Modalities & Approach:
Naturopathic Doctors use a variety of different treatment types, or “modalities,” to help patients. These include a wide range of therapies spanning from nutritional counseling all the way to pharmacology and minor surgery. A blend is often used to help patients depending on their unique circumstances. A listing of some examples are given below.
An important point to understand is that because every situation is completely different, people with similar complaints may receive varying treatment. One person’s headache might be a sign of an urgent medical situation, while for another it may be a nutritional deficiency, and in another a reaction to something in their environment. This is common in medicine, and the goal is the “treat the cause” (tolle causam). Ruling out serious issues is always first on the agenda, at which point exploring more complex and otherwise chronic problems becomes key.
At the same time, because we all share similar anatomy and physiology, many treatments employed will be the same. For example, most people can stand to work on their sleep habits, eating more fruits & vegetables, stress reduction, and getting more exercise. Whether the diagnosis is heart disease or diabetes, these basics will be helpful. It is then critical to identify and appropriately balance the places you can help someone, what they are willing & able to do, and prioritizing what needs to be done. This process takes time, and that’s why Naturopathic Doctors generally spend anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours with patients per visit. They need to know what you eat, what you do, what’s bugging you, and yes, even what comes out the other end. Naturopaths are by definition holistic in their approach to health.
Here are some examples of modalities commonly used by Naturopathic Doctors:
- Nutritional Counseling
- Functional Foods
- Botanical Medicine
- Exercise Prescription
- Dietary Supplementation
- Physical Medicine
- Minor Surgery
1) The Healing Power of Nature: Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.
2) Identify and Treat the Causes: Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.
3) First Do No Harm: Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.
4) Doctor as Teacher: Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.
5) Treat the Whole Person: View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.
6) Prevention: Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.
As Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians (PCP’s), they are skilled at acting as a first stop in your medical journey. They can help figure out a proper diagnosis and treatment, decide when to order labs or imaging, and refer to a specialist in complex cases. In addition to what you would come to expect from typical doctor visits, they offer preventative medicine, wellness maintenance, and diet/lifestyle counseling. Spending significant time with patients lets them listen to your story and figure out what you need. In other words, a Naturopathic Doctor can act as a guide and a coach. For these reasons, there is no real “list” of what they treat. They treat people. Regardless, people who see Naturopaths often carry a diagnosis and are looking answers about how to feel better. Some common conditions are listed below:
- Adrenal Dysfunction
- Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Food sensitivities
- Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Peptic Ulcers
- Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Thyroid disease
- Varicose Veins
- Weight Loss