How seeing a naturopath helped put me on the right path to health
This is a guest post written by Crystal Meyers, Assistant Brand & Graphics Manager for Organika Health Products
I had always dreaded going to see the doctor. So it may come as no surprise to learn that I primarily relied on over-the-counter medications for any minor ailments I experienced. It wasn’t until I developed reoccurring symptoms that I began to face my fear of going to see a doctor.
But after countless visits and failing to reach plan of action, I was led to natural alternatives. It was my first experience seeing a naturopath that helped me to understand what was going on inside my body, and provided me with the tools I needed to improve my long-term health from the inside out.
Experiencing New Symptoms
I had first developed a slight brown discolouration around my neck and abdomen. When it first began, I figured it was linked to dying my hair dark brown, or from wearing cheap jewellery. It was a cyclical, fluctuating rash, that I couldn’t find a common cause for.
Then I started noticing my ankles swell. They would swell in the evening after being at university or out at work. At first, the swelling was barely noticeable. But it increased gradually to a point where the skin had no more stretch in it, and the area was tight and warm. Much like my other symptoms, the swelling would fluctuate for reasons I couldn’t understand.
I became a regular at the walk-in clinic, being one of the first five people in line on a Saturday morning every couple of weeks.
After 4 years, 10+ visits, and different tests and medications, one doctor was finally able to diagnose the discolouration on my skin as fungal. His solution was a medicinal cream. But even if the cream worked, I knew the fungus was bound to appear again in cycles.
Finding The Right Naturopath
A lot had changed in my life over those 4 years. I moved to a new city, I went back to school fulltime, became a freelance designer, and began working at a health conscience company. All of these experiences contributed to opening my eyes and changing my perspective to natural health.
I started slowly looking for healthy alternatives to foods I loved, as well as limiting the frequency of some foods. I knew that my stomach was becoming sensitive to some foods and that my sweet tooth was out of control, but I was stubborn to restricting or removing anything from my diet.
After a few months at work, I started taking some of the supplements I was learning about there. Although I began to self-diagnose a bit, I was able to pick a few that had a great improvement on my digestion, but not my skin or ankles.
It was after all of this that I sought out a naturopathic doctor to help me find the best solution possible.
I searched through the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors, as well as the Find a Naturopath database for someone close to my neighborhood. As the options were vast, I also read into their concentrations and backgrounds to someone that would really fit the thought process I felt I needed. I looked for naturopaths that focused on nutrition first, before recommending supplements or other health alternatives. And once I noticed that some doctors were in particular clinics, I looked into what other practitioners would be at the same clinic, so that I could keep one record for the other health treatments I might need.
Once I found someone I felt confident in meeting with, I set up an appointment.
The First Appointment
When I walked into the clinic I began to notice that I didn’t feel the same anxiety that I often had in more clinical-feeling doctor’s offices. The reception area was welcoming with two lounge couches, instead of the tightly lined rows of minimally cushioned singular chairs. To say the couches were more comfortable would be an understatement. They were way more comfortable.
As I was taken into her office, I quickly noticed that it felt more like a mixture of a traditional doctor’s office and a home office. There were credentials hanging on the wall and medical instruments and books right next to a corkboard and a tall backed decorative chair. She didn’t sit behind a large desk or computer while talking to me. She had a small trolley table that allowed her to sit close but still feverishly write down pages of notes while talking to me.
The first consultation was an hour long. She ran through every system in my body to understand the symptoms I had overall, rather than just the ones I came in to specifically discuss.
When she started asking me questions, she assured me that everything we discussed was confidential, but also let me know that it could at times feel invasive. She urged me to let her know if at any point, I didn’t want to share, or if it would be easier answering certain things by email instead. Yet, even with her offer, it didn’t take me long to feel more at ease in her office and with her, to start answering all of her questions to the fullest. I knew every detail would help in the long run.
As she walked through each body system, she prompted me for questions related to symptoms of conditions she suspected I might have. At times, she took the words right out of my mouth, as if she could read my mind. Taking a closer look at the discolouration on my neck, it was immediately apparent to her that it was fungal. My skin issues were a result of a candida overgrowth in my digestive tract.
A Plan of Action for Better Health
By the end of our one-hour consultation, she was able to understand my main concerns, and provide me with plan of action targeting the underlying root cause of my issues. She put me on a 30-day candida diet, recommended one supplement, and gave me a list of eight different tests that she would eventually like to see done for further information. She also emailed me a 6-page document that outlined the 30-day candida diet overall, and explained the phases and limitations that came with it.
I was also encouraged to email her anytime with questions that come up, to which she continually responds to within one day of receiving them.
Since, our first consultation, I have seen her three more time. I continue to feel more and more confident that our relationship is taking me to the best health I can be in, even though I know the road there, will be bumpy and sometimes slow.
My experience with my new naturopathic doctor was the most productive and hopeful appointment I have ever had with any type of doctor. It left me feeling excited, optimistic, and reenergized.
I think that naturopaths are sometimes portrayed in overly alternative ways, when they are actually scientifically trained doctors who put nutrition before medication. A naturopathic doctor doesn’t have to even replace your regular medical doctor. Think of them as a second opinion, as they will show you the other side of health; natural health.