A naturopathic physician is a healthcare provider who provides a range of services that incorporate both modern conventional medical practices as well as traditional, alternative and eastern-style medicines and practices. Sometimes referred to as naturopathy or complementary medicine, the naturopathic approach to patient care continues to gain credibility and to be more widely incorporated into conventional medical practices. While there are limits to what these providers may be able to offer their patients, practices such as acupuncture, massage therapy as well as lifestyle and clinical nutritional counselling services can do much to ensure patients are able to maintain their health or better manage the symptoms of a chronic medical condition or illness.
Naturopathic medicine is a broad term that encompasses many different forms of treatment and patient care. Herbalism, applied kinesiology and even traditional Chinese medicine are just some of the few methods and medical practices that naturopathic practitioners and physicians may engage in. While many forms of alternative treatment and traditional medicines were looked down upon by the medical community, the care, treatment and services provided by naturopathic physicians continues to enjoy wider acceptance among the medical community. Massage therapy, dietary counseling and traditional methods such as acupuncture are becoming increasingly common in the treatment and prevention of a range of diseases and medical conditions.
Naturopathic Care and Treatment
Naturopathic methods, especially those that are used in concert with more conventional treatments, can be useful in dealing with a wide range of common ailments, including:
- Chronic pain
- Menopause or hormonal imbalance
- Chronic fatigue
The care and services of a naturopathic healthcare provider may also be of benefit for patients who are seeking to reduce the risks or better manage the symptoms of a number of potentially serious illnesses and conditions that may include:
- Digestive issues
- Respiratory conditions
- Heart disease
- Fibromyalgia and certain types of cancers
While relying on naturopathic care alone may not always be sufficient to ensure the needs of a patient are being met, traditional medicines and alternate practices may have much to offer patients who are already seeking conventional care and treatment.
Benefits of Naturopathic Medicine
Clients of a naturopathic care provider who are seeking the means to address more mundane healthcare issues, such as weight loss or sports injuries, can enjoy many benefits. Safe and effective ways to ease pain or to maintain a healthier lifestyle may have much to offer. Even patients who are struggling with a serious disease or condition may find that naturopathic medicine may allow them to better manage the conditions of their illness and enjoy improved comfort and overall well being.
When to Seek Naturopathic Care
Despite its many potential benefits, naturopathic care may not always be the best option for every patient. Surgeries, major trauma and medical conditions that may require sophisticated imaging services in order to ensure proper treatment all require patients to seek a more conventional approach. While patients should feel free to consult with a naturopath when seeking dietary counseling, advice on how to improve their lifestyle as well as acupuncture treatments and massage sessions, speaking with a principal care provider or making an appointment with a conventional doctor would be advisable in order to ensure that any potentially serious health issues are able to be addressed appropriately.
Todd Nelson, D.Sc. trained at the International Center for Natural Health and Medicine, graduating with both a Naturopathic Doctor degree and a Doctor of Holistic Health Sciences degree. Aside from heading the Tree of Life Wellness Center in Denver, Colorado as a naturopathic doctor, Todd is also a co-author of 3 books.