What’s wrong with what we have?
Some of the biggest complaints I hear about our medical system include the rising cost, insufficient preventative care, and a short duration of time actually spent with the doctor. There is also a rising interest in “alternative” therapies for which patients resort to often questionable internet resources for information. Natural remedies are not always safe and without appropriate knowledge of the disease as well as herb, nutrient, and drug interactions people are unknowingly putting themselves at risk. Furthermore, too often are the root causes of illness masked with symptom management. Patients are often put on pharmaceuticals, which certainly can be life-saving, but are not always necessary and are often addictive and dangerous. The over-prescription of antibiotics leading to resistance and the resulting sabotage of our gut flora are great examples of some of the many problems with our approach to treatment.
What can we realistically do differently?
Let’s turn our focus toward the root cause of the problem and to the prevention of chronic disease by educating patients and empowering them to take an active role in their health. We need doctors who are also experts in natural treatments and are knowledgeable about when it is appropriate to give a lower intervention treatment that is safe, effective, and cost-saving. By offering longer office visits patients will have the opportunity to get problems addressed earlier, to be heard, and to not wait until a crisis to get the care they need.
Luckily for us, these practitioners already exist…
Naturopathic doctors attend a 4-year medical program at an accredited university that trains them to be primary care providers including curriculum in the basic sciences, clinical physical exam, hands-on training with patient contact under the supervision of doctors (minimum 1,200 clinical hours, 4,100 minimum total hours) to effectively perform physical exam, order diagnostic procedures and lab tests, diagnose, prescribe pharmaceuticals when necessary, perform minor office procedures, and injection therapies. NDs have additional training in botanical medicine, physical medicine including joint manipulation, hydrotherapy, nutrition, and counseling.
These practitioners are trained to look for the complex interactions that can occur throughout the body by looking at the whole person and to treat with the least invasive way first as long as it is safe and effective. NDs insure to identify and remove barriers to help facilitate a patient’s ability to overcome their obstacles to health.
By developing integrative partnerships with conventional medical doctors NDs can help provide the best patient care through collaboration.
Learn more about Naturopathic Medicine.
Find a Naturopathic Doctor near you.