Finding the right naturopathic doctor can be tricky. With so many people out there claiming to be experts in the field, how do you know which one will be right for you?
What’s more, naturopathy is an evolving field, with new diagnostic tests and treatment methodologies emerging all the time, and practitioners can choose to treat their patients in a number of different ways.
So, before you choose your practitioner, there are a few key questions you should ask when deciding which one is right for you.
Are you a member of a professional association?
One of the most important questions to ask is whether your naturopath is governed by a professional association, such as the Australian Natural Therapies Association, or the Australian Naturopathic Practitioners Association. If so, then you can be confident that your naturopath has undergone extensive training and education in the field.
How will you diagnose my health issues?
When seeing a naturopathic doctor, it’s important you understand how they will be diagnosing your health issues. You should ask your naturopath if diagnosis will involve physical tests and/or lab work, and you should feel confident in, and comfortable with, your practitioner’s preferred methodologies. Keep in mind that no two practitioners will ever perform their work in the same way, so it pays to keep looking until you find someone with whom you feel comfortable and can trust.
What methods will you use to treat me?
Given that naturopathy is focused on treating the cause of your health issues, and not just the symptoms, your naturopath might choose to use a combination of treatments to help you to feel better. Make sure you discuss this in detail at your consultation to ensure you are comfortable with all the methods proposed by the practitioner.
What’s involved in my initial consultation?
At your initial consultation, your naturopath should be taking your full medical history, and asking you lots of questions to determine the cause of your illness or discomfort.
He or she may also perform a series of diagnostic tests to further determine the cause of your illness. Once these tests have been reviewed, your naturopath should then put together a detailed treatment plan tailored to your unique concerns. This may involve recommendations for dietary changes, and prescriptions for herbal medicines, specifically selected to treat the root cause of your illness.
How many appointments do I need?
This depends on the reason for your visit. Some patients begin to feel better almost immediately after their first appointment, while others may require a number of follow-up appointments to refine their treatment plan. For chronic or ongoing conditions, maintenance appointments may be required for a few months following your first visit to ensure you are on the right track to optimal health and well-being.
Of course, you don’t always have to be feeling unwell to visit a naturopath. Many people see naturopaths on an ongoing basis to maintain their health and wellbeing, and to prevent future illnesses from occurring.
What areas do you specialise in?
Just like medical doctors who specialise in an area of medicine, so too do naturopaths have a speciality or an area of focus. Ask your naturopath what they specialise in and what they treat most often to assess if this lines up with your current needs. If not, then they might be able to refer you to another naturopath who is better suited to your unique requirements.
These key questions should assist you in making the right choice for you. Above all else, you should feel comfortable with your naturopath, and confident in their abilities. Don’t feel shy about asking lots of questions, and remember, you can always switch naturopaths if you feel they are no longer suitable for your needs.