A naturopathic approach to mental health involves looking at the whole body and mind together. There are many factors that influence our daily mood and mental-emotional wellness. Treating mental health holistically requires supporting the different elements that influence well-being on a physical, mental, and emotional level.
The body needs healthy levels of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and certain fats to function at its best. Implementing a diet that includes food sources of these key nutrients is incredibly beneficial for supporting a healthy mood. Lab testing is helpful to identify individual deficiencies that can then be addressed with food choices and nutritional supplements. Diet choices also affect blood sugar, inflammation levels in the body, and gut health, which all have an impact on mental health.
There is a strong connection between the mind and the gut. The microbiome is the composition of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that reside in the gut. Different gut bacteria influence inflammatory pathways in the body that correlate directly to mood. Certain gut bacteria also produce chemicals in the body that induce a happy and calm state. Supporting a healthy microbiome of thriving beneficial bacteria is a fundamental part of treating mental-emotional wellness.
Lifestyle factors such as exercise, quality sleep, adequate rest, and proper boundaries are essential in building a foundation of health and supporting a healthy mood. Important steps in this area are bringing awareness to personal habits, identifying areas that would benefit from support, and incorporating consistent positive changes.
Current and past stress levels have a direct impact on mental health. While it’s not possible to eliminate all sources of stress, the ability to respond to stress and manage it in a way that supports the body is extremely beneficial. Incorporating consistent stress-management practices, creating healthy perspectives and thought patterns, and utilizing herbal medicines are all helpful for improving the body’s adaptation and resilience to stress.
Treating mental health with naturopathic medicine involves identifying the root causes behind feeling unwell and supporting those key pieces directly with natural therapies. The process takes a holistic approach, where all aspects of each unique individual are addressed together, in order to provide long term improvement in mental-emotional wellness.