We are turning to naturopathy more and more for common aches and pains. It seems to go hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle. But is it safe? And how do you make it work along with conventional medicine?
Naturopathy is a system that combines modern scientific knowledge with the healing powers of nature. The focus is on uncovering and treating the cause, rather than treating the symptoms. For example, your elbow hurts and you go to your physician to figure out why. A doctor practicing conventional medicine may give you something for the pain, where a naturopathic doctor would work to figure out the source of the pain and how to heal it.
Western culture has come to rely on quick fixes. Why dig deep when there is a prescription to get you feeling good in a matter of minutes? Because most often the symptoms will return, sometimes bringing disease with them.
Naturopathy uses diet, natural botanicals, healthful lifestyle changes, and sometimes Chinese medicine and acupuncture to prevent and treat disease, and support best health. The “prescription” is based on each patient as an individual. You wouldn’t eat Paleo if meat made you feel awful, right? We are all different and our medicine, especially, should reflect that.
Prevention continues to become more prevalent in medicine. We’ve seen that poor diet and lifestyle choices are linked to health issues like heart disease and cancer. For a better look on how lifestyle affects our genetic predisposition, check out the video “Are Your Genes Your Destiny?“, by Dr. Deepak Chopra.
Of course, there are many times when conventional medicine is needed. You don’t have to choose between the two. Naturopathic doctors work with conventional doctors and you can benefit from both. Dr. Christiane Northrup is one M.D. who also encourages a healthy mind/body connection, educating women on the link between chakras and emotional and physical health.
Wondering how to get started with naturopathy? Right now, not all states recognize doctors of naturopathy. Currently, 18 U.S .states license naturopathic physicians.
For those without local access to a naturopathic doctor, arm yourself with knowledge and present your questions and findings to your doctor. If they are not willing to hear you out, it may be time to make a switch.
Women have an especially hard time dealing with the issue of combining naturopathic ideas with mainstream medicine. Hormonal imbalances are often dealt with by prescribing synthetics to cover negative side effects. We all know that dealing with hormones is not a one size fits all matter. Ask for hormone testing and don’t be afraid to voice concerns over practices you feel uncomfortable with.
Some great reads on getting started with a healthier lifestyle: “Forks Over Knives” by T. Colin Campbell, “The Hormone Cure” by Sara Gottfried M.D., and “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Christiane Northrup M.D.
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