Did you know that in 1900, the average American’s life expectancy was just 47 years old? Today, this figure has skyrocketed 67 percent to 78.6 years old. What’s more, 13.7 percent of the US population is 65 or older.
Although we’re living longer than ever before, quality of life remains a critical issue for many. After all, aging comes with wear-and-tear, and a 67-year-old experiences 20 years more than your average 47-year-old from 1900.
How do you stay in good health into your Golden Years? Western medicine’s reliance on medication and treating symptoms only offers so many answers. For this reason, 55 percent of Americans want to work with a naturopathic doctor.
They prefer a conservative approach that harnesses the body’s natural ability to heal itself and with good reason. Here’s what you need to know about naturopathic care and whether it’s right for you.
Naturopathic Medicine 101
An increasing number of Americans are turning to naturopathic medicine for alternative treatments. They do so for many reasons, including health promotion and assistance resolving so-called “medical mysteries” left undiagnosed by conventional medicine.
How does naturopathic medicine function? It promotes health through an understanding that the body is capable of healing itself. The practitioner strives to remove obstacles to cure.
The goal? Treating underlying disorders and restoring the body’s normal functions. This medical strategy permits the body time to mend.
It enhances the body’s healing capabilities. It also leads to less-intrusive procedures and reduces the need for prescription drugs.
The result? Fewer side effects.
Conventional medicine tends to treat symptoms. But naturopathic remedies focus with laser precision on preventing the progression of disease.
How do they do this? By identifying the underlying root causes of health disorders. Then, they affect positive change to address these causes.
Why You Need a Naturopathic Doctor
Naturopathic doctors are primary care physicians despite their unique approach to healing.
They treat health concerns across the board, from chronic to acute and physical to psychological. They also have expertise related to pediatric and geriatric health.
Naturopaths attract a wide variety of patients. These include people with a range of health concerns and no clear diagnosis provided by conventional medicine. They also work with those who have chronic and severe illnesses.
They offer tangible solutions for patients interested in overall health promotion and disease prevention.
What can you expect in terms of naturopathic treatments?
Start by knowing that naturopathic interventions prove highly individualized. Why? Because these doctors recognize that each patient comes with a unique set of health impacts and symptoms.
On the first visit to a naturopath, some patients feel surprised that the practitioner spends so much time with them. But this is because the naturopathic approach considers the whole person.
When you meet your doctor for the first time, they’ll want to know about:
- Your history
- Your dietary habits
- Your genetics
- Your lifestyle
- Associated health concerns
By gaining a detailed understanding of these varied factors, a naturopath can solve the mystery when it comes to what’s making you sick. Once they identify your unique vulnerabilities, they can address and even reverse them.
Patients must actively participate in their health interventions. They learn to make educated, effective self-care choices. These choices, in turn, lead to better health moving forward.
Naturopathic Treatments Are Safe and Effective
Many patients new to naturopathic medicine have questions about their safety and effectiveness. Fortunately, a growing body of evidence supports both characterizations of this branch of medicine.
Naturopathic therapeutics and treatments are backed by science drawn from peer-reviewed journals. These journals come from many different disciplines, including:
- Conventional medicine
- European complementary medicine
- Clinical nutrition
New concepts in clinical assessment and outcomes, as well as information technology, also continue to shed new light on the effectiveness of naturopathic treatments.
Many naturopathic therapeutics and treatments draw on a vibrant history of clinical use and scientific validation. For example, a growing body of research proves the effectiveness of certain herbs used for millennia to treat disease.
Naturopathic medicine also continues to raise awareness about the impacts of diet and stress on health. As clinical research into natural therapies continues, expect to see more cross-overs with conventional medicine.
Naturopathic vs. Conventional Medicine
Many people assume they have to choose between naturopathic and conventional medicine. But an either-or decision isn’t necessary.
Naturopathic practitioners can and do work with Western medical doctors.
The vast majority of these physicians also cross-refer their patients to conventional health care practitioners as needed.
Why? Because an integrative approach often provides the best outcome for patients.
Ultimately, the naturopath is interested in holistic healing. The path to this healing sometimes requires a collaborative, cross-disciplinary effort among medical professionals.
The Cost of a Naturopathic Doctor
While many insurance companies don’t currently cover naturopathic expenses, these doctors can still prove highly cost-effective. Why? Because they work to prevent expensive diseases before they become an issue.
Research continues to suggest that naturopathic medicine can reduce overall medical expenses. In study after study, researchers have concluded that it contributes to significant savings for individuals, insurance companies, and health care systems.
Would you like to find out more about what a naturopathic physician can do to help you? Contact Karen Threlkel, ND, to schedule an appointment.
How to Be Healthy
Because we now live much longer than our ancestors once did, we must take action to improve health over the long-term. We must make changes today to prevent disease tomorrow.
Not only is this approach more cost-effective, but it promotes a higher quality of life. As our knowledge of health impacts and how to address them grows, the naturopathic doctor will continue to offer effective, affordable treatment options.
Are you interested in more handy tips to help you lead your best life? If so, we’ve got you covered. Check out our blog for invaluable advice and handy suggestions.