This post originally appeared on 10/5/2014
“Integrative”, for me, means that I integrate both conventional western medical strategies with natural and functional medicine strategies. Rather than demonize one approach or the other, I see all medicinal approaches as being on a continuum. Use what is appropriate to the situation. Been in a car wreck? You need conventional western medicine in all it’s trauma-mending, emergency-room glory. Have a long standing, dragging-on condition, or one that no one can quite diagnose? You may be better served with a natural and integrative pragmatic approach that focuses on helping you climb out of the pit.
And frequently, combining both approaches, like combining (natural) peanut butter and (organic) chocolate, is even better than either one alone. If you have a car wreck, once out of the hospital, natural and integrative strategies can help speed recovery. Chronic conditions such as diabetes meanwhile call for both conventional and integrative strategies to help you move forward to health.
So what is involved in naturopathic integrative healthcare?
I take the time to look at what is happening with you overall… not just one symptom or one body system. More time in appointments and detailed intakes let me dig into the causes that are underlying your symptoms.
If you have had prior workups for your symptoms I will ask for those results and records to be sent in. If you had not had a prior workup, then we will start with the standard workups to rule out typical causes for your symptoms. I order laboratory work, imaging and other diagnostic tools as appropriate. Sometimes these turn up results that may lead to a referral to a specialist for further workup, and I can arrange that when needed.
I then work with you to set up a treatment plan that will allow you to heal in a way that is workable for you. This may include lifestyle changes, botanical medicines, and/or supplements as appropriate. Once in awhile pharmaceuticals may be appropriate, and if so, we will discuss them. If you need procedures or treatments that I do not provide, I will work with you to coordinate care with someone who can provider them.
The methods that I use “play well” with conventional medical approaches. If you are on medication, I will ask you to stay on it until your condition is “well controlled” without the medication. If you are receiving standard medical treatment, you will be asked to continue receiving it, and to continue seeing your other healthcare providers.
The outcome? You get effective healthcare that combines the best of the old-style family doctor with modern technology. And you get treatment that is individualized for you, your health, and your life.