- Homeopathy: The term homeopathy is derived from the Greek word, homoios, meaning "similar," and pathos, meaning "suffering." Homeopathy is a system of medicine that treats a disease with dilute, potentized remedies that will produce the same symptoms as the disease when given to a healthy individual. The fundamental principle operating here is that like cures like. Homeopathic medicines are derived from a variety of plant, mineral, and chemical substances.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese system of medicine involving the stimulation of certain specific points on the body to enhance the flow of vital life energy qi along pathways called meridians. Acupuncture points are stimulated by the insertion and withdrawal of needles, the application of heat (moxibustion), acupressure (deep finger pressure), lasers, electrical means, or a combustion of these methods.
- Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy uses water in all its temperatures (hot, cold), forms (ice, steam), and methods of application (sitz baths, douches, spas, whirlpools, saunas, showers, immersion baths, packs, poultices, foot baths, fomentations, wraps, colonic irrigations), in the maintenance of health or treatment of disease. It is one of the most ancient methods of treatment. Hydrotherapy has been used to treat disease and injury by many different cultures, including the Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Hebrews, Hindus, Chinese, and Native Americans.
- Physical medicine: Physical medicine refers to the use of physical measures in the treatment of disease. These include: therapeutic exercise, massage, joint mobilization (manipulation) and immobilization techniques, and hydrotherapy. Physical medicine also includes physiotherapy equipment such as ultrasound (high frequency sound waves that act as a micro-massage to tissues, stimulating or restoring function or blood circulation), diathermy (high frequency currents used to generate heat within the body), electric currents used in the body to stimulate function or relieve pain, and light therapy (applications of light that are used to stimulate heating responses in the body, such as endocrine function or increased circulation).
- Counseling and lifestyle modification: Counseling and lifestyle modification techniques are essential to naturopathic medicine. A naturopathic physician is formally trained in the following counseling areas: 1) Interviewing and responding skills, active listening, body language assessment, and other contact skills necessary for the therapeutic relationship; 2) Recognition and understanding of prevalent psychological issues including developmental problems, sexual dysfunction, abnormal behavior, addictions, and stress; 3) Various treatment measures including hypnosis and guided imagery, counseling techniques, correction of underlying organic factors, and family therapy.
The Future of Naturopathic Medicine
"To the uninformed, naturopathic medicine, as well as the entire concept of natural medicine, appears to be a fad that will soon pass away," says Michael Murray, N.D., of Seattle, Washington. "To the informed, however, it is quite clear that naturopathic medicine is at the forefront of the future."
One of the great fallacies promoted by the United States medical establishment is that there is not firm scientific evidence for the use of many natural therapies. "This assumption is simply not true," according to Dr. Murray. "In fact, during the last ten or twenty years there has been a literal explosion of information in the scientific literature supporting the use of natural medicine."
Today, science and medicine have the technology and understanding necessary to appreciate many aspects of natural medicine. It is becoming increasingly common for medical organizations which in the past have spoken out strongly against naturopathic medicine to embrace it, endorsing naturopathic techniques such as lifestyle modification, stress reduction, exercise, and a high-fiber diet.
"This illustrates the paradigm shift that is occurring in medicine," says Dr. Murray. "What was once scoffed at is now becoming generally accepted as an effective alternative. In fact, in most instances the naturopathic alternative offers significant benefit over standard medical practices. Undoubtedly in the future many of the concepts, philosophies, and practices of naturopathy will be vindicated. Certainly the future looks very bright for naturopathic medicine."
What to expect when you visit a Naturopathic Physician
Typically, an office visit with a naturopathic doctor takes about an one hour. Your naturopathic physician considers teaching you how to live healthfully to be one of his or her primary goals, so the time devoted to discussing and explaining principles of health maintenance, as well as your medical condition, is one of the factors that sets naturopaths apart from conventional physicians, who often seem to be rushing from patient to patient.Dr. Cohen's main office in Brooklyn, NY can be reached at 718 972-1616
The relationship begins with a thorough medical history and interview process designed to view all aspects of your lifestyle. If needed, the physician will perform standard diagnostic procedures including a physical exam and blood and urine analysis. Once a good understanding of your health and disease status is established (diagnosing an illness is only one part of this process), you and your doctor work together to establish a treatment and health-promoting program.
You might be interested to learn why even skilled physicians turn to him in moments of need.
More and more, it is the naturopathic doctors who are providing the most effective help to those suffering from a wide range of diseases and afflictions that are not responding to so-called "conventional medicine."
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