Naturopathic Doctors: How To Tell The Best From The Rest

Apr 23, 2019


When it comes to building your health team, we’d like to think that most of you have a naturopathic doctor (read functional medicine practitioner) as part of the squad. But, just like anything, you and I both know that there are good practitioners, ok practitioners, not-good practitioners and amazing practitioners. 


So how do you tell the best from the rest? We’ve put together this post to help you ensure that whomever you choose is going to be the right fit for your health care team and needs. 


[con] They remove gluten, dairy and sugar. That’s it.

We’ve heard these horror stories… about people who go see a Naturopathic Doctor, spend an hour of their time to walk away being told to eliminate gluten, dairy and sugar and return in 6 weeks. In our opinions, this isn’t good medicine. Not only is it not an individualized approach, it’s probably not sustainable for the long term and not necessarily going to get you to where you need to be. Dropping inflammation, phlegm production or stabilizing blood sugars can be VERY important, but not right off the bat, and not for everyone. 


[pro] They’re up to date on the research. 

They know how the medications you’re on affect any recommendations they’re going to give. They understand the latest ways of diagnosing, and they use methods like blood work, CT Scans, Ultrasound, X-rays and MRI s to understand where your body is sitting. They’ll print you off the papers, explain what’s going on with your bloodwork and make recommendations that you can trust. They use supplements, dietary changes, injections and prescriptions that your family doctor, specialists and rest of your care team can understand.



[con] They treat everything. 

Nobody can be an expert in everything (except for our moms) and medicine is no different. If you’ve got debilitating pain, you probably want to see someone who treats it multiple times a day, every single day. If you have severe period pains, endometriosis or PCOS, chances are you want to see someone who only treats women’s health. Diagnosed with something like cancer or Lyme disease? You definitely should be seeing a practitioner who knows what they’re talking about. Chances are if someone’s website gives you a list of conditions, they might not be the best fit for your health team. 



[pro] They tell you when they don’t know something. 

Again, nobody can be an expert in everything. And sometimes, we don’t know something. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen something that is supposedly super rare… and then it shows up three times that week. The first few times it happens, your naturopathic doctor is probably going to do some extra research, and I’m going to tell you that it’s going to take me a few days to work on it. 


[con] You’ve never heard of them 

Been told by a friend that you should really see a Naturopathic Doctor? Ask them who they recommend and why they recommend that practitioner. If you’ve never heard of them before, or haven’t seen them on social media, you probably don’t know what you’re walking into. That’s why we love hearing that our patients saw us on TV, in the paper and active on our weekly (not so subtle plug for Thursday night at 8.30pm) Facebook lives because we want you to know what you’re walking into. The goal is to always find the best fit, and we want you to be able to judge us.


[pro] You can’t get into them last minute. 

Generally, if you have to wait for an appointment, or there’s a waitlist at the clinic, there’s probably a pretty good reason for it. In some clinics, like ours, we reserve an hour and half every day in our schedules for urgent appointments. This allows us to potentially get someone in who REALLY needs it. We do the same with our satellite clinics, and will change our schedules to make something worth it. Chances are, if you have to wait, it’s because they’re highly sought after practitioners, whose patients keep coming back.


[con] They give you weird things

Yeah. I’m just going to put this one out there. Who wants to be given something that they can’t explain, that seems kind of weird and that they’ll have to take for the rest of their life? Or these little white pellets that supposedly make everything better? If you can’t explain to your friends something I’ve prescribed for you, I’m not doing my job right. So don’t take the weird things. Just don’t. 


Hopefully this is very helpful for you, and your friends, to distinguish who might be the best; and maybe who isn’t. When it comes to building your health team, ask questions and utilize those 15 minute complimentary consultations to see if they’d be a good fit for you. 



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