What Is Alternative Medicine?

Alternative medicine (natural medicine) has been around virtually forever. Even animals know to eat grass, berries, leaves, and flowers to help themselves feel better.

Survival skills evolved into natural medicine.

Humans also learned to make use of their natural environment to sustain their health and livelihoods. Plants, fruits, nuts, and seeds provided nourishment. Leaves, stems, roots, and flower pedals were used internally as teas to cure illnesses and infections, and topically as poultices to treat wounds sustained from accidents, trauma (fights), animal bites, and the usual scratches and burns from environmental exposure.

Various plant parts were also used for bedding, weaving into clothing, roof coverings, tools, and of course, to make a fire. We have sort of lost touch with how to live in, and work with nature.

Alternative medicine makes a comeback.

Over the past several decades, natural medicine (naturopathy, alternative medicine) has made a comeback as a valuable tool to help us become and remain healthy.

Naturopathic physicians (doctors) use natural methods such as nutrition & lifestyle counseling, herbal medicine (botanical medicine), homeopathy, hydrotherapy, and physical medicine such as massage, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, and acupuncture to support the healing process of their patients.

Naturopathic doctors use as their treatment guidelines the following six naturopathic principles:

The Healing Power of Nature:
We all carry within us the ability to heal. We know this from every day experiences, such as recovering from colds and the flu, intestinal upsets, scratches, insect bites, and even deeper cuts. Broken bones, once reset, heal on their own. Surgeries remove deceased tissue. However, the body then does the actual healing.

The naturopathic doctor honors and respects this inherent healing intelligence within all of us by supplying the tools for healing, and remembering that the patient does the healing.

First Do No Harm:
The naturopathic doctor interferes as little as possible with the inherent healing process.

He/she uses modalities such as nutrition and lifestyle counseling, herbs,  hydrotherapy, and homeopathy, as well as body work such as soft tissue work, acupressure, and craniosacral therapy.  These treatment modalities are safe and gentle, yet very effective.

Treat the Cause:
Many people experience similar symptoms, which have very different causes. Headaches can be caused by injuries, sinus infections, stress, poor postures, chemical sensitivities, and medications, to name a few. Allergies may be caused by sensitivity to food, pollen, grasses, chemical gases, or pollution. These are only two examples. The list is endless.

The naturopathic doctor will look for the actual cause of the illness not just treat the symptoms.  Elimination of the cause will bring about healing.

Treat the Whole Person
With your help, the naturopathic doctors will consider all aspects of your being, such as mood, sleep, appetite, pain, mental functions (memory, concentration, alertness), and stressors in your life.  An illness can affect you in many way.

Hence, looking at your entire state of health will give clues to the cause or causes of your illness.

The Doctor as Teacher
The doctor’s role is not only to help you regain your health but also to teach you how to maintain it.

Naturopathic doctors invite you to become involved in your own healing process.  They will explain to you what’s gone wrong and how to fix it.  Moreover, they will give you a road map specific to your needs in order to prevent future health problems.

The goal is to not only to regain health but to maintain it.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It may seem difficult and overwhelming at first to make the lifestyle changes necessary to become healthy.  However, the payoff is increased well-being and better quality of life.  Your naturopathic doctor will be your partner in this life enhancing, and sometimes life saving, endeavor.