Naturopathy, Naturopathic Medicine
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care which utilizes the science of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease with a wide array of natural therapies. The philosophy of Naturopathic medicine is to stimulate the innate healing power of the body and to address the root cause of illness. The main focus is on the promotion of wellness and prevention of illness or disease.
How does Naturopathic Medicine differ from conventional or allopathic medicine?
Naturopathic Doctors and Medical Doctors are both considered primary health care practitioners. Naturopathic Doctors are trained in the same medical sciences and additionally have training in the naturopathic disciplines. The key difference between naturopathic and conventional medicine lies in the philosophical approach and the therapies used.
Naturopathic Doctors provide individualized treatments that addresses not only the physique but also takes into consideration the individual’s environment, lifestyle, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Therapies used by a Naturopathic Doctor are all natural, safe, effective and non-invasive with the goal of finding and treating the root cause of the disease. This differs from allopathic or conventional medicine which generally focuses on symptomatic care of disease with usage of pharmaceutical agents or other invasive therapies.
What can Naturopathic Medicine do for me?
Naturopathic Medicine benefits patients of all age groups – from pediatrics to geriatrics that are suffering from a variety of health concerns. Whether it is an acute or a chronic condition, a physical or psychological illness, Naturopathic Medicine has something to offer. Typically, patients choose to visit a Naturopathic Doctor for one or more of the following reasons:
- To optimize health and address chronic health concerns
- To improve overall well-being and quality of life
- They are seeking alternatives with fewer side effects than their current medication(s)
- In search of medicine that best complements conventional medicine
- To learn strategies helpful in disease prevention and health promotion
- To receive support in dealing with a range of symptoms from an undiagnosed illness that has not been addressed
What are the principles of Naturopathic Medicine?
- Do No Harm
- The Healing Power of Nature
- Identify and Treat the Cause of Disease
- Treat the Whole Person
- The Physician as a Teacher
- Prevention is the Best Cure
What therapeutic modalities are used by Naturopathic Doctors?
Naturopathic Doctors offer non-toxic, safe and effective treatments. Naturopathic Doctors in Canada are trained in the following natural therapies:
- Clinical Nutrition
- Botanical Medicine
- Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture
- Physical Medicine
- Health Psychology & Lifestyle Counselling
Some NDs have additional training in other natural therapies such as:
- IV Therapy
- Minor Surgery
- Colon Hydrotherapy
What kind of training and education do Naturopathic Doctors receive?
Naturopathic practice is regulated under the Ontario provincial law. Similar to other family doctors, a registered Naturopathic physician must have at least 7 years of postsecondary education and training.
This includes completion of 3 or more years of pre-medical sciences at a University followed by completion of 4 years post- graduate training at an accredited Naturopathic medical school (with more than 4,500 hours of classroom training and 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience).
Graduates must also complete 2 sets of North American Board Exams and maintain ongoing continuing education in order to have an active license to practice.
Areas of Training
In addition to training in naturopathic disciplines, Naturopathic Doctors are fully trained in all the medical sciences similar to medical doctors. The four areas of training in the four year, full-time Naturopathic Medicine curriculum includes:
- Clinical Physiology
- Clinical Pathology
Clinical Disciplines– Diagnostic medicine areas of study:
- Physical and Clinical diagnosis
- Differential and Laboratory diagnosis
- Naturopathic assessment
Naturopathic Disciplines – Naturopathic Doctors have knowledge of the diagnostic principles, practice, therapeutic skills and techniques in all six major disciplines that define the areas of naturopathic practice. They include:
- Clinical nutrition
- Botanical medicine
- Traditional Chinese medicine and Acupuncture
- Homeopathic medicine
- Naturopathic manipulation
- Lifestyle counseling
Clinical Experience – Involves successful completion of 1,500 hours of clinical requirements with demonstrated proficiency in all aspects of Naturopathic Medicine prior to graduation.
What are typical visits with a Naturopathic Doctor like?
Before Your Visit
Completing new patient form.
Fill out and submit intake forms online through myNHC.
Complete your intake forms at NHC.
Arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete the intake forms at the clinic location.
Schedule an Appointment
Things to bring with you for your initial visit:
- Updated medication list
- Copies of recent blood work or tests
- List of questions you would like to get answered
Your Initial Visit
The initial visit entails the following: (1 – 1.5 hour)
- Introduction to Naturopathic Medicine, our approach, modalities, and therapies
- A detailed discussion of your chief concerns and obtaining full medical and family history
- Clarifying health goals and concerns
- Obtaining an understanding of your diet & lifestyle, any stressors (physical, environmental, emotional etc)
- A screening physical examination
- At the end of the visit, your ND will implement some initial treatment recommendation and request any diagnostic and laboratory tests if required
Your Second Visit
Scheduled within 1-2 weeks of the initial visit. (30-40 minutes)
This visit will include review of any available lab results and discussion of your individualized treatment plan, which may include dietary and lifestyle changes, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, etc.
Frequency and length of follow up visits will depend on the individual circumstances and the presenting illness.
These can be conducted in office or via phone consultations.
Is Naturopathic Medicine covered by OHIP health insurance?
Unfortunately, Naturopathic Medicine services are not covered by OHIP. However, most private health insurance plans do provide coverage and is usually listed under the heading “paramedical services.”
Patients that are not covered can claim a health care credit on their income taxes.
Contact your health insurer for details and take advantage of your benefits package today.
What is the difference is between Homeopathy and Naturopathy?
Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine unto itself and Homeopaths are specialists in this field. Homeopathy is one of the several modalities in the scope of practice of Naturopaths, therefore most Naturopaths do not focus strictly on Homeopathy.
What training do Homeopaths have?
Homeopathy was regulated in Ontario April 1, 2015. Being Regulated Health Professionals in Ontario means that all homeopaths must adhere to rigorous standards of practice and competencies set out by the Regulatory College of Homeopaths. Practitioners must be members of the College to legally practice Homeopathy in Ontario. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in Ontario has recognized the need for homeopathy to be a Regulated Health Profession. This means that patients can now choose to see a homeopath and be assured quality care. In addition, Homeopaths must be certified in CPR for Health Care Professionals and must be re-certified every 3 years.
In order to satisfy the competencies demanded by the Ontario College of Homeopaths, Homeopaths must have extensive knowledge in the following:
- Principles and Philosophy of Homeopathy
- Materia Medica
- Repertorization Techniques
- Case-Taking Skills
- Clinical Externship hours
Other areas of knowledge required are:
- Therapeutics – the homeopathic approach to specific clinical conditions, such as neurology, immunology, gastroenterology, gynecology, urology, rheumatology, respirology, proctology, dermatology, gerontology, cardiology and psychology/psychiatry.
- Medical science knowledge of:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Physical Examination
What is Homeopathic Medicine and how does it work?
Homeopathy is a complete system of natural medicine. It is an exact science based on clearly defined principles and natural laws of healing – Like Cures Like. Homeopathic remedies give your immune system a nudge toward healing itself. It is like a trigger that causes a reaction within your body’s immune system and these small triggers through homeopathic remedies can, in turn, cause greater secondary healing reactions within the body. For a particular illness or complaint, you don’t need to take homeopathic medicine for the rest of your life, while with conventional medicine often you do. This is one of the most distinguishing features of Homeopathy. Medicine taken to work with your body and your immune system (Homeopathy) is natural and healing. Medicine taken to force the body and the immune system to do what it wasn’t meant to do is not natural and we need to take the medication regularly to maintain this artificial action. When we work against the immune system it will result in the suppression of symptoms and the illness usually will return worse than before.
Who can take Homeopathic Medicine?
Homeopathic medicine can be used by infants, children, adult men and women, pregnant and nursing women, and seniors. Homeopathic remedies for infants are generally given to a nursing mother.
Will Homeopathic treatment interfere with any of my other treatments?
No. Homeopathic medicines will not interfere in any way with other treatment protocols. It is recommended that you discuss with your medical doctor that you are undergoing homeopathic treatment in addition to treatment they prescribe for you to keep them in the loop. You should not stop taking any medication they have prescribed for you without first discussing it with them.
Why should I consider Homeopathic treatment?
Homeopathic remedies are safe and gentle and have few side effects. They do not interfere with any other treatment protocols. The remedies are predominantly made from natural substances like plants and minerals. Most importantly, Homeopathic remedies provide lasting and sustainable results.
Is massage therapy only for relaxation purposes?
While Massage Therapy is mostly known for its relaxing effects, it has also proven to be highly beneficial in the treatment of musculoskeletal dysfunction as well as soft tissues and joints disturbances. Massage Therapists are trained not only to understand and treat these condition, but also to identify when to refer the client to another level of health care.
What are the psychological effects of massage?
The effects of a Massage are both physical and psychological. Stress, anxiety and depression can be progressively and considerably reduced. Furthermore, by decreasing the stress level,
massage therapy can improve conditions related with it such as asthma, depression, dermatitis and post traumatic stress disorder, among others.
How lymphatic Ddrainage affects the lymphatic system and treats lymphedema?
The Vodder’s technique (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) increases the lymphatic flow in the superficial lymphatic capillaries. This technique reduces edema and pain in the treated area and at the same time reduces scar tissue formation. It is also effective in removing metabolic wastes secondary to inflammation.
How does Osteopathy work?
Osteopaths work with their hands using a wide range of manual techniques according to the individual’s age, physique and particular problem.
Techniques range from:
- Cranial-Sacral Therapy: This is the gentlest osteopathic technique, and it requires the most experience to use effectively. Osteopathic Manual Practitioners undergo years of intensive training. Through this training, their hands become sensitive to the cranial mobility and develop great precision in utilizing cranial technique.
- Gentle Articulations and Mobilizations that involves gently moving 2 joint surfaces. Before doing this, practitioners carefully prepare the soft tissues around the treatment area. They also move the patient into a position that will minimize, or eliminate the energy and force needed to perform the manoeuvre. Many patients find this technique less forceful than joint manipulations.
- Myofascial Release Therapy– The goal of myofascial therapy is to stretch and loosen the fascia so that it and other contiguous structures can move more freely, and the patient’s motion is restored.
- Soft-tissue Stretching Techniques to release muscle tension.
- Neuromuscular Release Techniques, also called trigger point myotherapy. The American Academy of Pain Management recognizes this form of massage therapy as an effective treatment for back pain caused by soft tissue injury, Neuromuscular therapy consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm.
- Lymphatic Drainage Techniques to improve circulation throughout your body and enhance your immune system.
- Visceral Manipulationin which most patients treated feel only gentle pressure of the osteopathic manual practitioner’s hand. But the corrections are powerful enough to improve the mobility of an organ, improve blood flow, and help the organ function more effectively.
Health advice and exercises may also be given to help to reduce your symptoms and improve your health and quality of life.
Do I Need a Referral from My Doctor to Visit Manual Osteopath?
No, it is not necessary to be referred by your physician.
What Are the Reasons to Visit Manual Osteopath?
There are numerous reasons to seek the help of an osteopath. Maybe you’re suffering with stiff, aching or dull lower back pain, perhaps at work or after driving you feel sore and stiff. Do you put up with persistent leg pain or suffer regular headaches? At work whilst sitting at your desk are you in any discomfort, do your neck and shoulders ache? You don’t need to suffer any longer, osteopathy can help.
When Is the Best Time to consult a Manual Osteopath?
Prevention is better than cure, and it is often easier for a manual osteopath to treat underlying stresses and strains when there is no current pain. Indeed, you do not have to be in pain on the day of the treatment. Likewise, you do not have to wait for a particularly painful episode to settle before visiting a manual osteopath. Most back pain is easier to treat in its early stages.
How Many Osteopathic Treatments Will I Need?
Your manual osteopath should be able to give you an indication of the approximate amount of treatments needed after your first visit.
It depends on how severe and complex your condition is. For some acute conditions your manual osteopath will expect to see significant improvement and pain relief within 2-4 treatments. Problems that you have neglected or chronic conditions may require more regular osteopathic treatments.
What Can I Expect During My First Visit for Manual Osteopath?
Your initial assessment will take around 30-50 minutes.
Before your actual osteopathic treatment commences you will be asked some questions about yourself and your general health (both past & present), medical history including operations and illnesses, and any medications you are taking.
During the examination you will be asked to perform certain simple movements so your manual osteopath can observe the effects of your condition. Further examination, such as joint mobility and muscle strength may also be conducted. The experienced manual osteopath will then use a highly developed sense of touch, called palpation, to identify any points of weakness or excessive strain throughout the body.
What Should I Wear for My Osteopathic Appointment?
Patients are generally advised to wear anything that makes them feel comfortable, loose fitting shorts or pants and a vest or workout top are always perfect.
Does Osteopathy Hurt?
Osteopathy is usually painless but may be a little uncomfortable. Most people find osteopathic treatments to be gentle and relaxing. With some conditions certain techniques may cause some discomfort but not normally more than you are already used to with your problem. Your manual osteopath will warn you if this is likely to be the case. Remember you are in control of the session and can ask the manual osteopath to stop or change to another technique at any time.
How Will I Feel After My Osteopathic Appointment?
For 24 to 48 hours after the treatment you may experience some minor discomfort. This is a normal part of your body’s response to the osteopathic treatment. It is also common for the full benefit of the treatment to be felt after 2 to 3 days.
Is Osteopathy Safe?
Osteopathy has been proven to be remarkably safe, much safer than taking painkillers or surgery. Your manual osteopath will explain possible risks of treatment and discuss any concerns you may have prior to commencing with treatment.
Any benefit for Osteopathy during Pregnancy?
Osteopathic treatment while pregnant can ease some of the symptoms typically associated with pregnancy including:
- Aches and pains (back pain, neck and shoulder pain, muscular tension)
- Groin, lower abdominal pain or pubic symphysis pain
- Nausea and vomiting
Why Osteopathy for Babies and Children?
Cranial Osteopathy for babies & children is a gentle and non-invasive technique whereby the practitioner aids the body’s natural self-correcting mechanism to relieve trauma that may have occurred during birth.
The movement of the baby through the cervix in labour obliges the head to move in several specific directions whilst undergoing the powerful pressure of the contractions, this naturally causes some overlapping of the skull and compression. Some compressions may be relieved spontaneously after birth as the baby cries or suckles; however, this un-moulding process is often incomplete, especially if the birth has been difficult. Babies who have experienced forceps delivery, a long labour or caesarean birth often require the attention of a qualified manual osteopath.
How Does Cranial Osteopathy for Babies and Children Work?
Cranial osteopathy is very gentle, safe and effective. Specific gentle pressure is applied wherever necessary (not only on the head) to enable the inherent healing ability of the body to aid the release of stresses.
Reactions to treatment are variable, often the baby or child is very relaxed afterwards and sleeps well. Others have a burst of energy after treatment, usually followed by a good night sleep. Occasionally the child may seem unsettled and this is merely because treatment may take a few hours or days to complete.
On average, 2 to 6 treatments are sufficient. This varies according to the severity of the actual problem and the age of the child.
What Is the Difference Between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?
Generally, manual osteopaths spend longer with each patient (on average 45-60 minutes) compared to chiropractors (on average 5-10 minutes). In addition, osteopathic patients generally require less frequent treatments, and their treatments are spaced out over a longer period of time, rather than once or twice weekly for chiropractors. Some chiropractors are known to require or encourage their patients to sign on for a course of 12 or 24 or more treatments, even for minor complaints like lower back ache. Manual Osteopaths do not impose such requirements and depending on a person’s condition, some complaints may require just one or two treatments.
Below is an outline of the main similarities and differences between the two, but bear in mind it is from an osteopathy point of view; if you ask a chiropractor, you may get a different answer.
- Founded in the USA in the late 19th century.
- Share a common philosophy about the importance of the integrity of the spine in ensuring good health. The primary treatment objective of both is to remove bodily aches and pain.
- Chiropractic treatment tends to emphasize on quick manipulations of spinal joints only (“cracking the spine”).
- Osteopathic treatment tends to involve rhythmic stretching, articulation, mobilization and manipulation on joints and muscles of the whole body.
- Manual Osteopaths are trained in cranial osteopathy (cranio-sacral therapy) which involves very subtle and gentle work on the skull without any “clicking” of the joints.
- Chiropractors use the title “Doctor” in front of their name whereas manual osteopaths don’t.
- Manual Osteopaths are able to perform assessment by visual inspection and palpation (feeling by hand).
- Chiropractors rely more on x-rays and MRI for diagnosis.