Q&A: Naturopathic Medicine and Children’s Health

Written by: Guest Contributor

Published: Jun 3, 2016

Please Note: The below Q&A is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be considered a substitute for seeking advice from a healthcare practitioner regarding your child’s unique health needs.

WhereParentsTalk.com spoke with Dr. Jessica Burke Browman, a licensed and board certified Naturopathic Doctor based in Toronto, about the practice of Naturopathic Medicine as it relates to children’s health.

Can you provide a brief overview and explanation of Naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system combining modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. Built on a patient-centred approach it emphasizes prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that support the body’s natural ability to heal and help the patient achieve sustainable health and wellness.The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. There is also a strong focus disease prevention and health promotion.

Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are able to work with each patient or family to create a health plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Naturopathic Doctors will work with your other healthcare providers to ensure a collaborative and complementary approach to your health. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, may also be used during treatments.

In Ontario, NDs are regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act and are regulated by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO).

What type of pediatric health issues can be treated by Naturopathic medicine?

NDs are primary healthcare practitioners in Ontario, and can treat the same conditions as a family doctors, including  both acute and chronic health conditions. Some common pediatric health concerns may include skin conditions (i.e. eczema, psoriasis), immune response (i.e. frequent colds, ear infections), dietary or food issues, digestive concerns, and basic preventative health measures.

How do parents know if Naturopathic medicine is the right course of treatment for their child?

Many parents want to make sure they are making the best choices for their child’s health. Whether parents are seeking alternative options or are looking to complement existing health care measures, naturopathic medicine can play a role in all treatment plans. Parents typically bring their children in for three primary reasons; they are seeking health promotion and disease prevention strategies, their child has symptoms that cannot be addressed by another health care provider, or their child has been diagnosed with a disease or disorder and parents are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects to drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.

At what age can a child first visit a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic Doctors are qualified to see children of all ages. From newborns struggling with feeding issues to children scraping knees, and teenagers dealing with hormonal changes, NDs can play a vital role at any stage of your child’s life.

When might a parent want to consult a Naturopath or alternative courses of treatment for their child’s health?

Parents typically seek naturopathic care for three reasons. They are seeking tools to promote and maintain health and wellness for their family, their child has symptoms that have not been reduced through conventional treatments, or their child has been given a diagnosis and the parents would like to complement the conventional treatments to minimize side effects and maximize health and quality of life.

Dr. Jessica Burke Browman is a licensed and board certified Naturopathic Doctor based in Toronto. Her practice is family oriented with a strong focus on women’s health and fertility, musculoskeletal injuries, weight loss, and digestive disorders.

Please Note: The above Q&A is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be considered a substitute for seeking advice from a healthcare practitioner regarding your child’s unique health needs.

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