I have been practicing naturopathic medicine for 6 1/2 years. What first drew me to this profession was my experience as a student while working as a pharmacy technician. I would see so many people coming in for countless amounts of medications. They would start with one medication and then end up on several more because they had to try to treat the side effect from the previous medication. I started to believe there had to be another solution out there. There had to be a way to help our bodies heal themselves without putting endless amounts of poisons in to our system. That is when I rediscovered naturopathic medicine. I say rediscovered because my mom had taken me to a naturopathic doctor when I was only 12 so I already knew the profession existed I just never realized how amazing it really was.
The main principal of naturopathic medicine is treating the root cause of disease. Doesn't matter what condition or symptoms walk through my door, my mind is always searching for the underlying issue at hand. Symptoms are our body's way of communicating with us. I often describe them to patients as lights on the dash board of a car. The lights tell us there is a problem. Then it is our job to go and figure out where the problem is coming from, what it is and fix it. We can always just turn the light off, pretend it isn't on and that all is ok, but that would be a band aid solution. Even though we can't see the symptoms the underlying problem is still there. This is often times how medications can be used. Thus, years later the problem only gets worse because the root cause was never actually addressed and treated. Now we end up with a whole host of other issues that we need to resolve. Don't get me wrong I am in no way against using medications. There is definitely a time and place where we need them and are very blessed to have them. But it is their misuse that can cause a lot of problems for people.
My job as your naturopathic doctor is to find out the underlying cause of your symptoms and then put together an individualized plan for you. Every person is different so there is never one treatment for all. We all have different genetic make ups, that means we metabolize things differently, we react to things differently and it is important to keep that in mind at the time of treatment. Also things like environment, life style, diet all will play a role in determining your treatment plan.
Another important fundamental of naturopathic medicine is treating the body as a whole. Our mind and body are connected. All of our organs work together and depend on one another. Therefore, it is important to treat all aspects of the body not just the one system where the symptoms may be presenting. There are lots of examples I have for this. One is skin problems. They often don't require treatment of the skin directly at all. I actually focus on treating the organs of detoxification, the liver, the kidneys, the bowels. These are our major organs of elimination. If our body cannot excrete toxins through one of these proper means, it is so smart, it will push them out through the next easiest way which is the skin. It has such a large surface area so it is a simple way to get things out. This may present as eczema, psoriasis, hives, rashes, etc. I often tell patients I don't need you to come in with a diagnosis in order for me to help you. Conventional medicine works on the basis of a diagnosis equals the drug that is prescribed. Instead naturopathic medicine is based on the figuring out the physiology behind the disease state. The symptoms give us clues as to what system is affected and then we are able to treat those organ systems to help the body heal.
I spend lots of time with my patients. I love to teach them about their body, and how smart it is. I teach them about their conditions, their symptoms or their disease state. I explain their blood work to them. I explain how and why they are taking the medications and supplements they are taking. Our body has the ability to heal itself. Sometimes it gets sluggish and overburdened and so it needs help. It is our job to support this amazing natural ability it has and guide it back to health.
Treatments I offer include diet and nutrition plans, vitamins, herbs, homeopathics, acupuncture, Asian medicine, cupping, hydrotherapy (also have training in massage therapy, physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation but I often refer out for those services). As I mentioned before it is really important to me that my patients follow through with treatment plans so I make sure we work together to set up a plan that works for their lifestyle and their finances. I like to keep an open, honest relationship with patients so that we can make this work for them. My goal is to help my patients reach their health goals and resolve their symptoms not only by treating their symptoms but by treating the underlying cause of that symptom so that it is permanently resolved. I support them every step of the way and motivate them if they should begin to struggle.
The end results are so rewarding for me. I love being able to make a difference in the lives of patients that have been told they will just have to live with it, that there is no solution for them, that no one knows what they have. Naturopathic medicine is such a wonderful, time tested medicine. Unfortunately OHIP does not cover naturopathic medicine visits. But fortunately many third party insurance plans now offer coverage for the visits..YAY!
Hope you were able to get a better grasp on what naturopathic medicine is and how it can be the solution that you have been looking for to reach your optimal health!
Dr. Claudia Truglia, BSc, ND
Stoney Creek Natural Wellness Center
50 King St. W
Stoney Creek, On