Naturopathic medicine was established in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and has its origins in the Nature Cure movement of Europe. The term was coined in 1895 by John Scheel and popularized by Benedict Lust, the “father of U.S. naturopathy.” Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach and minimal use of surgery and drugs.
Naturopathy comprises many different treatment modalities. The naturopathic physician uses gentle methods to boost the body’s vital ability to heal and maintain itself, including nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, proper diet, and exercise to restore health. The doctor works with the patient to educate him or her on ways to restore and maintain a healthy balance in the internal environment that will prevent further illness.
Acupuncture, one of the main forms of therapy in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been practiced for at least 2,500 years. In acupuncture, certain points on the body are stimulated by the insertion of fine needles. Unlike the hollow hypodermic needles used in mainstream medicine to give injections or to draw blood, acupuncture needles are solid and extremely smaller in diameter.
According to TCM, energy (or Qi) moves through the body along 14 main pathways, called meridians. Each meridian corresponds to a different organ system and emotion. It is believed that imbalances in Qi are the root of disease. When the flow of Qi along one or several of the meridians is obstructed, an imbalance occurs in the rest of the body and the result may be disease or injury. By stimulating key points in the body, acupuncture seeks to restore balance to the normal energy flow and, consequently, to relieve pain or treat disease. Disease doesn’t exist where Qi flows smoothly and evenly.
It is well documented that the stimulation of acupuncture points affects both central and peripheral nervous systems. It also triggers the release of endorphins and enkephalins, chemicals that have pain-relieving properties similar to those of opiates.
The exact mechanism by which acupuncture works is not known, but studies have demonstrated a variety of physiologic effects, such as release in the brain of various chemicals and hormones, and alteration of immune function, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Patients generally complain of little or no discomfort from the needles.
Botanical medicines, when administered properly and in designated therapeutic dosages, can be effective, trigger fewer side effects for most patients than pharmaceutical drugs, and are generally less costly than prescription pharmaceutical drugs.
The benefits of botanical medicine may be subtle or dramatic, depending on the remedy used and the illness being addressed. Herbal remedies usually have a much slower effect than pharmaceutical drugs. Some herbal remedies have a cumulative effect and work slowly over time to restore balance; others are indicated for short-term treatment of acute symptoms. Botanical medicine may be especially beneficial when administered to help with ongoing chronic symptoms.
Botanical treatments are generally accepted as part of mainstream medical treatment around the world, except in the United States, where herbal remedies are sold as dietary supplements. As of 2003, the branch of the FDA that regulates botanical products under the rubric of dietary supplements is the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the manufacturer of a botanical preparation is responsible for ensuring that it is safe before marketing it; the FDA is responsible for taking legal action if the product proves to be unsafe after it is marketed. The other government agency that has some oversight over botanical preparations in the U.S. is the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health, established by an act of Congress in 1998. NCCAM also supports research into botanical products, herbalism, and other alternative therapies that make use of plant-derived products.
For this reason Dr. Hinchey and Dr Tremblay only recommend and use supplements and botanical medicines that undergo rigorous third-party laboratory testing for quality control and are sold only to licensed physicians.
The practice of kneading, or manipulating, a person’s muscles and other soft tissue with the intent of improving a person’s well-being or health.
Nutritional deficiencies rob the body of its own natural resources and can manifest as symptoms, such as fatigue, mood swings, and insomnia. Many times, these symptoms are taken for granted as a natural sign of aging. When left unchecked, however, these same deficiencies can contribute to such diseases as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis.
Scientists now recognize that even mild nutritional deficiencies can create subtle symptoms of disease. It has been found that through detoxification, dietary improvements, and nutritional supplementation, the signs of deficiency can be eased, thus alleviating the sub-clinical symptoms being experienced.
1. The healing power of nature (Vis medicatrix naturae)
The body has an inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent; nature heals through the body’s vital life force. It is the role of the naturopathic physician to facilitate this natural process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery and to promote a healthy internal and external environment for the body to heal. Principles needed to heal include adequate sleep, exercise, proper nutrition and, if needed, herbs which can move the body toward health without common side effects posed by some synthetic pharmaceuticals.
2. Identify and treat the cause (Tolle causam)
The underlying root cause of disease must be identified and removed for complete healing to take place. Illness does not occur without reason. Symptoms express the body’s attempt to heal, but are not the cause of the illness. It is the role of the naturopathic physician to identify the root cause of the illness and treat it, which will alleviate the symptoms.
3. First do no harm (Primum non nocere)
Illness is a purposeful process of the organism. The process of healing can cause the manifestation of symptoms, which are an expression of the body’s vital force attempting to heal itself. Any therapy that interferes with this natural healing process by masking or suppressing symptoms without removing the underlying cause is harmful and should be avoided. The natural life force of the individual must be supported to facilitate the healing process.
4. Treat the whole person (Tolle totum)
The core component of naturopathic medicine is the belief that health must go beyond treatment of immediate symptoms as in allopathic medicine. Instead, the person is seen as a whole, involving many complex interacting facets. Thus, treatment of the entire person (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) is necessary for recovery from and prevention of disease.
5. The physician as teacher (Docere)
The cooperative relationship between doctor and patient is essential to healing. The physician’s major role is to educate and encourage the patient to be responsible for his or her own health.
6. Prevention is the best cure
The ultimate goal is prevention. Emphasis is on building health not fighting disease. This is attained by building healthy internal and external environments for the body, assessing risk factors specific to each patient, and determining an individualized protocol to strengthen weaknesses and promote balance to ward off disease.
The Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) was established in 1978 to serve as an accrediting agency of North American naturopathic medical institutions, naturopathic educational programs, and post-graduate naturopathic residency programs (including postgraduate training in naturopathic family care and other specialties) in the United States and Canada. CNME is recognized as an accrediting agency for four-year naturopathic colleges and programs of study in the United States and Canada, by American and Canadian national naturopathic professional associations, and by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE).
Naturopathic physicians are licensed as primary care physicians in many states and complete a four-year graduate level course at a naturopathic medical school. Naturopaths are trained in all of the basic medical sciences that traditional medical doctors are trained in, along with spinal manipulation, acupuncture, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, functional medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, pharmacology, psychology, and counseling.
Graduates from naturopathic medical schools must pass the comprehensive naturopathic physicians licensing examinations (NPLEX) to be licensed as primary care physicians. Candidates for full licensure must also satisfy all licensing requirements for the individual state or province in which they plan to practice. Today’s naturopathic physicians artfully blend modern, cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with ancient and traditional methods. They offer the world a healing paradigm founded on a rational balance of tradition, science and respect for nature.
There Are Many Different Perspectives And Ways To Practice Naturopathic Medicine. This Is How We See It:
Patients often call the office and ask if we treat a particular disease and the truth is that we do not treat disease at all. I treat the cause.
To me diseases are just clusters of symptoms caused by some disruption in the body’s biochemistry. Once the cause is identified and this disruption is corrected the body will heal itself.
I focus on assisting the body to function at its optimal potential for health.
This usually begins with optimizing gut function including identification of any food sensitivities/allergies, restoring beneficial flora, and replenishing nutrient deficiencies.
There really isn’t any “disease” that you can’t cure when you help the body to heal itself and restore optimal functionality.
These diseases are your body’s way of telling you that you are doing something wrong. Either you are not getting enough of what your body needs to function properly or you are getting something that is acting like poison in your body. It’s really that simple.
Successfully Treated Diseases/Symptoms
All of that being said, we have successfully treated patients who have come in with the following diseases/symptoms:
- allergies (environmental & food)
- asthma, autism, ADHD
- Lyme (& co infections)
- Diabetes (type 1 &type 2)
- insulin resistance/pre-diabetes
- metabolic syndrome
- autoimmune disease
- high triglycerides
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- hot flashes
- memory issues
- vaginal atrophy
- low libido
- hormonal imbalances
- prostate enlargement
- vaginal yeast infections.
You will hear me say over and over again that you are what you eat. Literally! If you constantly put crap into your body you will make crappie cells and feel like crap! If you put photochemical rich foods into your body, you will make high quality cells that function at their maximum capacity. Your body can only function as well as the cells you are made from.
We believe that foods acts either like poison or medicine and there really are no neutral foods.
Refined carbohydrates and processed foods filled with sugar (POISONS) causes depression of the immune system and massive inflammation which leads to chronic disease like hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity and autoimmunity.
High quality protein, essential fatty acids and photochemical found in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, legumes and certain high quality animal proteins (MEDICINES) build your cells right so they function optimally, your body makes anti inflammatory compounds and you actually prevent the development of disease, plus you feel great.
Depression & Anxiety Example
3 things we frequently see in my practice that are some of the most common reasons for depression and anxiety:
Not enough essential fatty acids (MUFA and omega 3 FA)
Not enough essential amino acids (proteins) especially in vegetarian/vegan population
Nutrient deficiencies (esp. Vit D and Methyl B12 & methyl Folate in those who have MTHFR SNP)