..The Intuitive Times
Naturopathic View


The NaturoPath to Wellness

by Kali Simmonds BSc, N.D.

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Lately, we hear the terms "holistic" medicine, "Natural" medicine, "homeopathic" medicine, "naturopathic" medicine, and so on. There are many different perceptions of what these terms or philosophies mean. Some believe these practices are "nonscientific", "voodoo", "harmless", superior or inferior to conventional medical practices. I don=t believe any of the above to be completely true. As a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, I will present my personal view of "holistic" medicine. First, I will explain what it means to be a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.

The Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Program requires that you have completed three years in an undergraduate program including prerequisites of general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general biology, and psychology. I did a four-year Bachelor of Science degree with a Major in Biology which gave me these credits. Since it was a natural progression into the medical sciences, this gave me an advantage over someone who had done a Business of Arts Degree.

The program consists of four years, full-time after university which is the same as for a medical degree. The first two years focus on the medical sciences, lab and physical clinical diagnosis, pharmacology (even though we don't prescribe pharmaceuticals, we need to understand their uses, and how they interact with medicines we use in practice), and introductions to the seven disciplines of Naturopathic Medicine:

Botanical (herbal) medicine, the use of plants for healing dates back to the beginning of civilization, and is the foundation of modern pharmacology.

Homeopathic medicine is based on the principle of "like cures like" (similar to the approach used with vaccinations) and was developed in the 1700's. Minute amounts of natural substances are used to stimulate the body's self-healing abilities.

Clinical nutrition encompasses vitamin, mineral, and other nutrient deficiencies or excesses, food intolerance, allergies, and digestive enzymes.

Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is based on balancing the flow of Chi (energy) through pathways called meridians, and includes the use of acupuncture and herbs.

Physical Medicine includes hands-on techniques for the spine, joints, and soft tissues. Also used are hydrotherapy, massage, and electro therapy, i.e. TENS, ultrasound.

Counseling to address the physical, emotional, nutritional and environmental factors, affecting health. Naturopaths are trained by clinical psychologists. The first three years involve 30-35 hours of class time per week (compared to 15 hours (week for full time in University) with exams, assignments, and practicals. At the end of the third year you have a two week break and final exams, then you begin a full year in the supervised clinic.

In the clinic, we treat our patients with an established Naturopathic doctor reviewing our cases, and signing off on our treatment protocols once they are approved. We are regularly tested on our skills and clinical knowledge in a one-on-one oral, and practical exams. Graduation is in May.

For most however, it doesn=t end with the graduation. Those planning to practice in Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba, and those who wish to be on par with their colleagues must pass the North American licensing exams. These are in August and include everything you learned for during the four years. These are three eight hour days of written exams and one day of practical exams.

The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (Toronto)is the only recognized school of Naturopathic Medicine in Canada. In the U.S. there is Basty University,(Seattle), National College(Portland) and South West (Scotsdale, AZ) Always ask about a Naturopath=s training, look for certificates, and ask if they're registered.

Holistic refers to "wholeness" in this situation, meaning to treat the whole person - their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual self. For example, if someone comes to me with anxiety and physical complaints of heart palpitations, insomnia, indigestion, dizziness, etc..., I would ask them what they feel is making them feel this way. I would want to help them connect how they are feeling, to something that may be disturbing their mental, emotional, spiritual person, as well as the possible physical causes.

This is not to say that if someone has a heartburn that there is necessarily an emotional cause. I simply mean to consider the whole person with empathy, and good listening before jumping to conclusions.

My goal as a naturopathic physician is to treat you as a whole person, not just your condition, and to educate you on how to achieve optimal health. Naturopathic and conventional medicine can work together to meet your health care needs. The key is to employ the most effective way, and least harmful methods, while addressing the underlying cause.

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