What is Naturopathic Medicine & My Own Journey With It
June 1, 2022
What is Naturopathic Medicine? This is the question I get asked the most by family, friends, and any other inquisitive person I meet when I tell them what I do. While the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians states that naturopathic medicine is a “distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health using therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process”, my personal definition of it has been influenced by my experiences throughout the years.
Throughout history, different communities of people from all around the world connected with what was provided by nature and then developing their own deep understanding of healing and treatment. Those remedies have been passed down from multiple generations introducing us to an intricate system of medicine that encapsulates generational wisdom and evidenced-based medicine. Personally, the teachings of Ayurveda (the traditional system of medicine originating from India) have been beautifully woven into many Indian households and is what helped me feel rooted to my family and culture.
Naturopathic doctors are trained to be primary care physicians at accredited medical schools. As students we learn general medical diagnosis, pharmacology, and minor surgery along with modalities such as nutrition, botanical medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, homeopathy, physical medicine, mind-body medicine, and so much more. This allows us to dig deeper to find the underlying root cause and develop individualized treatments that emphasize prevention rather than focusing on suppressing the symptoms.
In my perspective, naturopathic medicine provides a means to seek out answers to questions that haven’t been addressed by a “one-size-fits-all” approach in our current healthcare system. I had been chronically struggling with menstrual irregularities, fatigue, acne, gut issues, and anxiety since my late teens/early twenties and birth control was the only option that was available to me by conventional medicine. I considered going on “the pill” because I needed help but something in me -call it my intuition- rejected the idea that there wasn’t more going on in my body.
Fast forward to when I moved to Arizona in 2017 for naturopathic medical school. The constant stress of attending a rigorous academic program was draining and was taking a toll on my body. My period would skip for 1-2 months at a time, I was bleeding for 2-3 weeks at a time, experiencing flares of cystic acne, and my mental health was regressing because I was not feeling like myself anymore. Fortunately, I was lucky to be surrounded by amazing naturopathic doctors and my ND listened to me attentively, completed the necessary bloodwork, worked with me to come up with a realistic & sustainable treatment plan, and I FINALLY felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’ve made it this far, I appreciate you reading about how important naturopathic medicine is and why I feel so passionate about it. Through my experience, it has become very clear that the human body is an intricate meshwork that works diligently to maintain equilibrium. My goal is to empower others who are also seeking solutions for their reproductive and mental health concerns as we are much too overlooked by our current healthcare system.
With this blog, I hope to create a safe space to share pieces of my own health journey, provide deeper insight into various conditions, discuss medical topics that have been deemed “taboo”, and more information on effective natural treatments. Stay tuned for more!
Dr. Avni Dalal
***As always, none of the information I post is medical advice. This is free health education because I strongly believe that more information needs to be easily accessible, especially when it comes to reproductive & mental health. If you are interested in seeking alternative care, I highly encourage you to bring a naturopathic or integrative doctor on your healthcare team before making any changes or adjustments to your healthcare regimen.