Not sure what to expect of your first visit to a Naturopath? You’re not alone. A Naturopathic visit is different from a visit to any other healthcare provider. Even if you’ve seen an ND (Naturopathic Doctor) before, no 2 Naturopaths practice exactly the same way. Here’s some of what you can expect when you book an appointment with C.M. Gibson.
Before Your 1st Visit: Preparation
Shortly after you book your 1st appointment, you will be sent an intake form to fill out before you arrive. To make the most of your time in the clinic, complete and return this form as soon as you can. But if you do forget, you’ll be given a paper copy to fill in when you arrive.
To avoid interactions, your ND needs to be aware of what medications and supplements you are currently taking. There will be space on your intake form to record this information. However, to avoid any confusion, it is recommended that you bring your medicine cabinet to your 1st appointment. Simply take all your pill bottles, blister packs, etc. and put them in a bag to carry with you. If your ND has any questions about what you take, you’ll be able to show her exactly what it is, instead of trying to remember off the top of your head.
Finally, be prepared to spend a good hour and a half at your ND’s office. Your 1st visit will be 80 minutes, and we suggest you plan to arrive 10 minutes early, in case you have any paperwork to complete. Checking out and re-booking before you leave could add another 10 minutes to your visit. Compared to most doctor’s appointments, that’s a substantial amount of time. Because Naturopathic medicine is so individualized, it takes us a while to get to know you. But we get a lot done in those 80 minutes.
Your Health Assessment
Then she will ask you about your current concerns, go over your health history, and help you clarify your health goals. Don’t worry – these can change over time.
Your ND might also do some physical exams. She may take your temperature or measure your heart rate and blood pressure. If necessary, she might do a targeted physical exam, like an abdominal exam if you have digestive concerns. In some cases, she might recommend some simple, non-invasive tests.
Your Treatment Plan
The last 20 minutes are usually spent discussing your treatment options and creating an initial treatment plan. This treatment plan will be developed collaboratively – your ND will never tell you what to do. It may also change over time.
This initial treatment plan may include homework, such as a Diet Diary or questionnaire. You might leave with an exercise plan, tips to improve your sleep, or a supplement prescription. Or you may be sent for bloodwork or other lab tests to help confirm the cause of your health concerns.
Throughout this process, you will be able to ask any questions you like, and describe any health concerns you have. Your ND will also ask you several questions in order to form a more complete picture of you as a person. You may be surprised at the level of detail. Topics for discussion may include your diet, lifestyle, and stresses, along with physical symptoms.
Before you leave, your ND will let you know when she would like you to come in next. She will give you an idea of how many appointments will be necessary to address your primary health concerns. When you check out of the clinic, you will have the chance to book your next appointment with the receptionist.
Followup visits are generally 40 minutes long. Depending on the complexity of your case, you may be scheduled for a longer 60-minute visit – for example, if a more in-depth physical exam is needed. If your 1st full follow-up visit is more than 2 weeks away, you may be scheduled for a shorter, 20-minute ‘mini visit’ to check on your progress.
At every followup visit, your ND will ask if there have been any changes in your symptoms and answer any questions you may have. Together, you will judge how well your treatment plan is working, adjust it as necessary, and plan out the next steps of your journey.
As your main symptoms improve, your ND may then address any additional or lingering concerns. As your health improves further, and you feel more confident in your ability to move forward with less guidance, your visits may be spread out further, until you only need to come in for a yearly checkup.
Of course, if you ever have any new concerns, you can book an appointment at any time.
Want to learn more about Naturopathic medicine?
Want to learn more about C.M. Gibson?
Wondering if CM Gibson is the right Naturopath for you? Great! You’re in the right place. Naturopaths are an eclectic bunch. You might go to one Naturopath and decide they’re not the right fit for you – and that’s ok. But don’t give up – the next one you see might be a perfect match.
Still have questions about what to expect? Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.