Why I love naturopathic medicine

This spring has brought many positive changes to my practice, for which I am very grateful. My biggest gratitude has been how it has reminded me of why I became a naturopathic doctor in the first place: I love this medicine! I still remember my tears of happiness in my first week of naturopathic medical school, as I met inspiring teacher after inspiring teacher, and got to know my fellow students. I had never been in a school with so much truth and compassion in every aspect, from the dedicated NDs and their allies who had created the school from nothing, to the alternative practitioners who taught for low wages, to the support staff doing their best to help us first year students get settled in.

The message was the same, no matter who delivered it: do no harm, treat the whole person, recognize the healing power of the human body and of nature, teach others how to heal themselves. What a contrast to my previous experiences with the medical profession, both as a patient and as a student worker in the UBC Family Practice Residency Program! This was not medicine that disregarded humanity, suppressed the natural healing work of the immune system, or broke up the body into parts to examine.

As I continued on in my education, my love grew. As I began my clinical training, I saw how all the knowledge, clinical pearls, tips etc I had learned in my first two years worked in practice. I met amazing people who were ill, in physical or mental pain, and who got better using the techniques, treatments and supplements prescribed. It seemed like magic, but it wasn’t, it was the application of the principles of observation and experimentation done over millennia. One of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett, wrote that “it doesn’t stop being magic just because you know how it happens”. To this day, I am constantly surprised and heartened by the power of the” vix naturae”, the healing I see in my patients and in myself because of this medicine. May it continue to change lives and flourish.

Dr Handford

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