Naturopathic Doctors are always compared to Traditional Medical Doctors. NDs treat the root cause of your illness through natural means compared to our MD counterparts, who use drugs to manage symptoms. This is what most NDs seem to focus on. It is hard to describe what our profession is. Naturopathy incorporates a lot of different types of medicine and lifestyle changes. When you are talking to someone who has only been exposed to the Traditional medical treatment, the easiest way to define naturopathy is by making the comparison. We end up generalizing Naturopathic Medicine and Allopathic Medicine (traditional medicine) to get the major differences across between our professions. No one really discusses the individuals in our professions. We have 30 seconds to tell you what we do in a nutshell while holding your attention. Generalizing all NDs and making the comparison to MDs is the easiest way.
I need to say not all MDs do symptom management and just prescribe pharmaceuticals. I know a few who will prescribe drugs after trying some lifestyle interventions and monitoring your disease. They agree with the foundation of Naturopathic Medicine, but are not trained to utilize diet, exercise and herbal remedies. I also know some NDs who just prescribe a bunch of supplements to manage your symptoms. I refer to them as green allopaths. They love to manage their patients by making them comfortable and taking away their symptoms, but ignoring the underlying cause. It seems better because they are using natural means. In my opinion they are not different then their Medical counterparts who over prescribe. Everyone has a style within their chosen profession.
If you are not sure what Naturopathic Medicine is please refer to my about section and click on Naturopathic Medicine. This will provide you with a basis. Once you have decided that you would like to see a Naturopathic Doctor how do you find the right one?
Ask people around you if they know a good Naturopathic Doctor:
When someone recommends a ND to you, that means they think they are effective. They have probably been to see them, and they have seen benefits from that ND’s treatment plan. This is where your search for your ND should start. Book in with that ND. Word of mouth is more valuable than a google search. You have someone who has evidence that this Doctor knows what they are doing.
There is no harm in booking a free 15 min consultation, or an initial appointment with that ND. The ND will be a great resource for you. If you live in a different city, contact that ND to ask if they would recommend a ND near you. Most NDs have no trouble referring patients to their colleagues. Our main concern is you get the help you want.
Take advantage of the free 15 min consultations:
Most NDs offer free 15 min consultations. Use this time to ask any questions you have about Naturopathic medicine and their treatment style. The reason I have set up free 15 min consultations is to see if Naturopathic Medicine is right for you, AND to see if my treatment style resonates with you.
All Naturopathic Doctors treat differently. We have different philosophies on what works with our patients. Some people love homeopathy, or acupuncture or clinical nutrition. Some NDs have specialized only in one area of medicine such as: fertility, sports medicine, or cancer. Personally, I specialized in Pain management during school, but found I was bored of the same type of cases. I opened a Family Medicine practice where I treat everything and anything under the sun. I love the variety. My patients are treated as individuals. A patient who walks in with a migraine is not going to be treated the same as my other migraine patients. I truly customize my treatment plans using your feedback, budget, and personal preferences.
The 15 min consultation gets you in front of the ND. You are able to tell if you feel comfortable with them, and like their personality. There is an ND out there for everyone, you just need to find one you like. Paying for initial consultations all the time wastes your insurance money and your valuable spare time. These consultations are provided for your benefit.
Ask a Naturopathic Doctor if they have a favourite modality:
NDs have many different modalities; acupuncture, traditional Chinese herbs, homeopathy, botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, supplementation, life style counselling are just a few. Some NDs tend to lean towards one type of modality over another. If the ND prescribes acupuncture for everyone because they know it is effective, but you are deathly afraid of needles, that ND probably isn’t for you. It is rare that an ND will only work with one modality, so ask them to adjust their treatment plan to avoid needles. Conversely, not all NDs use acupuncture in their practice. If you are going to an ND wanting acupuncture, make sure they offer the service.
I use all the modalities. I follow the therapeutic order for healing. AANMC has a great diagram explaining what therapeutic order is. I have attached it to this blog post for you to read.
I do love acupuncture, and I prefer the traditional Chinese medicine diagnoses. I will work with patients that do not want acupuncture. My job is to promote health, not traumatize my patients. I have many tools at my disposal and my treatment plans always incorporate a full range of modalities.
As I said before, every ND is different. We have different educational backgrounds, treatment styles and affinities to modalities. If you have seen a naturopathic doctor in the past and were not happy, please try and find one that you like. I always say, “I may not be the ND for you, but I know there is one out there for you.” I am also happy to refer you to an ND that I think you will benefit from. I hope this was a helpful blog post, and if you have any questions about Naturopathic Medicine please visit my contact page 🙂