Integrative Medicine: MDs and NDs Working Together

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One of the biggest misconceptions people have about naturopathic doctors is that they are opposed to conventional medicine. The truth is that many naturopathic doctors work hand-in-hand with medical doctors and other healthcare professionals in integrative settings across North America. According to Statista, 70% percent of Americans believe naturopathic medicines and treatments have a positive effect. Here are a few ways medical doctors and naturopathic doctors work together:

Both want what’s best for the patient.
Naturopathic and conventional medicine both have their strengths. When working together for the benefit of the patient, the patient wins. NDs excel in understanding the complexity and interrelatedness of conditions, and work to identify and manage the root cause on physical, psychological and spiritual levels. This may be a vital tool in the medical team-based approach to health care delivery and can result in resolution of both chronic and acute conditions.

Both are seeking ways to alleviate chronic pain.
Perhaps the biggest medical issue facing North America today is chronic pain and subsequent opiate addiction. One study indicated that as many as 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic or severe pain. The opioid crisis is causing a reevaluation of the current approach to pain management, and allopathic doctors are working closer with naturopathic doctors to find alternative techniques to treat pain including herbal medicine and acupuncture. These methods, when coupled with other medical treatments, can help alleviate pain while also minimizing the risk of opiate addiction.

Both are working to reverse autoimmune diseases.
Another area that medical and naturopathic doctors collaborate on is autoimmune disease. The current pharmacological standard of care often comes with strong side effects. Patients are driving demand for gentler approaches that maximize their quality of life. Naturopathic doctors work with the patient to uncover the root cause and remove obstacles to healing. Naturopathic treatment often includes a strong nutritional component as well as identification of food allergies and intolerances. The connection between health and nutrition is quickly gaining traction.

Rather than naturopathic doctors and conventional medical doctors being seen as opponents, they should be viewed as allies. MDs and NDs increasingly work in integrative medicine settings as colleagues, with the ultimate goal of better patient outcomes. These doctors share the same objective, have complimentary methods of diagnosis and treatment, and can each pursue a path that will help their patients get better.

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