Today, the world of science has advanced rapidly, introducing diverse methods and alternatives to improving health on the whole. With controversies and upheavals of utilizing conventional allopathic medicine rising, many individuals have been turning to more natural and traditional ways to cure, sustain, and prolong their wellbeing. According to the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (2010), Naturopathic Medicine is a distinctive health care system which combines the contemporary scientific knowledge with natural and established forms of medicine. Naturopathy focuses on arousing the remedial power of the body while treating the primary cause of an illness. In addition, while determining the root cause of an illness, Naturopathy perceives the symptoms of an illness as warning signs of bodily dysfunction, as well as adverse standards of living (Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, 2010).
There are six major factors that form the foundation of naturopathy. First principle is “First Do No Harm”. This principle signifies the importance of employing methods which are safe and effective, while optimizing one’s health and minimizing negative side effects. The second principle is the “The Healing Power of Nature”, which insinuates the concept of the body’s innate ability to restore health. The third principle implies the necessity to “Identify and Treat the Cause”; naturopathy stresses that it is crucial to detect and treat the central cause of a health problem instead of focusing on its symptoms.
The fourth principle, “Treat the Whole Person”, emphasizes the instability of health must be handled comprehensively, rather than as a portion or individually. The fifth principle, “Doctor as a Teacher”, indicates the accountability that naturopaths hold to educate their patients and further sanction them and to become responsible for their own wellbeing. Finally, the sixth principle of “Disease Prevention and Health Promotion” accentuates on taking action depending on projected problems according to existing disparities, genetic vulnerability and other lifestyle decisions (Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, 2010).
In order to assist an individual in restoring the stability of good health, Naturopathic Medicine considers the underlying constituents of health such as, biochemistry, biomechanics, and emotional tendency (NaturoDoc, 2010). The initiation of naturopathy remedies was instigated through the use of herbs and foods for medicine, revelation to clean atmosphere and sunlight, as well as hydrotherapy; the deployment of hot and cold water such as steam or sauna (NaturoDoc, 2010). Even into the 21st century, naturopathic medicine has been the leading medicine employed largely by humans. As indicated by Dr. Lee (2010), more than 65% of people prefer herbal and traditional medical arts as their primary medical alternative. According to naturopathic philosophy, organisms carry an instinctive capability to restore themselves.
By concentrating on the immune, hormonal, nervous, and detoxification systems of the body, this procedure can be accomplished; proper steadiness among the preceding systems can help reinstate health (NaturoDoc, 2010). One can comprehend the concept of body’s self-healing ability better if he or she considers that homeostasis is the chief attribute of any healthy organism. For instance, flu; when someone’s body is attacked by a pathogen, the body will react by emitting fever, nausea, and drowsiness to combat the virus. Interestingly, by providing proper nourishment and relaxation, the symptoms of the flu will boost up the immune system allowing the body to overcome the sickness, revitalizing healthiness.
Naturopathy in its own essence offers several natural therapies to those in need. Some of the many treatments include clinical nutrition, botanical medicine (phytotherapy), and Chinese medicine (acupuncture). Naturopathic Treatment focuses on improving health through dietary changes and the intake of supplements to nourish one’s body. It perceives nutritional counseling and support as key dynamics in disease prevention and wellness. To continue, Botanical Medicine (Phytotherapy) has been around prior to the invention of synthetic pharmaceuticals. Many drugs utilized contemporarily are obtained through medicinal plants. The employment of botanical medicine has been validated through modern scientific investigations and has been found extremely effective in curing prevailing diseases. The next type of therapy practiced by Naturopathic Doctors is the Traditional Chinese Medicine/ Acupuncture.
The important notion that interlinks all Chinese medicine is the inner-self or vital energy (Chi) (Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, 2010). According to this concept, the energy level of all organs of the body should be in balance in order for an individual to be healthy. The Chi of all body functions is united in canals that are existent beneath the skin. Consequently, under such treatment, a naturopathic specialist uses eastern herbs and acupuncture in supporting the body to adjust its vital energy and attaining equilibrium. The procedure of Acupuncture involves the slot in of thin needles through the skin and tissue at precise points of the body. As there is no vaccination, there is minimum discomfort involved. Acupuncture has been extremely effective in treating acute and chronic illnesses; some disorders treated by acupuncture include digestive, respiratory, neurological, muscular, urinary, reproductive, substance abuse and sleep disorders (NaturoDoc, 2010).
The prevalence of Naturopathic Medicine in our society has been escalating as people are acknowledging its short and long-term benefits. In accordance with such demand, the number of naturopathic doctors is mounting enormously. Presently, there are approximately 1,550 Naturopathic Doctors that practice naturopathy in every province and territory in Canada (Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, 2010). In the discipline of natural and preventive remedy, naturopathic doctors are receiving greater appreciation as health care practitioners and as specialists. Naturopathic Medicine has been increasingly contributing in providing leadership in natural medical research and enhancing political sway. Nowadays, as more and more research supports the treatments employed by naturopathic doctors and with growing public demand regarding access to natural health care, naturopathic medicine is sure to enter the “mainstream” from an “alternative” form of health practice.
Due to change in people’s attitudes toward their health, there has been an augmented interest and use of botanical and non-drug related medicines, and greater prominence on disease deterrence. Allopathic Medicine usually means diagnosis of infection and viruses, vaccination, countless drug remedies for illnesses such as regular flu or complex ailments such as HIV. There is little or no importance given to diet, exercise and non-drug related medications. Individuals have now begun to develop new ideas pertaining to health care by observing their daily consumption patterns of foods, drinks and prescription drugs (Cassie, 2009). All the preceding factors have allowed people to consider the positive and negative aspects of using allopathic medicine. For instance, individuals are looking for alternatives to expensive drug medications and also assessing its side effects on their health.
The article, “Migraines and Mood Disorders: Nutritional and Dietary intervention based on laboratory testing” represents the collective knowledge by a group of specialists from diversified fields such as, nutrition, naturopathy, biology and neurosciences. The authors of the article explain the failure of conventional medicines to adequately address the fundamental causes of migraines and mood disorders. In order to determine the effectiveness of naturopathic medicine in diminishing migraines and mood disorders, a study was undertaken on a 40 year old female (referred to as ML) suffering from chronic depression and migraine headaches (Nelson-Dooley et al., 2009). The medical tests of ML revealed that she had low plasma amino acids, low urinary neurotransmitters metabolites and critical food antibodies.
ML was put on a strict rotation diet for one month, eliminating certain foods such as eggs and dairy products and again introducing them into her diet cautiously. In addition, ML was prescribed fish oils, multivitamin, customized amino acid form, probiotics and glutamine. During the first phase of the treatment, ML experienced headaches as the allergenic foods reappeared in her diet and remained balanced while they stayed completely prohibited. The elimination diet and amino acid therapy continued for a total of ninety days. Throughout this process, six amino acids increased within appropriate limits.
Subsequently, ML felt more active and optimistic; and also the occurrence of daily headaches had diminished. From utilizing allopathic medicines to treat headaches such as ibuprofen on an hourly basis, ML was now consuming it occasionally. She felt her body had finally attained an equilibrium state as her mood swings were reaching an adequate level. Accordingly, food allergens, irritation, and intestinal penetrability may have caused a reduction in amino acids and neurotransmitters which resulted in depression and migraines. On the whole, ML confessed that it had been truly difficult to make overall lifestyle changes to her diet; hence she would break out of her new elimination diet once in a while. Nevertheless, she also believed that if she abided by the dietary rules firmly, her health condition would improve and enhance even more.
According to my understanding thus far, I believe that Naturopathic Medicine is indeed an effective way to sustain a healthy living and prolonging life. Through the body’s powers of natural healing and focus on disease prevention rather than cure, many people have started to employ naturopathic health care in their lives and have given up on the conventional form of allopathic medicine. Naturopathy has many benefits; from building homeostasis within the body to enhancing the immune system and following a holistic approach to treat health problems without utilizing any drugs, surgical procedures and causing side effects. I am in full support with Naturopathic practice due to the reason that I have actually benefited from it. As I am iron deficient, I was prescribed iron pills from my current family doctor.
I repetitively aimed to take the pills but their side effects were unbearable; I would feel nauseated and worn-out all the time. I eventually contacted a Naturopathic Doctor who assisted me in acknowledging the main causes of my deficiency in iron. She not only stipulated me to take the natural iron supplements but also discussed my dietary patterns and additional activities which are encompassed in my life. Ever since I have started receiving naturopathic treatment, my iron level has gradually increased; I feel more active and energetic than I did before. Though there are some issues surrounding the effectiveness of naturopathy becoming the mainstream form of the medical care system, it is still capable and powerful in curing and preventing assorted illnesses. Hence, Naturopathic Medicine should be complimented with conventional medical care system and should continue to be practiced world-wide as it has proven to be valuable in many ways.
Milling, S. L., America, A. (2008). The efficacy of vitamins for reducing or preventing depression symptoms in healthy individuals: natural remedy or placebo. Journal of Behavioural Medicine, 31 (2), 157-168.
Nelson-Dooley, C., Kaplan, S., & Bralley, J. A. (2009). Migraines and mood disorders: Nutritional and Dietary intervention based on Laboratory Testing. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 15 (5), 56-61.
Riley, D. (2009). Change. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 15 (1), 10-12.
Kim, L.S., Hilli, L., Orlowski, J., Kupperman, J.L., Baral, M., & Waters, R.F. (2006). Effiacy of Probiotics and Nutrients in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Preliminary Clinical Trial. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 51 (12), 2134-2145.
Champagne, T. (2009). New Powers for Naturopaths. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 180 (13), 1331.
Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors. (2010.). About Naturopathic Medicine. Retrieved November 6, 2010, from http://www.cand.ca/index.php?78&L=0.
NaturoDoc. (2010.). What is Naturopathic Medicine. Retrieved November 5, 2010, from http://www.naturodoc.com/cardinal/naturopathy/whatisNM.htm.
British Columbia Naturopathic Association. (2009.). About Naturopathic Medicine. Retrieved November 9, 2010, from http://www.bcna.ca/files_3/naturophatic.php
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2010.). Naturopathy: An Introduction. Retrieved November 9, 2010, from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/naturopathy/