Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care; an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine uses protocols intended to optimize the health and wellness of patients by using the least invasive therapies necessary to restore health. Naturopathic physicians combine years of knowledge of standard medical practice, diagnostics tools, and pharmacology with an expert understanding of natural therapeutics. Practitioners specialize in using various forms of modern, traditional, scientific and empirical methods of natural medicine to address the root cause of illness and stimulate the built-in mechanism of the body that is designed to self-repair.
Optimizing the health and wellness of patients is the most important thing for naturopathic doctors, therefore it is sometimes necessary to work in conjunction with the care you receive from a MD and not replace it. Currently, 22 states, the District of Columbia, the United States territories of Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing or regulation laws for naturopathic doctors. In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from an accredited four-year residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license. Presently, Georgia is not one of those states that license naturopathic doctors; because Georgia is not a regulated state for naturopaths, some herbalists refer to themselves as naturopathic doctors, therefore it may be important for consumers to inquire about educational/clinical training when selecting the right practitioner for your healthcare needs. Dr. Houston holds a Naturopathic Physician license for the District of Columbia but will continue to practice in Georgia indefinitely.
The following principles are the foundation of naturopathic medical practice:
The Healing Power of Nature: Naturopathic medicine recognizes a built-in self-healing mechanism in the body that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this built-in self-repair process.
Identify and Treat the Causes: The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
First Do No Harm: Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:
- Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat;
- Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
- Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process.
Doctor as Teacher: Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.
Treat the Whole Person: Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.
Prevention: Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.
Naturopathic medicine can be used as a stand-alone treatment in wellness care or it can also be used in conjunction with conventional care to increase the efficacy of those prescriptions. The therapies used here at Journey of Wellness have been proven to be both safe and effective in improving a broad range of health conditions without the added inconveniences of disturbing side effects and diminished quality of life. When determining what the best methods are to enhance a patient’s health and vitality we first consider the patient at hand, therefore creating a specialized plan for each patient is necessary.
Hippocrates, who is considered the father of Western medicine once said, “let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Foods provide for us the vital nutrients that our bodies need to be alive and thrive, which is why nutrition and the medicinal purpose of foods is a cornerstone of Naturopathic medicine. As naturopathic physicians we are trained to be experts in clinical nutrition by studying extensively the impact that food has on the biochemical pathways of the body to improve health and wellbeing. The impact of food on health has been proven in numerous studies and scientifically based medical journals.
Nutritional supplements include vitamins, minerals, enzymes, plants and sometimes animal derived substances that are typically ingested via capsule, tablet, liquid, or powder form. These supplements can provide a more highly concentrated form of necessary nutrients that our bodies need to perform that are much greater than what is obtainable through eating food. Naturopathic physicians are trained to be knowledgeable of the maintenance dose versus the therapeutic dose of these supplements in addition to any vitamin-drug interactions. Journey of Wellness only utilizes products from companies that has been researched and proven to provide the highest quality medical grade supplementation and has demonstrated high standards in its manufacturing practices so that we can ensure a product that is not only safe but also effective when used appropriately.
We are humans interacting in an environment filled with daily toxic exposure from the cleansing products we use on our skin and in our homes to the pesticides we ingest as well as, solvents we inhale. The cumulative effects of toxic exposure can be very disturbing to the neurological, endocrine, and immune function of our bodies, all of which can lead to damaging the body on a systemic level, therefore affecting other organs and organ systems. As Naturopathic physicians we identify potential environmental triggers that may be contributing to your diseased state and recommend additional lab testing (if needed) to help determine the level of toxic load that is limiting your body from functioning in an optimized wellness state.
Hydrotherapy utilizes the physical properties of water combined with adjustments to temperature and pressure for therapeutic purposes such as stimulating, pain reduction, blood circulation, releasing toxins, inducing relaxation, and treating a variety of health conditions.
Many plant substances are powerful medicines that come in the form of teas, tinctures, and capsules that can be consumed or used in creams applied topically. Botanical herbs are highly effective when used incorrect dosages and in combination with other synergistic herbs and treatments to optimize health with the minimal likelihood of side effects. Naturopathic physicians are trained extensively in herb-herb as well as herb-drug interactions to ensure the safety and efficacy of its therapeutic action.
Detoxification is the process of eliminating toxins from your body that have accumulated over time through a variety of avenues such as the foods we eat, the air we breathe, our environment, and stress. When patients take time out to detox their bodies they are clearing out the toxins and waste products that can limit health optimization. Every week in the houses of most people they accumulate at least one garbage can full of trash and then they dispose of it by removing it from the home to prevent it from attracting unwanted flies or rodents if it the trash accumulates. The body is no different, it has mechanisms in place to remove toxins and pathogens but occasionally depending on toxic load, we need to give our bodies a hefty push in the right direction of detoxification. Everyone is a good candidate for detoxification and Journey of Wellness is here to help you detox naturally to improve the condition of your health.
Homeopathic medicine is using nanoparticles of a substance to facilitate an improved state of wholeness and well-being. This small yet powerful system of medicine is based on the principle of “like cures like.” Clinical observation indicates that when properly prescribed it will work on a subtle, yet powerful, energetic level, gently acting to promote healing on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels with minimal to no side effects.
Mental attitudes and emotional states can influence, or even cause physical illness, in addition to minimizing the healing mechanism of the body. Counseling, nutritional balancing, and stress management are some of the therapies used to help patients heal psychologically. Dr. Houston has been clinically trained to provide counseling with patients on mental/emotional, social, or spiritual concerns as another tool to optimize your total health and wellness.