I have diagnosed heart murmurs in toddlers and managed asthma in school aged kids. I have sent sick babies to the emergency room and prepared the ER staff for their arrival. I have ordered STAT x-rays. I have found and diagnosed childhood allergies (IgE). I have prescribed antibiotics, albuterol, and epi-pens. I have also made use of the Physician-to-Physician Provider Consultation line at Seattle Children’s Hospital when I’ve needed a second opinion.
While all of those things are on par with my conventional pediatric counterparts (the MD/DO pediatricians) what makes me different is that I have provided all of this care from the lens of a naturopathic physician. My naturopathic medical perspective makes me different, but that doesn’t make me better or worse than my conventional pediatric colleagues.
I gave you examples of what I get to do while functioning as a naturopathic pediatrician. I do not consider the utilization of conventional medical care to be un-naturopathic. Being a naturopathic physician is not a naturopathic medicine vs conventional medicine situation. I am not opposed to conventional medicine.
What I do is integrative medicine. Being a naturopathic doctor is a “both/and” situation and not “either/or.” It is not one or the other, it is both.
When I prescribe antibiotics, I’m also prescribing a double dose of high quality children’s probiotics (sometimes more than a double dose!).
When I diagnose a child’s IgE allergies, I’m also prescribing histamine lowering supplements along with the epi-pen and Benedryl. (And doing a lot more than I can summarize here…)
I look at the whole ecosystem of your child’s health. That’s why I’m a naturopathic doctor. I’m not saying conventional medicine doesn’t do this — what I’m saying is that I offer a unique perspective because I was trained differently.
I was trained to treat each child individually, to treat them as a whole, and to always find the root cause of illness.
And for every kid that walks into my office, I ask, how can I maximize this child’s health? How can I prevent illness when he grows up? How can I give him longevity in his 80s… right now. Because atherosclerosis starts in the womb. Naturopathic medicine is really good at nurturing your child’s fullest health potential!
If you’re curious about how naturopathic pediatric care differs from taking your child to a conventional pediatrician, I highlighted some things below for you. As laws vary by state, all of the things below are applicable to Washington state (since I am a doctor in Snohomish, WA).
1. Naturopathic doctors provide more of their time, as in, longer appointments.
This is one of the biggest differences from most conventional doctors. Well child checks are usually an hour, where there’s time for your questions to be answered, your child’s diet to be discussed, and a thorough head to toe physical exam. In the conventional model, pediatric well child visits are 20-30 minutes max, and you’re usually not even with the doctor the whole time. In the naturopathic model, you usually get a WHOLE HOUR with the doctor.
2. Naturopathic Doctors can serve as your child’s primary pediatrician.
This means that you can bring your child to a naturopathic doctor for all your child’s pediatric needs: sick visits, well child checks, and vaccines. Some NDs don’t do pediatric care, so obviously, don’t go to one of those for this.
3. NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS serve THE whole FAMILY.
A holistic approach considers the whole family. The child is not living by himself in a bubble. When you treat a child, you’re treating the family. What you do for one child, affects the whole family, simply because the child is part of a larger system. Being aware of family dynamics, providing support and encouragement where needed, and looking at the big picture allows the naturopathic physician to individualize care that works for both your family and your child.
3. Naturopathic physicians can prescribe antibiotics and other prescription drugs.
A LOT of the general public, even in Seattle where it’s super saturated with NDs, mistakenly think that NDs can not prescribe prescription medications. They can! They just can’t prescribe scheduled drugs like Adderall and narcotics. If it so happens that your child needs ADD medication or narcotics, we’ll refer to a specialist. To be technical, naturopathic doctors can prescribe anything that is not a controlled substance with two exceptions: codeine and testosterone.
4. Naturopathic physicians do not have hospital privileges.
This affects things in two ways. The first is that naturopathic physicians can not see your newborn in the hospital for his or her first pediatric exam. However, they still provide newborn care — once you have left the hospital, establish care with your naturopathic physician as soon as possible. The second thing is that NDs can not directly admit your child to the hospital, but they can refer and coordinate for your child to go to the ER. If your child goes to the ER and they need admitted to the hospital, nothing’s stopping them from being admitted.
5. Naturopathic pediatric care is all about optimizing your child’s health.
“How can we get your child to have THE BEST POSSIBLE HEALTH” is the mantra in which we operate. We do prescribe many natural treatments in place of pharmaceuticals, but we also use pharmaceuticals in conjunction with natural treatments. It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and situation.
Curious about naturopathic pediatric care for your child, but haven’t tried it yet? Dr. Archer would love to see you!
Dr. Archer specializes in naturopathic pediatric care, and sees patients from all over the greater Seattle area in her Snohomish office. Click here to schedule an appointment.
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