What is a Naturopathic Doctor
And Why Would I Want to See One?
Naturopathic medicine is a science-based medicine steeped in ancient healing practices that promotes wellness by identifying the unique aspects of each patient. Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that addresses the root causes of illness. Naturopaths treat the whole person (not just the symptoms), looking at all of the systems at work in the human body. Our mental state, feelings, emotions, hormones are equally important as our blood work and physical being.
When necessary a Naturopathic Doctor integrates natural healing methodologies such as Nutrition and plant-based natural remedies. They will also use conventional medical treatments such as extensive laboratory diagnostic testing.
What training do Naturopaths have?
Naturopathic Doctors are trained as general medical Doctors specializing in Natural Medicine. They cooperate with all other branches of medical science, referring patients to other practitioners for diagnosis or treatment when appropriate (AANP, 1998).
When Would Someone See a Naturopathic Doctor?
The primary reasons patients seek out Holistic and Integrative Medicine from Natural Medicine Doctor are:
Preference for natural health and wellness
Seeking an alternative to drugs or surgery
Seeking treatment for complex auto-immune or other long-term, chronic conditions
Supportive therapy for any surgery, cancer treatment or other intensive procedures
Desire to preserve optimal wellness and prevent illness.
How can Naturopathic Medicine benefit your health and well being?
Naturopathic Doctors are often successful at treating chronic conditions that don’t respond to conventional medicine. This includes, but is not limited to: fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, and digestive disorders. They are able to respond to the individual needs of patients and develop a treatment plan that includes nutritional supplements, botanical medicine, and nutritional modifications.
Naturopathic Doctors understand the art of healing, which is more than dispensing an herbal remedy or nutritional supplement. To understand the context of a patient’s illness, the physician must take the time to listen to the patient’s story. Effective Naturopathic treatment requires patience and good communication. Most patients know what is wrong and what needs to be done, but they don’t know how to translate this into an action plan. The Naturopathic Doctor can translate the patient’s story and assign priorities among the several options that may emerge. They also take time to answer the patient’s questions.
What should I expect in the initial Naturopathic appointment?
The first appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor tends to be much longer than a conventional medical office visit-anywhere from thirty to ninety minutes. In addition, patients often complete extensive paperwork before the visit to guide the Naturopathic Doctor during the interview. Much of the initial consultation involves listening to the patient’s story. This story may have many twists and turns and involve multiple conditions or diseases. Naturopathic doctors recognize the importance of this process and allow the patient the time and space necessary to share their story.
Naturopathic Doctors use laboratory tests and other objective data in combination with the patient’s subjective story to determine the most effective treatment. A Naturopathic Doctor works to find the best treatment to fit the patient’s medical needs holistically, realizing that each person has different needs requiring a customized approach. This is a genuine practice of Naturopathy. Follow-up visits are common to assess how well the plan fits and to make any necessary changes.