Naturopathic medicine steps outside conventional healthcare methods, taking a proactive instead of a reactive approach to health and well-being. Since many have never experienced this kind of care, it’s only natural that new patients may be curious about what an initial appointment might involve. We’re here to give you a closer look at the Spark Health integrative medicine process.
What is naturopathic medicine?
According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, the naturopathic healthcare profession is made up of primary medical care doctors focused on using whole patient wellness to address the underlying cause of a patient’s condition.
What are a naturopathic doctor’s focuses?
All naturopathic doctors (NDs) practice six primary principles to provide patients with the best personalized care. These include:
- First Do No Harm. A belief in the idea that the most natural, least invasive, and least toxic therapies should always be used first.
- The Healing Power of Nature. An emphasis on recognizing and harnessing the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself to guide patients to wellness and total health.
- Identify and Treat the Causes. A practice focused on identifying the underlying causes of illness and removing obstacles to find a cure.
- Doctor as Teacher. A system centered around education and a trust-based relationship, where patients can better understand steps to take to achieve and maintain health.
- Treat the Whole Person. A whole-person-based approach to restore balance and health.
- Prevention. A commitment to identifying potential areas of imbalance and teaching patients how to get well and stay well.
How do you become a licensed naturopathic doctor?
In order to become a licensed naturopathic doctor, it is required that you attend a four-year federally accredited naturopathic medical school. In North America, these programs are offered through:
- Bastyr University
- Boucher Institute of Natural Medicine
- Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
- National University of Natural Medicine
- National University of Health Sciences
- Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences
Once a candidate finishes naturopathic medical school—in addition to completing 1,200 hours of clinicals—they are then required to pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam (NPLEX) to obtain licensure.
From there, candidates may also need to meet specific requirements in order to practice in a given state or province. These could often include undergoing a background check or taking continuing education courses to maintain a current licensure. Once they begin practicing, many NDs also choose a specialty, such as endocrinology, environmental medicine, gastroenterology, pediatrics, primary care, psychiatry, and oncology. The option to earn a board certification is also available in some of these areas.
What are the differences between a ND and a MD?
Though naturopathic doctors (NDs) and medical doctors (MDs) both practice medicine, there are some differences.
What is Spark Health Integrative Medicine?
At Spark Health, we take naturopathic medicine one step further to include a personalized approach that recognizes the power the individual has over their health. You are unique and we think your healthcare plan should also reflect this.
Our doctors perform a thorough patient intake process to understand how your internal and external systems work together to form your current health conditions.
How our integrative medicine practice works
We want to help you take the first step toward better well-being by leading you through our patient intake process to assess your health history and understand the root cause of your health challenges.
To provide you with the most comprehensive snapshot of your current health, our patient intake process involves three clinic visits.
The initial two-hour visit will consist of a meeting with one of our naturopathic doctors and our musculoskeletal team. During your first appointment with your naturopathic doctor, be prepared to discuss your health concerns, lifestyle behaviors, and wellness goals. At this time, your doctor will also schedule you for a quick blood draw.
During the second hour of your visit, you will meet with our musculoskeletal team to address any physical limitations that might be affecting your quality of life.
Your second visit to the clinic will consist of a blood draw. This draw can typically be completed within 10-15 minutes before being sent out to the lab for analysis. Results from this test will arrive within 2-3 weeks.
During the third visit, a one-hour visit with your naturopathic doctor, you will discuss test results and the doctor will recommend a personalized care plan that incorporates a whole-body approach to wellness to lay the foundation for your long-term health.
After all your visits are complete, the only thing left to do is put your plan into action! As your partner in wellness, we look forward to being your support system as you continue to transform your health.
To get started, contact the Spark Health team of naturopathic doctors to schedule your initial appointments and learn more. Located in Solana Beach in San Diego County, CA, Spark Health Integrative Medicine examines your health using a wider lens. Our team of practitioners take an all-encompassing approach to your heath to reconstruct and restore your body from the inside out.
Article written by Shannon Vogler