In Ontario, Naturopathic Medicine is a regulated health profession.
One of the most commonly asked questions is “do I have to choose between seeing a naturopathic doctor and my family doctor”. Absolutely not! Both medicines have their areas of strengths and weaknesses, and patients can achieve the best results by combining the two. One of the first things I ask a new patient is if they regularly see their family doctor. There are screening tests and imaging (Ultrasound, some bloodwork) that naturopathic doctors cannot order that provide important information about their current health and help to determine what diseases they may have risk factors for that we can work to reduce now.
Naturopathic doctors look at the body as whole integrated system with many pieces of the puzzle. There is a strong focus on diet, exercise, stress, and sleep as critical modifiable factors to achieve optimal health. NDs work as health detectives and attempt to get to the bottom of what is causing your symptoms. Once the cause is known, the doctor and patient can work together to fix the cause instead of merely managing the symptoms.
What to expect in a first visit
The first visit will range from an hour to an hour and half in length. During this time, the naturopathic doctor will do a thorough intake, asking questions about:
- Systems of the body (respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular)
- Past medical history from birth to now
- Family medical history
- Sources of stress and how stress is managed
- Energy levels
- Sleep patterns
A physical exam will also be done and any lab work that has been brought to the appointment will be reviewed. From there the doctor will form a diagnosis and create a treatment plan for the patient.
How can Naturopathic Medicine help?
Types of treatments that naturopathic doctors prescribe are varied. ND’s are qualified to provide treatments using nutrition, herbs, acupuncture, spinal manipulations, homeopathy and physical medicine. Most have done extra training in a few of these areas and tend to use those the most in their practice. My treatment plans focus on lifestyle modifications, nutrition, herbs and acupuncture as an example.
While Naturopathic Medicine is helpful in managing a wide variety of health conditions. Some of the most commonly treated conditions are:
- Digestive: constipation, diarrhea, IBS, gas/bloating, heartburn
- Mental Health: Anxiety, Depression, ADHD
- Hormonal: painful periods, PCOS, endometriosis, thyroid
- Pregnancy: morning sickness, heartburn, leg cramps, fatigue
- Fertility: preconception preparation, fertility support
- Skin: acne, eczema, rashes
- Immune System: frequent colds and flu, ear infections, sinus infections
Still have questions? I am always happy to help.
Naturopathic Medicine can help you to get pregnant, deal with pregnancy symptoms, and help you feel better postpartum. It is great for a growing family and treats many of the common childhood complaints like constipation, rashes and frequent ear infections.
To find a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, go to the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctor’s website www.cand.ca
Many ND’s will be having open houses, free talks and info sessions in honour of Naturopathic Medicine week. These are a great opportunity to meet the doctor and ask them any questions you may have.
Dr Alexis Reid ND is a chemical engineer and naturopathic doctor with a master’s degree in toxicology. While Alexis was doing her master’s, focusing on breast cancer research, she was shocked to learn that chemicals commonly found in skin care products are well known to increase the risk of cancer and decided to do something about it! She founded the 100% toxin free skin care line Eco Chic Movement which produces safe and effective skin care products for moms and babies.