Are you looking for a healthcare provider that will take the time to understand and get to the bottom of WHY you’re not feeling your best? Do you want someone on your team that will help you be your healthiest, using safe and effective natural therapies? A naturopathic doctor is probably what you’re looking for. However, even among naturopathic doctors, there are a variety of approaches, special interests, and personalities which make us unique. Here are a few things to look for so that you can find the perfect fit for YOU.
1. Licensing and Additional Training
All naturopathic doctors in Ontario should be registered under the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO) (www.collegeofnaturopaths.on.ca). If you find your naturopath here, it means that they have a good, solid naturopathic medical training (university-level premedical requisites, 4 years of naturopathic medical training at an accredited school, and North American and Ontario board exams afterwards). Additionally, as of July 1st, 2015, naturopathic doctors who write and pass a prescribing exam can prescribe certain substances, including high dose vitamins, bio-identical hormones, and desiccated thyroid hormone. As this is fairly new legislation, many naturopathic doctors are still in the process of getting the certification needed in order to prescribe. If you’re a cancer patient, then you probably want to find someone with additional IV therapy training. You can find all this information on the CONO website, under the Naturopathic Doctor Register.
2. Knowledgeable about Your Health Concerns
Naturopathic doctors don’t specialize, but many have developed a more specific niche that they have focused more of their practice on. Take a look at their website, as well as their Facebook and Twitter posts, to see if some of the content they have posted speaks particularly to you. In my case, I have a particular interest in digestive issues, hormone imbalances, and skin conditions. Over the years in clinical practice, I have found that many of these are inter-related and benefit from a multi-faceted, holistic approach. It gives me so much joy to be able to help my patients overcome their often chronic health conditions!
3. A Good Teacher
One of our core principles that we adhere to, as naturopathic doctors, is ‘docere’, which means, ‘to teach’. A good naturopathic doctor should not just send you home with a bag of supplements. Sooner or later, your ND should take the time to teach you how to make healthier diet and lifestyle changes every day, in a way that you feel you can realistically implement and that is unique to YOUR needs. I believe that healthy diet and lifestyle are the cornerstone foundations of health, and that they are what will help keep you healthy for as long as possible. Yes, supplements are often needed, and more supplements may be needed at specific stages in your healing journey, but make sure that you understand why you are taking each one of them, and how long you should be taking them for.
4. A Good Listener
Naturopathic doctors usually have much longer appointments and follow-up appointments than what you’ve been used to with your medical doctor. They’ll be taking the time to hear your unique story, your highs and lows, and your personal struggles and victories. All the while, they’ll be trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle, in order to help pinpoint what may have caused your symptoms. You’ll likely be sharing a lot with your naturopathic doctor, so making sure that you feel comfortable with them even before becoming a patient is ideal. You will want someone who will listen attentively and with empathy, and will take your goals and preferences into account. I offer a free 15min meet-and-greet session to give us an opportunity to break the ice, answer your general questions, and see if we’re a good fit.
5. Your own Private Detective
You want someone who wants to see you get better, and who will explore all aspects of your health. As a naturopathic doctor, I usually start with the treatments and/or testing that is likely to most benefit the patient, at the lowest cost possible. However, there are those times when things are more complicated, and we have to take a step back and re-evaluate. For example, I have had several patients with irritable bowel syndrome who did not respond as well as expected to food sensitivity elimination. We did some further testing, and it turns out that they had a previously undetected chronic parasitic or fungal infection that needed to be treated. You want someone who will take your concerns seriously and will take the time to get to the bottom of them.
Are you ready to make some positive changes in your health? Learn more about my approach, on www.tamarferreirand.com. I’ve helped many people in the Ottawa area just like you who have been looking for answers to their health concerns take control of their health and feel vibrant and energized again! Call my Nepean (613-225-3339) or Orleans (613-837-8885) office to schedule a free 15min meet-and-greet appointment, or to get started with an initial visit.
Dr. Tamar Ferreira is a Naturopathic Doctor in Brampton, Ontario. Her areas of focus include digestive health, hormone balance, and skin conditions.