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Our Naturopathic Medical Specialists can do a 15-Minute Complementary Meet & Greet Consultation at no additional charge to help you decide if he/she is the right Naturopathic Medial Specialist for you. Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation. Please note that diagnostic or treatment advice will only be provided after you become a patient.
We request a copy of your Insurance Card so that we know which lab to send you to for blood work that will be covered by your insurance.
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Accredited naturopathic medical schools are four-year, in-residence, hands-on medical programs consisting of a minimum of 4,100 hours of class and clinical training. During naturopathic medical school, students are educated in the biomedical sciences as well as the latest advances in science in combination with natural approaches to therapy. They also study disease prevention and clinical techniques. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, schools require their graduates to complete four years of training in disciplines such as clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, physical medicine, and counseling. For at least the final two years of their medical program, naturopathic medical students intern in clinical settings under the close supervision of licensed professionals. Given the importance of hands-on, clinical experience for naturopathic medical students, the accrediting body for naturopathic medical colleges does not recognize degrees from online programs of study.
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct practice of medicine that emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process to treat each person holistically and improve outcomes while lowering health care costs. Naturopathic doctors are educated and trained in accredited naturopathic medical colleges. They diagnose, prevent and treat acute and chronic illness, restore and establish optimal health by supporting the person's inherent self-healing process. Rather than just suppressing symptoms, naturopathic doctors work to identify underlying causes of illness, and develop personalized treatment plans to address them.
1. You want a doctor who will treat all of you, not just your illness. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained to treat the whole person. This requires taking the time to listen and understand the genetic, environmental, and behavioral/lifestyle factors that can affect your health. At your initial appointment, you’ll spend up to an hour or more talking with your ND. 2. You want personalized treatment. NDs understand there is no one-size-fits-all treatment that works for everybody. After your visit with an ND, you’ll leave the doctor’s office with a treatment plan uniquely tailored to you, your health status, your health goals, and your lifestyle.
3. You want to treat the root cause of an illness, not just the symptoms. Sometimes having trouble sleeping, aches and pains, strange or hard to treat skin rashes, and indigestion or stomach discomfort are symptoms of an underlying illness. While these symptoms can be managed, it’s more important to understand and treat the root cause—which is the focus of naturopathic medicine.
4. You want to actively participate in managing your own health. An ND will help you learn what your body needs to get well and stay healthy. Patients have the opportunity to feel empowered and hopeful when they understand and are actively engaged in managing their own health.
5. You have chronic pain and don’t want to use pharmaceutical drugs such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or highly addictive opioids to manage it forever. Pain that lasts six months or more is more complex than acute pain and requires a holistic, long-term approach to manage. NDs are trained to work with you to determine which combination of therapies will work best for you to heal or manage your pain safely so that you can resume daily activities. Naturopathic Medicine Naturopathic Medicine uses natural substances to restore & regenerate.
6. You have tried all conventional medical options for diagnosing and treating a health condition. Certain chronic health conditions that have symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, or gastrointestinal distress can be difficult to diagnose and treat, and can benefit from a holistic approach. NDs use diagnostic tools common in conventional medicine, such as detailed health, disease, and prescription drug histories, physical exams, and targeted laboratory testing and imaging. NDs also consider detailed diet history, lifestyle habits and choices, exercise history, and social/emotional factors to assess patients’ needs. These approaches can open doors to new treatment pathways and options.
The most important criteria in selecting a naturopathic doctor are that the doctor
1) has a naturopathic medical degree earned from an accredited, fouryear, in-residence, naturopathic medical college and
2) has passed rigorous board exams as part of a licensure or certification process.
There are currently seven accredited naturopathic medical programs in North America.
They are: Bastyr University, National University of Natural Medicine, National University of Health Sciences, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, University of Bridgeport—College of Naturopathic Medicine, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, and Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine.
1. Address the root causes of illness. By addressing and treating the root causes of disease rather than its symptoms, the need for repeated, expensive, and sometimes ineffective treatment is eliminated. For example, the underlying causes of conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes are often poor diet and lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise. Changing these lifestyle factors can eliminate the need for one or more prescription medications that would typically be recommended for the rest of that patient’s life. (continued) Naturopathic Medicine
2. Offer less expensive diagnosis and treatment. Naturopathic medical diagnostics and treatments are often less expensive than those in conventional medicine. Many treatments incur no cost whatsoever. One example is taking the time to engage patients in ongoing discussions of lifestyle choices, making the connection between these choices and their health condition and guiding patients to healthier options.
3. Reduce the need for expensive surgical procedures, when appropriate. According to the American College of Surgeons and the American Medical Association, among the most common surgeries performed in the United States are coronary artery bypass surgery, carotid endarterectomy, and low back pain surgery. Because naturopathic doctors often suggest less expensive, non-surgical options to patients, some of these expensive surgeries can be avoided. One major study investigating the effects of lifestyle improvement in patients with coronary atherosclerosis found that after only one year of following lifestyle recommendations, about 80 percent of participants were able to bring about plaque regression and avoid surgery without the use of lipid lowering agents. The study estimated that this would save almost $30,000 per patient in the first year alone.
4. Decrease costs associated with adverse reactions to prescription drugs. According to a 2014 report from the Harvard University Center for Ethics, there are 2.7 million serious adverse reactions to drugs that have been legally prescribed each year, resulting in 128,000 deaths. This makes prescription drugs a major health risk, ranking fourth with stroke as a leading cause of death. Whenever possible, naturopathic doctors prescribe natural therapies first, turning to prescription pharmacology when necessary.
5. Reduce the incidence of illnesses and fatalities caused by hospital errors. Research shows that preventable hospital errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Naturopathic medicine focuses on preventative care and patient education, which can reduce the length of hospital stays and hospital readmissions. The power of patient education has been well documented. A case study at Sentara Virginia Beach Hospital found that when heart failure patients were provided with education on their condition, their readmission rates dropped by 74 percent and hospital stays were 13 percent shorter.
6. Lower malpractice rates, resulting in reduced patient costs. Malpractice insurance rates are much lower for naturopathic doctors than they are for conventional medical doctors. According to NCMIC, the largest malpractice insurer for naturopathic doctors, the yearly rate for naturopathic doctors in Arizona, Oregon, Minnesota, and New Hampshire is approximately $3,803. Rates for MDs in the same states are $18,646.6 Naturopathic Medicine uses natural substances to restore & regenerate Contact Us: Institute for Natural Medicine naturemed.org naturopathic.org
7. Offer disease prevention. Naturopathic doctors emphasize health-building practices such as weight bearing exercise and adequate vitamin D intake to prevent osteoporosis and the importance of eating a nutrient dense diet with healthy fats to help prevent heart disease. These practices can reduce the high future cost of preventable degenerative and chronic health conditions.
8. Reduce insurance costs. Naturopathic medicine billing is far lower per patient than conventional medical billing. One study compared health care expenditures between complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) users and non-users, with CAM providers being defined as naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and licensed massage therapists. While CAM users had higher outpatient expenditures, they had lower inpatient and imaging expenditures. Overall, CAM users had a lower average expenditure than non-users during the one-year study, at $3,797 versus $4,153.
Anyone who has ever experienced chronic pain knows how debilitating it can be. Yet the most commonly recommended conventional medical solution—prescription opioid painkillers—is turning out to be worse than the problem. Opioids may stop the pain, but at a high price: growing numbers of deaths due to opioid overdose and higher rates of addiction and misuse. As a medical discipline that emphasizes a holistic approach and natural treatments, naturopathic medicine offers safe and effective alternatives to highly addictive drugs for managing chronic pain. Licensed naturopathic doctors are educated at four-year, post-graduate medical schools to start with non-drug approaches to chronic pain management, and use opioid painkillers as a last resort. As a medical discipline that emphasizes a holistic approach and natural treatments, naturopathic medicine offers safe and effective alternatives to highly addictive drugs for managing chronic pain. Naturopathic doctors are also trained to develop personalized pain management treatment plans. These plans take into account each individual’s lifestyle, nutrition, work and leisure activities, current and past stressors, and relevant previous injuries—in other words, the root causes of each person’s pain and all its manifestations. The plans use various combinations of dietary recommendations and nutritional supplements along with botanical medicines to help reduce inflammation and the pain it causes. Exercise, physical rehabilitation, and mind-body approaches that are known to reduce perception of pain are also included in the plans.
There are a number of situations where naturopathic and conventionally trained doctors working together deliver care for some patients. Examples include:
• People with one or more chronic diseases or lifestyle-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension, which require a high level of patient engagement in their own health as well as time to realize the full benefits of recommended treatments
• People with cancer or other diseases where commonly used medical treatments can cause significant side effects that can undermine health
• People seeking relief from chronic pain without using highly additive opioids
• People who want to build and maintain a foundation of optimal health and well-being
• People with symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, and gastrointestinal distress who have exhausted options with conventionally trained medical doctors and still do not have an actionable diagnosis or are not improving with current treatments.
Empowering people to become more informed about their health options, more involved in decisions made about their health, and more capable of maintaining their own good health can lead to better health outcomes and lower costs.1 In addition to diagnosing and treating illness, licensed naturopathic doctors are uniquely educated and trained to treat the whole person, to focus on prevention, and to empower patients to make lifestyle changes in order to achieve optimal health. This attention to patient-centered care is especially valuable when it comes to the prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
Licensed naturopathic doctors are trained in both conventional and integrative approaches to treating all types of diabetes, including types 1 and 2, gestational diabetes, and prediabetes. Focusing on the whole person, naturopathic doctors take the time to identify and address the genetic, environmental and behavioral/lifestyle factors that play significant roles in diabetes. Lifestyle changes around diet and exercise are essential in the treatment of all types of diabetes. However, many patients have a difficult time making such changes. Advanced training in nutrition and counseling enables naturopathic doctors to be highly effective in engaging patients to take control of their own health.1 Additionally, because they emphasize educating the patient, naturopathic doctors are often successful in helping individuals with diabetes to make and sustain shifts in nutrition and physical activity that can improve or reverse progression of the disease.2 Naturopathic doctors are also trained in the pharmacological treatments which are commonly prescribed by conventionally trained MDs. In some states, NDs have scope/authority for prescription pharmaceutical management, which may be necessary depending on the patient's condition. In many cases, NDs will work in conjunction with conventional endocrinologists and diabetes specialists to co-manage patient care. Regardless of the type of diabetes, naturopathic treatment strategies aim to get a patient’s blood sugar levels back within a healthy range.
Naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention and the self-healing process to treat each person holistically and improve health outcomes. As a health care consumer evaluating whether naturopathic medicine is safe, you should be aware of the following facts:
1. Numerous research studies of naturopathic treatments for common conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic low back pain, and anxiety have shown that naturopathic medicine is both safe and effective. Significant research shows that lifestyle-change programs that focus on nutritional interventions, exercise, and emotional well-being can sometimes reverse the progression of chronic disease safely and effectively. Naturopathic medical treatment plans focus on these and other therapies, such as botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, and counseling to name just a few.
Naturopathic doctors are trained to diagnose and evaluate health conditions as primary care physicians and understand when and if a referral to conventional health care provider is indicated, or if further diagnostic evaluation is necessary.
You may have noticed that it takes longer than ever to schedule a first appointment with a new health care provider. You’ve also likely spent more time in the waiting room than face-to-face with your physician. In the United States, consultation time in a conventional doctor’s appointment averages about 20 minutes. In contrast, naturopathic doctors (NDs) spend between one and two hours face-to-face with patients in an initial appointment, and 30 to 60 minutes in subsequent appointments. There are many factors that affect your health. Naturopathic doctors, who are trained to treat the whole person, take the time to explore as many of them as possible.
The extra time naturopathic doctors spend with you is often focused on identifying the underlying cause(s) of your health concerns, and empowering you to engage actively in restoring and managing your own health. Research shows that whole-person care often leads to high patient satisfaction and improved outcomes.2
Yes, our Nutritionist is able to request blood work (regular and specialty labs) as well as medical records. She will also provide a lab interpretation.
Yes, each patient is able to gain access to any Naturopathic Medical Specialist.
In your first visit with a naturopathic doctor, they will likely:
1) Take your health history and ask you many questions about your main health concerns. Your doctor may explore how you experience each problem, including timing, intensity, and impact on your life. 2) Perform a methodical review of your bodily systems—from your respiratory system to your digestive, musculoskeletal, skin and other key systems, which may be connected to your chief complaint(s), or which may reveal other important areas that require attention.
3) Ask you what you have tried to address your concerns, and what the effects have been. This includes a review of prescription drugs and supplements you may be taking.
4) Ask you detailed questions about your diet and physical activity. Sometimes, your ND may ask you to keep and bring in a diet and activity log.
5) Discuss your lifestyle, social setting, and support systems. Your ND will want to understand both your main stressors and your coping strategies. Your home and work environments and primary relationships with friends and family will be important considerations for your personalized health plan.
6) Actively listen as you share your story, build rapport and trust, and establish a connection with you to foster a positive doctor-patient relationship.
7) Perform a relevant physical examination, as needed.
8) Order appropriate diagnostic tests, and explain testing that can help determine what is going on inside your body. Tests may include diagnostic imaging, blood, saliva, urinary, and/or stool analyses. Based on findings, your naturopathic doctor will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan and health management strategy. If necessary, your ND will refer you to and/or work collaboratively with other health care practitioners.
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