Your first visit to a naturopathic doctor will be somewhat different from a regular visit to a medical doctor, so it’s worth knowing what to expect. The main difference between naturopathy and conventional medicine is the treatment methods and approaches adopted by the different systems, thus the way a naturopathic doctor approaches a particular ailment may differ from the way a medical doctor does. In short, naturopathy focuses on tackling the underlying causes of a condition and utilizing the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
First visits typically last an hour and primarily serve as information-gathering sessions for naturopathic doctors to obtain a detailed overview of your health history and identify the underlying causes of any health concerns you may have. Following this, your naturopathic doctor may have enough information to devise an effective treatment plan or may recommend further physical examinations and lab tests. The following is a closer look at what’s involved in each step.
Since naturopathic doctors focus on the underlying causes of a condition, they’ll typically ask a series of questions covering areas such as your current and past medical history, medications, supplements, diet, sleeping habits, emotional and mental health as well as a review of all body systems to try and gather as much information as possible.
If at any point you feel like the questions being asked are unrelated to your condition, remember that the main goal of the first visit is for your naturopathic doctor to pinpoint exactly why you’re feeling the way you are and what’s causing it and that each question asked can play a part in your treatment plan. Be honest when answering the naturopathic doctor’s questions and bring along the results of any recent lab tests you’ve had — this will help ensure they can create the most effective treatment plan possible.
If necessary, your naturopathic doctor may carry out a physical examination on your first visit to collect important information such as your height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and information from a standard physical exam that you would have performed by your conventional doctor. Physical examinations are especially important if your condition stems from or has affected a particular part of your body.
Once your naturopathic doctor has gathered the necessary information and carried out a physical examination, they may order some blood work. Blood work and other lab tests can be an effective way to assess your overall health and help your naturopathic doctor better understand what’s causing your current condition, as well as how to effectively treat it.
While you might not receive any naturopathic treatment to take home with you on your very first visit, it’s an essential step on the road to recovery and a better life. Reach out to Calgary Integrative Medicine to find out more about the benefits of naturopathy and book your first visit today.