Canadian Naturopathic Healthcare
On April 29th, 2013, several Naturopathic Doctors published a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
They concluded that Naturopathic Care is a reasonable complement (ie; not replacement - the more we work together, the happier we'll be) to Standard Medical Care for those at risk for Cardiovascular Disease & Metabolic Syndrome.
They worked with Canada Post Employees who were deemed at risk for these conditions and they followed one of 2 protocols:
1: Standard, Enhanced (although that term is not defined) Medical Care over 1 year.
2: Standard, Enhanced Medical Care, and additionally 7 Naturopathic Care visits (nutrition, supplements and physical activity) over 1 year
What did they find?
A 3% Risk Reduction in Cardiovascular Events & 16% Reduction in Metabolic Syndrome.
That's a pretty big deal!
That's means that 3 less people out of every 100 & 16 less people out every 100 who would have developed these conditions, didn't. I'll take those odds.
You know how this happened?
Regular consultation with someone who mentors you.
The Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) followed up 7 times with the patients who were in the study.
The quote below is taken directly from their study; the recommendations from the NDs are standard of care:
According to the American Heart Association, the “prime emphasis in management of the metabolic syndrome per se is to mitigate the modifiable, underlying risk factors (obesity, physical inactivity, and atherogenic diet) through lifestyle changes. ... Then, if absolute risk is high enough, consideration can be given to incorporating drug therapy to the regimen.” Primary health care that provides in-depth counselling around diet and lifestyle is uniquely poised to help comanage metabolic risk factors.
So regardless of who is giving the care, MDs or NDs (The Study Group 1 or Group 2), what matters most is the in-depth counselling on diet, activity and lifestyle.
I believe it's not just recommendation of the pill or the diet or the exercise.
I believe the reason that the numbers are so different is: The continuity of connection.
Unfortunately, the study didn't record the frequency of MD visits, or what the visits entailed, but my assumption from the reading is that the patients visited their MDs 1-3 times in the year, and were seen briefly for prescriptions or assessment.
What do I see that made the biggest difference between the MD & ND visits?
- Time spent in each visit
- Education about health
- Frequent reminders to maintain recommendations
- Regular communication over an extended amount of time
- Individualized Protocols
Gee, that sounds an awful lot like the Change Membership focus. ;)
Naturopathic Doctors have the privilege of offering this, as we are not bound by insurance and shortened visit times. But as this study shows, one visit is not enough. The NDs saw their patients at 7 preset times throughout the year. This is regular contact care.
Do you know what kind of financial commitment that works out to? Depending on the practitioner, anywhere between $600-800.
Do you know how to make that budget conscious & sustainable? Pay monthly (With these numbers it would work out to $50-65/month), rather than Fee-for-Service.
Annual commitments, relationship building and high quality naturopathic care focused on what ails you.
Medicine is Changing. Your health can too.