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Why Would Anyone Go To A Naturopath?

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I have been asked by a few friends, "Why go to a naturopath?" Aren't those naturopaths kinda.. ya know.. fruity or witch doctor-ish?"

I still go to regular M.D.s for issues like strep tests or infections. I still have my regular OB/GYN. There are a lot of advances in western medicine that have saved a lot of lives and there is certainly some great technology that has helped with research and saving lives.

So, why bother with a Homeopath or a Naturopath? Why not just trust what your regular M.D. says?

I have been weeding out things in my life that have not been healthy for me; certain foods, certain habits and certain drugs. Taking a holistic approach to my health also meant opening up to alternative medicines. I found it to be congruent with the lifestyle changes I was already making.

I actually chuckle when I say alternative because so many treatments used by naturopaths are actually treatments that have been used long before western medicine. They use medicines that come from the earth or are closely related to what is found in nature and our body works in tandem with these.

I have also found that I can get more conclusive results with some issues that I couldn't get with a regular doctor. The saliva test I took for my hormones was much more accurate than a blood test. A blood test would have only indicated that I was in normal range and that I was estrogen dominant. The saliva test measured my hormone levels and my DHEA levels. The compounding pharmacist knows just how much progesterone I need and mixes a treatment for my needs, specific for me.

My daughter also had ADD (attention deficit disorder) testing done. When I took her to her pediatrician he said there was no "test" to determine if she was ADD, he just asked her a few questions and determined she was ADD. There was no saliva, no urine, no blood, no nothing to take a physical test. I found that bothersome. The naturopath took a urine test and measured her brain levels. She was above the normal levels in all 13 brain chemicals. Again, a more conclusive test. She is now on a series of natural supplements that will level out these brain chemicals.

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Thanks for sharing this article! I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 10 years ago and had been sick for 10 years prior to that where doctors were unable to figure out the source of my distress. The diagnosis was a relief but it didn't take long for me to learn that not only could "modern" medicine not cure me, but that they actually knew very little about the disease and were really only treating symptoms. Since it's my life, my future, my health, I took charge and starting looking into alternative protocols for treatment in addition to those my neurologist wanted me to use. I conducted a massive amount of research and kept activity and food logs and compared against symptom activity. I also visited a Naturopath (and then I researched everything he told me as well!). I put together my own treatment "plan" which was a mix of modern and homeopathic remedies. I truly believe that without the addition of the natural remedies, I would not be where I am today which is very very HEALTHY!!!

June 10, 2009 - 4:53pm

I rely on both my MD and Naturopath (a physician who turned to naturopathy to find treatments for his environmentally ill wife), and my other doctors who subscribe to homeopathy/naturopathy. Because treating these old bones with prescription drugs can be iffy, sometimes we have no other choice but "alternative."

Fruity doctors? lol!

June 1, 2009 - 4:16pm

I personally go to a mix of MDs and naturopaths. To me, this mix has made all the difference in the world. An MD found my uterine fibroid and help me monitor it, but the naturpaths are helping me get to the bottom of why I have this issue in the first place.

June 1, 2009 - 12:36pm

I'm glad you brought up the point of doctors working together. I have had not one problem with it.

For the ADD meds, the urine test and the natural supplements were all done by the naturopath, no need for the regular doctor to get involved. I also got a copy of the test results which I could take to a MD if I needed to.

For other family meds which required a prescription, the compounding pharmacy simple provided a copy of their findings and sent it with a request to fill the prescription. We already have a relationship with those docs and informed them we were going for alternative treatment. They were very cooperative.

In walking distance of my house, I do have a practice that has different naturopathic specialists. I see them popping up all over. It seems to be a more west coast thing but I'm sure in time it will get to the east coast.

June 1, 2009 - 9:18am

This is a really interesting topic.

I think that one of the problems in integrating holistic or alternative or Eastern medicine into our Western model is that we, as consumers, are really the ones charged with the responsibility of doing it. And we are the ones without the medical education!

I know what an ob/gyn specializes in. I know what I'd go to a GP for. When you add naturopaths into the mix, you add a third level of necessary communication that rests with the patient. The patient must take information from all three doctors -- or more, if there are more involved -- and decide which path of treatment to take. Perhaps there's a chiropractor as well, or an acupuncturist. Perhaps there are somewhat conflicting ideas about how to treat a certain condition. I think that's a situation that's hard for many people.

With your daughter's ADD, for instance. I have ADD too, which wasn't diagnosed until I was 43. However, when I was diagnosed, as I went down the criteria on the psychological diagnostic test, I was about 20 for 20. It was easy to see that yes, this was exactly right. At that point, I could go for more testing, try medicine, try behavioral fixes, or try a natural approach. If I investigated all those options, it would mean more appointments, somewhat conflicting advice and some decisions that might be difficult to make. I think that for many people, that's just too much, both in terms of time and money.

It would be nice if we had a more common model in this country where doctor's offices combined specialties and actually worked together and communicated with each other in one practice. Where some conventional doctors and some "alternative" doctors all practice together, understanding each other's work and working together for a patient. I know it exists in a few places now; maybe over time, it will be more marketable, health insurance companies will recognize the needs and benefits, and people will feel that the system is more integrated.

Right now, the only thing that integrates all of that is the individual consumer. And I think that's probably a task that's too big for many of us.

I would love to read more from those who have integrated both holistic and conventional methods into their lives, and how it does or doesn't work within our health-care system.

June 1, 2009 - 8:59am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.