The 21st century finds many people using more natural, less drug-orientated therapies, sometimes as an alternative to conventional medicine, sometimes in a team approach along with it. Naturopathic Doctor Tania Tabar works out of The Stillpoint Practice in Nether Edge, we had a chat with her to find out more about Naturopathic Medicine.
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a primary health care system that combines up-to-date clinical research with traditional and natural therapies, with a focus on supporting the body’s innate capacity to heal.
It is its own system of medicine – it’s seeing your doctor and coming up with goals together, making changes in your day-to-day life (i.e. nutrition, lifestyle), discussing the details and intricacies of your overall health story and committing to a treatment plan specifically designed for you. It’s very different from picking up a supplement from a shelf and taking it. It is personalized medicine and at the same time about the big picture.
Some of the principles of Naturopathic Medicine include: treating the patient as a whole person rather than only treating immediate symptoms; preventative care; doctors as educators. Doctor-as-educator is crucial to me, so people can work towards making informed choices about their health and health care – that’s why I try to offer workshops as often as I can.
How did you become interested in Naturopathy?
During my time as a journalist in Lebanon I connected with people who used local herbal and other kinds of traditional medicine on a day-to-day basis – and they worked.
It had never made sense to me how much of conventional modern medicine treated physical and mental health as separate, but it was during that time that I began a more sustained engagement with the intricate connections between bodily, mental and spiritual health and the larger socio-economic context. Back in Toronto I got into Naturopathic Medicine after a friend recommended I see a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) for a health issue at the time. I appreciated how the doctor took the time to get a full picture of what was happening with my health and then involved me in my care.
What benefits does Naturopathic Medicine have over more traditional forms of medicine?
Both medicines have benefits, that is why it’s important not to just dismiss either. There’s lots I draw from the conventional medical model and in my daily practice, whenever beneficial for my patients, I collaborate with conventional doctors.
Where Naturopathic Medicine tends to do better is by taking a more holistic approach. As NDs, we make connections between different systems of the body as opposed to seeing them as separate. A very common example for this is how we treat skin conditions such as eczema; rather than just focusing on the visible symptoms, we look for root causes and thus often treat the digestive and or immune system – because these are all interconnected.
Which conditions benefit most from Naturopathic Medicine? And which types of treatments do you use?
You can see a Naturopathic Doctor for support with any condition – acute or chronic. NDs may have a particular area of interest.
Some of the most common conditions I see in my daily practice include thyroid disorders (hypoactive and hyperactive), auto-immune conditions (Hashimoto’s, Graves’, Rheumatoid Arthritis), digestive concerns (Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s, Celiac), skin conditions, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, hormonal concerns (menopause, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). And of course anxiety, depression, insomnia, and stress – all very common and often overlapping.
However, from my perspective it’s less about the condition and more about the individual person. For example, if someone has an underactive thyroid and takes conventional treatment (thyroid hormone replacement) and they feel well, then that’s great. If someone is taking the same medication and feels tired, foggy, in pain, has digestive concerns and so on – then they would certainly benefit from seeing an ND.
I use herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, nutrition, homeopathy and – last but not least – lifestyle counselling.
Want to know more about Naturopathic Medicine? Tania will be giving a free talk on Saturday 21 May at the Stillpoint Practice Open Day from 11am ’til 4.30pm.
You can contact Tania through her website and you can also find her on the Now Then Discounts App.
Words: Tania Tabar
Images courtesy of Tania Tabar