Core Naturopathic Treatment Modalities
The following treatment methods are learned and practised by all naturopathic doctors. Please visit the naturopathic treatments page for a list of specialty treatments that Dr. Rade and Dr. Deering have pursued additional training in.
This involves the prescription of North American, European, and East Indian herbs. Herbs have been used for thousands of years, giving us a wealth of traditional knowledge and insight into their many profound healing effects. Within the past 50 years, a great deal of scientific research has confirmed many of these traditional uses and has allowed us to learn how the studied herbs work in the body. There are several ways in which herbs can be prepared for use, including tinctures (herbs extracted in alcohol), compresses, teas, and topical salves.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Also commonly referred to as Traditional Asian Medicine, this area of medicine uses Asian herbs, acupuncture, and a range of other techniques to treat illness. With origins dating as far back as 2000 years ago, TCM has an extensive philosophical background that perfectly compliments the naturopathic ideal of recognizing imbalances and bringing them back to equilibrium. The crux of this thought system is the idea that all living things have an inherent energy within them, known as “qi” (pronounced “chi”). Ideally, qi flows in a smooth and steady manner through the body within theoretical pathways called meridians. Disease is said to occur when the flow of qi becomes disrupted or if the body has too much or too little qi in certain areas. These abnormalities are righted through the use of Asian herbs or acupuncture, which involves placing thin needles at points along the meridians. While TCM has a rich history of anecdotal success stories, there are now a large number of medical journals containing research studies which support those earlier findings.
Note on acupuncture: a common concern among patients regarding acupuncture is that the procedure will be painful. Acupuncture needles are very thin, averaging 1/5th of a millimeter in diameter, and thus only occasionally come into contact with pain receptors in the skin. When they do, the sensation is fleeting and is commonly replaced by a feeling of warmth, coolness, mild tingling, pulsation, or relaxation. A typical treatment will last for 30 minutes and is often a very relaxing experience.
Nutritional therapy includes dietary counselling and the use of functional foods and nutritional supplements as therapeutic tools. Dietary counselling analyzes the patient’s current diet for foods that might be aggravating his or her condition, nutritional deficiencies, and for eating patterns that might lead to additional health concerns. Nutritional supplementation can take many forms, from correcting nutrient deficiencies to optimizing the levels of beneficial substances in the body that can treat and ward off future disease.
Homeopathy is a medicinal technique in which preparations of different remedies are used to treat patient illness. Remedies are most commonly made from herbs, other plants, or minerals; they are diluted in a mixture of alcohol and water and are then grafted onto sucrose pellets to be taken orally. Through empirical trials, each remedy has been associated with a list of signs, symptoms, and other characteristics that they are able to address. The remedy that best matches up with the signs, symptoms, and other characteristics of the patient being treated is then selected as the one to bring him or her back towards health. For example, the homeopathic remedy made from the mineral calcium is associated with back pain, anxiety, and feeling cold all the time. If a patient presented with back pain, anxiety, and feeling cold all the time, calcium would likely be a good remedy to prescribe.
This involves working with patients to help them live healthier lives. Along with the dietary counselling mentioned above, patients are also educated on proper ways to exercise, relax, set goals, and cope with the stressors of day to day life.
NDs can help patients suffering from mild to moderate mental-emotional conditions and can also provide a supportive role for patients with more severe afflictions. This is achieved through various means, such as self-introspection exercises, cognitive behavioural therapy, meditation, and talk therapy. Oftentimes counselling is complimented by other naturopathic interventions, especially nutritional supplementation, botanical medicine, and homeopathy. Please also see the section on family constellation therapy for specific work that Dr. Deering and Dr. Rade do in this area.