I always have friends and family asking me a variety of questions about Naturopathic Medicine… usually somewhere along the lines of WHY would you see a naturopath and what do we really do? How do we really help improve patients health and what sorts of value do we provide? Well Im here to give you a short little run down of the WHO, WHAT, WHY and HOW of an ND.
WHO ARE NATUROPATHS?
Naturopathic doctors are licensed health practitioners with a whole lot of schooling under their belt. We have graduated from a variety of different undergraduate programs (needing certain science prerequisites) followed by four more years at an accredited Naturopathic School (there are only 2 in Canada- Toronto and Vancouver). We also have to pass a series of licensing exams before we are even eligible to practice. Once all the schooling and exams are done we have to be a part of a provincial association (OAND- https://oand.org/) and the CAND (https://www.cand.ca/) as well as CONO, our regulatory board (http://www.collegeofnaturopaths.on.ca/). Theres a whole lot of hoops to jump through to be an ND, and rightfully so, we are looking after people health.
ND’s are primary care physicians and can be integral members for your health care TEAM- now I want to put huge emphasis on the word TEAM- I think everyone deserves a team that looks after their wellbeing. A healthcare team can look different for everyone and can comprise of many different practitioners such as MD’s, ND’s, Chiropractors, Registered Massage Therapists, Osteopath’s, Counsellors, Psychologists, etc. YOU get to pick who YOU want on your TEAM. Having an integrative health care team can provide you with different options and ultimately give you the power to choose what direction you want to take your care.
WHAT SORTS OF ISSUES WOULD I SEE AN ND FOR?
You want to stay as healthy as possible right?? Well ND’s are the best at focusing on preventative medicine and making sure you are the healthiest version of you so that you can accomplish everything you want to do in your day to day life. Naturopathic Doctors focus on finding the root cause of your health concerns and diving deep into the WHY. We are not band-aiding your symptoms and have a variety of different options that can help to look after those nagging health issues.
Naturopath’s may have topics that they specialize in such as Women’s Health, Paediatrics or Endocrine Health, but most have very general practices and are able to treat a variety of different health concerns. Finding the right ND that you jive with and practices the way you feel comfortable with is so important. You are building a relationship with each other and you want to be able to trust this person who is now on your healthcare TEAM.
Personally, I love treating hormonal, digestive and skin concerns. With a history of nagging skin issues, digestive concerns from foods sensitivities and period problems from being on the pill I really understand how it can feel to not be feeling your best self.
HOW DO ND’S IMPROVE MY HEALTH?
Naturopathic Doctors take the time to get to know your past medical history and investigate all the different facets of your health. We address your lifestyle concerns (diet and exercise), assess how much stress is impacting your health, what medications or health supplements could be helping or harming your wellbeing and much more. ND’s construct personalized plans that are individualized to you and your specific health needs. Every patient is unique and your health treatment plans should reflect that. Naturopathic Doctors have training in prescribing a variety of different modalities- extensive nutritional support, lifestyle changes (exercise, sleep, self-care, etc), herbal medicine, professional health products, acupuncture and clinical lab testing (blood work, hormone panels, SIBO and food sensitivity testing). All of these are taken into account when crafting a health plan that is right for you.
I love working with patients who are committed to optimizing their health and open to making changes in their life to improve their wellbeing. I want to educate my patients as much as possible about their health and the best options for them. We should all know WHY were are doing something specific to improve our wellbeing or WHY we are taking a particular medication/health supplement. I teach you this WHY and provide you with all your options and once again encourage you to build your healthcare TEAM. I meet my patients where they are in their healthcare journey in a safe and non-judgemental space, and truly believe that adding small good consistent practices into or everyday lives can add up to monumental change.