Live every day of your life to the fullest
In naturopathic medicine, recovery from illness, and disease prevention are achieved by the same mechanism: health optimization.
Unlike conventional medicine, which often emphasizes reducing symptoms, the focus of naturopathic medicine treatment is always to create a healthy lifestyle that supports a return to health, and to use natural medicines improve your body’s own function.
The outcome of improving your body’s function is first, recovery from illness, but ultimately, prevention of future illness and a feeling “great”.
For example: Repeated antibiotic use for recurrent infections does not strengthen your system (in fact, it leaves you susceptible to more serious infections). Changing to a healthier diet and using immune system stimulating botanical (herbal) medicines will help you not only recover from infections, but having a stronger immune system will also prevent future infections, and a healthier diet will improve your energy, confidence and prevent a range of other chronic health concerns.
If I’m not sick, why should I bother?
Being healthy and feeling “not sick” are not the same.
In the present, the benefits health optimization are in “feeling great”; having energy throughout the entire day; not having mild, chronic aches and pains; not having a “regular” headache; not having abdominal bloating after meals; having good concentration; being happy and productive; the list goes on.
In the long-term, health optimization is a means of preventing chronic illness. Chronic illness shortens lives: seven of the 10 leading causes of death are chronic illnesses.
As importantly, chronic illness compromises quality of life. One-fourth of people with chronic conditions have one or more daily activity limitations. Given current trends, the average Canadian can expect to live the final 9 to 11 years of their lives with a chronic illness, and no medicine, no matter how sophisticated, will help them feel as well as before they were ill.
Finally, most chronic illness is preventable. Risk for 78% of heart attacks, strokes, cancers and diabetes mellitus; the four leading causes of death by chronic illness, is preventable using a healthy lifestyle. Similarly, 70 to 90% of cancers are attributable to environment and lifestyle factors, factors that can be controlled.
How can a naturopathic doctor help?
The challenges for most persons interested in living a healthy lifestyle are not, knowing that changes need to be made, but identifying the specific changes they need to make, integrating these changes into their lifestyle, and most importantly, making the transition from “new, healthy behaviours” to “healthy habits” that last a lifetime.
Other healthcare professionals have expertise in assessment or nutrition or use of natural medicines, but naturopathic doctors are the most qualified healthcare professionals in combining assessment with a personalized, safe, effective diet, lifestyle and natural medicines prescription.
Heath Optimization at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
Every person is unique, from their personal health history, to their family health history, to their lifestyle and work demands, to the many variables in-between. For this reason, the approach to health optimization at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine is personalized, ensuring your specific short-term goals are met, and your risk of developing chronic illness is minimized.
Heath optimization programs at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine always involve:
- Ensuring the underlying causes of any existing chronic health conditions are addressed
- Identifying health conditions you may be susceptible to (e.g., having a family health history of heart disease, having a toxic work environment)
- Identifying personal health priorities (e.g., weight loss, spending daily quality time with family)
- Identifying and addressing potential obstacles to changing health behaviours (e.g., time management)
- Creating a healthy lifestyle incorporating health behaviours proven to reduce risk of developing chronic illness
- Creating a personalized natural medicine regimen
- Setting clear goals, and identifying and addressing motivational obstacles
- Integration of the above into a comprehensive, personalized, long-term lifestyle plan
- On-going support via follow-up appointments and our in-office and online dispensaries
Are health optimization and preventative medicine appointments covered by O.H.I.P.?
O.H.I.P. does not pay for naturopathic medicine services, but as a government-regulated healthcare profession, services offered by naturopathic doctors, including health optimization and preventative medicine appointments provided at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
For an introduction to getting started on a healthier lifestyle, learn about our Three-Month Lifestyle Make-Over program.
Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2014 [cited 2015 Apr 17]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/.
The power of prevention: chronic disease . . . the public health challenge of the 21st century [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2009 [cited 2015 Apr 17]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/pdf/2009-Power-of-Prevention.pdf.
Cho R, DesMeules M, Manuel D. Women’s Health Surveillance Report: Mortality, Life and Healthy Expectancy of Canadian Women [Internet]. [cited 2009 Dec 1]. Available from: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/whsr-rssf/chap_8-eng.php.
Ford ES, Bergmann MM, Kröger J, Schienkiewitz A, Weikert C, Boeing H. Healthy Living Is the Best Revenge. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(15):1355-62.