If someone asked a room of people why they would go to the doctor, the majority would probably respond that they go to the doctor when they are sick. In naturopathy, however, we believe in not just healing sick patients but working with patients to prevent chronic illness and disease while maximizing their quality of life through holistic care. Truly improving an individual’s holistic health happens by not just addressing symptoms when a patient is sick (though, we certainly do this as well), but by maximizing their health through a variety of modalities. Any time we can prevent an illness or disease, rather than deal with treating it and any possible side effects of treatment, that is the preference. But, we all lead busy lives and most adults barely take the time for an annual wellness appointment, let alone routine preventive care. Often, chronic illness and disease can be avoided altogether or provide a patient with more options and ways to reduce the severity and course of treatment.
While there are many positive aspects of modern medicine, the reality is that most mainstream healthcare is not incentivized to prevent disease. Most doctors spend a matter of minutes with their patients and therefore their visits lack depth and a patient’s concerns may go unaddressed or unexplored. The CDC elaborates on adult preventive healthcare, it’s importance, and it’s concerning lack of presence in mainstream western medicine, “Clinical preventive strategies are available for many chronic diseases; these strategies include intervening before disease occurs (primary prevention), detecting and treating disease at an early stage (secondary prevention), and managing disease to slow or stop its progression (tertiary prevention). These interventions, combined with lifestyle changes, can substantially reduce the incidence of chronic disease and the disability and death associated with chronic disease (9)…In 2015, only 8% of US adults aged 35 or older received all recommended, high-priority, appropriate clinical preventive services, and nearly 5% received none (12)…Underutilization of preventive services is largely the result of an implementation gap rather than an information gap; in other words, providers do not prioritize preventive care services although they know that preventive services can reduce the incidence and burden of chronic diseases. A major reason the implementation gap exists is that financial incentives do not align with a focus on preventing chronic diseases. Currently, most providers, including hospitals and physicians, are paid to treat rather than to prevent disease.”
This is exactly why naturopathy’s method of prioritizing preventative care is superior to western medicine and not only provides tremendous benefit to the patient but reduces the overall burden that chronic disease is on the healthcare system. As naturopathic physicians, we take extensive time listening to the patient and devising an individualized preventive regimen. We have a wide array of preventive treatments that can be beneficial depending on your unique health and concerns including herbal and homeopathic remedies, high-quality and research-supported nutritional supplements, dietary counseling, and lifestyle counseling.