The girls and I had our annual visit with our favourite naturopath Dr. Mary last week. Thankfully, everyone had a pretty clean bill of health, yes including me! Over the last 2 years, Dr. Mary has helped me and my family work towards a state of balance. She is knowledgeable, compassionate, intuitive, a great listener, and has a great sense of humour (and we share the same passion for Ben Harper!)
Finding a naturopath can be a challenge, here are some tips on finding one that best suits you and your family.
What Is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body, and unfavourable lifestyle habits. Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity.
What Can Naturopathy Do For You?
Naturopathic medicine treats all forms of health concerns — from pediatric to geriatric, from irritating symptoms to chronic illness and from the physical to the psychological. It is the approach, philosophy and training of naturopathic doctors that sets it apart from other forms of health care.
There are typically three types of patients that seek naturopathic medical care:
- Patients that are looking for health promotion and disease prevention strategies. Individuals that recognize that health doesn’t just happen by chance, that it is a lifelong process that involves a clear understanding of the factors that affect health and how to deal with them on a daily basis.
- Patients that have a range of symptoms that they have been unable to address on their own or with the help of other medical practitioners. With Naturopathic medicine’s broad understanding of health and the rel
ationship between health, life and the environment naturopathic doctors are often able to offer patients a new perspective and provide safe and effective ways to restore health.
- Patients that have been diagnosed with an illness and are looking for treatment options. Naturopathic medicine is very effective in improving quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses. It is used extensively and effectively for those patients that are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects to drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.
How Does Naturopathic Medicine Compare To Conventional Medicine?
Both are doctors, both provide primary care and both are similarly trained. The primary differences between naturopathic and conventional medicine are the philosophical approach and the therapies used. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) treat patients as individuals by addressing the physical, environmental, lifestyle, attitudinal, and emotional aspects of health. This allows naturopathic doctors to find and treat the cause of the disease using a variety of therapies. Conventional doctors generally address and treat the symptoms of disease and use pharmaceutical therapies or surgery.
6 Tips To Help You Choose A Naturopath
1. Search for qualified naturopaths in your area
If you know someone who has already consulted a naturopath, ask them for references. You can also go online to search for naturopaths working in your area. Look for a qualified naturopath with a lot of experience.
It’s impossible to see if a naturopath is the right one for you simply by looking at their website. When you have a good feeling about a naturopath, schedule a consultation with them and meet them face to face to learn more
2. See if the naturopath is interested in your well-being
During your first consultation, you will be able to see if the naturopath you are meeting is caring and compassionate. If they are interested in your well-being and in getting to know you, this is a very good sign.
If you feel like a naturopath doesn’t genuinely care about you, if they are not listening to your health concerns or if you feel rushed to leave their office, don’t hesitate to leave and to go meet with another naturopathic doctor.
3. Make sure the naturopath wants to treat the causes of your illness
Naturopathy is all about finding and treating the causes of illnesses, unlike conventional medicine that focuses on treating symptoms. During your consultation, it should be made clear that the naturopath will assess your situation and recommend treatments for the causes of your health issues.
If this isn’t the case, maybe you should search for another naturopath that will be ready to work to determine the root causes of your illness.
4. Choose a knowledgeable naturopath
Naturopathy includes different natural therapies, such as homeopathy, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and hydrotherapy. A good naturopath should be able to provide you with an efficient treatment plan that features different therapies.
Make sure your naturopath has received a good training, and is knowledgeable with different natural therapies. Of course, some naturopaths specialize in one or a few therapies, and that might be exactly what you need.
5. Make sure the naturopath knows how to explain what is going on
Choosing a knowledgeable naturopath will not be helpful if they can’t explain you what they are talking about, and if you have no idea why they are recommending a certain treatment. Make sure your naturopath can communicate clearly with you.
If they are preparing some herbal medicine treatment just for you, they should be able to tell you which herbs they are using, and why. If they can’t, maybe you will have seconds thoughts about using that treatment.
6. A good naturopath is not a salesperson
Naturopaths probably all carry some brands of supplements in their office, but their goal should not be to sell you their products. If a naturopath tells you that you have to purchase their supplements because other brands won’t do, you should look for another naturopath.
Maybe health supplements don’t all have the same quality, but you have the right to purchase the supplements you need anywhere you want to. Naturopaths are not salespersons, and should allow you to purchase the brand of supplements you want.
Finding a naturopath can be intimidating at times, especially if you are new to the process. For me, having both a medical doctor and a naturopath are very important for my wellness team, as both doctors provide expertise in their fields. I made sure that when choosing those practitioners that they had respect for each other and for me, since I am the one who will be communicating to both of them. I am pretty blessed to have such amazing practitioners to help and support me and my family on a path of wellness.
If you’re in the GTA and are looking for a naturopath, I highly suggest giving Dr. Mary a call or visit her website!
Sumbul Zafar, R.H.N.