Naturopathy is a distinct type of primary care medicine that blends age-old healing traditions with modern-day scientific advances and the latest clinical research. It is guided by a unique set of six principles that recognize the body's innate healing capacity, emphasizing disease prevention, and empowering individuals to take charge of their health and wellness. ND’s strive to thoroughly understand each patient's condition, and view symptoms as the body's attempt at communicating an underlying imbalance – a cry for help if you will.


Many things can disturb optimal health, such as poor nutrition, chronic stress, and toxic exposure, among many other things. The goal of the ND then is to restore health by identifying and minimizing these disturbances. In turn, the naturopathic physician’s approach to restoring optimal health entails addressing a patient's underlying condition, rather than the individual symptoms.



In naturopathic theory, illness is viewed as a process of disturbance to health and subsequent recovery. The initial intake with your naturopathic doctor is lengthy and will typically last between one and a half to two hours. Your ND will take the time to find out about your family history, your lifestyle, the stressors in your life, past medical history, history of accidents or injuries, and the significant events in your life that may have had an impact on your overall health or well being. Oftentimes, naturopathic physicians will use questionnaires to run through a range of “determinants of health” to map out your complete health status. These “determinants of health” include:


Inborn factors
Genetic Makeup (genotype)
Family History
Hygiene & Lifestyle factors
Diet, Nutrition, and Digestion
Environment, Lifestyle, Psycho-emotional, and Spiritual Health
Exposure to Nature
Sleep Quality
Socio-economic Factors
Stress Factors – Emotional, Psychological & Physical
– Trauma
– Illnesses
– History of medical interventions/treatments
– Surgeries
– Suppressions
– Toxic and harmful substances (including, tobacco, alcohol, and recreational drugs)
– Addictions (both physical and psychological)


Once these metrics have been thoroughly evaluated, along with any necessary diagnostic and laboratory testing, your ND will discuss treatment options with you in order to devise the treatment plan that best suits your health and wellness goals and lifestyle. In the course of building this tailored treatment plan, your physician will likely have recourse to a range of therapeutic modalities.



Naturopathic Physicians use a variety of different treatment modalities to treat their patients.
Let’s run through the top ten.


1. Diet / Nutritional Therapy
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” - Hippocrates.
This is especially crucial when you consider that there is overwhelming evidence that unhealthy eating habits significantly increase the risk of morbidity (disease) and mortality (death). This is why nutrition is the very foundation of naturopathic medicine and is a practice that is used in all treatment plans.


Indeed, ND’s use food for everything from health promotion to health recovery, as well as disease prevention. Your ND will typically recommend a balanced, organic, whole-food diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, wild-caught fish, organically raised meats and whole dairy products. Of course, in keeping with naturopathic medicine precepts, there is no one size fits all, and this includes; therefore, diet meal plans are tailored to each patient’s unique needs. The foods you select should be local whenever possible and consumed in their natural state as much as possible to maximize nutritional value.


2. Lifestyle Modification / Behavioural Change
Lifestyle modification is one of the most important aspects of healing. Any dietary modifications you make, or vitamins/supplements you take will not yield the desired results if the lifestyle that contributed to the condition is not modified in a way that promotes health. This is why ND’s spend so much time and ask so many questions at the case intake phase, to identify the lifestyle modifications that are necessary to attain your health goals, and then lead you through these changes at your own pace. Some common lifestyle modifications include sleeping habits, your level of physical activity, how you handle stress, work environment, social circle, exposure to natural sunlight, spirituality, sense of purpose, and others.


3. Botanical Medicine (or phytotherapy/herbalism)
Botanical medicine is a modality that draws on the accumulated and developing knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants (or substances that come from plants) in the prevention and treatment of disease. Plants have long been used in traditional medicine thanks to their complex phytochemical composition including phytoestrogens, coumarins, glycosides, bitters, flavonoids, saponins, isoflavones, and tannins, among many others. Botanical medicines, when administered properly and in their appropriate therapeutic doses, can be extremely effective, cause fewer side effects than conventional drugs, and are also generally less costly.


4. Homeopathic Medicine / Low-Dose Medicine
Homeopathy is a modality that uses dilutions of natural elements of plant, animal, and mineral origin, to stimulate and strengthen the body’s innate self-healing abilities. Homeopathic medicine views symptoms of illness as normal attempts of the body to regain health. The remedies used in homeopathy are based on the idea that "like cures like", or similia similibus curentur. Meaning that if a substance causes symptoms of a disease in healthy people, this same substance can cure similar symptoms in sick people. One of the biggest benefits of homeopathy is that it can be used throughout all life stages including pregnant and lactating women because there is no risk of toxicity or side effects.


5. Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM (including acupuncture)
A modality that is based on balancing the flow of chi (energy) through meridian pathways under the skin. TCM is an ancient system of health and wellness that’s been used in China for thousands of years. While conventional or modern medicine focuses primarily on treating symptoms or diseases, TCM, like naturopathic medicine, treats the whole person. As such, TMC doesn’t focus on science or medicine, but rather on balance, harmony, and energy. TCM practitioners use various psychological and/or physical approaches (such as acupuncture) as well as herbal products to address health issues.


6. Physical Medicine
Naturopaths may also have recourse to physical medicine, a practice that includes soft tissue work (including therapeutic massage), naturopathic manipulation of muscles, bones, and soft tissue, and the skeletal system, as well as hydrotherapy, gentle electrical impulses, ultrasound, and therapeutic exercise. Physical medicine may also include light therapy, ultrasound, and laser. ND’s use physical medicine to help restore the structural soundness of joints, soft tissue, and skeletal system, as well as to bolster immunity, and stimulate and support the body’s natural detoxification process.


7. Chelation therapy
Chelation therapy is a treatment modality that is based on the process of chelation, in which chemicals are used to remove heavy metals and other substances from the body. Although originally designed to treat conditions like lead poisoning, chelation therapy is now used fairly frequently in complementary medicine to treat atherosclerosis, by removing calcium deposits from the arteries and restoring healthy blood flow. Chelation therapy is also used to protect against the damaging effects of chronic inflammation, and by extension, the treatment of most conditions with an inflammatory component. Other conditions that may benefit from this ND modality include, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, multiple sclerosis, and peripheral artery disease.


8. Colon Therapy / Colon Irrigation
Colon therapy, also known as colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy, is a therapeutic modality based on the concept of autointoxication and involves flushing the colon with fluids to remove accumulated waste and toxins. Some forms of colon hydrotherapy use tubes to inject water, which may be mixed with a range of medicinal plants, into the colon via the rectum using colon hydrotherapy equipment. Oral colon hydrotherapy regimens may also be used with the help of dietary fibre, herbs, supplements, and/or laxatives.


9. IV Vitamin Therapy
IV vitamin infusion therapy involves inserting an IV line into a vein in a patient’s arm to administer a high concentration of liquid vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, and/or minerals into the bloodstream. Only one vitamin, or a cocktail of nutrients, may be infused during a session. There are several benefits to administering vitamins via infusion therapy including; a higher absorption rate, the possibility of tailoring the dosages specifically according to a patient’s needs, and a higher success rate of providing the nutrition the patient requires. IV infusion is also especially helpful for patients with moderate to severe dehydration.


10. Prevention
The ND’s ultimate goal is always prevention, which is why this modality will always be used in the treatment plan for patients. Prevention entails, helping the patient preserve, maintain, and support health, and the physician does this by assessing the various risk factors and susceptibility to disease based on family history, lifestyle hygiene, diet, and more. There is an important educational component involved in prevention (i.e. “Physician as Teacher”), as well as a lot of guiding, encouraging, and empowering patients to take charge of their own health and wellness.


There are many ways in which a Naturopath can treat their patients and they will use a mix of practices to best suit the patients needs, conditions and overall health status and lifestyle. Naturopath’s use an approach that gets to the root of the issue, to help the patient better their health and wellness long term rather than just addressing and potentially masking their unpleasant symptoms.