Mindset, Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medical care: a long-term relationship is best for health transformation & disease prevention.

Do you access health care like a one-off transaction? 

This is largely how medicine is delivered in Canada. 

Rather than a plan laid out over time to help you realize your goals and ultimately deliver the transformation you’re hoping for, we tend to see our doctors or health practitioners when things have gotten unbearable or we need a “quick tune up”.

This week’s blog is inspired by some of my long term patients that I’ve seen over the past couple weeks. I notice such shifts in patients whom I’ve been seeing for years and it is so cool to witness the transformation that comes from committed, sustainable steps in the right direction.

Sometimes I’m like, “BUT DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN X, Y, Z?!”

  • Do you remember when you used to 💩 once a week? 
  • Do you remember when you legit barely slept because your back pain was so bad and you were stressed the F out?
  • Do you remember when you were living in chronic fight or flight mode, literally anxious and irritable 24/7 and feeling guilty for not having any patience left for your family when you got home? 
  • Do you remember when you didn’t have the energy to do anything other than work + necessary tasks? (and now you’re planning date nights with your hunny for the first time in years and enjoying leaving the house.)
  • Do you remember when you had joint pain all over and thought you were just getting old? 
  • Do you remember when you had headaches 5 out of 7 days and you didn’t even mark it down as a concern because you were just used to it?
  • Do you remember when you had really bad cystic acne? (considering now you have NONE.)
  • Do you remember when you used to have sore boobs and PMS for 1- 2 weeks of every single month? (and now your period sneaks up on you like a sneaky B.)
  • Do you remember when you were a chronic people pleaser & overthinker and now look at these boundaries (!) and inner peace 🧘 that you’ve cultivated. 

Common patient responses:

  • I didn’t even think I felt that bad, now if I go 1 day without pooping my mood is off, my energy down, and I feel foggy.
  • I totally forgot I used to have that/that it was that bad.
  • How did I live that way?
  • How do you remember these things?! [I take VERY detailed notes 😉 which I consider integral to my success with patients.]

This is what I mean by long term patient care:

  • After you “graduate” from more frequent visits at the start of seeing me, while we get your treatment plan underway and you begin to see good improvements, you keep coming back (lol).
  • Maybe at first we check in in 2-3 months to make sure you’re still feeling great, then 4 months, then maybe 6 months depending on the case.
  • I’d say my patients with the best results over time see me for shorter, more frequent visits, say quarterly or an annual reactivation visit (60 minutes) and another ~longer visit sometime in the year.
  • This helps us stay proactive about your health vs. reactionary, keeps you accountable to your goals, allows us to catch things before you slip back into old patterns (we’re all human), and we get to focus on striving for optimal health, not just getting to feeling “fine” again.

This is in contrast to:

  • All your concerns improve, you drop off of care because you’re feeling good, and come back months-years later when things go south again or because ‘suddenly’ your doctor’s on your case about your blood sugars or cholesterol, etc. etc.
  • Or by the time you come back in, there is SO much to catch me up to speed on that it takes us some time to get the momentum going again as we gather all the necessary assessment pieces and jump start treatment protocols.
  • And then sometimes people only see me when they are in a bit of a crisis mode, maybe for 1-2 visits, and then not again until the next crisis hits.

I hope this doesn’t sound judgy as that is NOT my intention at all. My natural inclination is probably the crisis-mode patient myself 😬😅.

From my experience, I’ve just come to see that the best (most effective) and enjoyable way to work with patients is in a long-term relationship. (I love & appreciate my OG patients so hard).

Kind of like your family physician, but in the “natural” health realm. 

After all, the doctor-patient relationship is SO important. TRUST in your practitioner is the foundation of all medicine. And that takes time, just like any relationship.

So if you’re like me and tend to get “too busy” to prioritise your  health like you should, maybe it’s time to try another approach. (personally I don’t allow myself to leave a clinic/appointment without re-booking something because I know myself).

So, whoever it is you’ve been putting off seeing (or maybe doing – like your PAP, that blood work req your MD gave you 6 months ago, or those pesky poop tests they send out in the mail every year after age 50), this is your reminder, to book or go do the thing!

- Dr. Willow

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I help women achieve optimal digestive and hormonal wellness through a root cause, individualized approach to medicine that utilizes functional lab testing, diet and lifestyle modification, nutritional and herbal medicine, and acupuncture to re-establish lasting health.


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Between my wait listed practice, building my Wild Collective communities, and being Mom, I don't email often, but I'm working behind the scenes to bring you major value and I'd love to be able to tell you about it when it is ready (along with some more personal shares).