What Is Naturopathic Medicine?

Avatar photo Staff December 9, 2020
naturopathic medicine

Although naturopathic doctors can treat a wide range of medical issues, patients most often seek them out for chronic conditions that aren’t well addressed by Western medicine.

Dr. Kelsie Lazzell, DN, DC, a licensed naturopathic doctor and chiropractor at the Center for Holistic Medicine, who is also certified in acupuncture and trained in functional medicine, says some of the most common issues she treats include:

  • Digestion problems
    Dr. Lazzell says people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive issues often can’t find answers from Western medical doctors and turn to naturopathic medicine for help. She says she’s even treated children of medical doctors who have digestive problems.
  • Hormone issues
    Dr. Lazzell often treats women who are struggling with menstrual issues, menopause and perimenopause, thyroid imbalances and fertility issues.
  • Anxiety
    “There’s a really tight connection between your gut health and your brain health,” Dr. Lazzell explains, adding that adjusting your diet to improve nutritional deficiencies can often have a big impact on your mental health.
  • Autoimmune diseases
    Dr. Lazzell often works with patients with autoimmune diseases to help them modulate their immune system through diet, lifestyle changes and supplements.
  • Pain
    Instead of treating pain with opioids or other medications, Dr. Lazzell often treats pain with non-invasive therapies such as chiropractic manipulation, myofascial techniques, acupuncture and more.

Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Lazzell today.

Naturopathic doctors believe in the healing power a nature, a philosophy first espoused by the Greek physician Hippocrates thousands of years ago. Although the belief that we can be healed by natural techniques was used for centuries, the concept fell out of favor after the invention of antibiotics in the 20th Century, when most doctors began relying more on surgery and medicine to cure patients.

However, today, many people are realizing that there are dozens of chronic conditions that can’t be healed by Western medicine alone and are again turning to naturopathic medicine for answers.

Like traditional doctors, naturopathic doctors study biology and chemistry, typically attend four years of graduate school and have to pass multiple board exams in order to be licensed in their state. But unlike medical doctors, naturopathic doctors use a variety of natural healing methods, such as nutritional and lifestyle counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture, to get to the root cause of a patient’s issues.

Dr. Lazzell says she always begins each session by asking each patient about his or her diet, hydration, movement habits, sleep patterns, stress level, happiness level, and mental and emotional status, collectively known as the “determinants of health” in naturopathic medicine. Then she uses this information to determine what dietary, supplemental, and lifestyle changes that person should make in order to improve their symptoms.

“We’re doing a whole-body approach,” Dr. Lazzell explains. “No person is just one part. You’re a whole system of communicating and interacting pieces. So if one piece is lacking, it’s going to affect the whole system.”

For example, Lazzell says a high level of stress can be an unseen factor underlying many other health problems.

“We’re stressed all day, every day, and that causes cortisol production, which suppresses your parasympathic nervous system,” Lazzell explains. That, in turn, can cause a number of issues, including problems with digestion, fertility, insomnia, chronic fatigue and more.

Want to learn more about how naturopathic medicine can help you? Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Lazzell today.