Wondering why your friends are raving about their Naturopathic Doctors (NDs)? Here are answers to some of the most common questions about this growing profession.
Will NDs take me off my medications? Our goal is to support your body so that medications won't be required long term, but we don't change your medication dosages or prescriptions. For example, if you are on a blood pressure medication we will address your diet, activity level, stressors, and explore what was going on in your life when your medication was initially needed. By finding and modifying the cause of your elevated blood pressure your need for the medication will naturally decline, at which time we refer you back to your medical doctor (MD) to adjust your dose.
Will I need to choose between an ND and my MD? Ideally you are working with both practitioners. Your MD specializes in disease diagnosis, symptom management, and can refer you to specialists. Your ND is looking at you from a functional perspective and exploring why you have the symptom and then making treatment recommendations so that it doesn't return. An ideal arrangement is when your MD & ND work together; communicating recommendations and how the other's skills could be best utilized, in the best interests of the patient (you). I communicate with several MDs in our community about lab tests, results, and potential for further investigation, regarding shared patients.
Will I have to go off gluten, coffee, etc, right away? NDs are about treating the person in front of them, not putting each person on the same plan. Through lab testing and/or process of elimination we will likely recommend dietary modifications, but not by overhauling your diet all at once nor by making unrealistic changes. It is your ND's responsibility to make recommendations, and it is your responsibility to communicate to them what you can manage to do. Making manageable goals from one appointment to the next sets you up for success, and that is ultimately what working with an ND is all about.
Is Naturopathic medicine evidence based? A simple visit to PubMed.com (National Library of Medicine) will show you just how much published research has been done. There you will find 19,000 studies on vitamin C, the same on vitamin E, and >11,000 on omega 3 fatty acids, and these are just 3 examples. Have a look!
Can anyone call themselves an ND? In some provinces and states they can. However, in regulated provinces like Ontario anyone calling themselves a Naturopathic Doctor needs to have completed 1) an undergraduate degree containing the medical sciences, 2) four years at an accredited college of naturopathic medicine, and 3) pass rigorous North American licensing exams. In addition, annual continuing education hours are required to maintain the licence.
Curious if the ND you have been referred to in Ontario has the appropriate qualifications? Search for them at collegeofnaturopaths.on.ca.
Still want to know more? Contact a local ND for a complimentary 15-minute meet-the-doctor visit.