Why NDs Are So Unique:
Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are trained to spend quality time with patients at each of their visits. In every new patient visit, we are diving deeply into every single aspect that makes you the unique individual that you are. We look at your diet, hydration, sleep, stress / stress management, energy levels, movement, breathing, and the list goes on. This is all, of course, in addition to past medical history, social history, and family history. At every follow-up visit, we are always checking back in with each individual issue, to see what has been working, and what has not been working, so that we can continue to work toward optimal health. We use all therapies, from helping you to re-establish the foundational aspects of optimal health, to manual therapy, plant therapies, counseling, supplements / vitamins / nutraceuticals, and much more.
To Me, You Are Family:
Each and every patient that comes into my office is treated as though they are a member of my own family. If this sounds like an exaggeration, you can ask any number of my patients who have been recovering from illness or surgery, where I have made house calls to provide them healing treatments, or patients who text me on my personal mobile at midnight because they are having a panic attack and need someone to help them through it, or a patient that ends up in the ER, and needs me on the phone so that I can provide them with the additional support they require in that moment. I would never do / prescribe / recommend anything that I would not do / prescribe / recommend to my own mother, father, sister, husband, daughter, or friend.
Taking the Blinders Off:
I think the most important distinction between the type of care that you will receive from an ND, compared to another provider, is that NDs will look at you as a whole entity within your community. We will not only take the blinders off and look at you as a whole organism, with multiple organ systems (e.g. cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurologic, endocrine), but we also realize that your sleep / eating / exercise / stress management schedules are all unique and individual to you.
Piecing Together the Puzzle:
The problem with siloed medicine is that everything is so incredibly specialized that most doctors are being trained to essentially look at individual organ systems in a vacuum. The ability to piece together that your gastrointestinal system is impacting your endocrine system, which is impacting your immune system, for example, is just not embraced in conventional medical training, to the same extent that it is in naturopathic medical training.
Typically, if you have a stomach ache, you are given something to treat it, which can then have side effects of something else, and this can go on and on. Instead of digging to find the cause of the stomach ache, which is what NDs are trained to do, most conventional doctors opt for the quicker option, which is often to bandage the symptoms.
Picking Up the Pieces:
This is why NDs are good at ensuring that there is nothing falling through the cracks. Typically, patients come to see us after having seen a myriad of specialists. The best part about this is that they have all of their records, including lab tests / imaging studies / specialty work-up, so that we are able to take time to comb through it all, and piece it together.
Once we have had a chance to sit with all of the puzzle pieces, we can then identify whether there is anything missing, and what we begin to do is work on putting all of the pieces together, until we are able to see how things are impacting one another.
A Beautiful Final Picture:
Interestingly, when you begin working with an ND, it may initially appear as though the questions we are asking, or the labs we are running, are completely unrelated to the symptom(s) present. However, if you give it some time, and gradually watch the pieces fall into place, it often begins to appear like one of those ‘connect-the-dots’ children’s drawings, where once you get far enough along, you realize that the image being revealed will be absolutely astounding once you come full circle.
There is a principle in medicine called Ockham’s Razor, which is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. In other words, when a patient presents with a host of symptoms, there is often one single underlying cause and explanation for them all. This is where Naturopathic Medicine shines!