Is a naturopathic doctor right for you? Calling Dr. Home Remedy

Dr. Home Remedy

by Alisa Blackwood

Is a naturopathic doctor right for you?

Popping a pill and seeing a doctor may be how the majority of us treat  illness. What if we flipped that way of thinking and harnessed our body’s  natural ability to heal by treating the whole person, rather than just one  symptom?

That’s the theory behind naturopathic medicine, a way of caring for patients  holistically to naturally restore the body’s healthful balance. Whether you’re  looking for the root cause of a current problem or interested in preventative  care, could a naturopathic doctor (ND) be your best first line of defense?

“People are often reduced to their symptoms or their diagnosis or their lab  results” when seeing a conventional medical doctor, says Dr. Holly Lucille, a  Los Angeles-based ND in private practice.

“Our job (as NDs) is to think things through and understand what the  obstacles to a cure are,” she explains. “What’s in the way of that self-healing  process? There are many things we can do before drugs and surgery.”

Seeing a ND doesn’t mean you have to forego your relationship with your  conventional medical doctor, however. NDs refer to MDs as needed, while  continuing to work with the patient to meet a wide range of needs.

“This is a patient-centered process and we can be part of a health care  team,” says Lucille, who is also on the American Association of Naturopathic  Physicians (AANP) board of directors.

She shares the example of sending a patient with high blood pressure to an  MD so that person could immediately get on blood pressure-lowering medication. “Then I could look at why the blood pressure was that high in the first place,” Lucille says.

Naturopathic doctors suggest overall lifestyle modifications to improve  health such as dietary changes, while also acknowledging stressors that might  impact a person, like environment and relationships. Treatments may include  things like home remedies, botanical medicines, cleanses or acupuncture, with  some variation from state-to-state depending on each state’s licensing  rules.

Shopping for a Naturopathic Doctor

Currently, 16 states plus the District of Columbia have licensing laws for  NDs that require graduation from an accredited four-year, residential  naturopathic medical school, according to the AANP. Those states also require  NDs to pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination.

No matter where you live, if you’re looking for a ND, be sure to ask whether  that care provider attended a four-year program versus online training, Lucille  says. Graduates of online programs are not eligible to become licensed and do  not have patient contact or clinical lab opportunities, according to the  AANMC.

To find a naturopathic doctor near you, surf over to naturopathic.org or realizehealth.org, then click “Find a  Doctor.”

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