 30 seconds under the tongue and then swallowed. You should not eat, drink or have anything in your mouth for 20 minutes before or after taking your remedy. While taking homeopathics, you should not drink coffee, or use anything with peppermint, eucalyptus, camphor or menthol because the strong smells of these substances could antidote the remedy.
Your complete naturopathic program may also include dietary changes, nutritional supplementation or botanical remedies.