So you’re fed up with Western medicine.
Believe me, you’re not alone.
I turned away from traditional Western medicine during a health crisis in my own life. My name is Brandt Beal and at age 32, I was in poor health and determined to transform my mind, body, and spirit.
After six months of following my new, healthy protocol, I plateaued. Fatigue overtook me and I looked to Google for some answers. What came of my search were two keywords — blood work. I figured I should treat myself to a series of blood tests to get some real answers. So, I made an appointment with my primary care physician and asked if the blood draws could be done straight away.
What followed was a wait of several weeks before the blood work even begun. Then more weeks of waiting for results — all of which came to the conclusion that “everything looked fine….” and, “you certainly aren’t dying.”
That’s it? I thought to myself. That’s all my doctor could give me?
What’s more, the medical bills arrived a couple weeks later with a price tag of $2500 after insurance refused to pay anything.
After more research of my own, I came to find out I was insulin-resistant, had significant hormonal imbalances and adrenal fatigue to boot. What’s more, my vitamin D levels were too low, as were my omega-3 levels. I needed guidance — guidance that certainly wouldn’t come from my primary care physician.
So, I turned to myself. I got healthier on my own — no small feat. I realized that the doctors I was used to seeing simply aren’t trained to look at the whole person — which led me to launch Indur and delve into the realm of natural health. Naturopaths are leaders in this realm.
And, here at INDUR, we strongly encourage our readers and clients to learn more about this fascinating arena of healing. In fact, INDUR health advisors are naturopathic physicians by design. We believe in naturopathy, and encourage you to do the same.
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
When you go to a naturopathic doctor (an N.D.), you won’t come home with a handful of prescriptions for this pharmaceutical or that. And your stop on the drive home won’t be to a CVS pharmacy.
Instead, you’ll be given a handful of instructions for lifestyle changes and perhaps a list of remedies and supplements. Most importantly, your naturopathic doctor will teach you how to better understand your body and take your health into your own hands. You might have to eliminate harmful substances from your diet, and get to bed at a regular hour. And you won’t receive a quick fix. But in the end, the fix will be a sustainable one.
Here’s a real world example:
Suppose you’re having sleep issues. For the past several months you’ve become so sleep deprived that it’s fair to say you suffer from miserable insomnia. So you visit your family physician and tell him your troubles. He’ll write a prescription for Ambien and wish you well.
Not so with your naturopath. He will most likely spend a fair amount of time asking you what’s been shaping up with your life as of late. He’ll also inquire about your diet and eating habits, while trying to pinpoint possible hormonal imbalances and other suboptimal biomarkers that can impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
The appointment with your naturopath will take some time — as will the treatment that follows.
Why? Because naturopathic medicine is all about treating the root cause of a given health issue, rather than the symptom (as is the case with Western medicine). As such, the training that takes place amongst conventional medical students and students of naturopathy are quite different.
Of course, both are required to graduate from high school, and then carry on to complete undergraduate work. Both attend 4-year, accredited schools, with the first two years of schooling focused upon roughly the same stuff — anatomy, physiology, genetic, biochemistry and pathology (blood work). The pathology part differs in that the way students learn to choose which tests to order to determine health issues is quite different, as is interpretation of results.
Changes continue as students go into their 3rd and 4th years. While conventional medical students learn pharmacology and minor surgery, naturopathic students learn homeopathy, mind-body medicine, herbology, nutrition, and sometimes TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) and/or Ayurvedic medicine. Both prospective physicians and naturopaths are required to pass medical board exams.
The foundational principles of naturopathy are as follows:
Nature Heals (and so does the human body):
The system of naturopathy sees the innate self-healing process within us all, and seeks to remove obstacles to healing, while also implementing methods and nature cures to enhance and facilitate the body’s natural healing capacity.
Identify and Then Treat Root Causes:
A good naturopath identifies the root cause of a health issue, and then works with the patient to heal the deeply-rooted issue. This is different from conventional medicine which simply seeks to rid the body of (or merely suppress) symptoms..
First Do No Harm:
As naturopaths, we strive to treat our patients without causing them harm. In doing, so we follow three guidelines. We treat our patients with remedies and methods that have little or no harmful side effects. We also make sure we don’t merely suppress symptoms, as this can cause more harm than good in the long run. Lastly, we respect our patients, and work with them as individuals to heal and thrive.
Doctor as Teacher:
Naturopaths empower their patients by teaching them during the treatment process in order to help them take responsibility for their health. We also understand how deeply healing a healthy doctor-patient relationship can be.
Naturopathic treatment is holistic in nature. We take into consideration all facets of our patient — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, environmental, social, genetic — you get the picture!
Prevention is Key:
The Benjamin Franklin quote that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a cornerstone of naturopathic philosophy. We always seek to prevent disease by taking into account potential risk factors, in order to prevent acute and/or chronic illness.
As you can see, your experience with a naturopath will be much different than your experience with a medical doctor. Naturopathic medicine is the perfect complement to a conventional medical system that grows more and more ‘sick’ each day. If you’re wondering whether this natural and holistic approach to health is right for you, I encourage you to find a Naturopath today. In fact, many of our health coaches at INDUR are Naturopathic Doctors. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you for taking the first step!