How the Naturopathic Approach Differs from Conventional Medicine

The major underlying causes of most chronic illnesses are stress, food sensitivities, parasites, leaky gut and malabsorption of nutrients, inability to effectively detoxify through the liver, kidney and colon, and poor diet.

Which symptoms appear depends on each person’s individual nutritional status, toxic load at birth and exposure to environmental toxins during a lifetime, and genetic makeup. Some will be more susceptible to skin problems, some will develop immune system imbalances (autoimmune or immune deficiency), and for others the digestive system is predominantly affected. Others will have hormonal disturbances and numerous other manifestations. Any number of these factors alone or in combination, if left untreated, may lead to more serious disease.

Most people know very little about their own bodies and pay very little attention to the often-subtle signals given to them. People know more about the workings of their car, their computer, or their jobs than their own bodies. We are taught to ignore, suppress, cover-up symptoms and emotions. We are programmed to take a pill and push on without looking deeper, without changing anything about what we put into our bodies be it food, thoughts, drugs, alcohol, or how we take care of ourselves.

Ignored symptoms lead to sub-optimal function, and chronic disease and ill health later in life.

When I first see a patient, I try to understand them and their life, so I can see what could be contributing to their health problems. I do a thorough case history – What medical treatments have they had? What is their family history? What do they eat and drink? Do they exercise? Have they dealt with past traumas? Do they take time for themselves?

This often tells me where they might be susceptible, and I usually can get a pretty good idea of what factors may be contributing to their symptoms, and which is the best way to proceed. The obstacles that impede optimal health and well-being are addressed, whether they be lifestyle, dietary, or emotional factors.

Sometimes, more information is required. Tests may be needed that they can request through their medical doctor or from other lab technicians or laboratories available.

From here, I devise treatment options that usually include dietary changes that are fundamental to optimal health. To accelerate the rate of healing, homeopathic, herbal and nutritional supplements may be prescribed. I also use acupuncture for pain management and musculo-skeletal complaints.

I may also suggest they see other medical professionals such as an MD, medical specialist, physiotherapist, personal trainer, chiropractor, massage therapist, craniosacral therapist, psychologist or psychotherapists, if it would be of benefit to them. I encourage a team approach to health care.

I am fortunate to be practicing back in my beautiful hometown, Owen Sound, in a profession I love.

Written by Kathleen Finlay, BSc.(Hon), N.D.