Two of the principles of naturopathic medicine that I value & focus on are “Identify & Treat the Cause” & “Treat the Whole Person”. Instead of merely eliminating or suppressing symptoms, as NDs, we want to get to the Root Cause of a patient’s most bothersome symptoms or “chief concern” as it’s know in the medical community. We also don’t compartmentalize organ systems, so for example, if you’re coming into the clinic with your “chief concern” being gas & bloating, we don’t just look at the gastrointestinal system & give you an over the counter agent like GasX to eliminate your gas. Naturopaths want to look at the entire system, the whole person whether that’s the gut/brain connection, the nervous system, the immune system in addition to the gastrointestinal system to ensure all are functioning optimally & then treatment will start with the fundamentals using the Therapeutic Order (aka Triangle or Pyramid) to guide that treatment (picture seen above).
The Therapeutic Order is another key foundational philosophy in naturopathic medicine & is depicted as a pyramid with treatments ranging from creating a solid foundation addressing the basic determinants of health right up to more invasive measures such as pharmaceuticals & even surgery (naturopathic doctors can perform minor surgery provided they pass that additional test as a board exam).
Naturopathic doctors can use the Therapeutic Order in many different ways but it’s often seen that without a solid foundation (ie Basic determinants of health; Supporting the Vis with the healing power of nature), more invasive treatments like those found at the top of the pyramid would be needed and/or the patient’s symptoms would continue to be unresolved despite conventional treatment that may be taken.
I love getting back to the basics with each of my patients & using the foundations of naturopathic medicine like the first line of the Therapeutic Order. I observe the patient & during my intial visit that is 60mins, will be asking the patients about their basic determinants of health: Air, Water, Sleep, Nutrition, Community & even love. For “Air”, I’m looking at principles such as breath work. Does the patient take deep belly or diaphragmatic breaths? They may only take shallow breaths which wouldn’t active the Vagus nerve allowing the connection between the gut & brain to be activated which pushes the patient into the Parasympathetic nervous system also known as, the “rest & digest” side of the nervous system. This is where healing, restoration & regeneration occurs because blood is shunted away from the limbs towards the core, the gastrointestinal system so it’s particularly important to be in this “rest & digest” mode when you’re eating. Often gas & bloating can stem from “eating on the go”, eating while stressed, not chewing thoroughly or having poor or unactivated digestive enzymes so food isn’t being properly broken down. That in turn lends itself to bacteria which are feasting on undigested food & creating gaseous by-products which contribute to both gas & bloating. One simple look at only one aspect of the foundation of the Therapeutic order can yield tremendously successful results and allows the naturopathic doctor to stand true to their Principles, ie you’re “Treating the Whole Person” & “Identifying the Root cause” by addressing why that patient has gas & bloating instead of merely suppressing or eliminating symptoms.
The beauty of naturopathic medicine is that it is a holistic system of medicine with a solid philosophical foundation that guides the use of varied tools & practitioners.
In the associated podcast to this blog post, you will learn about all of the Basic Determinants of Health as well as each of the layers to the Therapeutic Order. I also elaborate on the importance of testing including bloodwork as well as other forms of testing including salivary or dried urine hormone panels and comprehensive digestive stool analyses. Listen to the podcast for an in depth look at the most commonly ordered tests your naturopathic doctor will recommend. These specialized tests will usually fall into the category of Hormone, Gastrointestinal & Environmental panels. The podcast goes into more detail & covers what particular tests might be useful for you. For example, is a food sensitivity test right for you? Could a SIBO breath test help to uncover your root cause of gas & bloating?
Listen to the Sustainable Life Podcast for more information & to learn about all of this & so much more!
Dr. Shabita has a naturopathic practice at Sinclair Wellness Centre in downtown Vancouver that blends evidence based medicine & traditional naturopathic wisdom so that her patients receive the best care possible. She is passionate about facilitating her patient’s healing by getting to the root cause of their condition, & more importantly, walking beside them in their health journey. You can find her as an Eco Service Provider on the Sustainable Life App (located in Vancouver, Canada).
Knowing firsthand what it’s like to face a challenging health condition that impacts every aspect of her life, Dr. Shabita can truly empathize with her patients & will always be transparent & provide the motivation they need to continue to strive towards a life not only of health & wellness, but one of pure vitality.
She looks forward to working with you at Sinclair Wellness Centre; please contact Dr. Shabita Teja atif you have any questions or to book your appointment with her today. Remember 10min “meet & greets” are not only encouraged, they’re complimentary!