What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a form of primary health care that blends modern and evidence-based scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. It is medicine that supports the body’s natural healing processes and looks to identify the underlying cause of disease. Visits run anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, and cover your health history and anything relevant to your wellbeing. Physical examinations and lab testing may be performed and interpreted to ensure the most accurate assessment possible. There are many additional laboratory tests that a Naturopathic Doctor uses including; food sensitivity testing, hormone panels, environmental and heavy metal testing, as well as SIBO testing and stool analysis. Natural treatments such as herbal medicine, vitamin therapy, acupuncture, nutrition, lifestyle counseling and physical medicine are then used to enhance the body's innate ability to heal. In British Columbia, Naturopathic Doctors are licensed to prescribe many pharmaceutical medications to be used in necessary circumstances.
Naturopathic Physicians are regulated in many states and provinces across North America and undergo an intensive 4-year period of academic study in naturopathic medical school with hands-on clinical training and a multitude of examinations. To be accepted into any accredited Naturopathic medical school, we are required to have a University Bachelor’s degree with a highly competitive GPA and a long list of scientific prerequisites. However, what we share with patients is so far beyond what you can learn in a book. No matter the style, technique, or disposition of each Naturopathic Doctor, the foundation of our practice lies on these golden principles:
The 6 principles of Naturopathic Medicine:
- First, do no harm: A non-invasive, safe approach to health care.
- Healing power of nature: Recognizing the body’s own ability to heal and using natural and effective therapies.
- Identify and treat the cause: Addressing and expelling the underlying issues.
- Doctor as teacher: A dedication to educating patients about their health.
- Treat the whole person: Recognizing that each person is unique and deserves a treatment plan that encompasses their whole health story, including their mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
- Prevention: Promoting a balanced and vibrant lifestyle.
How can a Naturopathic Doctor help you?
Naturopathic Doctors address many different conditions, including; digestive disturbances, male and female hormonal imbalances, fertility, chronic pain, mental health issues, infectious illnesses, cardiac and pulmonary conditions, skin disorders, anti-aging and weight loss concerns just to name a few. Here are some common reasons why Naturopathic medicine may be the right choice for you:
5 Reasons to see a Naturopathic Doctor:
- You don’t feel your best and you’re not sure why.
Are you tired? Getting sick often? Having trouble sleeping? Experiencing unexplained mood changes? Having issues with weight gain? Do you struggle with skin problems, having difficulty tolerating certain foods or experiencing headaches? Patients often brush these symptoms aside and live with them as something they must endure. This doesn’t have to be true! Naturopathic Doctors are excellent “health detectives”, using a thorough assessment to help reveal the underlying causes of illness.
- You have “tried everything” and haven’t found permanent relief of your symptoms.
Many patients have expressed that they feel they’ve exhausted every option and are frustrated with their state of health. Naturopathic medicine can provide a different perspective by utilizing extended visits in order to listen to your whole health history and possibly make connections that may not be immediately obvious.
- You are looking for adjunctive care for your current condition.
For patients suffering from chronic illnesses, serious medical conditions, and those on medications, Naturopathic medicine uses wonderful adjunct therapies in order to reduce side effects of your current treatments and/or medications and provide a wide variety of support. Naturopathic Physicians also communicate well with other doctors and practitioners you may be seeing in order to make sure you are receiving the safest and most effective care possible.
- You want to take a preventative approach and learn how you and your family can live a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
Naturopathic Doctors are experts in wellness and they are professionals that can hold you accountable to reaching your health goals. By promoting optimal health for you and your family, you will have the freedom, energy and motivation to enjoy the things in life that matter most to you.
- You are curious (or possibly overwhelmed) by the amount of health information and products available and you are looking for some guidance.
Naturopathic Doctors are thoroughly trained in prescribing safe and effective doses of herbs and vitamins that are specific to your health needs. Patients often come into a visit with a laundry-list of supplements, some of which aren’t necessary for them and can be low quality or potency. It's also important to note that some of these products can interact with medications and may be contraindicated in certain health conditions. To avoid self-prescribing, talk to a Naturopathic Doctor before taking supplements.
Building a trusted doctor-patient relationship is integral to your healing and this is a priority in my practice. If you are struggling with your health, interested in a more natural and holistic approach to patient care, or looking to incorporate healthy practices into your lifestyle, Naturopathic medicine is a valuable and effective option!
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us 604-733-2632.
Dr. Kyla Buten, N.D.
Licensed Naturopathic Doctor
Dr. Alana Shaw N.D.
Licensed Naturopathic Doctor