The City of Humboldt has recently proclaimed May 11-17 as Naturopathic Medicine Week to aid in raising awareness about its benefits.
“The goal of naturopathic medicine is to treat the whole person by identifying and treating the root cause and also working on establishing preventative medicines and optimal health,” said Dr. Megan Parker, N.D., on behalf of the Saskatchewan Association of Naturopathic Practitioners (SANP). “It treats the underlying root cause, not just symptoms or diagnoses, but (the patient’s) overall physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.”
Considering the still largely unknown nature of naturopathic medicine, Parker says that SANP will be focusing on updating legislation and the Naturopathy Act of 1978. They want the description in the legislation to encompass the full scope of naturopathy. They will also be ensuring all members have the appropriate training and education according to the association’s standards.
As for the medicines, they are natural and tend to be more herbal or botanical in nature. The treatments focus on nutrition and can also include therapies such as traditional Chinese acupuncture, for example. According to Parker, naturopathic medicines and therapies are mean to work complementary to traditional medicine rather than in opposition to it. For this reason, they’ll occasionally consult with a patient’s family doctor to ensure none of the medications or dosages conflict.
“The goal is to stimulate the body to heal itself,” said Parker. “If you’re only looking at the physical, you’re not going to heal the entire being.”
Parker says they treat all ages and stages of life - anything from heart disease to digestive concerns, to mental health or skin conditions.
“Any condition can see benefits because it treats the whole person,” she said.
However, because naturopathic doctors don’t have access to lab equipment like traditional doctors, Parkers says they’ll usually recommend patients to their family doctors for a full diagnostic workup when necessary. If there were a medical emergency, they would definitely recommend a patient see his or her doctor.
“Naturopathic medicine is becoming more well known, so doctors are becoming more aware and willing to work in collaboration,” she said.
Until the time when there are more cross referrals between traditional doctors and naturopathic doctors, Parker says anyone can come see her (or any naturopathic doctor) without a referral. They can come for any health reason or if they’re just wanting to optimize their long-term health.