Friday, December 24, 2010

Alternative VS. Conventional Health Care

Are Naturopaths kooks/witch-doctors/hippie ladies with hairy armpits*?

I'm a new Naturopathic medicine patient so I'm by no means an expert at these things. I just want to address 4 things that I think the general public should know regarding alternative health care professionals.

1. Naturopthic Doctors (ND's) are, indeed, doctors with medical degrees. They have formal schooling just like any other MD. They are able to prescribe antibiotics, administer vaccines and deal with major illness. What makes them different is their in depth training in solving issues with gentle, natural remedies, homeopathy, healing with diet.

2. Naturopaths dig deeper. They tend to look at the body as a whole (this is what Holistic means) and find the REAL cause of any issues that you may be having. This is different than your typical MD who will generally just treat the symptoms you are experiencing. For me, after visiting 5 or 6 different doctors about my irregular periods (and going on birth control to regulate them) in the last 6 years, my ND and I are finally getting to the very bottom of what's going wrong. She drew blood to test my thyroid function, gave me a very in depth pelvic exam and I now have to put saliva into little test tubes 8 times this next month to see the pattern of my hormones. We're changing my diet and adding herbs to support my body. My only side effect? My anxiety level has plummeted, already. In Jericho's case, his MD diagnosed him with 'normal nasal drainage' and told us to use a nebulizer nightly. Months later, his ND got to the REAL issue: milk allergy!

3. Naturopaths are IN DEPTH. My first appt lasted an entire hour. Dr. Riccio was relaxed but madly taking notes and drawing boxes around things and linking it to other things. I've never seen a doctor make this look like such an art form. She wanted to know my entire family's health status. She even wanted to know what my BM's look like! My visit yesterday lasted TWO hours! The depth of our conversation and testing and such makes me feel soooo safe. I finally feel like I'm in good hands.

4. Are herbal remedies effective? It may be worth noting that the majority of pharmaceutical drugs began as a plant before being chemically altered in a lab. Also, my ICU nurse friend over at The Organic Dollar told me that some of the worst medical reactions she has seen were of the herbal sort. YES, these plants interact with our bodies. Yes, they can be dangerous if used incorrectly. And importantly, yes, these medicines WORK!

Here is the link to my new ND's clinic:

I'm sure all of the doctors there are fabulous but Dr. Loren Riccio is who I am working with.

*I can't guarantee that all ND women shave their pits ;-)