Finding a traditional family physician that meets your needs is always a challenge. Finding a naturopathic physician with a solid reputation can be daunting indeed.
Naturopathic physicians often receive a high level of training in a medical school like environment. There are four accredited institutions of naturopathic medicine:
- Bastyr University, Seattle Washington
- Southwest College, Scottsdale Arizona
- National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland Oregon
- Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Ontario Canada
While other programs exist, these are the only programs that have undergone the rigorous requirements for university accreditation. If your potential ND doesn’t have such an immediately recognizable background, be sure to do extensive research into their background and credentials before undergoing treatment. Also, check to see if your ND is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP).
A reputable ND should be willing to provide references of those they have treated successfully. Even if these references appear on a website devoted to reviewing doctors, it’s better than entering into a doctor/patient relationship with a completely unproven practitioner. If you want the most accurate information concerning your ND’s record, do a search for previous lawsuits by former patients. One lawsuit in a ten-year career might not mean anything. Ten lawsuits, however, is another story.
Interview your future ND before undergoing treatment. Ask them what their philosophy on treatment is, and what their rate of success is with your particular condition. Working with an ND often requires more lifestyle changes than working with a traditional physician. For this reason, your attempt to create a healthier lifestyle will be more successful if you trust their methodology and general philosophy.
A Team Effort
Many ND’s work in conjunction with traditional physicians to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses. Some conditions can easily get out of control if left undiagnosed or maintained. Occasionally touching base with a traditional physician might not be a bad idea, especially if you have a potentially life threatening condition. A reputable ND will be comfortable with referring you to the care of an MD if it becomes obvious that your condition is unmanageable using non-traditional techniques.