The most common reason for a visit to the doctor is for a Chronic Disease (37% of visits).
However, conventional medicine has few, if any, solutions for most chronic conditions. Naturopathic Doctors are a refreshing and effective alternative to the conventional system of medicine which has disappointed so many patients.
Most people don’t know Naturopathic Doctors have much of the same training, and can perform many of the same functions as a Primary Care Medical Doctor (including prescribing medications, running labs, and diagnosing conditions). However, in addition to prescribing medications, Naturopathic doctors have a wide variety of treatment modalities to help you address the underlying health issue, not just treat the symptoms.
Typically patients who see their Primary Care Physician get passed from doctor to doctor, receiving a number of evaluations. Even if they can be diagnosed properly, there’s little conventional medicine can do other than manage your symptoms. Eventually, if you want to truly address your condition, you’ve got to look at your underlying habits, and a Naturopathic Doctor can be a great partner in this process.
Difference Between a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) and a Medical Doctor (MD)
Most people don’t realize they can receive almost the exact same care primary care they receive from a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) as from a conventional MD. Like MD’s, Naturopathic Doctors Can:
- Diagnose Conditions
- Order Labs & Tests
- Prescribe Medications
- Refer you to a Specialist
A good Naturopath will take an extremely detailed health history, order lab work for you, and design a protocol that covers a wide range of causes and co-factors in your chronic condition.
At Wisdom, we give patients all over the country an option to receive primary care for their chronic conditions through Naturopathic & Integrative Doctors.
Note that there is far from standardized treatments in the Naturopathic or Integrative Medicine world. Some ND’s will help you focus on diet or exercise, others are more focused on herbal medicine, others are focused on mental health and the mind/body connection. It’s important to ask the ND what modalities they use before you see them, so you can evaluate if that’s something you vibe with.
Difference Between a Naturopath and a Naturopathic Doctor (ND)
By the way, there’s a big difference between a Naturopath, and a Naturopathic Doctor. It’s important you are clear who you’re seeing. A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) is a primary care physician who is licensed to diagnose and prescribe, while a naturopath cannot legally do either of these.
This helpful chart from BASTYR University breaks down the differences between a Naturopath and a Naturopathic Doctor.
Additionally, many insurance policies will cover visits with a Naturopathic Doctor, but not a naturopath. It’s increasingly common that insurance policies cover Naturopathic Doctors, but it’s not always the case. To find out if your policy will cover Naturopathic Primary Care, call the number on the back of your insurance card.
The Advantages of Seeing a ND over an MD
1. Naturopaths typically will spend 30-45, or 60 minutes, instead of the standard 15-minute visit.
Most patients are fed up with the conventional primary care system where your doctor is limited to seeing you for only 15 minutes. Your doctor might be a great doctor and a deeply caring person. But if he or she is working in a system that requires them to cycle through 20-30 patients in a single day, they won’t have the time to truly give you the attention you need. This is one of the major flaws of the conventional system.
Fortunately, with most NDs, there’s a standard of longer visit times to take a more comprehensive history, and try to suss out the root causes of the disease. This can be very refreshing for most patients, and gives you the feeling of having a true partner and friend as you go on your healing journey.
2. Naturopaths usually have great vibes.
You know the feeling when someone walks in the room, and instantly you feel better? When you meet someone moving a bit slower, who deeply listens as you speak, and radiates helpfulness and kindness? At Wisdom we call this Good Vibes, and most Naturopaths usually have them. At Wisdom, We’ve actually built our entire company culture around this idea 🙂
3. Naturopathic Medicine addresses the importance of the quality of energy between the patient and doctor, as one of it’s fundamental tenets of healing.
Most people drawn to Naturopathic Medicine come to the practice out of a deep passion for wellbeing (not just treating diseases), and this can feel very refreshing to be around. Naturopathic medicine also recognizes the importance of the mind-body connection and meditation. Many Naturopathic doctors have personal health or meditation practices to help them personally stay grounded and calm.
4. Naturopaths have a wider toolset than Conventional Doctors
Conventional Doctors have their hands tied by Insurance and their license and have only a single solution: prescribing medications. A good ND will have a wide-variety of lifestyle and holistic tools they can put into your healing protocol. This is a refreshing change of pace, and your ND can help inspire you to discover new tools that will not only help with your condition but make you healthier overall.
Naturopathic Doctors have a wide range of tools they can utilize including:
- Botanical Medicine & Herbal Supplements
- Clinical Nutrition
- Homeopathic Medicine
- Mind-Body Medicine & Meditation
- Physical Therapy, Massage & Yoga
- Many more.
Be sure to ask your ND what modalities they use, to feel into if you vibe with the modalities they use. Your intuition is a strong tool to help guide you on which modalities you use to address your condition. For most conditions, there are multiple modalities you can use, and with many conditions – like heart disease and digestive disorders – there are modalities that have more evidence to support them.
Tips when Going To a Naturopathic Doctor:
1. Ask their areas of specialty beforehand.
Some ND’s are generalists, and others have specific conditions they focus on. Generally, unless you are seeking a Diagnosis, I recommend finding a specialist.
A good Naturopath will usually have 3-4 conditions they focus on. I recommend generally avoiding Naturopathic Doctors who treat any and everything. A big part of being a doctor is researching and staying up-to-date on specific research and treatments. The world of medicine and Integrative Medicine is rapidly evolving, and if a practitioner is seeing too wide a range of conditions it prevents them from being able to truly offer you the best care in your conditions.
2. Participate In Your Healing Process
An important principle of Integrative healing is the patient must always be in the driver’s seat. Your ND is there to help and support you in your process, but ultimately you have to trust your intuition and go with what feels good to you. The truth is, there are often many different effective treatments for the same condition. Also, healing typically happens when you engage in a number of lifestyle practices simultaneously (diet, movement, reducing stress), and you have to take charge of this yourself.
3. Build a Connection With Them
There’s some really compelling research that demonstrates that healing outcomes are largely driven by the quality of the relationship between practitioner and patient. The more you know and trust your Doctor, the more you can take their recommendations to heart.