By Alison McGill
We’ve all been on a journey to better selfcare and having a naturopath as part of your best health team is a very savvy move. I have been seeing a naturopathic doctor for over 15 years and the impact she has made on my life is quite simply incredible.
After suffering chronic sinus infections for the better part of a decade (as many as six a year) I knew there had to be a better way to treat the problem than the standard prescription of antibiotics I was given that most times didn’t work and made me feel worse by brining on other issues like stomach distress and insomnia. During my first appointment with my naturopathic doctor, she did a deep dive into me to understand everything about my physical and mental health. Eating and drinking habits, sleep patterns, digestion, mood hygiene, stress levels and management, mental outlook, and activity levels were just a few of the things she asked about, and explored in detail, to get to know me and how to treat the underlying problem of my chronic sinusitis. She warned me it would take time—and a little experimentation—to land on what my body responded to best treatment wise.
It took just one year to get my sinus issues in check. It was about cleaning up my diet (little to no sugar), exercising more, worrying less, keeping my immunity boosted in busy times, and my adrenal system balanced so I didn’t fall into the cycle of sickness I had accepted as normal for so many years. In the time since I started working with my naturopathic doctor, I have maybe had three sinus infections total; I have never been on antibiotics again for them; and know when to amp up my immune boosting regime of supplements if I start to feel low. Over the years, my naturopath has helped me navigate so many other issues including hormonal imbalance, digestive health, and anxiety. My naturopathic doctor literally changed my life.
If you are considering naturopathy for yourself, but don’t know a lot about it, here is some essential naturopath 101 tips from the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors including intel on where to find one near you.
What Is Naturopathic Medicine?
According to the Association, naturopathy is a health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. The goal is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes the disease as a process rather than as an entity.
What Do Naturopathic Treatments Involve?
Diet and lifestyle changes are a big part of naturopathy, as well as natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture may also be used during treatments.
How Will Naturopathic Care Help Me?
The Association says there are typically three types of patients who seek naturopathic care. There are pro-active patients who are seeking help for health promotion and disease prevention strategies. There are patients (like me) who need help with chronic issues which have not been treated successfully via other medical practitioners and are looking for new treatments and perspectives on their conditions. Lastly, there are patients who have been formally diagnosed with serious or life-threatening illness and are looking to improve their life quality and work synergistically with their conventional medical treatments.
Where Can I Find A Naturopathic Doctor?
There are more than 2,400 naturopathic doctors practicing in every province and all but one territory across Canada. The practice of naturopathic doctors is regulated in five provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. In all other provinces doctors are actively seeking regulation. I found my naturopathic doctor through word of mouth via a friend who was a patient. If you have a personal recommendation that is always a great place to start. If you don’t, the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors has an extensive directory of professionals across the country to help you easily locate one where you live.