Frequently Asked Questions
What should I expect in my first visit?
Your first visit will likely be for an hour, and we will spend most of that time reviewing your symptoms, past medical and family history, current medications, supplements, and concerns. Any necessary physical exams will be performed, and any lab-work needed ordered. On either the first or second visit, an individualized plan will be formed for you which will outline as needed: lifestyle and dietary modifications, nutrients, herbs, bio-identical hormones, acupuncture, homeopathy, and/or prescription medications when appropriate. For most, after the first few visits, follow-ups become further spaced, with the normal scenario including follow-ups quarterly or semi-annually.
What is Naturopathic medicine and what are its benefits?
Naturopathic Doctors (NDs or NMDs) are physicians clinically trained in both traditional and natural therapeutics whose philosophy was begun more than 2000 years ago. As time went by, pharmacology became the mainstay of our medical practices, and much of naturopathy was used only anecdotally by herbalists and other practitioners. In the last 100 years, however, there has been a resurgence of naturopathic medicine and it has now become a viable alternative or adjunctive option to pharmacologically based practices. There are now several naturopathic medical schools that educate future NDs in therapeutics such as clinical nutrition, vitamins and nutrients, botanicals, acupuncture and homeopathy, as well as in pharmacology, so that it, too, can be used when necessary, and so that medications and other supplements can be used safely together. Naturopathic Doctors base their practices on the same scientific foundation that allopathic (traditional) practice is based on; however, their philosophies and approaches differ from their conventional counterparts. They choose treatment based on the individual patient, treat the cause, view symptoms as part of a holistic picture, and develop a plan that considers every aspect of health.
What education do licensed Naturopathic Doctors have?
A licensed Naturopathic Doctor, like the more traditional physician, holds a four-year undergraduate degree as well as an additional four-year doctorate degree. At the culmination of the eight years of education, students of naturopathy sit for eleven national board examinations, as well as a state administered jurisprudence exam to earn the license and privilege to become a naturopathic doctor. Many NMDs also complete residency programs (I completed a 12-month residency in general practice). In many states, including Arizona, Washington, and California, a Naturopathic Physician is licensed to diagnose and treat illness as a general practitioner, prescribe natural supplements, hormones, botanicals, homeopathy, and many prescription medications (in most cases, naturopathic doctors hold DEA numbers). In addition, most perform non-invasive procedures including injections, intravenous therapy and minor surgical procedures. We are trained to diagnose, treat or refer to specialists when necessary, much like your traditional primary care provider. In the Trilogy setting, I encourage every patient to see me as their naturopath, but also maintain a relationship with a general primary care physician.
What are common reasons that people choose to seek naturopathic care?
Many who seek naturopathic care do so to find natural support for such common complaints as peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms, fatigue, weight loss, headaches, high cholesterol, chronic pain, reflux, mal-digestion,acute conditions such as flus and colds, or virtually any other health condition. Again, this is achieved through the use of lifestyle changes, nutritional and botanical supplements, hormonal therapy, acupuncture, injection and IV therapy, homeopathy, and occasionally with the prudent use of pharmaceuticals.
Many people seek one of the naturopathic services without a specific complaint and simply looking for preventive advice in optimal wellness. Even without a specific complaint or illness, naturopathic medicine can be utilized to prevent illness, provide optimal wellness, decrease chronic manifestations, and to decrease the rate of aging. Patients learn what physical stressors, habits, and nutritional deficiencies are causing them to not feel their best, and also how to prevent illnesses that are in their own or family histories.