When you are able to spend enough time with a patient, I truly feel you can anticipate problems and keep people well. When people are already suffering, you can find ways to help them live better, happier lives. This makes sense to me and the people I work with.
Being in a state that does not license Naturopathic Physicians changes what I can do. I cannot diagnose or treat disease. I cannot order labs or imaging. I cannot act as your Primary Care Physician. Rather, I act as a health counselor and give you advice with my experience and training as a Naturopathic Doctor and a Registered Dietitian. This means we can talk. You tell me what your goals are. Tell me about your diet, your sleep, your stress, your energy, and whatever else you want to talk about. I ask questions to get a clearer picture about your lifestyle. I gather information and provide recommendations based on a holistic assessment of your health.
My personal style is to gradually build a strong foundation. I like to learn as much as I can about you to help be better identify where we can make changes. I also want to see what is already working for you, and what isn’t. I try to have everyone begin following basic health recommendations. Eat well, exercise, socialize, relax, sleep, repeat. I feel that by doing this and seeing what changes, I can make a better assessment. If someone is eating fast food 3 times a day and they complain they aren’t feeling well, then I need to work there first. This may take varying amounts of time depending on the person. After I have a solid foundation formed, I like to see what problems resolve and remain. At this point I feel more comfortable in my ability to make specific recommendations.
This does not mean I don’t want people to feel better right away. I find this process helps me get a more accurate picture of someones true health status before any significant recommendations are made. If problems exist as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle, I don’t want to just cover it up. Even if it worked and people “felt better,” I would be allowing a process to continue that will likely have further consequences down the road. You can’t cover up bad habits , just like you can’t sweep garbage under a rug and expect good results.
As I begin to lay a healthy framework, I will add other recommendations based on my experience. These may include dietary changes, lifestyle modification, vitamin or mineral recommendations, botanical or homeopathic remedies, hydrotherapy (application of hot/cold water), counseling, and education. I discuss expected benefits and side-effects of any recommendations, and always allow you the opportunity to ask questions. As always, you should run these by your health care provider first.
“Give me a man. Let me meet with this man on occasion, to help pave the road to health. Let me clean his diet of excess and the processed and replace it with the fresh, the natural, and the real. Let me instruct him to move, to use his body and muscles, as they were designed to move mountains. Let me remind him of life hygiene, so that he may once again chew his food, spend time with loved ones, play outside, sleep quietly in his bed, and avoid dangerous propositions. Let me help bring him back to harmony with nature and his own soul so that he may once again be healthy and free.”