By WIN Provider: Dr. Laura Imola, Naturopathic Doctor
What is a Naturopathic Doctor? How can Naturopathic Doctors help in a person’s health? Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are licensed regulated health care providers that help people develop individualized treatment plans to address their concerns.
NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR – EDUCATION & TRAINING
The training of a licensed Naturopathic Doctor is extensive. After completing an undergraduate degree, prospective NDs complete a full time doctoral level program that involves academic and clinical training.
They are taught clinical sciences, medical diagnostics, naturopathic therapeutics and gain clinical experience under the supervision of licensed NDs.
They complete the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX) to become a regulated health care provider and obtain a license to practice in their regulated province or state.
NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR – VISITS
A visit to a ND is much longer than your standard medical visit or check up. ND visits can last from 30-90 minutes as NDs take time to review and assess a patient’s full health picture.
During the visit, a patient can discuss with their Naturopathic Doctor:
- Their main health concern(s)
- The quality of their current health, such as their energy levels, sleep, gut health, mood, stress levels and other aspects that may be influencing factors
- Lab testing or diagnostic imaging
- Review of Systems – a health assessment of the body systems, for example lungs, heart, kidneys, musculoskeletal system, etc.
- Health history
- Prescription medications
- Natural supplements
- Food quality
- Activity level
After collecting a patient’s health information, the ND offers a physical assessment of basic vitals and of the area of concern. If needed, NDs can also order standard laboratory blood tests or specialized testing like food allergy testing, hormone testing, live blood analysis and others.
This discussion is important to help the ND understand what has created an imbalance in the natural state of health for the patient and what obstacles may be contributing.
DIAGNOSIS & INDIVIDUALIZED NATUROPATHIC PLAN
With this understanding, NDs can also provide a diagnosis of the health concern and discuss treatment options that are the best fit for the patient.
With this knowledge, they can create an individualized plan that considers all of these factors and that is safe and helpful for the patient.
NATUROPATHIC TREATMENT APPROACH
There is a spectrum in the style of practice that a Naturopathic Doctor can take depending on the types of patients they visit with and/or their area of special interest. The fundamental treatments that NDs are trained in and practice include:
- Clinical Nutrition
- Botanical Medicine
- Acupuncture (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
- Lifestyle counselling
- Manual therapy
Some NDs go on to gain further training in the use of IV Therapy, ability to prescribe certain medications such as bioidentical hormones and certain high dose natural substances, and additional training in other areas of interest.
If you are not sure which Naturopathic Doctor’s approach is best for you or your health concerns, learning more about them through their website, reviews and personal inquiry to the ND is always recommended.
HOW NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS CAN HELP
The goal of a ND is to use natural treatment options to help address the cause of concern a person is experiencing in their health.
NDs work through a few lenses, first by offering to address the symptoms by treating the root cause and improving the health of the whole person.
NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS PROVIDE HEALTH EDUCATION
They also strive to provide health education to their patients. Through sharing information, NDs help elevate a patient’s knowledge about their own body and health so they can engage in what is needed to improve their health.
PROACTIVE HEALTH & PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
Lastly, they feel that prevention of illness is a paramount goal. When a person knows what they can do to take care of themselves, they can significantly reduce their chances of getting sick and struggling with the debilitation that comes with poor health.
COMPLIMENTARY & SUPPORTIVE CARE
NDs are a great compliment to the health care provided by a person’s Medical Doctor, Nurse Practitioner or other health professionals.
NDs offer patients treatment options and health education that help improve, not only the symptoms of concern, but also the foundation of their health and quality of life.
Through active and proactive health care, NDs can help patients transform their health and contribute to a healthier community, one patient at a time.
If you are struggling with an ongoing health concern, or feel like you are ready to learn how to elevate your level of health, visit our Naturopathic Doctor, at our WIN Health Niagara Falls or Fonthill clinic locations, to get started.