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What should I expect in the initial naturopathic appointment?

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The first appointment with a naturopathic physician tends to be much longer than a conventional medical office visit-anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes. In addition, patients often complete extensive paperwork before the visit to guide the naturopathic doctor during the interview. Much of the initial visit involves listening to the patient's story. This story may have many twists and turns and involve multiple conditions or diseases. Naturopathic doctors recognize the importance of this process and allow the patient the time and space necessary to share their story.

Naturopathic physicians use laboratory tests and other objective data in combination with the patient's subjective story to determine the most effective treatment. A naturopathic physician is like a tailor, trying to find the best fit for the patient. This is a genuine practice of medicine, requiring trial and error, along with patience and good communication. This process culminates in an individually tailored treatment plan that actively engages the patient in his or her health. The treatment will vary depending upon the expertise of the physician, but ample time is afforded at the end of the visit to discuss the plan and answer any questions. Follow-up visits are common to assess how well the plan fits and to make any necessary changes.

Where can I find a practitioner?
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians  is the primary professional association for naturopathic physicians. They maintain a national database of naturopathic physicians for patient referrals. Local health food stores often know of naturopathic practitioners in the community.

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