How About a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor for Your Health Care Team?
I found myself in a yarn shop, riveted to the button section. I never considered how many types of buttons might be found, organized by shape, size, color, and function. I watched, mesmerized as the clerk zipped through row after row, pulling out narrow drawers and flicking them back, as she helped a discerning customer find the perfect set of pearly button squares for a project. The clerk had a kind of agility and broad understanding of the options and was able to find the perfect match.
If only it were that easy in medicine! Patients present describing complaints, we perform physical exams, order lab work and other appropriate tests. A diagnostic decision tree is followed and a treatment plan designed. Sometimes it is easy like that, straight forward, regardless of the complaint or the kind of doctor seen, the path is clear, a match is made between the patient and the proper, effective treatment.
But not always. Patients come in all shapes and sizes, too, with all manner of health histories, current complaints and personalities. Increasingly, the medical problems are overlapping and serious. I have practiced as a naturopathic physician for over 30 years and often bemoan to colleagues, does anyone just have a sore throat anymore? Chronic diseases, autoimmune disorders, and other complicated physical ailments are layered one over another. Complex and serious health histories are playing out in individuals who may also suffer with anxiety, depression and insomnia. Poly-pharmacy is commonplace with patients serving as veritable test tubes experiencing the impact of 4, 5, 6, 7 different drugs at one time. There are no easy fixes.
What licensed naturopathic doctors bring to the table is a fresh perspective, an interest in whole-person medicine and a toolbox filled with approaches beyond the strictly pharmaceutical. Trained to work in concert with other medical providers, licensed naturopathic doctors have the science education to help make appropriate diagnoses. Broad training in evidence-based approaches including therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, lifestyle modification, mindfulness approaches among other non-drug therapies enable naturopathic physicians to create effective treatment plans. Some…