Frequently Asked Questions
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
A Distinct and comprehensive method of primary care which includes the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human health conditions, injuries and disease. Naturopathic Medicine is guided by six principles and the distinguishing principle is the “healing power of nature”. It is Patient centered, emphasizes prevention and self-care as the cornerstone of health. Naturopathic Medicine prioritizes a therapeutic order that begins with minimal intervention such as lifestyle and nutrition to higher interventions, including medications when needed.
What is the healing power of nature?
Living organisms have an innate ability to heal themselves when properly supported. A naturopathic doctor recognizes the complexity of the human experience and utilizes therapies that support and promote the body’s natural healing process leading to the highest state of optimal health and well-being.
What are the other principles of Naturopathic Medicine?
First, to do no harm. Naturopathic doctors utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful effects and that are effective in restoring health. Whenever possible the suppression of symptoms is avoided because it interferes with the healing process.The original meaning of the word doctor is teacher. A principle objective of Naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient, engage in dialogue and to empower self-responsibility for health.
Treat the whole person means that Naturopathic doctors view the whole puzzle of variables that affect a person’s life including physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and spiritual. Naturopathic doctors honor the spiritual health of our patients and both support and encourage individuals to pursue a spiritual path that is meaningful for them. The harmonious functioning of all aspects of an individual’s life is essential to health.
Prevention of disease and optimal health is the primary objective of naturopathic medicine. This is a practice. Naturopathic doctors assess risk factors, genetics and susceptibility to disease, make recommendations and interventions in partnership with our patients to prevent dis-ease. We support individuals to participate in creating a healthy world in which all of life may thrive.
What are the tools of a Naturopathic doctor?
We begin where the patient is listen to your story and assess your vital force. Treatment is focused on improving and economizing the life giving power of our energy.
- Nutrition where we focus on an individualized food plan, removing foods which irritating to the body and adding foods which nourish the body. Nutritional supplements provide support to the individual who is in a deficient state or who needs supplementation to address specific systems in the body which are out of balance.
- Physical Activity: Support each individual in creating an exercise program that supports movement, allows our cells to breathe and prolongs our lives.
- Physical Medicine includes an assessment of the structure of the body and treatments include cranial sacral therapy, muscle energy stretching, plus a variety of techniques to support the individual.
- Hydrotherapy utilizes the principles of hot and cold therapies to strengthen the body.
- Homeopathy is based upon the idea that “like cures like”. If a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, giving the person a small amount of the same substance may cure the illness. A homeopathic dose enhances the body’s natural healing ability.
- Botanical Medicine utilizes the healing power of plants as medicine.
Intravenous therapy is a way to incorporate higher doses of vitamins, minerals and nutrients as therapeutic treatments.
- Mind-Body Medicine teaches relaxations and utilizes the power of the mind and subconscious to clear emotions, repetitive beliefs and behaviors that interfere with the life that we desire.
- Medications are utilized at the lowest effective dose when needed for healing.
What is Integrative Medicine?
It is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.
What is Energy Medicine?
Traditionally, this energy has been called the aura. Scientists are now able to measure the energy field around the body and call it the “biofield”. Practitioners who use energy medicine seek to balance the energetic fields of the body as a precursor to physical/emotional healing.
What is unique about Dr. Fitzpatrick’s practice?
I integrate Naturopathic, Integrative and Energy medicine. Balancing the energy system prepares the body and mind for healing. I recognize that “good” medicine includes all forms of health and medicine. I refer to conventional medicine doctors when appropriate for the health and well-being of the individual.
What can I expect from my first visit?
The initial consultation is a mutual investment of time where we begin to develop a relationship and I become aware of your health concerns and goals, your strengths and challenges, obstacles to achieving your health goals and what is important to you.
There are two levels of assessment to meet your needs. The Initial appointment and comprehensive follow-up can be a platinum or gold level of care. The primary difference is the level of complexity of your health concerns.
Platinum Level is a 2-hour initial appointment where I will hear your story, review your medical and family history, review all mind-body systems, and do a functional and regular physical exam. Together we will look at obstacles in the way of you achieving your goals. I will make recommendations for lifestyle changes, labs, and initial supplementation. You have access to me during the rest of your care via email and cell phone.
The following types of issues require platinum level of assessment due to complexity: Individuals diagnosed with cancer, neurodegenerative issues, mental and brain health, multiple chronic long-term symptoms or illness, conundrums meaning no health care provider yet has been able to adequately help you and you are looking for a second opinion.
Extensive Follow-Up Appointment is 80 minutes. You will receive a comprehensive treatment plan, most likely in phases due to its complexity. This plan is an integration of labs with your current condition. You may also receive recommendations for adjunct services to support you in achieving your goals These may include hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Nutrient IV infusions, hypnotherapy, osteopathic therapy, body therapy or other therapies which would support you.
Gold Level is a 90-minute initial appointment and 60-minute Extensive follow-up appointment. The primary difference is the level of complexity of your health concerns. The gold level of assessment is shorter in duration due to it being a more focused appointment. The primary elements of a gold level assessment are the same as platinum.
The following types of issues are eligible for a gold level of assessment: hormonal issues and bio-identical hormones, digestive issues, chronic sinus conditions, fatigue, high cholesterol/blood sugar, and inflammatory states.
What types of health problems are treated by Naturopathic doctors?
Naturopathic doctors excel in prevention and the treatment of chronic disease. ND’s are also trained in acute care. Eighty percent of deaths in California were caused by chronic disease in 2010. Chronic disease is preventable. Prevention strategies include eliminating unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, tobacco and the harmful effects of alcohol. Eliminating inflammation is the key strategy to healing the chronic disease crisis. Quality, personal care, is needed for prevention and the healing of chronic disease.
How are Naturopathic Doctors trained?
Naturopathic Doctors attend a 4-year accredited naturopathic medical school where the first two years include the basic sciences plus courses integrating the philosophy and principles of naturopathic medicine. The students then take a national exam (NPLEX) to demonstrate competency in the basic sciences. The next two years are focused on the clinical sciences, research and practice. Students spend about 1200 hours in patient care. Following graduations, naturopathic doctors take a national exam to demonstrate their competency in the clinical sciences (NPLEX) as well as the licensing exam of the state in which they choose to practice. There are 17 states that license naturopathic doctors, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Many Naturopathic Doctors do a residency following graduation, however, it is not required. The profession continues to seek funding with the vision of providing every graduate the opportunity to do a residency.
What are some good resources for me?
If you do not live in the Encinitas/San Diego area and you are looking for a Naturopathic Physician, I recommend you go to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website – www.naturopathic.org
- Academy for Integrative Health and Medicine – www.AIHM.org
- California Naturopathic Doctors Association – www.calnd.org
- Information on Methylation and genetic testing – www.epigeneticsrx.com