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3 Ways a Naturopathic Doctor Can Help You

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The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) defines naturopathic medicine as a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process. Although there are MANY ways to help patients heal with naturopathic medicine, here are three ways which are very helpful in the majority of patients I see.

1. Assess Your Nutritional Status – Naturopathic doctors (NDs) have extensive training in nutritional medicine and many naturopathic treatment plans prescribe food as medicine to provide essential nutrients to the body. By reviewing your diet, your ND can determine which vitamins, minerals or macronutrients may be lacking and make appropriate recommendations based on your needs or health condition. This is vital in the restoration of health and prevention of disease. If you happen to be taking any medications, your ND will also assess for nutritional deficiencies caused by these medications and make sure they are adequately replenished. Very often, your ND will obtain some laboratory testing to assess for nutritional status with blood work that is not routinely included in conventional medical visits. These tests provide further insight to your body’s levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, organic acids, essential fatty acids and even food allergies.

2. Optimize your Metabolism – Your metabolism is largely dependent not only on your nutritional status and physical activity, but also your endocrine system. Your endocrine system includes glands such as your thyroid, adrenals, pancreas and gonads. These glands release hormones which regulate your metabolic rate, cell growth, mood, energy, sexual functions and sleeping cycles. NDs often utilize herbal medicine or natural supplements to regulate hormones and enhance your metabolism so that your body runs efficiently. A common result of this is healthy weight management, improved energy and focus, and better sleep.

3. Seeing You as a Whole Person – Although some NDs have special focuses in their practice, NDs see each patient as a whole, dynamic human being. This includes the assessment of each person’s mental, emotional, energetic, social, environmental and physiologic health. An average first visit with a ND is at least 1 hour, and sometimes longer. This time is required to have a good understanding of who you are, what your health concerns are and what role your health history plays. NDs take the time necessary to listen and discover what obstacles to cure may be present. It is also important for NDs to put together all the pieces of information you provide and find the connections amongst all bodily systems. This holistic approach helps NDs to discover and address the underlying cause of a health issue to allow for sustainable results and healing, rather than utilize therapies to subdue symptoms.

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