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What to Expect When Seeing a Naturopath Virtually

June 4, 2024 • read

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What to Expect When Seeing a Naturopath Virtually

People have used naturopathic medicine for many years to complement their ongoing health needs. Based on the belief that the body can heal itself, naturopathic medicine aims to improve health through clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, lifestyle counseling, naturopathic manipulation, and traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture, homeopathy, and botanical medicines.

The idea of promoting good health may appeal to people pursuing naturopathy. In this blog, we’ll highlight what to expect from naturopathic medicine and how to get care. 

What is a naturopath?

Naturopathic medicine takes a holistic approach to health. It does this by considering the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a person’s well-being and focusing on the root causes of illness instead of simply addressing symptoms.

Within their practice, naturopathic doctors (NDs) blend conventional diagnostic tools with traditional and natural therapies, including herbal medicine, nutrition, lifestyle shifts, and physical treatments such as acupuncture.

The bespoke treatment plans they develop for their clients necessitate in-depth interviews and often, lab work. This makes naturopathic medicine particularly well-suited to virtual care as both interviews and lab work requisitions can be easily managed online.

Who can benefit from naturopathic care?

NDs provide personalized care that addresses a wide range of health needs, preferences, and goals using natural and holistic approaches. Health concerns for all ages can be treated by naturopathic medicine including acute to chronic and physical to psychological concerns.

These include:

  • Promote health and disease prevention, by offering treatments and lifestyle counseling that are both safe and effective while restoring and supporting your body’s natural healing abilities of your mind, body, and spirit. 
  • Help determine and treat the underlying cause of undiagnosed symptoms such as bloating, weight gain, and hormone imbalances, or explore and manage food sensitivities and environmental allergies. 
  • Support diagnosed serious or chronic illnesses with treatment options to improve quality of life and treat the whole person in addition to the physical symptoms, considering mental, emotional, genetic, social, and environmental factors that may be attributing. Combine naturopathic treatments with conventional medicine to reduce the side effect profiles of certain medications (such as cancer treatments) or surgical procedures.  Teach about health and illnesses to better enable self-health management and support taking proactive steps in preventing diseases and promoting good health.

Benefits of virtual consultations with a naturopath

If you’re having trouble finding a naturopath, consider using Maple to access care.

By connecting virtually, an online naturopathic appointment allows you to discuss your personal health concerns in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Through Maple, experts in naturopathic medicine can support you with digestive issues, stress, chronic fatigue, and more.

Connecting via your phone, tablet or computer also gives you greater flexibility in terms of scheduling. Virtual consultations mean you don’t have to factor in travel time or finding parking. This is especially helpful if you live in rural areas, have mobility challenges, or if the provider you prefer isn’t nearby.

Virtual care also allows your ND to send lab work requisitions and natural medicine or supplement recommendations directly through Maple. And, since you can access virtual follow-up consultations as needed, you can maintain regular contact with your naturopath regardless of your location.

How to prepare for your virtual naturopathic appointment

NDs take a highly personalized approach to treating each of their patients. This necessitates building an in-depth picture of your health by taking a comprehensive medical history.

To begin building this, most NDs will ask you to fill out a form ahead of time detailing your medical history, your family medical history, and any medications or supplements you’re taking.

This screening document may also ask about your diet, exercise habits, stress levels, sleep patterns, and relationships.

Since naturopaths pay attention to any related or seemingly unrelated symptoms that could provide insights into the root causes of your health issues, many offer a checklist of different symptoms. Make sure to complete these forms before your appointment to give your ND a complete picture of your health.

What to expect during your virtual appointment

Below are the steps for connecting with a naturopathic doctor or other medical professional like a doctor, nurse practitioner, or other specialist: With Maple, NDs are on-demand, and typically see patients within 24 hours.

  1. Input your location and choose Naturopathic Doctor
  2. Pay for your visit (or membership, depending on province). 
  3. Explain your symptoms or health-related concerns. This is the information-gathering step. Based on what you provide, you may be asked more questions (about past medical history, family history, medications, dietary and lifestyle habits) to better prepare the healthcare provider for the appointment. 
  4. You may need to verify your identity before entering the virtual waiting room. You will be provided with an expected wait time.
  5. Begin connecting with your healthcare provider via text. You or the healthcare provider may request a video or audio call. 
  6. Your provider will enter any relevant diagnoses, investigations or recommended treatments into the chat. 
  7. If you receive a prescription, you can have it sent to a pharmacy near you for you to pick up or have it delivered straight to your home.

Creating a comfortable environment

In order to fully explore your history and concerns, your initial naturopathic consultation may be up to 60 minutes long and cost $290. Thirty-minute follow-ups are available for $150.

Set yourself up in a quiet and private location where you won’t be disturbed and make sure your device has enough power for the entire appointment — or have charging cables available. Good lighting is also a must to ensure you can see and be seen properly.

To help keep yourself focused and reduce potential distraction, you may find it helpful to keep a glass of water nearby and to take a moment to use the restroom before starting your appointment.

And, while you may wish to have paper and a pen nearby, your naturopath will provide you with a complete treatment plan so there’s no need to record your own notes during the appointment (unless you want to). 

What to expect during your virtual consultation

As the starting point to your consultation, your ND will review any screening forms you’ve completed with you. They may ask you to discuss various aspects of your life in more detail, including diet, exercise, stress levels, and environmental factors. 

Once they understand your health history, lifestyle, and current symptoms, your ND may recommend additional diagnostic testing (such as blood work) or be ready to provide treatment recommendations.

Whatever their guidance, your Naturopathic Doctor should take the time to explain their reasoning and give you the opportunity to ask questions. You may want to ask questions about when collaboration with other health professionals like Dietitians or Nurse Practitioners would be appropriate, or when they may refer you to a medical doctor if needed. 

What you’ll discuss during your interactive health assessment

One of the foundational principles of naturopathic medicine is to treat the whole patient. As a result, your online naturopathic visit will cover the symptoms you’re concerned about along with other aspects of your health that may seem unrelated.

To this end, your ND will likely want to discuss your fluid and food intake, menstrual cycle or prostate condition, mood, mental health, and stress levels. Your medical history, including past hospitalizations, illnesses or surgeries, dental issues, and family medical history are also topics you’re likely to cover.

Since gastrointestinal health may shed light on what’s going on in the body, it’s highly likely to feature in this assessment. Come prepared to share your stool consistency and frequency along with any episodes of heartburn, bloating, or gas.

While it may seem unusual, gathering information related to your lifestyle, history, and overall health in addition to your symptoms allows your naturopath to look at your health holistically. This, in turn, allows them to develop a highly personalized treatment plan. 

Treatment recommendations and follow-up care

Based on their assessment, your naturopathic doctor will formulate a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan for you. They may order further diagnostic testing such as blood tests or urine or stool analysis is needed to gather more information about your health status.

Treatments can vary widely depending on your specific health concerns, goals, and nutritional needs, and may include: 

  • Clinical nutrition guidance such as adopting an elimination diet to pinpoint a suspected food intolerance, and suggesting nutritional supplements or vitamins.
  • Assist with making lifestyle changes such as meditation, gratitude journaling, or other calming strategies for improved stress management. 
  • Botanical medicine to address specific health issues. For example, consuming turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Homeopathic medicine using minute dilutions of substances to promote healing 
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture to support balance the flow of chi (energy) in the body.
  • Physical medicine such as therapeutic massage, hydrotherapy, or exercise.  

Whatever their treatment, your ND will likely schedule follow-up appointments in order to monitor your progress, adjust treatment protocols as needed, and address any new developments or concerns.

However, keep in mind that naturopathic treatments vary. This makes it crucial to find a qualified, licensed naturopathic doctor who aligns with your needs and values. Speak to a naturopathic doctor on Maple if you’re experiencing digestive issues like gut health, stress management, fatigue, and food sensitivity.

The information presented here is for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the advice from your medical professional. Virtual care is not meant for medical emergencies. If you are experiencing an emergency like chest pain or difficulties breathing, for example, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.


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