What is Naturopathy?

You may have heard the term “Naturopathy” or “Ottawa Naturopath” before, but not many people pay it much attention: it sounds very similar to a lot of other medical terms, after all. However, for some people, Naturopaths can be an incredibly useful resource for making themselves feel better through all-natural therapies, rather than feeling forced into taking medications and drugs that they might not be willing to try just yet (for moral reasons, because they’re scared, or because they simply don’t want to). So, what Naturopathy?

What Is It?

The idea behind Naturopathy is that the body is the best healer, and that people should rely on their own self-healing whenever possible to strengthen their overall health and improve their wellbeing. In a sense, a Naturopath would suggest targeting the cause of a problem, not the symptom – if you developed a skin condition, the ideal way to cure it would be through personal attempts to become healthier or get around the issue, rather than just slapping a supplement onto your face.

A lot of Naturopaths believe in a “Vital Force”, an abstract concept related to the body’s health and how it can heal itself. If you take better care of your body and have more of this vitality, you can occasionally tap into it when your body needs to repair itself, go beyond its normal limits, or avoid an illness that you otherwise would have gotten.

How Does That Work?

There isn’t a central idea of how a Naturopath would behave, but a lot of it comes from personal improvement and “treating the whole person”. Each patient is unique, so each solution is unique as well. An Ottawa Naturopath who’s recovering from a physical injury wouldn’t just want to treat the injury, but would also probably try to get into a positive mind-set, improve their environment, or do whatever else could make them feel better as an individual.

Naturopathy also carries the idea that prevention is always better than a cure: that this “Vital Force” is an important part of every living being, and that allowing it to be used up by not taking care of yourself will gradually drain your ability to feel good and recover quickly. Your body might be fine if you do nothing to prevent a cold, but in the eyes of a Naturopath, relying on a cute weakens your ability to let your body remain healthy and stable.

What Else Is Involved?

A large part of Naturopathy is also about education. A Naturopath isn’t just going to tell a sick person that they’re sick or an unhealthy person that they’re unhealthy, and will actively try to educate their patients so that they can learn what might have gone wrong or how they can prevent it again. Naturopaths focus on the underlying causes of diseases rather than just curing the results, with the goal of eventually understanding the optimal way to get around it.

As another good example, if you approached a Naturopath doctors for help with a condition, a large part of the process would be the diagnosis: finding out what’s wrong, what can be done, and how your body specifically would likely react to different things. Once you understand what’s wrong with your body, you can take steps to treat it yourself, rather than relying on a treatment administered with no thought or individuality behind it.

Is Naturopathy Real?

As an alternative medicine, it’s true that many Naturopaths aren’t real doctors in the conventional sense. However, the concept behind it – to identify symptoms and try to find a personal way of curing it – is an admirable idea that many people flock to. Even if you aren’t the kind of person who would approach a Naturopath directly, there’s a lot of promise in the ideas behind how Naturopathy is supposed to work, and it can help you improve your overall health by recognising that your body is capable of doing things on its own.

If you’re interested in Naturopathy, there is a full integrative health team at the NutriChem clinic in Ottawa with Naturopathic Doctors. Each Naturopath has a special focus ranging from digestive health, fertility, womens health, and hormone balancing. The NutriChem clinic is set up for both in-person and virtual visits. So if you are located outside of the city you can still benefit from the care of one of our clinicians.

Photo: Benjamin Child, Unsplash