Naturopathic medicine is not in exclusion of other forms of medicine, in fact both can work together. Conventional medicine is essential for acute illness and emergencies and Doctors do fantastic work in these areas. But chronic disease and disease prevention needs to be managed differently for the sake of patients.
Doctors are trained to help patients feel better by providing welcomed symptomatic relief often through the prescription of pharmaceutical drugs. However when they finish the course of tablets many patients notice their symptoms start to come back. The doctor may then prescribe the same drug, up the dose or try something different. This time the patient has relief from their original symptoms but they have started to experience new symptoms. Suddenly the patient is taking two forms of medication and becomes dependent on them because without them their symptoms flare up. Even though the patient feels better while taking the medication the underlying problem has not been addressed and it becomes chronic in nature.
For example constipation is a symptom of something going on in the body. The standard treatment of constipation is to provide a laxative to help relieve the symptom, which usually works. But if the cause is not investigated and the patient begins to rely on the laxative serious long term problems can develop.
Naturopathic medicine looks beyond the symptom and examines the whole person to establish the cause and will treat the cause accordingly. Naturopaths believe that the body has an inherent ability to heal itself if given the opportunity to do so and treatment will always begin with advice regarding beneficial diet and lifestyle changes to aid healing. After that treatment can range from a variety of different remedies, all of which are aimed at restoring balance and getting to the root cause of the problem. Symptomatic relief is also important for people who may have been sick for some time and will help support the body through the healing process.
Naturopathy is based on years of tradition and binding principles which are all considered during consultation and treatment of every patient. It is these principles which set naturopathic medicine apart from conventional medicine and what gives practitioners the wisdom to help their patients achieve lasting results. In the next few posts I will talk about each of the principles and how they are a critical aspect of naturopathy.