Healthways of Longevity Notes Conditions Commonly Benefited by Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine and the many techniques of naturopathy can be applied in any health care situation, but its strongest area is in the treatment of chronic and degenerative
disease. Naturopaths are, for the most part, licensed primary care/general practice family physicians. For severe, acute traumas such as a serious automobile accident, emergencies of
childbirth, or orthopedic problems requiring corrective surgery, naturopathic medicine is not recommended, although it can contribute to such cases, especially in the recovery phase.
In other cases, such as ear infections and common illnesses with fever, the naturopathic physician addresses the associated pain, infection, and fever of the condition, as well as any related concerns of the patient. How this acute condition might relate to underlying
causes, such as diet, life stresses, and occupational hazards, is also addressed. The physician will then usually prescribe a variety of means to deal with the immediate problem.
chronic cases, the procedure is different. Typically, a thorough case exploration will detail the history and nature of the patient's symptoms and complaints, his or her complete health history, and the patient's lifestyle. Finally, a physical examination and appropriate laboratory tests are performed. For naturopathic physicians, understanding the patient as an individual is essential when searching for causative factors, particularly in the areas of the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual.
After determining causative factors, the physician will discuss his or her findings with the patient, and an attempt will be made to tie together and interpret the symptoms.
Symptoms usually relate to a central problem that has many manifestations. As an example, many symptoms can be tied to the effects of toxemia on the component systems of the body such as the immune system, nervous system or circulatory system.
Others may be due to emotional factors, such as a chronic urinary tract infection when there is a history of sexual
Finally, dietary factors are determined and appropriate changes are recommended. Any other perceived causes are addressed with either counseling, exercise, or other
methods of treatment.
Healing the Person, Not the Disease
Naturopathic medicine does not focus on disease symptoms, rather, on the causes of those symptoms. For example, the body has four major organs that assist in elimination; the lungs, kidneys, bowels, and skin. Because formal medicine has largely ignored the skin as a functioning organ which can be "tapped into" as a resource for healing, not enough progress has been made to date. Most skin diseases are viewed by naturopathic physicians to be the result of excessive metabolic toxicity in the body, forcing the skin to be used as an extra route of elimination. The skin excretes both water-soluble and oil-soluble wastes through the sweat and oil glands. Because the elimination of toxins is irritating to the skin, the result is often various forms of skin-related disorders such as dermatitis and acne.
Naturopathic doctors today, particularly those with advanced equipment at their disposal, can provide complete diagnostic and therapeutic services. In naturopathic medicine, words such as "diagnosis" or "cure" or even "treatment" are to be avoided for two powerful reasons:
What Is a Naturopathic Physician Trained to Do?
- Primarily because there are so many quacks and idiots out there parting people from their hard-earned money, and partly for less honorable reasons, the U.S. government, through the FDA, does not want any claims made unless the requisite 234 [and more] million dollars are invested or frittered into the filings necessary for US Government approval. There are both good and bad features to the government's intervention into one of the few areas of life where no one dies or gets sick from the products.
- Words such as "diagnosis," "treatment," and "cure" all indicate a lack of understanding of naturopathic medicine. In the simplest terms, naturopathy means using products that occur naturally to return the human system to its normal, and, not concidentally, balanced and healthy state of existence.
Throughout the use of naturopathic, or natural medicine, a majority of naturopathic physicians have also functioned as family doctors, many of them practicing natural childbirth (usually in the home setting), pediatrics, gynecology, and geriatrics. Naturopathic physicians make recommendations on lifestyle, diet, and exercise,
and utilize a variety of natural and noninvasive healing techniques.
The current scope of treatments naturopathic physicians are trained in include: clinical nutrition; botanical or herbal medicine; homeopathy; acupuncture; hydrotherapy; physical medicine including massage and therapeutic manipulation; counseling
and other psychotherapies; and minor surgery.