It was almost four years ago to the day that I wrote about the changing face of medicine and the role naturopathic doctors are playing in it.
Since then, a lot has changed.
Chronic conditions, such as autoimmunity, are being taken more seriously; Leaky Gut and Adrenal Distress are becoming more common terms throughout medical offices; and patients are more empowered than ever before to listen to their bodies’ needs and act.
And yet, there are still hesitations and restrictions that keep people facing serious, painful and debilitating conditions from getting the help they need.
In many cases, research from decades ago has yet to be implemented in standard medical protocols. Cholesterol-lowering medications are still being prescribed for heart disease prevention even though that theory was disproven. Mammograms and DEXA scans are covered by insurance even when much safer and effective screening tools are available.
Genetic SNPS, such as MTHFR, are not addressed, or even dismissed, in most medical offices leaving women at risk of having miscarriages, cervical dysplasia, and of having babies with neural tube defects.
The overprescription of medications—and in turn the rationalizing of continuing these medications—is equally harmful. Pain meds, anti-depressants and birth control pills are prescribed even though research and clinical cases demonstrate effective solutions with much lower risk.
Yet patients are often left believing that their only option is what is available through the practitioner covered by their insurance plan. Lack of acceptance of certain conditions, treatments or therapies can stop patients in their tracks. From there, their health deteriorates.
So how do you find someone who will champion your health journey the way you envision?
Advocating For Your Health
Start with yourself.
First and foremost, you must advocate for your own health without allowing medical professionals or insurance companies to dictate your options.
Secondly, I want to be clear that I do believe in seeing your primary care physicians (PCPs). Your health is multifaceted and there are several avenues to approach the healthiest you. For annual physical exams, and to evaluate a new health condition—such as joint pain or diarrhea—your PCP can absolutely help. He or she can also order imaging and give referrals to specialists when needed.
That said, if you feel that you’re not getting the information or alternative solutions you’re looking for – or simply still not getting better – finding a naturopathic doctor might be the right path for you.
Finding a Naturopathic Doctor
As I previously wrote and still believe, “Naturopathic doctors are trained to educate patients, to look at the body as a whole instead of its constituent parts, and to support the body to heal.”
In reality, there are many different types of practitioners that use alternative and “natural” methods to get your health back on track:
- Naturopathic Doctors
- Health Coaches
- Nurse Practitioners
- Physical Therapists
- Massage Therapists
- and even some Medical Doctors
More recently, with educational opportunities available to all of these practitioners, the term “Functional Medicine” is being used to describe practitioners who offer this approach to healthcare.
The common denominator amongst the functional medicine and naturopathic community is that we seek to utilize dietary changes and natural substances that support the body, such as nutrients and herbs (alongside medications and hormones when needed), as well as guidance to implement stress reduction, sleep, and exercise routines.
Naturopathic doctors and functional medicine practitioners alike aim to think outside the box—the medical box that is. We read research, implement health-supportive therapies on ourselves, and attend conferences to learn from each other, all with the goal of discovering health-preserving approaches that can benefit our patients.
This is particularly beneficial to you because it allows us to address the root cause of your health issues rather than to mask them. Whether you have autoimmunity, fertility issues, digestive issues, sleep issues, weight gain, fatigue, or chronic infections (such as HPV), it is possible to solve the health puzzle and recover using this approach.
It also helps to circumvent possible dependencies, addictions and compounded health conditions due to the long-term effects of certain medications.
To get a better sense of what a naturopathic approach includes and involves, be sure to check out my blog post called 3 Steps to Getting Well When Conventional Medicine Fails.
Your Road to Naturopathic Solutions
It’s sometimes surprising to people to learn that I work with patients from not just around the country, but around the world. Together we work to identify their current health issues, source dependable health panels to identify unique imbalances, and focus on a path to better health.
While there may be a surplus of NDs in a city, others in more remote areas are left limited. Or so they think.
If you haven’t found a medical professional that will listen to your desired health goals or treatments, there are other options:
- Appointments by phone
- Appointments by video call
- Group Programs
One of the biggest wins over the last few years is the explosion of independent labs that accept patients with or without insurance. So if you are wanting to get information that is simply not available through your primary care doctor or under your insurance plan, there are options that make it possible for you to advocate for your health. It can be an investment in your health that will yield undeniable dividends.
With your results in hand, you can work with an ND remotely from anywhere in the world. As a result, you can take control over your own health without being restricted to the schools of thought or insurance policies currently available in your area.
My Closing Thoughts…
The number one takeaway from all of this is that you must continue to advocate for your health at any cost. When you make decisions based on what is best for ourselves, we are gifting ourselves a better quality of life.
And putting your health first is ALWAYS an investment worth making.
I’ve created programs for conditions I help with most so you can get a quick idea of how I help and what I’ve found to be most effective for my patients over the years.
If you resonate with the information I’ve shared, please do share with your loved ones, and sign up to receive my weekly newsletter for more information. I’d be happy to continue helping you learn what you can do to take steps to take back your health. When you sign up for my newsletter, I’ll send you my Guide to Adrenal Recovery, which is a great place to start.
For more information on finding a naturopathic doctor – or naturopathic options for your health – in your area, you can check out Naturopathic.Org
To find a practitioner who is trained to help with MTHFR and genetics, check out this directory.