Naturopathic Terms 101: Words We Use That You've Been Curious About

Ever find yourself smiling and nodding when your practitioner uses certain words? We know we're guilty at times of using scientific or practice-based words that are not commonly known or fully understood!

We created this blog as Naturopathic Medicine 101, where you can meet and get cozy with lots of terminology that we may use in our appointments! It will also help you understanding more about what we do!

Naturopathy: This term refers to the practice of using all natural, non-invasive forms of prevention and treatment to gain optimal health using therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing. It is a process of treating disease that employs no surgery or synthetic drugs. Naturopathy relies on naturally occurring substances to help combat the detrimental side effects of living in an increasingly unnatural world. Exercise, vitamins, meditation, relaxation, herbs and even the sun itself are often the best ways to overcome both sudden and chronic illnesses alike.

Acupressure: A type of Asian healing art based on ancient Japanese and Chinese medicine. A practitioner puts pressure on specific points on the body with his or her fingers in order to relieve pain and discomfort, prevent tension-related ailments, and promote good health.

Acupuncture: Rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this practice consists of gently inserting fine needles into the body at specific points to cure disease, relieve pain and balance the energy systems in the body.

Adaptogen: Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that help the body resist and adapt to stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions!

Adrenals / adrenal glands: Two glands which sit on top of your kidneys. They produce hormones, like cortisol, that help the body to respond to stress.

Autoimmune condition: a state of imbalance in your body in which your immune system attacks some of your body’s own cells. Thyroiditis is an example of an autoimmune condition.

Antibiotic: destroys or inhibits the growth of other microorganisms and are used to prevent and treat infection.

Anticatarrhal: suppresses cattarrh - inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose and throat.

Antimicrobial: kills microorganisms or inhibits their multiplication or growth

Antispasmodic: suppresses muscle spasms which are a sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles

Antitussive: alleviates or suppresses coughing

Anxiolytic: herb/substance used to reduce anxiety.

Bioavailable: degree to which a nutrient is available to the body for use and measures the rate that a supplement is absorbed within the body after it has been administered.

Blood sugar: the concentration of glucose sugar in your blood. Blood sugar levels are affected by diet and hormones, like cortisol and insulin. If your blood sugar is too high you are hyperglycemic, and if it’s too low you’re hypoglycemic.

Botanical: a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal or therapeutic properties, flavour, and/or scent. Herbs are a subset of botanicals.

Carminative: helps to relieve the buildup of gas in the intestines

Cortisol: a hormone produced by your adrenal glands. It raises blood sugar levels and helps the body deal with stress.

Demulcent: forms a soothing film over a mucous membrane, relieving minor pain and inflammation of the membrane

Doula: This is a person who assists in the miracle of natural childbirth by providing physical assistance and emotional support both in the home and hospital setting. Unlike midwives who assist in delivering newborns, the Doula focuses on supporting the mother through pregnancy, birth and early infancy phases.

Downregulate: A decrease in the number of receptors on the surface of target cells, making the cells less sensitive to a hormone or another agent. For example, insulin receptors may be downregulated in type 2 diabetes.

Dysbiosis: an imbalance between the types of organism present in a person's natural microflora, especially that of the gut, thought to contribute to a range of conditions of ill health.

Emmenagogue: stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus

Endocrine system: a collection of organs in your body which secrete hormones. It includes the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, ovaries, testes, and others.

Galactagoguepromotes lactation in humans and other animals

Exfoliant: promotes the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the outermost surface of the skin

Expectorant: aids in the clearance of mucus from the airways, lungs, bronchi, and trachea

Hepatoprotective: the ability to prevent damage to the liver

Holistic: This describes the practice of viewing the human body’s internal systems and their properties as a whole, rather than a collection of parts. Holistic naturopathic healers understand that you must consider the entire human form when considering treatment for an ailment, even if it only affects part of the patient.

Homeostasis: Homeostasis is an inherent self-healing mechanism by which biological systems maintain optimal function and resiliency while adapting to all internal and external factors.

Hormones: Chemical messengers which send a signal from an organ in the endocrine system to a target tissue or organ via your blood. This alters the function of the target organ. An example of a hormone is cortisol – it is produced by the adrenal glands and travels to the liver to tell it to make sugar.

Immunomodulating: stimulates or indirectly augments the immune system

Intravenous: existing or taking place within, or administered into, a vein or veins.

Meridian: a set of pathways in the body along which vital energy is said to flow. There are twelve such pathways associated with specific organs.

Metabolic Health: having ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, without using medications. These factors directly relate to a person's risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Microbiome: the collective genomes of the microbes (composed of bacteria, bacteriophage, fungi, protozoa and viruses) that live inside and on the human body

Microbiota: microorganisms that are found within a specific environment, for example the intestines.

Mineral: a solid inorganic substance of natural occurrence.

Modality: a form of treatment administered by a naturopath. Examples of modalities that naturopaths may use include acupuncture, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, and lifestyle counselling, among others.

Nervine: has a beneficial effect upon the nervous system

Parasympathetic: associated with returning the body to routine, day-to-day operations; our rest-and-digest state.

Phytochemical: chemical compounds produced by plants which have natural protective or disease preventive properties

Poultice: a soft moist mass, usually heated, spread on cloth, and applied to warm, moisten, or stimulate an aching or inflamed part of the body - especially useful for localised detoxification of infections, boils etc

Sublingual: placing a supplement under your tongue to dissolve and absorb into your blood through the tissue there.

Sympathetic: involved in preparing the body for stress-related activities; our fight-or-flight state.

Upregulate: An increase in the number of receptors on the surface of target cells, making the cells more sensitive to a hormone or another agent. For example, there is an increase in uterine oxytocin receptors in the third trimester of pregnancy, promoting the contraction of the smooth muscle of the uterus

Vitamin: any of a group of organic compounds which are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body.

Now that you're all cozy with terminology, you should definitely book in with our naturopathic doctors!

M O N C T O N : [email protected] // (506) 830-8333 // Click Here to Contact Moncton

C H A R L O T T E T O W N : [email protected] // (902) 367-5300 // Click Here to Contact Charlottetown

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