I have dealt with digestive and skin issues since I was born. By the time I reached my last year of university I had thrown more pills at my body than most people twice my age. I visited more doctors and specialists than I could count. In an attempt to forgo yet another waiting room snooze fest I began researching natural remedies. My search led me to naturopathy. Now I know what you’re thinking…you’re picturing some whack-job sitting on the floor cross-legged, wearing a lovely natural deodorant that just doesn’t quite get the job done while brewing some herbal mixture that looks (and smells) like cat pee. I am happy to report that could not be further from my experience.
The development of naturopathy has been met with a lot of skepticism and has gained significant attention in recent years. Some argue that Western medicine is the only accurate way to diagnose and treat human ailments, while others suggest that those scientific treatments are in fact doing more harm to our bodies than good. Based on my experience, I believe that both forms of treatment are extremely valuable. Western medicine is especially useful in emergency situations. When you break your arm or get cancer you head to the hospital, but this form of medicine mostly treats symptoms. Naturopathy is primarily the go-to for prevention.
There are three distinct benefits that naturopathy can boast of over western medicine:
- Naturopaths listen.
- When I first went in for a consultation with Dr. Tom Daly (ND) at Belmont Natural Health Centre, I was dumbfounded that he took the time to get to know me as an individual; my symptoms, diet, habits, career and even my relationships with my family and friends. By the time I left his office I might as well have been lying on some fancy couch talking about my cheating ex-boyfriend Bob. At first I was surprised by all of his questions, thinking I must have stumbled upon a particularly nosy doctor, but then he explained that my symptoms could be rooted in things like food choices, excessive stress/anxiety and interrupted sleep patterns. He told me that my diagnosis and treatment would be greatly impacted by these factors. We worked together to uncover the possible consequences of some of the life choices I had been making in terms of my diet and habits. Dr. Daly then began to discuss at length possible treatment options and diet sensitivity testing in such a way that I didn’t need a medical degree to understand.
- Naturopathy treats the underlying problem, not just symptoms.
- Naturopathy seeks to correct problems at the root of the issue and takes into account the whole body rather than just the part showing symptoms. This is one of the largest differences between Western and naturopathic solutions. The goal is not a quick fix, rather it is to bring the body back into balance. After considering my responses to his questions about my diet and lifestyle, Dr. Daly had me undergo blood testing to determine if I had any food sensitivities.
- Naturopathy uses natural remedies.
- Naturopaths use safe and natural treatments. From ordering elimination techniques to homeopathic remedies, naturopaths advise patients on all natural solutions. I promise, this isn’t as hippie as it sounds. You will not be told to go harvest bark from the oak tree in your backyard. Following my food reaction testing, my doctor went through my results with me and we began to discuss treatment options together. He guided me through my results highlighting the worst reactions as being ascribed to eggs, gluten and cow’s milk. From there we worked out a food plan to begin eliminating these ingredients from my diet.
Naturopathy worked for me, I found it to be much more holistic than the Western alternative. It considered me as a person rather than as a patient. If you are looking for a whole-body solution, I would recommend biting the bullet and making an appointment!