See all > Preventative health and wellness
September 8, 2020 • read
How can naturopathic doctors help with disease prevention?
Your body is an ecosystem. When everything is working in harmony, good health flourishes. When one part gets sick, there can be ripple effects that lead to acute or chronic health problems.
So much of our health is determined by diet, environment, and stress. In fact, many dangerous diseases are preventable or treatable through lifestyle choices. It’s estimated that 90% of type 2 diabetes, 80% of coronary artery disease, 70% of stroke, and 70% of colon cancer is preventable through healthy lifestyle choices. These serious diseases used to be mainly seen in high-income countries. Now, they’re increasing worldwide because of environmental and lifestyle factors.
Disease prevention is just as important as curing illness. But, most people don’t know what steps to take to preserve their health. That’s where the guidance of an expert comes in.
What is naturopathy?
Naturopathy is a system and philosophy of medicine that aims to treat the “whole patient.” With naturopathy, modern medical knowledge is blended with ancient, natural healing practices.
The philosophy of naturopathic medicine revolves around the body’s ability to heal itself. Naturopaths believe that when the body is balanced, it will naturally bring itself back to health. To achieve this, naturopaths must understand the patient’s entire lifestyle. What is bringing a patient stress, their living conditions, their diet — all of these things are considered when creating a patient’s health profile.
Naturopathy is a way to pay in-depth attention to preventative health. By making health an integral part of your lifestyle, you can stave off many serious diseases.
Naturopathy also helps with chronic illness or symptoms you need relief from. Part of the aim of naturopathy is to reduce negative side-effects of disease treatment. Naturopathy is gentle, non-invasive, and complementary to treatments you might be receiving from medical doctors.
What are naturopathic doctors?
Naturopathy students complete a four year training program where they study science and clinical care. Then they sit a licensing exam to obtain the title “Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine”, or ND. The title of ND is only regulated in Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Naturopathic doctors look beyond a patient’s symptoms. While symptoms should be treated for patient relief, NDs are taught to search for the root cause of illness. NDs examine their patient’s physical, environmental, lifestyle, attitudinal, and emotional aspects to determine where the imbalance might be.
How can naturopathic doctors help with preventative care?
Most of us only see a doctor when we feel acutely sick. This leads some people to wonder if there’s an expert who can assess and advise on their preventative health.
Preventative healthcare looks to prevent illness before it starts. This leads to improved quality of life for patients while lessening the strain on our healthcare system.
A naturopathic doctor doesn’t only help patients solve their health problems. They also educate their patients about holistic health. This helps patients make better lifestyle choices to prevent future disease and enjoy a greater sense of well-being.
What conditions do naturopathic doctors treat?
- Digestion issues
- Food sensitivities
- Sleep difficulties
- Skin concerns
- Mental health
- Immune system conditions
- Weight management
- Chronic illness
- Hormonal imbalances
What treatments do naturopathic doctors offer?
Naturopathic doctors use treatments that are outside of typical western pharmaceutical medications. These treatments can include:
- Botanical medicine
- Clinical nutrition
- Naturopathic manipulation
- Traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture
- Diet and lifestyle counselling
- Health promotion and disease prevention
Who should see a naturopathic doctor?
Anyone can see a naturopathic doctor. There are three main categories of patients naturopathic doctors tend to see.
1. Preventative health patient
These patients are looking to protect their health for the future. They understand that health is a lifelong journey, and they’re proactively looking for ways to improve their well-being.
2. Treating chronic symptoms
These patients have likely sought treatment from medical doctors in the past. While their health may be under control, there may be lingering symptoms of disease or medication side-effects. Naturopathic doctors work with these patients to improve lifestyle factors that are under the patient’s control.
3. Life-threatening illnesses
When patients are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, they’ll often undergo invasive treatments paired with a heavy medication schedule. Naturopathy is great at improving a patient’s quality of life while they receive necessary medical treatment. A naturopathic doctor can help reduce negative side-effects of disease treatment while balancing and soothing the patient’s holistic health.
Naturopathic doctors help their patients feel well — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Health doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Rather, our lifestyle choices contribute greatly to our daily experience of well-being.
Naturopathy patients receive one of the greatest benefits of healthcare — individual attention. If you have chronic symptoms, are dealing with a demanding disease, or simply want to boost your well-being, talking to a naturopathic doctor can help. You can speak to our naturopathic doctors online, anywhere you are.