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?
I spend 90 minutes with each patient at their initial interview. I believe that when the patient has the time to tell their story it both contains the issues of concern and the cause of the problem. It is healing for each individual to experience that they are seen, understood and heard. Hearing the story and asking questions allows me to see how all the systems are working or not working together. I will order genetic, functional and conventional labs to further clarify the issues and the extent of the problem. I will do a physical exam as appropriate to the problems being discussed as well as an energy assessment. It is helpful to have previous labs and pertinent medical records available prior to the appointment.
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.
I heard that you do MD/ND consultations. What is this and how can I receive this comprehensive assessment?
An MD/ND comprehensive consultation includes Dr. Guarneri, an integrative cardiologist, Dr. Fitzpatrick or Dr. Oberg, who is also a naturopathic doctor and the patient. This is an opportunity to hear the perspective of conventional, integrative and naturopathic medicine. We create a team to support you maximally by integrating the best of medicine. The assessment includes an in-depth history where we get to know you, a physical exam, conventional and functional labs as needed, a bio-impedance analysis and EKG, plus other imaging as needed. We then create a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan beginning with a food plan that supports your unique biochemistry and health concerns, plus foundational supplements, then we take into account your preferences for a more natural or conventional approach. We educate you on the pros and cons of each approach. Ultimately, we empower you to choose aspects of the plan that resonate with who you and what you are willing to do at this time. Each comprehensive has a follow-up appointment to integrate new information from lab and imaging results. For more information, go to www.pacificpearllajolla.com or call Pacific Pearl La Jolla, 858-459–6919
What are some good resources for me?
If you do not live in the La Jolla/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