When you walk into a ‘health food store’ you can be pretty sure to find something that is beneficial to take for what ails you - anything from a cold to cancer. Is there an advantage to seeing a naturopathic doctor prior to purchasing that vitamin or herb? You bet there is!
Consider this - you are an individual. You may have more than one health concern happening at the same time. You may also be on prescription medication. Walking into a store and purchasing something to address one symptom might help, but there might be something better suited to your specific needs. You want what you take to be effective for your concern. And sometimes what’s best for someone else is not going to work for you for a particular symptom or concern. An ND can help you determine, through a thorough assessment, what things are best suited to your needs considering your entire health picture. Isn’t it preferable to take one thing that can address multiple concerns, rather a bunch of things to address each individual concern? I find so often patients will bring in a bag with twenty or more supplements and leave realizing they only have to take a handful of things to address all of their needs.
So also consider this. If you are taking any prescription medications, or are undergoing any form of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, there is the potential for anything you take, natural or not, to interact with those. Some natural things can certainly help, but some things can negate the full effectiveness of those treatments…or worse, can create a potentially dangerous health situation due to a negative interaction. Did you know that something as ‘simple’ as a probiotic can be dangerous for some people? ND’s have a duty to ensure that their recommendations will not be unsafe for a patient to take, whether due to a particular health condition, or due to a medication they are taking.
Naturopathic doctors are regulated as a profession in Ontario and, as such, have an obligation to assess your health needs prior to making any recommendations. As an ND in practice for almost 20 years, I make it a priority to properly assess everyone that comes through my door. That includes taking a thorough health history, performing a physical exam and reviewing any lab work available from your medical doctor. Only when you know all of the pieces to your health can you pick the things that are best suited to your needs in order to get yourself to a healthier place.
Although I work with digestive concerns, fertility, thyroid issues, and so on, the largest focus of my practice, which has been the case for the last two decades, focuses on cancer care. I can’t stress enough how important it is for someone working through a cancer diagnosis to get professional guidance around what supplements and dietary choices are safe for their situation. The supplement choices available for ‘helping with cancer’ are immense and you want to ensure what you buy will not only be useful for you but, more importantly, safe for you to take.
In my practice it is all about individualizing recommendations for patients and all about safety. My clinical work centers heavily around clinical nutrition, nutritional supplements, herbal medicines and acupuncture. To ensure as individualized a plan as possible, not only are all the physical needs of a person examined, but the mental/emotional impact on a patient’s health are also explored. The mind-body connection plays a role in everyone’s health and can be a key component to helping people reach their health goals.
Many extended health insurance benefit plans include Naturopathic Medicine as part of your coverage! So do consider seeing a Naturopathic Doctor, as an investment in your health!
Dr. Jeff Appelmann is a Naturopathic Doctor with nearly two decades of clinical experience, practicing in Oakville as the owner and director of Appelmann Naturopathic and the Canadian Naturopathic Cancer Clinic. He lectures regularly for the public as well as organizations such as Prostate Cancer Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society and Wellspring, and for professionals such as Naturopathic Doctors, Nurses and Nutritionists. You can learn more about Dr. Appelmann and his Oakville practice at drappelmann. com and at naturopathiccancerclinic.com.