In the last several years I have noticed an ongoing trend. I have always worked closely with naturopathic physicians so I have a great referral source for patients who have complicated questions about diet and health. Certainly if I need to refer out to someone I have easy access and several trusted practitioners I can send someone off if we both feel they would be better off with a specific diagnosis.
Lately I have found that more and more people are asking questions about supplements but they do not want to approach a naturopath. Certainly there is a financial issue. An appointment with a naturopath usually takes a half and hour to an hour and their time is valuable. Without insurance this can run one to two hundred dollars for a visit. In other areas, it could be higher. However, a naturopath is trained to give advice on supplements. Very often the supplements that are advertised online or in magazines that are supposed to be helpful for a certain condition are not recommended a therapeutic doses. Additionally, some people may not absorb the supplement the way they should. Having a qualified practitioner work with you is very important. It’s not uncommon for someone to uncover other issues when one is solved. It’s helpful to know if those new symptoms are the result of a reaction to the supplement or perhaps they are indicative of another deficiency.
Diet and health are complicated issues. Unless we have a lifetime to devote to studying it, not as a hobby, but potentially as a career, how do we know what is really good for us? Certainly I don’t expect my naturopath to have all the answers, but I do trust that if I communicate my symptoms and concerns she and I can find a treatment that suits my body and my life. I will have the information I need to make the decisions that I need to make after talking to her. I can also be assured that although her product lines may be more expensive, they are of good quality product and that there is a good uniform quality control. Not every supplement brand can say that.
My naturopath has a doctoral degree. I believe her program was an intensive four year program. She is trained in the same diagnostic procedures that an allopathic physician is trained. My acupuncture degree was an intensive three year program offering a master’s level degree. I know that I would never have learned as much on my own as I did in my course work. I have the utmost respect for a good medical practitioner because they have knowledge that I may not have and it could save my life.