Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Why I Support Naturopathic Medicine (and some history)
History of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic medicine has a long history. Hippocrates was a supporter and an advocate for naturopathy. In the 1930s and 40s, naturopathic medicine declined due to penicillin and other modern medicines, but has made a comeback in the last few decades. People are seeking alternatives to invasive treatments and western medicine, and as such many insurance companies continue to add and cover naturopathic doctors. Currently, sixteen (16) states have licensing requirements.
But what exactly is naturopathic medicine?
Per our friends at Wikipedia:
Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach and seeks to find the least invasive measures necessary for symptom improvement or resolution, thus encouraging minimal use of surgery and unnecessary drugs.
According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, "Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal."
This means they search for the root of the cause and don't prescribe medicines that only address symptoms. Makes sense, doesn't it?
This is not something widely practiced in western medicine. Most western medicine physicians fall into specialties where they treat certain diseases or organs and systems. This seems to be illogical to me because then the body as a whole that caused the problem is overlooked. Naturopathic physicians are trained to treat the whole person first, to get to the root of the problem, almost in a preventative manner.
Why Naturopathy Works for Me
When I became ill a few years ago at the age of 32, not one doctor (and I saw many) could explain to me why my joints were so painful at such a young age, why my cartilage was falling apart, why I had memory and concentration problems, severe fatigue, or the severe body inflammation that eventually caused fluid in my lung to accumulate. Ugh. Doctors seemed to quickly shuffle me in and out of their offices to make room for the next patient, recommending I take an anti-depressants or more antibiotics because they couldn't fine a problem. I attribute antibiotics, which are very harsh on your system (I equate it to pouring bleach into your digestive system) to be one of the main reasons I have this problem now, which I believe severely damaged my digestive and immune system. None of these doctors seemed to care or have a real conversation with me, or think out of the box. This is probably due to the health insurance trap most are in, filling their days with as many patients as possible and worrying about whether a service will be reimbursed. That is a whole other conversation all together.
But when I seeked out an alternative, I found a naturopath who was willing to look at my entire environmental, nutritional and health history and treat me based on these experiences. My first visit lasted 3 hours! Finally, someone actually LISTENED. My current plan involves natural supplements, herbs and new eating habits in order to strengthen my immune system, rather than pharmaceutical drugs that can mask and further damage my body. Less invasive and treating the cause rather than the symptoms is key here.
How am I doing you ask? Awesome! So far, I am about 75% back to normal. Depression and anxiety? Gone. Joint pain? Gone. Food allergies? Getting better. Memory and concentration. Markedly better.
Unfortunately, not all insurance covers this practice of medicine. But in my opinion, if you cannot find a traditional solution, there is no price to put on your health. Without health, you have nothing.
The good news though, is many traditional labs may be ordered just as they would via a western medicine approach and be reimbursed through your insurance so you only have to pay for the office visits out of pocket.
If you are interested in learning more or finding a naturopath, I recommend visiting the site through the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at http://www.naturopathic.org/
Best of luck!