Day One of Naturopathic Medicine Week ~ What is Naturopathic Medicine?

In honour of naturopathic medicine week, I will be writing a series of entries for the next 5 days, starting with "What is naturopathic medicine?"

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary care system that uses evidence-based research and natural treatment methods to address a variety of acute and chronic health conditions and concerns. Naturopathic doctors treat patients of all ages, tailoring treatment to the individual. The guiding principles of naturopathic medicine are:

  • First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere) - as naturopathic doctors, our intention is to always begin with the least invasive treatment method in order to prevent any undue harm to our patients. 
  • The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae) - naturopathic doctors utilize the healing components ancient & natural treatment methods, such as herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine, because they are not only very effective but also safe.  
  • Identify and Treat the Cause (Tolle Causam) - one of the most key principles behind naturopathic medicine is to treat the underlying cause of the disease, not just the symptoms. 
  • Treat the Whole Person - naturopathic doctors evaluate all aspects of a person, including physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual well-being, when assessing a patient's overall health and developing individualized treatment plans. 
  • Doctor as Teacher (Docere) - as naturopathic doctors, our goal is to work with our patients as health educators to present the patient with the most up-to-date information and treatment options in order to empower the patient to take an active role in their health. 
  • Disease Prevention and Health Promotion - naturopathic doctors focus on preventing illness before it happens by optimizing a patient's physical and mental health. 

Why should you see a naturopathic doctor? 

1. You are suffering with ... (fill in the blank). I often get asked, I have [anxiety, depression, allergies, headaches, gallstones, etc...] can you help me with that? The answer is YES! Naturopathic doctors are highly trained primary care practitioners who can assess, diagnose, manage, and treat a variety of acute and chronic health conditions ranging from asthma to urinary tract infections, and everything in between. Naturopathic medicine offers many different tools to help you reduce your symptoms, prevent disease, and improve your overall quality of life. 

2. You want to spend quality time with your health care provider. Naturopathic doctors spend on average at least 60 minutes with their patients during an initial visit. During this time they assess all contributing factors to your health such as past medical history, family history, medication use, social/environmental factors, and much more. The goal is to spend quality time with the patient to get to know them as an individual. Patients are encouraged to ask questions and play an active role in their health. 

3. You want an evidence-based or scientific approach to your health. Naturopathic doctors are constantly learning and researching the latest approaches to disease in order to present our patients with the most up-to-date and effective treatment options for their concerns. When I receive my patient's initial intake form, I set aside 2-3 hours to fully research my patient's concerns and all the treatment options.

4. You want a health care professional to determine why you are experiencing a symptom. Naturopathic doctors are trained to identify and treat the underlying root cause of a health concern. Symptoms are often signs that there is a deeper underlying issue - we want to treat the underlying concerns so symptoms are alleviated. 

5. You still don't feel like yourself despite being told 'nothing is wrong'. Often patient's get bloodwork done because they aren't feeling well but then are told nothing is wrong because the blood work is within normal range. As a naturopathic doctor, I value the fact that you know your body best, which is why I take the time to ask the important questions that you may not have been asked by other healthcare providers. I also look outside the normal range of bloodwork and/or conduct other objective tests such as urine, stool, hair analysis, or salvia to determine what is going on.

If you're looking for comprehensive answers for your health concerns or want to focus on optimizing your well-being, connect with us at or call 905-683-1616 for a complimentary 15-minute consultation.

Yours in health,
Dr. Kate Klein, ND