What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is the type of medicine that encourages physicians to look at patient as a whole person rather than looking to treat each disease as a separately entity. This is why a visit with a naturopathic physician usually takes more than 15-30 min.
A first visit with a naturopathic physician may take up to 45-90 min. This is because a naturopathic physician would need to gather many information from the patient before the physician can accurately assess the underlying cause(s) of the presenting signs/symptoms. The philosophy of naturopathic physicians at Care Integrative is that we won't just come up with a label or diagnosis code for each symptom, but we would like to connect all of patient's symptoms to assess the true root causes of many presenting symptoms and treat patient as a whole person.
An example of how a visit at Care Integrative Clinic might be different from traditional visit to a primary care physician:
For a patient who has difficulty concentrating, a naturopathic physician may ask the patient about the type of house he/she lived or has lived since he/she was a little child to investigate the possibility that the patient's symptom may be caused by abnormal amount of lead or other heavy metal toxicities. In addition, if a patient has difficulty concentrating as a chief complaint, a naturopathic physician may ask the patient about his/her diet in details to help evaluate whether patient may have food sensitivities. Then to investigate this matter even more, a naturopathic physician may order thyroid labs to check patient's hormone levels that may contribute to the symptom. A naturopathic physician may ask the patient certain set of questions to determine whether depression or insomnia may contribute to difficulty concentrating symptom. This is just an example to show that how a visit might be at Care Integrative Clinic. We aim to integrate many arts of medical science to help patient reach his/her optimal health goals.
A follow-up visit with a naturopathic physician usually takes about 30-45 minutes depending on the case.
Naturopathic physicians in WA state can prescribe all legend drugs with the exception of Botox. In WA state, naturopathic doctors cannot prescribe most pharmaceutical drugs that are classified as “scheduled”, which includes some of the most highly addictive drugs and/or those that have potential for strong negative side effects. Naturopathic physicians often utilize the use of botanical/herbal medicine to help alleviate many health conditions first before prescribing pharmaceutical medications. The majority of naturopathic physicians prefer to use pharmaceutical interventions only when it's medically necessary.
The philosophy and methodology to helping patients feel better may be slightly different for naturopathic physicians in comparison to conventional primary care physicians. Chronic pain, for example, can sometimes be intertwined with depression and anxiety. Naturopathic physicians often take both physical AND emotional symptoms of each patient into consideration when it comes to treatment plans to help with chronic pains. Instead of treating chronic physical pain as a separate entity from emotional and mental wellness, naturopathic physicians often address the problems holistically and treat accordingly. In addition to intensive trainings in botanical medicine in med school, naturopathic physicians received intensive trainings of hand-on modalities to help patient with physical pain such as soft-tissue manipulation, spinal adjustment, trigger point therapy, therapeutic exercises, stretching and etc.
One drawback of naturopathic medicine is that this is the type of medicine that may not work very fast. A lot of naturopathic physicians believe that true healing takes times. This is because naturopathic medicine is not about suppressing the symptom temporarily by prescribing certain medication so that signs and symptoms go away for certain period of time. Naturopathic medicine is about physician working together with the patient to help solve his/her problems at the root causes. For example, if a patient comes in with high blood sugar because he/she has been using foods to deal with depression/anxiety, prescribing medication that would help lowering blood sugar temporarily may help patient. However, it's not a long-term solution. For this particular case, for example, working on helping patient figuring out the root cause(s) of his/her depression/anxiety so that he/she would not have to use foods as a way to deal with emotional pain would be the goal of treatment plans in naturopathic medicine.
At Care Integrative Clinic, the focus of naturopathic medicine include but not limited to botanical medicine, physical medicine, evidence-based primary care medicine and homeopathy.