Like any good doctor, combating tough illnesses in patients is Dr. Karim Dhanani’s goal — he just uses non-traditional methods to do it.

The naturopathic doctor and founder of the Centre for Integrative Medicine in Richmond Hill, Ont., got into naturopathic medicine to help patients regain their health through natural methods.

“I don’t consider there to be a greater gift in the world that to give patients their health. It’s what drives me,” Dhanani said.

The essence of naturopathy, or biological medicine as some practitioners have taken to calling the field, is to administer drugless therapy whenever possible to patients. Contrary to some popular misconceptions about naturopathic medicine, naturopaths like Dhanani do not shun traditional medicine at all, they just want to offer meaningful alternative treatment that can complement traditional methods.

“It’s never been about Us vs. Them. The medical system is very good at treating acute illnesses — what I offer is complementary treatment and I have the same vested interest in my patients,” Dhanani said.

After obtaining his naturopathic medical degree, he opened the Richmond Hill clinic in 2002 and wanted to positively change attitudes and public perceptions about naturopathy. He says now he can’t be bothered worrying about people’s assumptions — he cares only about seeing his patients get better.

At the clinic, Dhanani specializes in treatment of chronic illnesses with cancer patients comprising about 30-40 per cent of his roster, with Lyme’s disease and other chronic conditions being common among the patients referred to him.

The methods Dhanani uses are internationally recognized and include ionized oxygen therapy, homotoxicology (the study of toxins in the body) and cutting-edge photon therapy pioneered in Germany, which helps regenerate cells in the body, particularly in cases of infection.

Dhanani does a regular battery of clinical tests on each patient before, during and after treatment including traditional urinalysis as well as zinc, bioelectronics, saliva and adrenal tests to see what level of stress the body is under. It’s all a part of making sure he can see objective changes in health in his patients.

“It’s really important for me that patients get better. I want to get at the root cause of thing. You have to make sure results are reproducible,” he said.

Dhanani travels abroad regularly to keep abreast of new developments in naturopathic treatment because he believes keeping up-to-date is crucial in medical treatment, as is personal satisfaction in your work — something Dhanani has plenty of.

“You have to realize that learning is a lifelong process and you truly have to love what you do,” he said.