Have your friends and colleagues seen a naturopathic doctor with great results but you are still unsure of what we actually do? Read on to learn more about how we can help you.
A naturopathic doctor is trained as a primary care physician in states where licensure is available. Naturopathic Doctors are currently licensed to practice medicine in 17 states, 5 Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Naturopathic doctors undergo similar medical training to conventional Medical Doctors. Admission to an accredited Naturopathic medical school requires a bachelor’s degree as well as a competitive GPA in scientific pre-requisites. Coursework includes medical sciences such as anatomy, pathology, biochemistry and diagnostic sciences. Naturopathic Doctors learn to use labs, physical exams, and medical imaging, much like conventional Medical Doctors, to diagnose disease and monitor health.
Naturopathic Medicine is based on 6 principles:
- The Healing Power of Nature
Naturopathic medicine recognizes the body’s ability to heal itself.
- Identify and Treat the Causes
The naturopathic doctor looks beyond the symptoms to find the underlying cause.
- First Do No Harm
Naturopathic medicine uses the most natural and least invasive therapies.
- Doctor as Teacher
Naturopathic doctors educate the patient and encourage self-responsibility for health.
- Treat the Whole Person
Naturopathic doctors treat each person individually by taking into account physical, mental, emotional, genetic, spiritual, environmental and social factors.
Naturopathic doctors make recommendations by focusing on health, wellness and disease prevention.
How will my visit with my Naturopathic Doctor be different?
Naturopathic medicine is committed to treating the whole person, including mind, body and spirit. Your initial office visit will take between 60 and 90 minutes and your Naturopathic Doctor will go into great detail based on your health and family history, lab results and your personal goals. Often, patients say that the biggest difference between a visit with a naturopathic doctor and medical doctor is the amount of time spent with a naturopathic doctor. Your Naturopathic Doctor may ask questions you’ve never been asked before such as;
How is your sleep?
What do you eat on a daily basis?
How often do you have bowel movements?
How would you explain your spirituality?
How are the relationships in your life?
Do you feel supported in your life?
How do you handle stress?
Do your energy levels dip in the afternoon?
Your Naturopathic Doctor will also ask you to keep a detailed food intake log. On this log you will keep track of what you are eating and drinking, as well as all bowel movements and any symptoms you may have. This will help them to associate reactions and symptoms with food or beverages you may have sensitivities to.
What will my treatment plan look like?
Your Naturopathic Doctor will form your treatment plan based on your initial consultation. This will be based on your family history, personal history, goals and especially your lab work. Your plan may include nutrition recommendations, dietary changes, exercise, stress reducing techniques as well as herbal medicines and nutritional supplements. Your naturopathic doctor will most likely want to follow up with you bi-weekly for the first few months, depending on your situation, until you are able to “graduate” to a maintenance phase. Your treatment plan will likely change slightly because as your body changes and you make improvement, your body will need different things. This is why it is extremely important to follow up with your naturopathic doctor regularly.
Naturopath or Naturopathic Doctor?
As explained above, Naturopathic Doctors go through an extensive medical training and are trained as primary care physicians in states where licensure is available. Naturopath’s typically undergo a shorter non-medical school training or certificate to receive a title such as “Holistic Health Coach” or “Naturopath”. When searching for a naturopathic doctor, even in a state where licensure is not available, it is important to ensure that they attended an accredited naturopathic doctor medical program and has passed their Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX).
If you or someone you know would like to see how a Naturopathic Doctor can help you, please call the office at (704) 334-3761 to schedule a free phone consult today!
By: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor