It’s day two of Naturopathic Medicine week, and I wanted to talk about the different modalities a Naturopathic doctor can use to treat a patient. As a Naturopathic doctor, I’m trained in both conventional medical sciences and pharmaceuticals, and evidence based natural therapies. This means I have many different tools that I can use to help prevent disease, promote health, and treat and manage my patients’ existing health conditions. Not all Naturopathic doctors use the same modalities, and there are some I definitely use more than others, but I tried to go through some of the main categories. What unites Naturopathic doctors, is that we strive to use the most natural and least invasive treatments first, before moving our way up to more invasive therapies such as conventional pharmaceuticals.
We use a number of different herbs to prevent, manage, and treat disease. Herbs can be extremely powerful when used correctly and in the appropriate amounts. A Naturopathic doctor can ensure that you are using the proper herbs for you, that they do not interact with other supplements or medications you are taking, and that you are taking the proper dosage to actually get the desired effect. I will recommend herbs in the forms of teas, tinctures, and capsules. I use herbal medicine for a many conditions including acne and eczema, digestive complaints, hormonal conditions, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety and depression, and autoimmune diseases.
Clinical Nutrition and Supplementation:
This involves using vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements to stimulate healing. These can be used to correct nutritional deficiencies potentially caused by dietary limitations or poor absorption. I also use evidenced based nutritional supplementation to help support the immune system, reduce inflammation, balance hormones, support digestive health, and much more.
Functional lab testing:
Lab tests are used to diagnose and rule out certain conditions, and they can also provide information on how the body is actually functioning. In addition to basic blood and metabolic labs, I will often check a patients’ hormones, adrenal function, and digestive health using more functional lab tests. Instead of using conventional lab reference ranges, I really look at things through a functional medicine perspective and try to find even small things that could be causing a patient’s symptoms.
Diet and Nutritional recommendations:
Naturopathic doctors know that food is medicine. We are trained to make nutritional recommendations for a number of different conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, and for weight loss. I often recommend elimination diets for my patients with allergies, skin conditions, or unexplained symptoms like joint pain or fatigue. My main goal is to work with a patient to create dietary modifications that are actually achievable, and to focus on changing their mindset from restricted eating to focusing on eating nutrient dense foods. I try to empower my patients to make healthier choices long-term.
Lifestyle is just as important as everything mentioned above. No amount of supplements or herbs can offset things like poor sleep, or constant stress. I work with each patient to identify things in their life that might be getting in the way of their health goals. We then work together to find solutions to these issues. This might include working on making sure they are getting restful sleep, reduce stress and implement effective stress management techniques, or to incorporate mindfulness practices.
Many of my patients are surprised to hear that I can incorporate counseling into my visits. As Naturopathic doctors, we believe that your mental and emotional health can affect and potentially even cause physical illness. I help counsel my patients and support their individual needs whether it be to help reduce anxiety and depression, reduce stress, support psychological healing, or increase motivation to achieve health goals.
Naturopathic doctors are trained in multiple physical medicine techniques including naturopathic manipulation, soft tissue work, myofascial release, exercise, ultrasound and diathermy, for managing pain and treating musculoskeletal conditions.
I hope you found this help! Please let me know if you have any questions about any of these modalities.