The Canadian Naturopathic Foundation

Naturopathic Medicine

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What is Naturopathic Medicine? 


Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. Naturopathic medicine is the art and science of disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention using natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy, naturopathic manipulation, traditional Chinese medicine/ acupuncture, and lifestyle counselling. 


A Naturopathic Doctor is a primary care practitioner that seeks to restore and maintain optimum health in their patients by emphasizing nature’s inherent self-healing process.  A
Naturopathic Doctor views the individual as an integral whole including the physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environment and lifestyle factors affecting health.  Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body and unfavourable lifestyle habits.  Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than disease as an entity.  The primary goal is to treat the underlying cause of the disease.  This approach has proven successful in treating both chronic and acute conditions.  Treatments are chosen based on the individual patient, not based on the generality of symptoms.

Naturopathic doctors can also complement and enhance health care services provided by other health care professionals.  They cooperate with other branches of medical science referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate.  Naturopathic Doctors provide patients with a truly integrative form of health care.

In Canada, the naturopathic medical profession’s infrastructure includes accredited educational institutions, professional licensing, national standards of practice, participation in  federal health care initiatives, and a commitment to state-of-the-art scientific research.

What Can Naturopathic Medicine Do For You?

Naturopathic medicine treats all forms of health concerns -- from pediatric to geriatric, from irritating systems to chronic illness and from the physical to the psychological.  It is the approach, philosophy and training of naturopathic doctors that sets it apart from other forms of health care. 

There are typically three types of patients that seek naturopathic medical care:

  1. Patients that are looking for disease prevention and health promotion strategies.  Individuals that recognize that health doesn’t just happen by chance, that it is a life-long process that involves a clear understanding of the factors that affect health and how to deal with them on a daily basis. People, in ever increasing numbers, are looking at health promotion as a way of life.
  1. Patients that have a range of symptoms that they have been unable to address on their own or with the help of other medical practitioners. With Naturopathic medicine’s broad understanding of health and the relationship between health, life and the environment naturopathic doctors are often able to offer patients a new perspective, providing safe and effective ways to restore health.
  1. Patients that have been diagnosed with an illness and are looking for alternative treatments.  Naturopathic medicine is very effective in improving quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses. It is used extensively and effectively for those patients who want to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments in order to minimize drug side effects, surgery or conventional treatments. 

The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and to treat the root cause of disease. Many patients find this different approach to health provides them with a new perspective and awareness. By addressing the root cause(s) of disease and the appropriate use of natural therapies, patients with chronic illness have found tremendous benefits.

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