NaturoPath to Wellness
by Kali Simmonds
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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
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.
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:
(herbal) medicine, the use of plants for healing dates back to
the beginning of civilization, and is the foundation of modern
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.
nutrition encompasses vitamin, mineral, and other nutrient deficiencies
or excesses, food intolerance, allergies, and digestive enzymes.
and Oriental medicine is based on balancing the flow of Chi (energy)
through pathways called meridians, and includes the use of acupuncture
Medicine includes hands-on techniques for the spine, joints, and
soft tissues. Also used are hydrotherapy, massage, and electro
therapy, i.e. TENS, ultrasound.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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