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I decided to become a naturopathic doctor at the age of 26, which is a relatively late age to decide to change to such a challenging career. To be honest, I didn’t know anything about the field of naturopathy, or naturopathic medicine until I was 22 years old.
With my introduction to my naturopathic doctor I learned about holistic medicine. According to the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA), holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person -- body, mind, and spirit.
My experience with my naturopathic doctor did exactly what the definition states. In the four years that I was under her care I became so passionate about my personal health and how looking at my mind, body and spirit changed my life that I decided to go back to school and take all my pre-med prerequisites.
Once I completed those I went to naturopathic medical school to become a naturopathic doctor because I wanted to practice holistic medicine.
The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, and prevent and treat disease by addressing contributing factors. This is the second half of the definition of "holistic" as stated by the AHMA.
The idea of holistic medicine is wonderful and supportive to all areas a patients life. When I was a patient I was amazed at how my body, my thinking and my lifestyle changed the more I learned and became more committed to practicing the guidelines that my doctor set out for me.
As I became a holistic doctor myself I realized it would take a lifetime to keep up with the medical trends and natural health trends required to help my patients meet their health goals. To treat patients in a holistic way I am responsible for learning about a patient’s health history, social history, emotional history, behavioral habits, family life and personal life. I need all of that information to impact them in a holistic way.
This takes time. I have to develop a trust and relationship with them which doesn’t happen in 10 minute visits once a year. I have to have longer visits -- 30, 45, or 60 minutes on some regular basis.