Naturopathic Medicine Week 2016 continues! I am thrilled to be joined by naturopathic medical student, Andriana Setnik, who has collaborated with me on a series of guest blogs answering all of your important questions about naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathic doctors are a wonderful addition to your healthcare team.
We are happy to work alongside any number of professionals who you work with to achieve optimal health whether that be a medical doctor, a chiropractic, a TCM practitioner, an osteopath, a registered massage therapist, a psychotherapist, etc. etc.
To be specific about how we differ from conventional medical doctors - both provide primary care (in the province of Ontario) and have training in basic and clinical sciences. The primary differences between naturopathic and conventional medicine are the philosophical approach and the therapies used. Furthermore, naturopathic doctors have the wonderful advantage of spending more time with their patients, allowing for a full intake of their personal and family history and looking at the interactions between lifestyle, environmental, emotional and genetic factors that may influence long-term health.
Naturopathic doctors strive to treat the root cause of disease, rather than specifically addressing and treating the symptoms of disease using pharmaceutical therapies. We do not prescribe a full-range of pharmaceutical drugs (although we do have access to a few), but rather use clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine (including acupuncture), lifestyle counselling, and bodywork. We’re trained to diagnose. We do annual check ups. We order lab tests. We can prescribe clinically tested medicines, and we can refer you to other health professionals, if required.
It is optimal to round our your healthcare team with a naturopathic doctor to meet all of your need. In fact, many NDs work in integrated healthcare settings alongside a variety of healthcare professionals, including medical doctors, as well as in hospitals.
You don’t have to choose! You’re not turning your back on conventional medicine. We’re a vibrant part of Canada’s healthcare system — a system that allows for the best of both worlds. Those worlds are complementary.
What is the difference between naturopathic and functional medicine?
Naturopathic doctors practice functional and integrative medicine. The term functional medicine is a way to describe the paradigm used in approaching patient-centered care. Naturopathic doctors use a systems-oriented method that engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. This is a practice of medicine that addresses the healthcare needs of the patient by focusing on the patient rather than focusing on the disease.