Today is my favorite day. It is the day I get to share valuable information. Wellness is becoming a prominent discussion with all the changes in the health industry and being informed is the most important part of anyone seeking changes. Today's blog is for the person who is considering taking on the role of wellness and incorporating a naturopathic doctor into their health routine. This blog is written to provide you with an overview on wellness and naturopathic doctors. May you enjoy reading the information and gain insight on your journey to wellness.
Dr. Serena Ma ND is the owner and Naturopathic doctor of Serenity Natural Health, located in New York City.Disclosure: Dr. Serena Ma, ND nor her company, sponsor Agni NY. Dr. Serena Ma, ND nor her company, are being sponsored by Agni NY.
Author: Dr. Serena Ma, ND
The wellness industry has boomed in recent years, but what is wellness? Will meditation help? Or switching to a plant-based diet? Perhaps, if I take this herb?
Wellness is defined as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health, which means that this isn’t just good physical health but also mental, social, emotional, spiritual, and environmental. Doctors focus on illness and rarely address wellness, but there is a breed of doctors who have wellness in mind - the naturopathic doctor.
Naturopathic doctors are not licensed to practice medicine in every state - only 22 states, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. But you can find them in every state (their scope of practice varies depending on where you live). Naturopathic doctors attend four-year accredited medical schools and pass licensing board exams.
In naturopathic medical school, the naturopathic principles are taught on day one, and these are ingrained in our approach with every patient encounter. These principles are:
- First, Do No Harm by utilizing the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies first.
- Honor The Healing Power of Nature by trusting the body’s ability to heal itself with the right tools, like nutrition and sleep.
- Identify and Treat the Cause
- The Doctor as Teacher by educating and empowering our patients.
My favorite principle is Doctor as Teacher because I see my job as a guide to teach my patients to become aware of their health and its clues, then empowering patients to do something about it. I help my patients be well.
A first visit with a naturopathic doctor is at least one hour long (often longer), so that we can get a complete health (and life) history. I always inquire deeply about food/digestion, sleep, and stress/mental wellness. And instead of leaving with a prescription in hand, you leave with possible diet changes, stress reduction exercises to implement, herbs or supplements to that - all to restore your body, mind, spirit, and environment.
If you look for a naturopathic doctor to work with, look for one who has graduated from accredited four-year naturopathic medical school and maintains a license or registration in one of the licensed jurisdictions. In licensed jurisdictions, some naturopathic doctors may take insurance, however many naturopathic doctors do not take insurance. For more information, check out The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.