A patient walks in feeling tired. Do they need:
- A nutritional check
- An exploration of blood work
- A referral to a psychologist for their inability to deal with stress
- A good night’s sleep
- All of the above
Answer : e) all of the above
One of the most common questions I get is what IS a naturopathic doctor, and how does it differ from my regular doctor ? In truth, a naturopathic doctor should not differ much from your conventional doctor, as we study similar subjects in school ( i.e. biology, anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, etc ), learn pharmaceuticals ( drugs ), send patients for blood work, do physical exams, and the list goes on.
So how do we differ ? We prescribe differently, it is true. In Ontario, naturopathic doctors ( NDs ) don’t prescribe pharmaceuticals. We may use acupuncture, or herbal medicine, or a vitamin, or explore your diet to improve your health.
These things sound very simple, and so understandably, you are suspicious. How can broccoli help with my chronic fatigue ? That sounds silly. Well, this would be silly if a broccoli deficiency is what we were addressing. Perhaps instead you are lacking in key nutrients in broccoli and we then may look at the ramifications of deficiencies in magnesium or antioxidant vitamins, and how then major organ systems in your body may also be affected by these nutrient deficiencies. There are then larger implications for your distaste for broccoli !
The luxury naturopathic doctors have is simply, time. I have the time to dig a little deeper for chronic conditions that will not go away with an antibiotic after the 3rd treatment, and find out why exactly you have not slept in a year and why your sleep medication is simply not keeping you asleep, and why it might be giving you nightmares. It is a very individualized approach because of more time together. Our bodies behave in predictable ways, and one of my jobs is to discover the individual ways in which your body’s essential needs are or are not being met.