What the heck is a Naturopathic Doctor?! (Dr. Angela Barry-Dignard, Dr. Mary-Leah Albano)
Jane Doe is your typical 43-year-old female. She is married, she has two teenage children and has worked as a teacher for the past 20 years. She strives to lead a healthy lifestyle, including avoiding fast food, going for walks a few evenings a week with her best friend Sue, and occasionally enjoying a glass of red wine with her husband.
Although nothing seems to have changed recently in her life, she just hasn’t been feeling as well as she used to. There isn’t one area in particular that is concerning her, but she knows that, overall, things could be better.
One evening, while out for a walk with Sue, Sue mentions a colleague of theirs who has recently gone to see a Naturopathic Doctor. Their colleague, Sue says, has been sleeping better, is far more energetic and her complexion is glowing. Jane is intrigued and thinks that if she can feel as good as her colleague looks she’d feel like her old self again.
The next day at work Jane asks her colleague more information about her naturopathic experience, and after a brief conversation, she decides to book her initial appointment. The receptionist at the local naturopathic clinic, Holistic Healing Arts, explains that all of the Naturopathic Doctors are highly educated primary care providers with at least seven years of academic study after high school, including a 4-year naturopathic medical degree. They are all licensed and regulated to practice in the province of Ontario. She goes onto mention that they combine standard medical diagnostics, including a thorough history taking, physical exam and lab tests, with a broad range of natural therapies, including herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, to name a few. Jane was comforted to know the extent of their training and licensing and that the clinic has been serving the community for over 20 years.
On Jane’s first naturopathic visit she meets for the one-hour consultation with her Naturopathic Doctor. During that time they discuss her immediate concerns as well as all aspects of her health, including past medical history, diet and digestion, emotional health, how much sleep she is getting and how restful her sleep has been. Jane can’t remember the last time she felt refreshed in the morning! The Naturopathic Doctor discussed with her the connections between her low energy levels and poor sleep with her poor digestion and recent stress at work. Jane left the appointment feeling optimistic about her overall health. With an initial treatment plan in place that included nutritional, herbal and dietary recommendations, she felt motivated and less overwhelmed than she had initially expected. She could do this!
By the second visit a few weeks later, Jane was feeling more refreshed and had more patience with her kids at home and students at school. Together with her Naturopathic Doctor, she decides to try acupuncture to her relax tense muscles, and allow her to have more restful and rejuvenating sleep. After all, she could definitely use the 20-30 minute treatment sessions simply to relax. The fact that her extended health benefits through her employer covered the cost of her visits helped her breathe easy as well.
Pleased with her health outcomes after her acupuncture sessions, Jane and her Naturopathic Doctor decide to schedule periodic visits to check in on any progress she is making with her sleep, as well as continue to work on different areas to improve her overall health.
Looking back on her visits with her Naturopathic Doctor, Jane is content with her decision to seek naturopathic care. She can now say she has a better understanding of what a Naturopathic Doctor does, what the visits are like and what naturopathic medicine is all about. Feeling a greater sense of empowerment over her health, Jane looks forward to reaching all of her health goals and sharing her successes at their future visits.
Meet the authors, your local naturopathic doctors.
Dr. Angela Barry-Dignard, BSc/BSN, BESH, ND and Dr. Mary-Leah Albano, BSc, MPH, ND are licensed Naturopathic Doctors practicing at Holistic Healing Arts in Brantford. Originally from the East coast, Dr. Barry-Dignard was drawn to naturopathic medicine because it was the perfect meld of her education and interests in biology, nutrition and environmental studies. Born and raised in Brantford, Dr. Albano is honoured to be serving her hometown as a Naturopathic Doctor. Her background in biology and public health are perfect compliments to the preventative focus of naturopathic medicine. Dr. Barry-Dignard and Dr. Albano are proud to be practicing at Holistic Healing Arts along with colleagues owner and operator Dr. Alfred Hauk, ND and Brantford native Dr. Onkar Singh, BSc, ND. Please visit the clinic website for more information www.ndoc.ca and find us on facebook /HolisticHealingArts