Naturopathy is used to supposedly treat conditions from pediatric disease to menopausal and aging issues by managing nutrition, environment and lifestyle. Doctors become partners in managing patients’ health.

1. Learn which factors will help you choose a naturopathic practitioner. Many people seek naturopathic care because practitioners are thought to be more willing to listen to their patients and understand their symptoms in a holistic context. Choose a doctor you feel comfortable confiding in.

2. Understand that naturopathic care isn’t just about treatment of disease–it’s about health promotion too. Learn about the role of the patient from alternative health care books and magazines before you choose a physician (see Resources below). If you are interested in adopting a healthier, more natural lifestyle, then you will likely work well with a naturopathic practitioner.

3. Consider your budget. Expect to pay a little more for your first visit than for a routine check-up. Naturopathic practitioners’ initial fees are moderately expensive. Naturopathic practitioners may prescribe herbal or nutritional supplements instead of prescription drugs, and this may affect your out-of-pocket costs.

4. Compile a list of doctors in your area by checking ads in your community newspaper, the yellow pages under “Physicians, Naturopathic” or Web sites such as the one for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

5. Call or email practitioners on your list and talk with them about your health goals and their training and methods. Schedule an appointment with the one who best meets your needs.

6. Ask for references. You can get recommendations from friends or associates, or ask a naturopathic practitioner for references from current or former patients. Talking to people who’ve experienced alternative treatment will help you understand what to expect.

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