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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lucas MacMillan, ND

What to Expect (And Tips) for Your First Visit with an ND

1. Time

Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine often have 1 hour initial visits, with follow up visits generally ranging from 15-45 minutes. This allows you the time with your doctor to fully discuss your health concerns, and ultimately to set meaningful health goals together.

2. Thorough History and Intake Form

In order to maximize your time with the ND, most clinics will ask you to fill out an intake form in advance; this may be lengthy! During the visit, ND's often ask many unexpected questions, as these are necessary to piece together the details of your case. Expect your ND to get to know you, and know that this will lead to better care overall. 

3. Options

Naturopathic medicine involves many different treatment approaches, and may include lab work, salivary tests, or other assessment methods to fully understand your case. Your ND will often offer different assessment or treatments options to suit your preferences and your budget; further, your doctor will likely make recommendations based on his or her training and experience.

4. Unique Care

Although a wide scope of practice involving many treatment options is a great benefit, it also means that each practitioner may have a different approach to the same problems. Also, many ND's focus on one type of health concern, where one may primarily treat digestive health, whereas another might focus on hormonal rebalancing and fertility. For these reasons, I always recommend reading the website and info related to your future ND, and taking the time to find the practitioner that is right for you.

5. Results

Naturopathic medicine works. However, for many conditions, true change is gradual. Symptoms often improve right away, but the complete and lasting changes might take time. Many of our health concerns have taken years to form, and simply cannot be undone overnight. Your ND should explain the expected improvements and timeline so there are no surprises.

Bottom Line

Having realistic expectations is an important part of the therapeutic relationship, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about expected outcomes, past experiences of the ND with conditions similar to yours, or anything else that you feel would benefit your experience. After all this is about you and your health. Take advantage! 

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