Naturopathic medicine is a health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of health care. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity.
Treating both acute and chronic conditions, naturopathic treatments are chosen based on the individual patient – their physiological, structural, psychological, social, spiritual, environment and lifestyle factors. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes our naturopathic doctor’s natural therapies include botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, injection therapy and acupuncture. They call also write requisitions on a wide range of lab testing.
The Goal: to address the biochemical components of health and disease so our bodies can heal themselves.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Naturopathic Doctors in Alberta can requisition most laboratory tests performed at Calgary Lab Services (CLS). Beyond such tests, they also have access to specialized testing. Here are some of those tests available at Ascent Integrative Health.
Food Sensitivity Testing
This test assesses your personal reactivity to 120 or 200 different foods. Specifically, this blood test will assess your body’s immune response, gauging reactivity of an immunoglobulin IgG against the various foods and the intensity by which they respond (normal, moderate or high reactivity). Results from this test are used, in conjunction with your symptoms, to create a personalized treatment plan for you to heal your digestive tract. The test is done in office and mailed out for analysis.
This in house blood spot test screens for several antibodies whose presence strongly suggest gluten sensitivity and or celiac disease. These antibodies are IgA and IgG to gliadan (a protein found in gluten) to assess for gluten sensitivity and IgA antibodies to tissue transglutaminase which is specific for celiac.
Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA)
This test is collected in the comfort of one’s home, whereby stool is collected and sent to the lab for processing. Results examine digestive and absorptive functions along with screening for opportunistic pathogens and parasites. Often this test is run when symptoms such as persistent bloating, diarrhea, indigestion, and/or constipation, occur.
This take home test requires collecting saliva or urine at various times of the day to quantify the presence of several hormones. Testing saliva or urine for the levels of sex and adrenal hormones is a non-invasive method that yields reliable results and informs treatments protocols. The saliva is screened for active hormone availability, where results help to determine imbalances and patterns related to some chronic diseases. The urine test screens for hormonal metabolites and is more comprehensive than the saliva hormonal tests.
In Alberta, family doctors are no longer allowed to test your vitamin D levels. If you have been supplementing vitamin D for a long period of time, it is important to know where your levels are to ensure levels are increasing. Low levels in this case could point to absorption problems. Low vitamin D can lead to low energy, low mood, poor immune health, and make you more susceptible to skin conditions or autoimmune diseases.
This take home test screens urine to assess for metabolic functions & cellular metabolic function. Organic acids are metabolic intermediates that result in energy production pathways, the breakdown of neurotransmitters, detoxification and microbial activity. Understanding the presence and quantity of these metabolites can help inform where blockages may be in such processes and how to support them and or what to screen further for optimal health.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Testing
This take home test involves collecting 10 breath samples in the comfort of your own home and mailing it out for analysis. This test looks at the presence of bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (normal, good bacteria that have overpopulated from the large intestine to the small intestine). Symptoms of possible SIBO include gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea and/or constipation, heartburn, nausea, and an inability to tolerate many fruits, vegetables, sugars, fibrous foods. SIBO can contribute to leaky gut and food sensitivities.
Prolotherapy is short-form for “proliferative therapy”. This type of injection therapy is used for damage and injuries to tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules. It involves injecting dextrose with an analgesic solution (most commonly, procaine) to help promote proliferation of the connective tissue in the tendons, ligaments, and cartilage/connective tissue within joint capsules. The proliferation happens due to dextrose stimulating a controlled inflammatory response which aids in tissue repair. Inflammation is necessary for tissues to heal and repair and problems arise when the inflammation is prolonged or gets out-of-control. This makes prolotherapy great for chronic musculoskeletal pain involving strains, sprains, partial tears, arthritis, and other joint capsule injuries.
Trigger point injections use procaine (an analgesic) along with vitamin B12, magnesium, or other therapeutic injectable solutions to help relieve trigger points in muscles. These are great for athletes or anyone involved in any form of physical activity and has developed tight muscles or notices ‘knots’ in their muscles which creates pain as the muscle is unable to relax completely. Trigger points can be identified through palpation of your muscle and identifying areas of pain that feel harder than normal.
Mesotherapy, biopuncture, neural therapy are other special naturopathic injection therapies offered. Mesotherapy can be therapeutic for those that are afraid of needles and is used for more muscular pain. Biopuncture is another technique used for muscular pain and can use vitamin B12, magnesium, and/or homeopathic solutions. Neural therapy is great for helping to break up scars that can be creating pain.
Please note that these injection therapies do not address the root cause and is a therapy to help rebuild strength in your joints, tendons, and ligaments so you can perform activities of daily living that you once used to. It is recommended to limit stress on the affected area for a few weeks after the injection treatments and gradually return to your regular activity level.
*If you are susceptible to chronic injuries or delayed healing from injuries, there may be an imbalance at the physiological level that should be addressed such as autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammatory conditions, hormonal imbalances, and, poor digestive health. A more in-depth naturopathic initial visit can help to identify these areas.
*Chiropractic treatments are recommended prior to the injection to help with joint mobilization and massage therapy is recommended after the injection to help with moving the fluid around the affected area.
Naturopathic medicine treats all forms of health concerns — from pediatric to geriatric, from irritating symptoms to chronic illness and from the physical to the psychological. Naturopathic medicine is beneficial for:
● Natural disease prevention
● Health promotion and maintenance
● Improving organ function (ie liver, stomach, bowels, kidneys, etc)
● Smoking cessation
● Following unsuccessful conventional medical therapy
● Improving the quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses
● Those looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments to minimize side effects of drugs, surgery and other treatments
After the Second World War health care moved away from a more natural approach, focusing on the advances in surgical techniques, the introduction of antibiotics and the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. In the last twenty years, public desire for greater control in the health care process and a growing dissatisfaction with high-tech solutions to health problems has resulted in a resurgent interest in the natural methods of preventive health care. This trend has increased demand for naturopathic services as people seek ways to improve their health, cope with day-to-day stresses and avoid illness.
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