The Shift to Personalized Care and Naturopathic Medicine
The movement from sick care to whole-person healthcare continues to gain momentum.
Long-term symptom suppression with only medications has led many to feel like a victim, dependent, and fearful of their own bodies.
Can you relate?
In both physical and mental health arenas, it is becoming evident that a change is required. The conventional treatments that are successful for acute traumas, managing chronic pathologies, and emergency situations are not sufficient as sole interventions for long-term treatment options. Yet, they are being used as such. This method has been expensive and ineffective for achieving true vitality and overall wellness.
Without addressing the root cause of an illness, one is left to chase every ache and pain, body symptom, and discomfort that pops up with a frightened mind. This is what I call “whack-a-mole medicine,” and it’s not the only option.
In this series, I have been setting the stage for a mindset shift to move from a healthcare system that is transactional to transformational. To review:
- I revealed the statistics that makes America’s inefficient and costly healthcare system one of the worst among developed countries. The bottom line is that we are paying too much for too little ROI (return of investment). We may have an extended life span but we have too short of a health span.
- I shared how the current emotional and mental state in the U.S. is dreary and many are not receiving the support they need to overcome their psychological struggles.
- In all of these articles, and especially the preceding one, I have explained how naturopathic doctors can be the integrative, holistic agents of change that are needed to address these gaps in conventional medical care. Naturopathic medicine and functional medicine doctors are poised in their position as wellness, preventative health, and chronic care specialists.
Many people think of healthcare at the person level, but a healthy society and planet result in healthy people. To be truly thriving, communities, environmental interaction, and society outreach are all necessary.
Up to this point, I have spoken mostly on the care of the individual, but now I’d like to share how this movement is also necessary as a societal and global shift.
Read more below and let me know if you agree.
The Holistic, Whole-Person, Environmental, and Global Health Movement
The annual 2021 American Association of Naturopathic Physician (AANP) convention was based on “Leading with Innovation and Transformation.” It was an opportunity for naturopathic doctors to come together as a profession that shares the common objectives of restoring health to the individual and honoring planetary and community well-being. These goals are expressed by all who took the Naturopathic Oath and follow the philosophies of naturopathic medicine.
At the convention, I learned many skills that upped my game in my specialties of mental, gastrointestinal, and women’s health, but I also gained so much from various topics that addressed the prevalent societal and global issues in medicine often overlooked by many practitioners. I was reminded that true health doesn’t stop at the individual, but is best maintained in the community, society, and in communion with the earth.
Several esteemed speakers highlighted this concept that health was a global movement. I have listed a few presentations on these themes below and have briefly expanded on the ones I was fortunate enough to attend.
As you read through them, consider what it would be like to live in a world where this form of medicine was readily available.
Do you think you and your loved ones would benefit?
- Naturopathy as a Model of Prevention-Oriented, Patient-Centered Primary Care: A Disruptive Innovation in Health Care (Dr. Bradley)- This presentation reviewed many of the issues I previously explored in conventional care and why naturopathic medicine needs to be integrated into the current medical model.
- Battling Bias: Leveraging Community-Centered Models to Advance Equity in Maternal and Infant Care (Kimberly Seals Allers) – This presentation stressed the importance of outreach, medical training reform, and integration of all people into health programs. During this workshop, the attendees’ eyes were opened to how bias can negatively influence the healthcare of minorities and stigmatized individuals. Many who are victims of prejudice avoid seeking medical help, have less favorable treatments and outcomes, and experience lasting scars and trauma from uninformed, insensitive physicians.
Ms. Seals Allers emphasized that we need to not play expert in how we think people should be treated based on their appearance. We were asked to remain open to learning and growing. For example, medical training sorely lacks cultural variation training and how different populations are impacted by similar diseases. If we truly are making a shift in healthcare for all, we need to consider everyone.
Ms. Seals Allers also shared with us her latest app which rates health practices based on social stigma and bias. It is intended for Black and Brown women to use to find reviews of practitioners in prenatal, birthing, postpartum, and pediatric care.
- Environmental Sustainability in the Naturopathic Profession: An Indigenous Planetary Health Lens (Dr. Redvers)- This engaging session succeeded in expanding the physician’s mind on the vital connection of humans to their environment and its plant and creature inhabitants.
Many are feeling disconnected today, and part of the solution is reconnecting to nature and our environmental roots. Urging patients to move their bodies in outdoor environments, purchase or engage in Eco-friendly options, and fill prescriptions for drugs that are less polluting (i.e., certain asthma inhalers) can help to expand individual care into community care.
Without assessing how our medical treatments impact the planet and how our patients and clients interact with their world, doctors are only using temporary band aids and not fully integrating whole-person care. Furthermore, practitioners also need to let indigenous people teach us and take their lessons to heart. These wise people are inspiring examples of how to live in harmony with the land and with nature.
- Doctor as Teacher: The Imperative of Public Health as Public Education (Dr. Tippens)- In this session, we were shown how public health is merged with individual health. Socioeconomic factors, access, and various public health measures are what allows the individual to seek medical attention.
Focusing on high-cost lifestyle interventions and dietary solutions will not move the needle for people who are struggling and have no means or ability to obtain them. This means, doctors must be aware of local resources and their own accessibility to the public.
Other co-current sessions also echoed the themes of addressing the changing global environment and societal culture. These included:
- Environmental Toxicants – Emerging Issues and Concerns (Dr. Marchese)
- Naturopathic Approaches to working with Addiction (Dr. Van Gaver)
- Trauma-Informed Naturopathic Primary Care (Dr. Dickson)
- Black Wellness Matters: A Contextualization of Disease Prevalence in the African American Community (Dr. Houston)
- Cultivating the “Global”: A Practitioner: First Do No Harm from a Global Health Lens (Dr. Tusen-Turner)
- Disrupting our Model of Care Delivery for Better Patient and Practitioner Outcomes (Dr. Walker)
- Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Health & Well-Being in and after Pandemic Life (Dr. Iyer)
- Cultural Differences in the Vaginal Microbiome (Dr. Alston)
Due to time restraints and concurrent sessions, I wasn’t able to take in all the above workshops. Thankfully, the ones that I missed are recorded and available until December, so I can take in this information over the year and implement it into my practice.
From Elite Care to People Care
The overall theme that ran through my head during the convention, and was outright stated in some presentations, was in the form of a question.
Are we, as naturopathic doctors, accessible to the people who need us most? Or, are we hiding out as a form of medicine for the elite?
This is where community outreach, making free resources available, and forming non-profit clinics are vital.
I have always tried to make information and resources freely accessible on my website, Facebook community, and within my writing, but I want to do more.
At this point, I am planning on providing free challenges and virtual group events that will make naturopathic and functional medicine methods more accessible for those who don’t have access to a ND or who feel they need a little more support, but not the full one-on-one experience. (Individual, transformational naturopathic coaching from me will still be available as well!)
Please be on the lookout for these opportunities in the near future.
I am hoping to make a big announcement for a FREE opportunity this fall.
This year made evident it is time to mend the traumas and injustices in society and healthcare that were previously “hidden,” but now much more apparent in plain sight. Naturopathic, functional, and personalized medicine is a place to start.
Although it is doctors who can make the shift, it is the people’s willingness to join with us that will move the needle into a healthier, happier, more vital, thriving world.
Please share this article and your comments below.
What are your ideas to participate more in the movement?
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures, vaccination, and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.