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Naturopathic medicine shares a lot with conventional medicine. We both rely on lab testing and physical exams to help make sense of a patient’s symptoms. We both share common roots in medical science and researched-based treatments. But we also offer things beyond conventional medicine.
First of all, we go broader. We have a broad focus that looks at the whole body. We want to understand how the different systems of the body are working together, since they can affect each other. So your rash or your headache isn’t just a problem with your skin or your head. We need to look more broadly at the body to understand what’s happening.
Second we go deeper. We don’t just rely on a single screening test- we often have to go more in depth to understand complex problems, and to help catch things early, which is important if you are concerned with preventing illness, since it is easier to correct a problem in the early stages.
Finally, we think outside the box. There is testing beyond what is conventional that can be incredibly helpful such as more comprehensive gut testing, food allergy testing, additional inflammation and detoxification tests and nutrient panels that all help us provide the best possible care.
We are also different in the types of treatments we focus on. We do sometimes need to use prescription medications but our top choice is usually diet changes, exercise, supplements of particular vitamins or other natural products, detoxification protocols, etc. These things are usually a gentler intervention on the body and not only solve the health problem, but leave the body healthier.
If you would like to learn more, give us a call at 858.228.4188 or visit us online at MySparkHealth.com .
Seeing a Naturopathic Doctor at Spark Health may not be your average doctor’s appointment. Naturopathic Doctors are trained similarly to Medical Doctors as they go through 4 years of medical school with similar coursework but the approach to patient care has a different perspective.
Naturopathic Medicine follows the following six principles in order to provide you with the best personalized medical care which include:
- The Healing Power of Nature. Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.
- Identify and Treat the Causes. Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.
- First Do No Harm. Utilize the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.
- Doctor as Teacher. Educate patients in the steps to achieving and maintaining health.
- Treat the Whole Person. View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.
- Prevention. Focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.
When you book a new patient appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor at Spark Health is that you will be meeting with your doctor for about an hour long.
We want to be able to get to know you as a whole person so that we are treating you as a person and not just a symptom. Prior to our new patient appointments, we have our patients fill out a thorough new patient questionnaire.
This allows the doctor to get some background and get to know you before you walk through their door. When you arrive at Spark Health you will be checked in with our patient care coordinator, we check your vitals and then you get an entire hour to discuss your current health concerns and goals with your Naturopathic Doctor.
During the visit with the doctor, you will discuss your current symptoms, past medical history, family history, current diet, and lifestyle factors like how you are sleeping, stress management, and more. This is because all of these factors have a powerful influence on how you are feeling and your overall health.
Naturopathic medicine wants to identify and treat the cause rather than simply suppressing symptoms. During your initial appointment with the doctor is when you will decide the best ways to further gather information with lab testing. This may be with a blood draw, urine, saliva, breath, or stool collections. Many of the labs we use can be billed through your insurance but all of the office visits are cash price.
Your Naturopathic Doctor is able to create a superbill for you after your visit that may provide reimbursement from your insurance company, depending on the policy. At Spark, we perform all of our blood draws in office and also offer mobile phlebotomy services to accommodate you and your schedule.
Most other lab testing can be done in the comfort of your own home.
As Naturopathic Doctors, we are trained to look beyond the basics when it comes to lab testing. This allows us to provide the most personalized treatment plan that is right for you and your body at that time.
Depending on your current symptom picture and history, a Naturopathic Doctor will be able to guide you towards the proper lab testing. Too often we have patients that come in with a laundry list of supplements without knowing why or if they should be taking them.
We want you to supplement your body with what it needs which is why we like to tell our patients to test instead of guess. Something we see commonly is patients experiencing abdominal complaints and nearly everyone running to the store to get on a probiotic, but not all probiotics are created equal.
With a comprehensive stool analysis, we can get a better understand of your gut microbiome to see what is happening with the beneficial flora of your gut to see exactly which strain and dose of probiotic is best for your body.
Once all lab testing has been done your doctor will review all of your labs and go through everything discussed in that initial appointment to create your complete treatment plan.
Your Naturopathic Doctor will want to take everything into account while developing your plan. Your first lab review appointment will also be a bit different than visiting your conventional doctor.
We sit down for another hour long appointment to go through your lab results point by point so that you can understand what each value means. Your Naturopathic Doctor also will be looking at your labs through a different perspective.
Often times reference ranges for certain lab values are quite large and we want to look at them through a functional perspective. For example, vitamin D has a reference range typically around 30-100 but if a patient’s vitamin D level is only a 31 it may be in the normal range but not what is optimal for that patient.
Your treatment plan may include medications, supplements, dietary interventions, as well as lifestyle adjustment so that you can reach your health goals to feel your best. A common misconception is that Naturopathic Doctors are against using medication, which is not the case.
We will use medications and prescriptions when necessary but always aim to provide our patients with a treatment plan that is using interventions that are least invasive first.
At Spark, we want to educate our patients as much as possible because when you have the knowledge and understanding about your body your health with succeed even more.
For more information about naturopathic medicine or integrative medicine, please call Spark Health at (858) 228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com .
Spark Health is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals!
` The Spark Team
Naturopathic medicine is great for kids! For those that have health problems, it can be helpful to evaluate nutritional levels, and sometimes gut health to see what kind of impact this could be having on their health. Once we have a more complete idea of what is going on, we can recommend specific diet changes, supplements, or other treatments that can work alongside their conventional care, or sometimes be a safe and effective alternative to what they were using before. Parents appreciate having support for using natural care, in knowing which products and dosages are safe, and knowing when conventional care is the more appropriate option.
One bonus to bringing kids in early is to plant the seed that health is largely created by choices and actions. Although it is a hard time for most kids to really take responsibility for that, we start sending those messages early, that not only are diet, sleep, moving your body, handling stress important, there are places to go for help and support with that.
If you would like to learn more, give us a call at 858.228.4188 or visit us online at MySparkHealth.com .
Naturopathic Medicine and Cancer
Many patients that are diagnosed with cancer feel overwhelmed and are looking for guidance in treatment options, as well as recommendations for natural therapies that can help support them through treatment.
Working with a Naturopathic Doctor that is trained in and specializes in integrative cancer treatment can allow patients to receive the benefit of conventional treatments while minimizing negative side effects.
Naturopathic doctors who specialize in naturopathic oncology understand both the standard treatments used by medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, and how best to work in a collaborative model of cancer co-treatment.
There are many ways in which naturopathic oncology care can benefit patients.
Many patients experience side effects from chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, including hot flashes, insomnia, taste changes, mouth sores, fatigue, bowel changes, nausea and neuropathy.
Naturopathic medicine can help to prevent and minimize the risk of these side effects so that patients can maintain their regular treatment schedule without interruption, and can help resolve lingering side effects from conventional treatment.
Screening for any potential interactions between conventional and natural cancer therapies is another important component of integrative cancer care, as these interactions may affect the efficacy of treatment.
After patients have completed treatment, we work to support the natural cancer-fighting ability of the immune system to help prevent recurrences or other types of cancer.
Naturopathic Medicine at Spark Health
If you are interested in learning more about how naturopathic medicine can support your cancer treatment, please reach out and give us a call at 858-228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com. We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals!
The Spark Health Clinic is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway.
Dr. Aliza Cicerone
Medical Director at Spark Health