Dr. Jeff Appelmann, BSc, ND
About Naturopathic Medicine
The Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors has defined Naturopathic Medicine very well. They have stated that Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession built on a patient-centred approach that emphasizes prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that support the body’s natural ability to heal and help the patient achieve sustainable health and wellness.
Naturopathic Doctors focus not only on the symptoms but also the underlying conditions causing the symptoms. Naturopathic Doctors treat the root causes of disease and address preventable risk factors, using a wide range of science-and evidence-based, natural and conventional therapies.
The focus of naturopathic care is the individual, their current health (physical, emotional and spiritual), family history as well as lifestyle choices and environmental influences, all of which inform the naturopathic assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan offered by a Naturopathic Doctor.
Naturopathic assessment, diagnosis and treatment draws from a number of modalities (therapies) and is tailored to the individual. Treatments may include clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, the use of therapeutic nutritional supplements, homeopathic medicine, physical treatments, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, counseling and lifestyle modification.
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct form of primary health care and in Ontario is a profession regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act (which also regulates medical doctors, chiropractors, dentists, physiotherapists, etc.). The regulatory college for naturopathic doctors is the College of Naturopaths of Ontario and is put in place to regulate the profession and protect the public. All naturopathic doctors practicing in Ontario must be registered with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario and anyone can search for a naturopathic doctor on their website (see the helpful links page) to see if they are registered, if they have faced any disciplinary action, etc. There are seven accredited schools of naturopathic medicine in North America and only those graduating from one of these schools can be licensed as a Naturopathic Doctor in a regulated province or state.
Naturopathic medicine is for people of all ages and health histories who want to take their health into their own hands. NDs are here to help guide you with regards to your health concerns. Some NDs focus their practices in specific areas, such as providing adjunctive cancer support, sport-related health, digestive health, pain management, women's health, autoimmune conditions, etc. Some NDs focus on specific age groups such as children or the elderly. NDs are primary health care providers and are qualified to see and treat everyone.