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      ginkgoNatural Medicines

Naturopathic medicine treats health conditions by utilizing the body's inherent ability to heal and regain balance. Naturopathic physicians aid the healing process by incorporating a variety of alternative methods based on the patient's individual needs.  Therefore, the naturopathic doctor does not actual heal you. The naturopathic physician, in effect, helps you to heal yourself. Ultimately, it is that simple.

Diet, lifestyle, work, and personal history are all considered when determining a treatment regimen.

As you've surely noticed, The The Route of Best Shortcuts is all about the natural approach.

Naturopathy is the fastest-growing segment of health... and clearly for good reason:     technology married to the most effective healing techniques of some fifty-five centuries consistently delivers better results than conventional medicine.   Consistently.   Even skeptics have to heed empirical success.


The spirit of naturopathic medicine is well-summarized in the definition of health advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO):   "... a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of infinity."   In fact, WHO, in a report on traditional medicine, recommendeds the integration of naturopathic medicine into conventional health care systems.

Naturopathic medicine is not a single modality of healing, but an array of healing practices, including diet and clinical nutrition. If you have more than one or two "bad" days in any given year, if you suffer recurring illness or pain, it's not inconceivable that you could perhaps benefit from a "doctor-ectomy," because there is one inarguable fact:

If your doctor KNEW better about healing you,
your doctor would DO better healing you. That's well worth repeating, so you're encouraged to read and consider that statement at some length.
    Everything else is superficial chatter, with zero discernible human benefit to how long you live,    
    how well you live, how "young" you live.    


The The Route of Best Shortcuts includes meany healthy subjects that pertain to healing naturally,
healing with naturopathic medicine or ayurvedic medicine, and several other disciplines of healing naturally
without invasive surgeries or pharmaceutical drugs except when life-critical.
Naturopathic medicine is becoming more popular for a variety of reasons, so The The Route of Best Shortcuts
The Route of Best Shortcuts seeks to address as many naturopathic medicine and related natural healing
and complementary healing and alternative medicine therapies to approach healing.

including Bodyscan2010   homeopathy;  acupuncture; herbal medicine;  hydrotherapy;  therapeutic exercise;  spinal and soft-tissue manipulation;  physical therapies involving electric currents, ultrasound, and light therapy;  therapeutic counseling;  are all highly effective -- otherwise people and organizations would not spend tens of millions of dollars on them in annually growing numbers... and everything else is little more than chatter.

-- and all have ZERO side effects or danger to the body, as do surgery and prescribed drugs. Please remember that the one, and ONLY one reason why a doctor's signature is required for a pharmaceutical is because that medicine is either deadly or just plain dangerous.   There are no exceptions.

Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Although the term naturopathy or naturopathic medicine was not used until the late nineteenth century, its philosophical roots date back thousands of  years.  Drawing from the healing wisdom of many cultures including Indian (Ayurveda), Chinese (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Native American, and Greek (Hippocratic), naturopathic medicine is a system of medicine based on six time-tested principles:

  • The healing power of nature: The body has considerable power to heal itself, and the role of the naturopathic physician is to facilitate this natural process with the aid of natural, non-toxic therapies.

  • Treat the causes rather than the effect: Naturopathic physicians seek the underlying cause of a disease rather than simply suppressing the symptoms.  They avoid suppression of the natural healing wisdom of the body, such as fever and inflammation.  Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body's natural attempt to heal while the causes can spring from the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual levels.
  • First, do not harm: By employing safe and effective natural therapies, naturopathic physicians are committed to the principle of causing no harm to the patient.

  • Treat the whole person: The individual is viewed as a whole, composed of a complex interaction of physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, social, and other factors.  This multifunctional approach results in a therapeutic approach in which no disease is automatically seen as incurable.

  • The physician is a teacher: Naturopathic physicians are first and foremost teachers who educate, empower, and motivate the patient to assume more personal responsibility for his or her health by adopting a healthy attitude, lifestyle, and diet.

  • Prevention is the best cure: Naturopathic physicians are preventative medicine specialists.  Prevention of disease is accomplished through education and a lifestyle that supports health.

The The Route of Best Shortcuts and Alternative Remedies
Why does naturopathy figure so prominently in The The Route of Best Shortcuts?

In the naturopathic system of medicine, disease is seen as a manifestation of the natural causes by which the body heals itself.  For example, fever and inflammation are viewed as the body's way of dealing with an imbalance that is undermining the healthy functioning of the body.  However, if the cause of the imbalance is not removed, the inflammatory responses will continue, either at a lower level of intensity or intermittently.  This can be the origin of chronic disease.  Healing a chronic disease requires the removal of the underlying cause.  This usually culminates in a return of an acute episode, called a "healing crises" or "reaction," a keynote of naturopathic medical theory.  Following this the condition improves.

Although naturopathic physicians emphasize therapeutic choices based on individual interest and experience, as well as the legal parameters of the state in which he or she practices, they maintain a consistent philosophy.  All have been trained in the basic tools of natural therapeutics, and most work with diet and nutrition while specializing in one or more other therapeutic methods.

After identifying which conditions in the patient manifest in illness, the naturopathic physician advises the patient on the methods most appropriate for creating a return to health.  In order to become free of illness, it is often necessary for the patient to make both dietary and lifestyle changes.  Homeopathy or acupuncture are often used to stimulate recovery.  Herbal medicines may be used as tonics and nutritive agents to support and strengthen weakened systems, while specific nutritional agents such as vitamin and mineral supplements and glandular tissue extracts might also be utilized.  Hydrotherapy and various types of physical therapy may be required.  Additionally, it is important that major emotional stresses be eased to allow the digestive system to function in the relaxed environment required for proper digestion.

Finally, underlying many illnesses is a spiritual disharmony.  This may be experienced as a feeling of deep unease or insufficient strength of will necessary to sustain the healing process.  For lasting good health to be established, this disharmony must be overcome.  Naturopathic physicians can play an important role in guiding patients to discover the course of action most appropriate.

Conditions Benefited by Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine can be applied in any health care situation, but its strongest area is in the treatment of chronic and degenerative disease.  Naturopaths are, for the most part, licensed primary care/general practice family physicians.  For severe, acute traumas such as a serious automobile accident, emergencies of childbirth, or orthopedic problems requiring corrective surgery, naturopathic medicine is not recommended, although it can contribute to such cases, especially in the recovery phase.

In other cases, such as ear infections and common illnesses with fever, the naturopathic physician addresses the associated pain, infection, and fever of the condition, as well as any related concerns of the patient.  How this acute condition might relate to underlying causes, such as diet, life stresses, and occupational hazards, is also addressed.  The physician will then usually prescribe a variety of means to deal with the immediate problem.

In the chronic cases, the procedure is different.  Typically, a thorough case exploration will detail the history and nature of the patient's symptoms and complaints, his or her complete health history, and the patient's lifestyle.  Finally, a physical examination and appropriate laboratory tests are performed.  For naturopathic physicians, understanding the patient as an individual is essential when searching for causative factors, particularly in the areas of the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual.

After determining causative factors, the physician will discuss his or her findings with the patient, and an attempt will be made to tie together and interpret the symptoms.  Symptoms usually relate to a central problem that has many manifestations.  As an example, many symptoms can be tied to the effects of toxemia on the different symptoms of the body such as the immune system, nervous system or circulatory system.  Others may be due to emotional factors, such as a chronic urinary tract infection when there is a history of sexual abuse.

Finally, dietary factors are determined and appropriate changes are recommended.  Any other perceived causes are addressed with either counseling, exercise, or other methods of treatment.

Healing the Person, Not the Disease

Naturopathic medicine does not focus on disease symptoms, but, rather, underlying causes.  For example, the body has four major organs that assist in elimination; the lungs, kidneys, bowels, and skin.  Most skin diseases are viewed by naturopathic physicians to be the result of excessive metabolic toxicity in the body, forcing the skin to be used as an extra route of elimination.  The skin excretes both water-soluble and oil-soluble wastes through the sweat and oil glands.  Because the elimination of toxins is irritating to the skin, the result is often various forms of skin-related disorders such as dermatitis and acne..

Naturopathic Medicine
What Is a Naturopathic Physician Trained to Do?

Modern naturopathic doctors provide complete diagnostic and therapeutic services.  As family doctors, many practice natural childbirth (usually in the home setting), pediatrics, gynecology, and geriatrics.  Naturopathic physicians make recommendations on lifestyle, diet, and exercise, and utilize a variety of natural and noninvasive healing techniques.

The current scope of treatments naturopathic physicians are trained in include: clinical nutrition; botanical or herbal medicine; homeopathy; acupuncture; hydrotherapy; physical medicine including massage and therapeutic manipulation; counseling and other psychotherapies; and minor surgery.


  • Clinical nutrition The use of diet as a therapy serves as the foundation of naturopathic medicine.  There is an ever-increasing body of knowledge that supports the use of whole foods and nutritional supplements in the maintenance of health and treatment of disease.

  • Herbal medicine: Plants have been used as medicines since antiquity.  Naturopathic physicians are professionally trained herbalists and know both the historical and medicinal uses of plants.
  • Homeopathy: The term homeopathy is derived from the Greek word, homoios, meaning "similar," and pathos, meaning "suffering."  Homeopathy is a system of medicine that treats a disease with dilute, potentized remedies that will produce the same symptoms as the disease when given to a healthy individual.  The fundamental principle operating here is that like cures like.  Homeopathic medicines are derived from a variety of plant, mineral, and chemical substances.

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese system of medicine involving the stimulation of certain specific points on the body to enhance the flow of vital life energy qi along pathways called meridians.  Acupuncture points are stimulated by the insertion and withdrawal of needles, the application of heat (moxibustion), acupressure (deep finger pressure), lasers, electrical means, or a combustion of these methods.

  • Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy uses water in all its temperatures (hot, cold), forms (ice, steam), and methods of application (sitz baths, douches, spas, whirlpools, saunas, showers, immersion baths, packs, poultices, foot baths, fomentations, wraps, colonic irrigations), in the maintenance of health or treatment of disease.  It is one of the most ancient methods of treatment.  Hydrotherapy has been used to treat disease and injury by many different cultures, including the Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Hebrews, Hindus, Chinese, and Native Americans.

  • Physical medicine: Physical medicine refers to the use of physical measures in the treatment of disease.  These include: therapeutic exercise, massage, joint mobilization (manipulation) and immobilization techniques, and hydrotherapy.  Physical medicine also includes physiotherapy equipment such as ultrasound (high frequency sound waves that act as a micro-massage to tissues, stimulating or restoring function or blood circulation), diathermy (high frequency currents used to generate heat within the body), electric currents used in the body to stimulate function or relieve pain, and light therapy (applications of light that are used to stimulate heating responses in the body, such as endocrine function or increased circulation).

  • Counseling and lifestyle modification: Counseling and lifestyle modification techniques are essential to naturopathic medicine.  A naturopathic physician is formally trained in the following counseling areas: 1) Interviewing and responding skills, active listening, body language assessment, and other contact skills necessary for the therapeutic relationship; 2) Recognition and understanding of prevalent psychological issues including developmental problems, sexual dysfunction, abnormal behavior, addictions, and stress; 3) Various treatment measures including hypnosis and guided imagery, counseling techniques, correction of underlying organic factors, and family therapy.

The Future of Naturopathic Medicine

"To the uninformed, naturopathic medicine, as well as the entire concept of natural medicine, appears to be a fad that will soon pass away," says Michael Murray, N.D., of Seattle, Washington.  "To the informed, however, it is quite clear that naturopathic medicine is at the forefront of the future."

One of the great fallacies promoted by the United States medical establishment is that there is not firm scientific evidence for the use of many natural therapies.  "This assumption is simply not true," according to Dr. Murray.  "In fact, during the last ten or twenty years there has been a literal explosion of information in the scientific literature supporting the use of natural medicine."

Today, science and medicine have the technology and understanding necessary to appreciate many aspects of natural medicine.  It is becoming increasingly common for medical organizations which in the past have spoken out strongly against naturopathic medicine to embrace it, endorsing naturopathic techniques such as lifestyle modification, stress reduction, exercise, and a high-fiber diet.

"This illustrates the paradigm shift that is occurring in medicine," says Dr. Murray.  "What was once scoffed at is now becoming generally accepted as an effective alternative.  In fact, in most instances the naturopathic alternative offers significant benefit over standard medical practices.  Undoubtedly in the future many of the concepts, philosophies, and practices of naturopathy will be vindicated.  Certainly the future looks very bright for naturopathic medicine."

    Index     

What to expect when you visit a Naturopathic Physician

Typically, an office visit with a naturopathic doctor takes about an one hour.   Your naturopathic physician considers teaching you how to live healthfully to be one of his or her primary goals, so the time devoted to discussing and explaining principles of health maintenance, as well as your medical condition, is one of the factors that sets naturopaths apart from conventional physicians, who often seem to be rushing from patient to patient.

The relationship begins with a thorough medical history and interview process designed to view all aspects of your lifestyle.  If needed, the physician will perform standard diagnostic procedures including a physical exam and blood and urine analysis.  Once a good understanding of your health and disease status is established (diagnosing an illness is only one part of this process), you and your doctor work together to establish a treatment and health-promoting program.

Dr. Cohen's main office in Brooklyn, NY can be reached at 718 972-1616
You might be interested to learn why even skilled physicians turn to him in moments of need.

More and more, it is the naturopathic doctors who are providing the most effective help to those suffering from a wide range of diseases and afflictions that are not responding to so-called "conventional medicine."


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