Naturopathy is a system of medicine that integrates conventional medical sciences with an holistic healing approach. One of the principle goals of naturopathy is to understand the underlying cause of sickness, disease, and/or symptoms. This involves an approach which addresses the body, mind, spirit, and environment of an individual. Because each person is unique, they experience sickness differently. Accordingly, treatment plans are highly individualized. The philosophical basis of treatment is that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself; the role of the naturopathic doctor (ND) is to assist in that process while removing obstacles which stand in the way. Natural therapeutics are typically non-invasive, have few serious side effects, are highly effective, and include such things as botanical medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle counseling.
A naturopathic doctor is a primary care physician, also known as a family doctor. NDs treat a wide variety of conditions ranging from the common cold to cancer. Some examples of common conditions a naturopathic doctor may see include: asthma, allergies, foot pain, migraine headaches, PMS, heart burn, rash, irritable bowel, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, etc. It must be emphasized, however, that NDs do not simply treat conditions, but instead, treat people with conditions.
An initial appointment with an ND involves a thorough medical history and appropriate physical examination. Laboratory work or imaging (such as x-rays) may be ordered and/or reviewed, and initial treatment implemented. Follow up appointments evaluate the patient’s progress and help refine treatments accordingly.