BY MICHELLE MAISONVILLE
Conestoga students may be surprised to learn that Conestoga Student Inc.’s health plan covers students for 70 per cent to a maximum of $500 per benefit year for the services of a naturopathic doctor.
Other students may know they have coverage for a naturopathic doctor but not what a naturopathic doctor is, or how one could be of use to them.
Naturopathic doctors provide an alternative medicine for those who are frustrated with traditional medicine, or for those who just want to try a different approach. Naturopathy uses a wide array of natural treatments, including homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, and diet and nutrition lifestyle counselling.
The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors defines naturopathic medicine as “a distinct primary health-care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine.”
It also states that the naturopathic philosophy “is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of the disease. Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body.”
Dr. Camilla Krause, a naturopathic doctor at Healthsource Integrative Medical Centre in Kitchener, said the simple explanation she likes to use is “a naturopathic doctor is medically trained and naturally focused.”
She said medical doctors and naturopathic doctors have the same training to some extent, but they differ in how they decide to treat.
“We have a more connected view of what may be wrong,” she said.
For example, Krause said if you went to a doctor for stomach problems, anxiety and fatigue, a medical doctor would see them as three separate issues, whereas a naturopathic doctor would see them as being linked.
Naturopathic doctors offer a different approach to health care and can help with a wide variety of physical and mental health problems.
“It can help pretty much everyone,” Krause said.
“I like to say, ‘If you’ve been hit by a bus, go to the hospital. If you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus but you haven’t, you can come see me,’” she said.
Some common issues people come to Krause with are lack of energy, anxiety, depression or other mood disorders, and stomach and digestive concerns.
Krause said the first thing she does when meeting with a new patient is an initial assessment. This will take about an hour and during that time she will ask you the basics about your current health. This will include your sleep patterns, diet, stressors, level of activity, past medical history, medications you’re currently taking and your diet.
“The whole time (during the initial visit) I’m listening and picking up little clues,” she said.
After the initial assessment it could take a few visits to get to the underlying problem. One thing that may be done to get to the root of the problem is bloodwork, to see if there are any vitamins or nutrients missing.
College students often have a lot on their plate between school, homework and part-time jobs. Oftentimes students aren’t taking care of themselves as much as they should be, physically and mentally.
“I know very well what it’s like to be a student. I did eight years of post-secondary so I really have a lot of feeling for people who are in school,” said Krause.
“It demands a lot from you.” Krause said in order for the brain to work as well as it should it needs help sometimes. “Sometimes you need somebody on your side to tell you what could make things work better just so that school isn’t as hard.”
“It’s one thing to learn everything that you need to and get all of your assignments done but it’s another thing entirely when you’re facing an uphill battle with your own health.”
Krause reached out last semester to Cassidy Avon, president of Conestoga College’s Wallflower, which is a club for individuals who deal with anxiety, low self-esteem and depression, providing them with a safe place to be able to share their experiences. Krause wanted to share what she knew in the hopes of helping the members of the group.
Avon thought having a professional teach club members about the importance of taking care of themselves in all aspects – mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally – was great idea.
She also thought Krause could provide the group with different ways to deal with depression, anxiety, stress and low self-esteem in a natural way.
“I believe that naturopathy has many benefits for one’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Having the ability to understand what your body and mind needs, and using all natural products and methods is so valuable when dealing with any issue,” she said.
“Camille was a great addition to Conestoga’s Wallflower and we were very lucky to have her join our club meetings.” She said she hopes to have Krause back this semester to continue to share her knowledge. Krause said, “If you have your health, you can do anything. The rest of what you do is that much easier.”
Anyone interested in contacting Krause can find her at http://healthsourceimc.com/contact/. You can also find other naturopathic doctors in the area through the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors at www.cand.ca.