People often ask me, ‘why would I see a Naturopath?’ (First off, great question!) And to be honest, the answer is so wide-reaching that sometimes even I struggle to articulate the truly unique and life changing benefits of starting the journey in Naturopathic medicine. That being said, I have done my best to articulate four of my favourite reasons as to why I adore this medicine [and you likely will too!]
As I have shared in past posts, I arrived at the doorstep of naturopathic medicine in my early twenties lost, confused, frustrated and quite unwell. Step by step I started to uncover the root cause of my MANY health problems – a diet that was seriously out of whack, living in a mouldy house, nutritionally depleted from the birth control pill, seriously not managing stress (and the list goes on and on and on). At the end of my experience, I felt vital, empowered, self-aware and HEALTHY. It honestly felt like a miracle. Sometimes we can’t do better until we know better and so it is my passion to keep sharing about this amazing medicine that saved my health (and even directed me towards a new career!). Here are four reasons why you might see a naturopathic doctor:
You feel as though you have unexplainable symptoms: Often times, at the first appointment, patients share that they have been given a ‘clean bill of health’, but they know something is still not right. Their intuition has brought them to this place, to try something new and different. (This is what happened for me too!) In naturopathic medicine, we like to look for root causes that might be behind symptoms (as opposed to just trying to suppress symptoms.) There are many practice & evidence based perspectives that are unique to Naturopathic medicine that are often a powerful place to start to find answers. Some of these unique perspectives include looking at: the microbiome in our gut, excess inflammation in the body, complex hormonal cascades, slowed down detoxification mechanisms in our major detox organs, etc. In these appointments we can also start to make the connections regarding how one system going out of balance moves forward to effect another. Thus, a big part of our job as naturopaths is getting to the ROOT cause and to stop this cascade of dysfunction in its tracks. Through validating symptoms (even without a medical diagnosis), we also inspire hope for healing.
You have an eye on prevention for the future – why heal tomorrow what you can heal today?: It is heartbreaking to me that we wait until something is wrong to act on our health. The truth of the matter is, the longer we wait, the longer it can take to reverse what is going on. I always say that if we had a daily scanner to see inside our organs that we would all be MUCH more proactive with our health. So, we don’t yet have this dream machine, but we do have other markers that we can use to check in on our health. Some of these include: health history (energy, sleep, mood), blood work (which levels may be showing up out of balance?), physical exams (skin check ups, blood pressure, temperature etc.) as well as some unique tests to naturopathic medicine that help us look at things like hormones through saliva and urine as well as digestion through stool, etc. Through a combination of these tools, we can start to hone in on what might be going on, (even in the absence of a diagnosis), but the presence of symptoms. Other things that are important to consider as part of a proactive health plan are things like – intention for future pregnancies, family history of disease, known times of year that may be stressful, change in season, etc.
You are overwhelmed by all these fad diets and supplements!: Sometimes it feels like healthy philosophies change in the blink of an eye – ‘eat eggs, don’t eat eggs, wait – eat eggs, okay, maybe don’t eat eggs’. It is enough to leave your head spinning. It is also very easy to get pulled in by diet buzz words like ‘keto’, ‘vegan’, ‘paleo’, ‘detox’ and to get excited about their premise, but then to fall into common ‘downfalls’ that can be part and parcel of trying to follow trends on our own without support. A naturopath can help to guide you on principles of nutrition that can have you feeling more confident as you fly through the grocery store with ease.
To this same note, seeing a naturopath will help you to find the supplements that are the best for YOU. While we have the best intentions when we try to self-prescribe or order something we see on the internet with a big shiny health promise, there are important safety, medicine interactions and ‘best fit for YOU’ considerations that a naturopath is trained to consider. For example, if you were considering taking the herbal medicine licorice for your adrenal (stress) glands, it would be important to have a health professional check your blood pressure (as this medicine is known to potentiate blood pressure.) Also, it is valuable to consider the ‘personality of the medicine’ alongside of the ‘personality of the patient’. E.g. is the herb too stimulating, too sedating? With detailed case histories, naturopaths are empowered to do their best match making and to offer the patient options in terms of what is possible for the healing journey. Last but not least, we want to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck with supplements. We consider things like dose, duration of use, additives etc and make sure that what you are using has efficacy, digestibility and ease of use in your daily life!
It is time for you to feel heard and seen: Yep, you are more than your health history. You are more than the values on your blood work. You are more than the symptoms you experience. You are a unique and incredible human on this planet who deserves to be seen and heard. In an initial intake, we want to hear about your family, your job, your passions, the things you strive for and dream of, because all of those matter when it comes to health & wellness. Many initial intakes with a naturopath are around 75-90 minutes because we want to dive into as much as possible to get to know you. As we develop your health and wellness plan, you can count on personalized medicine, tailored to you. And it won’t just be about a supplement bottle or a singular prescription, the true medicine lies in the integration of medicine for body, mind and spirit.
If you have been feeling the nagging feeling for a while that something is just not right, this just may be your sign to start exploring a whole new world of holistic healing. (And even if you are feeling in great shape, it can be the perfect time to check in on the foundations of health (diet, stress management, sleep, healthy home product detox, etc).
Wishing you your highest path, today and always!