Naturopathic medicine is a distinct practice of medicine that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process to treat each person holistically and improve outcomes while lowering health care costs. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are educated and trained in accredited naturopathic medical colleges. NDs diagnose, prevent and treat acute and chronic illness, and seek to restore and establish optimal health by supporting the person's inherent self-healing process. Rather than just suppressing or managing symptoms, NDs work to identify underlying causes of illness, and develop personalized treatment plans to address them.
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When evaluating and working with our patients, NDs use a method called the The Therapeutic Order™. Based on the health issues that are being addressed, their severity, and other factors, using the Therapeutic Order identifies the natural order in which therapies should be applied to provide the greatest benefit with the least potential for harm as well as harnessing the body's innate ability to heal. Use of this method helps NDs choose the least invasive and most appropriate points to begin health care interventions, and addresses the treatment of disease and other conditions while also promoting health and balance.
Breathe deeply on purpose. Oxygen is a vital source of life. You may know how to breathe, but are you breathing properly? Most of us don’t breathe properly — we take only shallow breaths and breathe to 1/3 of our lung capacity. A full breath is one where your lungs are completely filled, your abdomen expands, and there’s minimum movement in your shoulders. There are many benefits of deep breathingwhich include a reduction in stress and blood pressure, strengthening of abdominal and intestinal muscles and relief of general body aches and pains. Deep breathing also helps with better blood flow, releasing toxins from the body, and aids in getting a better night’s sleep.
1. Remove Obstacles to Health
Health, the “natural state” of one’s body, is disturbed by obstacles that lead to disease. The first step in returning to health is to remove the entities that disturb health such as: poor diet, digestive disturbances, inappropriate and chronic stress levels, and individual disharmony. Naturopathic doctors construct a healthy regimen based on an individual’s “obstacles to health” to change and improve the terrain in which the disease developed. This allows additional therapeutics to have the most beneficial effects possible.
2. Stimulate the Self-Healing Mechanisms
NDs use therapies to stimulate and strengthen the body’s innate self-healing and curative abilities. These therapies include modalities such as clinical nutrition, botanical medicines, constitutional hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and acupuncture.
3. Strengthen Weakened Systems
Systems that need repair are addressed at this level of healing. Naturopathic doctors have an arsenal of therapeutics available to enhance specific tissues, organs or systems including: lifestyle interventions, dietary modifications, botanical medicine, orthomolecular therapy (use of substances that occur naturally in the body such as vitamins, amino acids, minerals), and homeopathy.
Get smelly. Garlic, onions, spring onions and leeks all contain stuff that’s good for you. A study at the Child’s Health Institute in Cape Town found that eating raw garlic helped fight serious childhood infections. Heat destroys these properties, so eat yours raw, wash it down with fruit juice or, if you’re a sissy, have it in tablet form.
4. Correct Structural Integrity
Physical modalities such as spinal manipulation, massage therapy, and craniosacral therapy are used to improve and maintain skeletal and musculature integrity.
5. Use Natural Substances to Restore and Regenerate
Naturopathic medicine’s primary objective is to restore health, not to treat pathology. However, when a specific pathology must be addressed, NDs employ safe, effective, natural substances that do not add toxicity or additionally burden the already distressed body.
These advances have made it easier to find integrative doctors and medical centres.The use of alternative medicine is widespread in South Africa and there are thousands of products that can be classified as complementary medicine, dietary supplements and traditional medicine.Key tenets of integrative medicine are:Creating a partnership between patient and practitionerUsing conventional and alternative methods as needed, and less-invasive yet effective interventions when possibleFocusing on prevention and promoting good health as well as treating illnessesTraining practitioners to be models of health and healingPrevention is a hallmark of integrative care because it's easier, less expensive and better for people to avoid an illness rather than have to treat and manage one.
6. Use Pharmacologic Substances to Halt Progressive Pathology
NDs are trained in pharmacology and how to use pharmaceutical drugs when necessary. If their state license permits, they can prescribe these agents themselves or if not, refer to a conventional medical colleague.
7. Use High Force, Invasive Modalities: Surgery, Radiation, Chemotherapy
When life, limb, or function must be preserved, NDs refer patients to MDs who are expertly trained in these arenas. At the same time, NDs use complementary or supportive therapies to decrease side effects and increase the effectiveness of these invasive procedures.
Eat good mood food. Rather than focusing on weight, I focus on happiness! I always strive to eat for a good mood since food and mood go hand in hand. Science shows us that eating fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, legumes, whole grains, foods with probiotics, tea and even dark chocolate all play roles in brain health and good mood. Eating for health AND happiness is a win-win!