Naturopathic Medicine: Its Benefits & Risks
In this article we look at what naturopathic medicine is and its benefits and risks.
To understand whether naturopathy is something that you could potentially benefit from, it is helpful to know exactly what it is, what it involves and how to access it.
Many of us in addiction recovery look for natural ways of healing, as oppose to invasive procedures and pharmaceutical medicines. Naturopathy not only treats symptoms but also aims to boost your overall health and wellbeing.
Naturopathy can be a fantastic addition to your recovery toolkit. Seeking help from a naturopathic doctor will not only help to keep illnesses at bay but will also empower you to take better care of yourself.
A naturopathic doctor treats more than just the body or the mind. They treat you as a whole being, your mind, body and spirit.
At Recoverlution, we have the benefit of our own naturopathic doctor, Debbie. Debbie is passionate about helping people to heal on a deep and profound level. She also has a special interest in treating addiction and aiding in recovery.
What is naturopathy?
Naturopathic medicine is a system that uses natural remedies to help the body to heal itself. Whilst every naturopathic doctor is different, most doctors will use a combination of different therapies to treat the person as a whole.
Naturopathy combines traditional medicines that have been around for years with modern science and natural forms of medicine.
The goal of naturopathic medicine is to heal the whole person. It therefore embraces many different treatment modalities.
Many naturopathic doctors will use a combination of therapies, herbs, oils, nutrition, exercise, homeopathy, counselling, massage and acupressure. They will also advise on you on lifestyle changes and how to go about them. A Naturopath will look at the whole picture. Not only will they address current health concerns but will look to prevent illnesses you are considered at high risk of developing.
Healing the root causes of illness with naturopathic medicine
Another important aspect to naturopathy is that a naturopathic doctor will look to heal the cause of your symptoms and not just the symptoms presenting.
Diagnosing and treating the root cause of symptoms is vital to an illness being properly treated and it not returning.
Sadly, all too often, we can go to a doctor on the NHS and come away with a prescription of some sort. A prescription that treats the presenting symptoms but does nothing to address the bigger picture.
The reality is that when we are run down and stressed our immune system takes a knock. Impaired immunity leaves us open to catching all kinds of viruses and infections.
The focus of naturopathic medicine
Naturopathy focuses on the body’s capacity to heal itself, helping it to work at its optimum best. Good health and wellbeing can only really be achieved when the mind, body and spirit are in balance.
Have you ever noticed that when you are struggling with stress or mental health that your physical health also often suffers? Well, this is a good example of where a naturopathic doctor could help.
A Naturopath would assess past and current stressors and look at ways of effectively managing stress levels. They can also prescribe high quality vitamins and oils to boost your immune system.
This results in overall better health and wellbeing. It also serves to help prevent further ailments from developing.
In modern-day medicine the causes of illness are rarely investigated unless a person is admitted to hospital or presents with certain symptoms. By this time an illness is often in the advanced stages and requires invasive medicines and procedures.
In medicine, there is also a tendency to treat the mind and body as separate entities. The spirit doesn't even come into it. You will be very familiar with this if you have ever suffered from a dual diagnosis illness.
What does naturopathic medicine treat?
Naturopathic medicine can treat a wide range of conditions and health issues. In fact, there are very few ailments or conditions where naturopathy cannot at least help.
Some of the more common health problems a naturopathic doctor can treat include:
- Chronic pain
- Digestive issues
- Sleep disorders
- Poor diet
- Emotional disorders
- Cravings for drugs and alcohol
- Autoimmune disorders
- Quality of life
- Hormonal imbalances and infertility issues
Whilst a neuropathic doctor cannot replace the need for life saving surgery, nor cure terminal illnesses, they can help you to heal faster and more effectively.
Using various natural therapies a Naturopathic doctor can increase your quality of life and help to boost your body’s own natural healing ability.
The benefits and risks of naturopathic treatments
All treatments have some margin for risk. However, naturopathy is generally very gentle and rarely risky. One of the guiding principles of naturopathy is to ‘do no harm’
If, however you are having traditional medical treatment for a condition and decide to try naturopathy, it is important to discuss this with both your healthcare professional and your naturopathic doctor.
Certain medications and natural remedies can interact. You will also want to make sure that everyone is on the same page to ensure you get the best care and treatment.
When working with a naturopathic doctor, it is important to inform them of any allergies you may have, as you would with a traditional doctor, or a nutritionist. If you are concerned you may have some food intolerances, a naturopathic doctor can help with this.
The benefits of naturopathic medicine include:
- Lower stress levels
- Lower levels of anxiety and depression
- Boosts immunity
- Is non invasive
- Can ease the side effects of traditional medicines
- Fosters positive thinking
- Promotes self -healing
- Boosts optimism
- Treats the mind, body and the spirit
- Person centred
- Tailored to you as a whole unique being
- Assists in managing health issues
- Can prevent the onset of certain health problems
- Works in alignment with your own spiritual beliefs
- Has the ability to transform your overall wellbeing
Who benefits from naturopathic medicine?
Being in recovery from addiction, means that for the majority of us it is important to stay away from potentially addictive pharmaceuticals.
Pharmaceutical medications do have their place and in many instances are invaluable. However, wherever possible, using natural alternatives to sometimes harsh and addictive pharmaceutical medications is much gentler on the body and mind.
Many people approach a naturopathic doctor as a last resort. Often when they feel that traditional medicine has let them down. By this time they have suffered substantial emotional distress. This only adds another layer to the treatment process.
In instances where a person feels they could benefit from naturopathic medicine, there is no reason why it cannot work alongside traditional medicine. A qualified naturopathic doctor will tailor you care according to your individual treatment needs.
What naturopathic doctors can and can't do
Naturopathic doctors are well qualified to treat every aspect of your being. Specialising in natural medicine, they cannot prescribe pharmaceuticals, but they can prescribed high quality natural supplements, herbs, oils and vitamins.
When first meeting with a naturopathic doctor, an initial assessment may take up to 1 or 2 hours. Following an in-depth assessment, a naturopathic doctor will suggest a comprehensive treatment plan to get you well and on the path to better overall wellbeing.
Naturopathic doctors can diagnose, treat and prevent illness. They have undergone years of study to train as primary care physicians and to pass a degree in naturopathic medicine.
Many naturopathic doctors will go on to train in areas of special interest, such as specialising in female health or emotional disorders.
Before engaging with a naturopathic doctor you should always check their credentials, as you would with any private practitioner.
Transform your recovery & wellbeing the natural way
Recoverlution are passionate about bringing together different professionals who specialise in wellness and recovery. This, we believe, provides each and every person who joins us the power to make well informed decisions.
Debbie is not only a registered naturopathic doctor but is also a medical herbalist and acupuncturist. Her philosophy is to treat the whole person. She also specialises in acupuncture, women’s health, mental and emotional disorders, and addiction.
If naturopathy is something you are interested in, you can learn more about it within our addiction wellness hub. You can also connect with likeminded others within this platform. Some of whom may also be trying natural medicine to enhance their recovery experience and increase their overall quality of life.
- A study of costs and length of stay of inpatient naturopathy--evidence from Germany- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21457898/
- Complementary and Integrative Medicine- https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/complementary-and-integrative-medicine.html
- What is naturopathy? https://www.naturopathy-uk.com/home/home-what-is-naturopathy/
- Effects of stress on the immune system-https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2186751/
- Naturopathy - https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/naturopathy
- What is naturopathy? Treatments and approaches -https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/naturopathy