Over the years I have been asked many questions by clients and prospective clients. Here are a few I hope you consider before you trust someone with your health.
How do you determine the root cause of a health problem?
Diseases are multifactorial and complex.
Most doctors base their diagnosis on symptoms they observe in patients. The cause of these symptoms is important to know, but even more important is to understand what caused the imbalance in the system in the first place. In order to get to the root cause of these imbalances the best way is to perform a Body Scan. Through bio-feedback, this gives the clinician objective diagnostic information.
Once the root cause is identified, an effective treatment plan can be developed.
What’s the difference between a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Natural Medicine?
A Doctor of Natural Medicine (DNM) is not regulated and licensed in Ontario.
Anyone, regardless of training and education, can call themselves a Doctor of Natural Medicine in this province. There is no independent regulatory body that ensures that these individuals have appropriate training, or that standards of practice are being maintained. If a patient/client has any concerns their only recourse is a court of law. Most insurance companies only cover practitioners that are licensed.
The regulatory board for Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario is the Board of Directors of Drugless Therapy – Naturopathy (BDDT-N) see www.boardofnaturopathicmedicine.on.ca. This board is a government-appointed board that is independent of any of the naturopathic associations and its job is to protect the rights of the public and to ensure a standard of patient care.
How do I know if I’m seeing a licensed naturopath?
The Board of Directors or Drugless Therapy maintains an up-to-date list of registered naturopaths in the province of Ontario at: http://www.boardofnaturopathicmedicine.on.ca/doctors_list.html
How are Naturopathic Doctors (N.D.’s) trained?
Naturopathic doctors take a minimum of three years pre-medical studies at university, followed by four years at one of four recognized colleges of naturopathic medicine. The only one in Canada is the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM).
The education encompasses basic medical sciences, naturopathic principles and therapeutics, and 1,500 hours of supervised clinical experience.
In regulated (or licensed) provinces and states across North America, graduates must also pass rigorous standardized exams to qualify to practice. In Canada, naturopathic doctors are regulated in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Legislation is pending in Alberta and Nova Scotia.
What are your qualifications?
Given the above information, be careful who you choose to guide you in the most precious matter of your health.
I received my B.Sc. degree from the University of Toronto after 4 years of majoring in Physiology and Biochemistry. This allowed me to further my education another four years full-time at CCNM. Furthermore, it gives me sufficient credentials to be a full member of my chosen professional associations, the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors. As a full member of both those bodies I am required to complete further professional education every year. Finally, these credentials mean that my services are recognised for rebate by most Private Health Insurers.
Should I see a naturopath instead of a doctor?
Most certainly not! It is in your best interests to have an ongoing relationship with a GP with whom you feel comfortable. Your GP can order tests under OHIP/Medicare, refer you to a specialist if necessary and is skilled in diagnosing your health problem. The pharmaceutical medicine they prescribe can be vital to your good health.
Ideally, your naturopath should be happy to work in with your GP and support the work they are doing. They should certainly be taking account of any pathology tests you have done. Your naturopath should have the time to delve into your health history and look at the factors that might be contributing to your symptoms as well as provide detailed dietary and lifestyle advice.
Will I need to change my diet and lifestyle?
In all likelihood some modification to what you eat and the way you live may be required. To ignore the role of diet and lifestyle in your current health would be silly when we know that what you eat and how you live plays a significant part in virtually every aspect of your health. If you are not open to making some changes then there is a limit to how I can help you. In that case, at best I can provide some symptomatic relief (i.e. a band aid solution) but the real power of collaborating with a naturopath is identifying and correcting the underlying causes and factors that keep triggering your symptoms.
It doesn’t have to require a complete overhaul. Your naturopath should be able to work with you and make suggestions that will work in a practical day-to-day sense in the context of your life.
Do I need to be sick to see a naturopath?
Not necessarily….although, in reality many people come to see me after they have been diagnosed with a condition. In these cases, they are looking for help to correct an underlying problem, reduce their dependence on medication or avoid further complications. Others might have been given the all clear and yet they don’t feel “right”.
However, many people see their naturopath as their trusted “go to” person for general health advice and guidance to keep them well, preventative health measures or to “fine-tune” their performance.
My dream is that one day, all we’ll need to do is visit a doctor to keep us healthy; obviously, that doctor needs to be a Naturopath.
What don’t you do?
Firstly, be cautious if a naturopath starts making promises which seem too good to be true, “miracle cures” and the like. To my knowledge there are no magic bullets and sometimes the “fixes” aren’t always “quick”. There are no magic pills, but the process leads to magical results.
I tend not to use tests or treatments that are not backed up by scientific clinically-proven evidence. Again this is a personal choice. I like science.
Finally, I try not to make recommendations that are impractical or unworkable. I’ve been a patient myself and I know how challenging it may be to get healthier. I don’t believe in “one size fits all” so the solutions have to fit you. The last thing you need is the added pressure of trying to live up to a long list of unrealistic expectations from your naturopath…that’s just setting you up to fail. But it’s not to say I won’t encourage you to look at the way you live and perhaps explore some new options.
Ultimately, the choice of health practitioner is a personal one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, it is your health that is at stake.
If you have questions, please feel free to pop them in any of the online communities I guide: http://www.doctoranca.com/communities
And if you are ready to work on those health problems once and for all, make an appointment and let’s get started.
In good health,