Clinical Nutrition and Dietary Therapy
Nutrition gives the body the physical substance and nutrients it needs to heal and maintain health. As Hippocrates wrote, “Let your food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.” Food is the best medicine to prevent and treat illnesses and it is a fundamental part of Naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic doctors receive extensive education in clinical nutrition, which involves the use of both dietary therapy as well as the careful recommendation of researched vitamins, minerals and other nutriceuticals. Many medical conditions can be treated effectively with foods and nutritional supplements, and a growing number of scientific studies are validating this. In general, nutrients that we need for health should be obtained first through a balanced, organic, whole foods diet. An individualized nutritional program is developed to meet each person’s needs and lifestyle, whether it is for optimal health, weight loss, optimizing athletic performance, or preparing the body for pregnancy. When nutrients are not adequately met through the diet, supplements may be recommended. Examination of the health of the digestive system and diet for sensitivities, food allergies, and/or deficiencies is used as a basis for restoring health.
Herbs are essential to Naturopathic medicine and can play a vital part in health, used regularly as part of our diet, or preventively to support and strengthen, or correct imbalances. Many cultures have a long history of use of herbs for healing. In Europe, the effectiveness of herbal medicines is recognized, and included in the official pharmacopoeias and regulated as drugs or over-the-counter remedies. Here in North America, herbal medicine is becoming increasingly popular because people want a natural, safe, effective way of healing their conditions. Naturopathic physicians are trained in drug-herb interactions to insure safety with the use of herbal medicines. Naturopathic physicians combine centuries’ worth of traditional knowledge about herbal medicine with the enormous amount of ongoing scientific research on botanical medicine to treat many health conditions.
Today we live in a world that is full of pollutants, toxins, heavy metals, synthetic hormones and a wide variety of other chemicals that affect our health. An increase or accumulated exposure to these chemicals can cause us to get sick if our bodies are unable to process them adequately. Detoxification is a normal human body process that should happen continuously throughout our lives. It is the removal of these chemicals, hormones, metabolic waste products, and indigestible food products from the body that keeps us healthy. When the detoxification systems in our body are overwhelmed we become sick: our thinking gets fuzzy, we have fatigue, pain, react strongly to odors, lights or noise. The focus of Naturopathic medicine has always been to help remove the cause of disease such as accumulated toxins and restore function to the body by optimizing the organs that are primarily responsible for keeping the system free of harmful substances. The liver is our primary organ for detoxification. It processes all the foods, chemicals, and drugs that enter our bodies. Other organs involved in detoxification are the kidneys, colon, skin, and lungs. Environmental medicine aids the body in metabolizing and excreting compounds from the environment that have made you ill. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this and Dr. Nguyen will be happy to discuss them with you.
A powerful system of medicine that is more than 200 years old, homeopathy is widely accepted and used in many countries. Homeopathy is a single therapy within the larger scope of naturopathic medicine. Homeopathic medicines can be prescribed for acute or chronic conditions and when properly prescribed by a skillful practitioner can be a powerful and effective type of medicine. Homeopathy is based on the ancient medical philosophy, “like cures like” and affect the body’s “vital force” and strengthen its innate ability to heal. Homeopathic remedies function on both the physical and emotional level. Some conditions for which conventional medicine has no effective treatment respond well to homeopathy.
Dr. Nguyen specializes in using biotherapeutic drainage, a system of medicine based on homeopathy and Chinese medicine philosophies used to support excretion of toxins by stimulating the organs of elimination as well as stimulate innate healing. Biotherapetuic drainage was developed by doctors Antoine Nebel, Leon Vannier and Andre Rouy in the early 1900s. Biotherapeutic drainage helps stimulate innate healing by working on deep cellular detoxification and correcting imbalances in the body. Drainage is different from just detoxification. The goal of drainage is to gently restore balance to the body at the cellular level, help repair organs affected by chronic disease, and to build up the body’s tolerance and resistance to future illness. Drainage is accomplished by remedies that are composed of specially prepared botanical and mineral formulas that have gentle, healthy effects on the body. Drainage is usually done concurrently along with other treatments to help the body regain balance. Drainage is the process of detoxifying the body by opening the emunctories and discharging the toxic accumulations. Emunctories are defined as the main routes that the body uses to eliminate toxins from any source, namely: the liver, kidneys, skin, intestines, mucous membranes and the lymphatic system. Biotherapeutic drainage is a wonderful therapy for those individuals who are sensitive to multiple chemicals and in need of a gentle form of detoxification.
The modalities used in physical medicine focus on addressing musculoskeletal concerns, to release pain and tension from stress, injury, and improper posture. Treatments can include a mixture of soft tissue manipulation therapies such as Thai, Swedish, Tui Na, and muscle energy stretching techniques to help gently stretch and release muscular tension that can help relieve many forms of musculoskeletal pain. In addition physiotherapy using hydrotherapy, gentle electrical impulses, physical manipulation, acutonics, exercise therapy and yoga instruction. Liniments, plasters, essential oils are also used to enhance healing.
Neural prolotherapy was developed by Dr John Lyftogt MD. It is a safe and effective treatment for pain and musculoskeletal injuries including peripheral neuropathy, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, low back pain, migraine, frozen shoulder, chronic regional pain syndrome and other conditions. The pain involved in many chronic and non-healing conditions is a result of an injured and non-healing sensory nerve causing pain, inflammation, and delay of healing. Neuroprolotherapy can help reduce pain and heal tissues by treating the nerves that are responsible for the function of the injured tissues.
Neuroprolotherapy is a treatment that consists of a series of small injections of a of dextrose and or mannitol solution injected subcutaneously under the skin targeting painful and sensitive nerves. Repeat treatments will steadily reduce the overall pain, allowing healing of the injured tissues and return of full function.
The number of treatments varies from individual to individual. The average number of treatments required for most conditions is 6-8 treatments and success rates vary between 80-100% depending on the condition.
For more information about neural prolotherapy and the research and science on prolotherapy, you can visit Dr. John Lyftogt’s site at http://www.doctorliftoff.co.nz/
Water is an incredible healing medium. The application of heat, cold or an alternation of both can be used to treat inflammation, enhance healing, stimulate the immune system, detoxify the body and much more. One treatment called constitutional hydrotherapy, an older method of stimulating the body’s vital force, involves alternate applications of hot and cold water to promote circulation of the blood and the lymphatic system.
Naturopathic physicians are trained in various psychological techniques, including basic counseling, stress management, biofeedback, mind-body medicine, and methods of lifestyle modification. A large body of scientific literature points to the importance of treating psychological factors and coping mechanisms in many illnesses and complaints. Instruction on various meditation techniques and yoga therapy are incorporated here.