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How to prepare for your first appointment with a natural health practitioner

Article by BioMedica Nutraceuticals

 

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Making the decision to see a natural health practitioner for the first time is an important step towards better health. Whether you are seeking assistance because conventional treatments have been unsatisfactory, or you want to take a more natural approach to your health, it can be quite normal to feel slightly nervous about seeing a new practitioner, especially when it is something you are doing for the first time. So, here are 6 tips to help you prepare for your first appointment.

1. Understand the essence of natural health therapies

When seeing a natural health practitioner for the first time, you’ll find that your consultation progresses a little differently than a consultation with your GP. Where your GP will diagnose and treat your symptoms, the approach of a natural health practitioner is not just to treat the symptoms but rather consider you as a whole, your lifestyle, your personal circumstance and your medical history. While every practitioner approaches this a little differently, depending on which modalities they have studied and their philosophy towards healing, their primary goal is always to support you, their patient, towards improving overall health.

2. Be prepared for a thorough, in-depth consultation

In your investigations for a natural health practitioner, you may have seen that an initial consultation may be between 1 to 1.5 hours long. Why are these appointments so much longer than a typical appointment with a GP? During this time, your naturopath will thoroughly investigate your medical history, your diet, family history, and lifestyle factors such as exercise, stress, and sleep. By taking the time to do so, your naturopath can develop a treatment plan tailored to your individual circumstances.

Therapeutic doses of herbal or natural medicines or nutritional supplements may be prescribed as part of your treatment plan. Your practitioner may also make some lifestyle recommendations, and educate you in regards to your particular concern or health condition, as a better understanding on how to make these changes are an essential part of the holistic treatment approach.

3. Bring medical results and a list of medications

Your natural health practitioner needs to understand your medical history in order to help you, and the best way to assist them is to bring along any recent pathology results, x-rays and a list of the medications or supplements you are currently taking. Your practitioner can then develop a more holistic understanding of your health condition and take these into account when formulating the appropriate recommendations.

4. Answer the tough questions

Part of getting to know you requires asking a lot of questions that may be uncomfortable to answer. How often do you consume sugary drinks? What is the consistency or frequency of your bowel movements? Many of these questions are designed to gain the best understanding of your current health status, so be prepared to be honest with yourself as well as with your practitioner, rather than telling them what you think they want to hear!

5. Begin a food diary

A week before your first consultation, it may be worthwhile jotting down what you ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks in between. This may help your practitioner to see if diet may be having an effect on your health condition. It can be as simple as taking photos of your meals on your smartphone in order to record your daily meals.

6. Be ready for commitment

At the end of your consultation, your practitioner may present you with an individualised treatment plan, which may include a prescription for supplements or other naturopathic or herbal remedies. It may also require changes to your eating or lifestyle habits. It may be a change as small as increasing your level of daily exercise, but the changes require persistence and patience. By committing to your treatment plan, you are well on your way to better health and an improved quality of life.

Depending on your health condition, your treatment with a natural health practitioner will require follow-up consultations. The number of visits will depend on the condition, as well as your compliance with your treatment plan. These visits are often shorter, typically half an hour. But by committing to these follow-up appointments, your practitioner can monitor your progress and alter therapies if necessary to ensure that your journey towards health is as smooth and effective as possible.


 

For the best health outcome and individualised care that takes into account your needs and individual circumstances, consult a qualified natural health practitioner.

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