Answers to Your Common Questions
Have a question? See responses to common patient questions below to see if they answer yours:
What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
A Naturopathic doctor is a licensed doctor who undertakes academic and clinical training at an accredited, four-year medical school. Naturopathic doctors are licensed by the state’s Department of Health. Click here to learn more »
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a preventive and holistic approach to primary care that believes in the body’s ability to heal itself and aims to identify and treat the cause of disease. Click here to learn more »
Does Dr. Abby work with children?
Yes, Dr. Abby enjoys working with patients of all ages! Children respond well to Naturopathic medicine and parents often prefer this approach because of the lack of side effects.
Do Naturopathic doctors work with other health care providers?
Dr. Abby is happy to work in conjunction with any of the health care providers on your team. Dr. Abby also provides referrals to other health practitioners as needed and as desired by the patient.
What can I expect during my first visit?
An initial consultation is generally around 90 minutes long and involves a thorough review of your medical and personal history including lab results, past procedures and any medications or supplements you are currently taking. Appointments in Connecticut will include a physical exam as needed for medical diagnosis. If additional lab work is recommended, Dr. Abby will discuss this with you. At the end of the appointment, a customized wellness plan will be developed and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled. Click here to learn more »
How long are follow-up appointments?
Follow-up appointments vary in length depending on the age of the patient and what is going on but can range from 20 minutes to an hour in length.
Do you accept insurance?
- Naturopathic Doctors in the state of New York cannot contract with insurance companies so patients living and working in New York will not be able to use their insurance for their appointments. If you have a health savings account (HSA), this can likely be used to pay for the cost of your visits. These are accounts where you can set aside monies tax-free for the year to use for almost any medical expense.
- Naturopathic Doctors in Connecticut are recognized by most insurance companies but you will need to call your insurance provider to find out what might be covered. When calling, it helps to ask them two specific questions: Will you reimburse me for my naturopathic medical visit? and Will you cover or reimburse me for necessary lab tests or supplements? Dr. Abby is not currently contracted with insurance because this model does not support the Naturopathic approach in a way that allows for more lengthy and holistic care. If Naturopathic medicine is a part of your insurance plan, you can submit the superbill from your visit in CT to your insurance company for reimbursement.
What type of payments do you receive?
We accept cash, check and all major credit cards. Payment is due at the time of service.
What’s the difference between a Naturopath and a Homeopath?
Some homeopaths are doctors who have studied Homeopathy in addition to their medical education and some Homeopaths do not have training in medicine. Naturopathic doctors study homeopathy and consider it a modality of treatment. Not all Naturopathic doctors use Homeopathy but Dr. Abby has done significant extra training in Homeopathy and often incorporates it into a patient’s wellness plan.
How is a ND different from a MD?
In some states, NDs operate as primary care doctors and can serve as a family doctor alongside MDs with the same specialty. Licensure of NDs varies from state to state. In New York Naturopathic doctors are not yet licensed but Connecticut, on the other hand, has been licensing Naturopathic doctors longer than any other! Regardless of location, however, the main difference between a ND and a MD is the philosophy and approach to disease. NDs also have longer visits which enables them to better understand the whole person and the interplay of all aspects of a person’s health. The treatment modalities of MDs and NDs also differ. While NDs are not oppose to pharmaceuticals and surgical interventions, they will start off treatment with low force interventions such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, craniosacral therapy, counseling and nutrition.
How often do we meet?
At the end of your first appointment, Dr. Abby will recommend when to follow-up depending on your individual treatment plan. Generally Dr. Abby initially sees patients once a month for 3-4 months and then once every 6-12 months after that. When you find a good Naturopathic Doctor, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with them at least once a year, just as you would with your primary care provider, to focus on preventive health – a big part of what Naturopathic medicine is all about!
Will Naturopathic medicine interfere with my medications?
While there are potential interactions between herbs, supplements, lifestyle changes and medications, Naturopathic doctors are highly trained to understand these interactions. Dr. Abby will review your medications and choose a personalized treatment plan that avoids interactions and side effects with your current and previous therapies.
What types of diseases do you treat?
Naturopathic doctors are trained like primary care doctors and as such are familiar with most medical diagnoses. Given the focus on root cause resolution, NDs specialize in working with patients who have not been helped by other providers or who have a number of different health concerns that have never been cohesively addressed. As a Naturopathic doctor, Dr. Abby believes in treating the person, rather than the disease, so in addition to asking about your chief concern, she will also ask about all the other aspects of your life and health. For a list of conditions we commonly see at Balance Natural Medicine, click here »
Can Naturopathic Medicine really cure disease or just prevent it?
- In many cases, Naturopathic medicine can absolutely cure disease. Naturopathic, Functional or Integrative medicine are all wonderful options in addition to conventional medicine and for those who have not found a cure with conventional medicine, they are worth exploring and learning more about.
- When used in conjunction with conventional therapies, natural approaches may increase the efficacy of conventional therapies, minimize side effects and address concomitant ailments.
- Dr. Abby can diagnose and treat diseases* as well as offer counseling to help prevent them. Like conventional MDs, Dr. Abby can order and interpret blood tests, imaging and other diagnostic procedures.
What’s the difference between Naturopathic Medicine and Functional Medicine?
- Recent demand for more patient-centered and holistic medicine, has prompted some medical doctors to pursue additional training to learn about herbs, nutrition and other natural therapies. These holistically minded doctors are drawing on the history and philosophy of Naturopathic medicine which has been practiced in this country for over a hundred years after drawing on traditional medicine from Europe.
- Functional medicine was developed by Jeffry Bland, who founded the Institute of Functional Medicine in the 1990s which has been the primary center for training MDs and DOs on taking a more holistic approach to patient care.
- Functional medicine is essentially a re-branded and re-marketed version of Naturopathic medicine. Given the short nature of this training, however, many functional medicine doctors are still treating symptoms, albeit with natural therapies. They have not spent the time that Naturopathic doctors have learning the philosophy of identify and treating the root cause of illness and disease. Wherease MDs and DOs undergo independent study in natural medicine in a piecemeal fashion after graduation in order to specialize in Functional medicine, NDs are taught this integrative approach from day one of their medical training in addition to all the same sciences as MDs.
- What all of these providers have in common is a working knowledge of conventional diagnostics and pharmaceuticals in addition to a deep apprciation for the body to heal itself. Holistic MDs and Functional doctors also know much more about herbs and nutrition than the run-of-the-mill MDs but their knoledge is inconsistent from provider to provider and there is no standard exam for these doctors to demonstrate their skill. NDs are well versed in herbal medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, and orthomolecular medicine as the naturopathic medical program mandates these subjects be included not only in the medical curriculum, but also assessed during clinical rotations and tested in the national naturopathic medical board examinations (NPLEX I and NPLEX II).
Will Dr. Abby put me on a specific diet?
While Dr. Abby dislikes the word ‘diet’, she does believe that what we feed our body is intricately related to our health. Though discussing nutrition is a part of every patient appointment, no, she does not have one “diet” that she puts all patients on. Part of your appointment will include a discussion about what dietary changes Dr. Abby recommends considering as well as a discussion about how ready you are for a dietary plan. If you are not interested in changing your diet, there are other tools that we can use. Often times, as patients begin focusing on their health and start feeling better, their readiness for dietary change will come in time.
Have a question that is not on this list? Call the office at 914-919-9300 with any additional questions!
*In Connecticut. In New York, Naturopathic Doctors cannot diagnose or treat disease.
“Our Mission is to create a community oriented practice where you and your loved ones can find a more holistic and preventative approach to health and disease and discover evidence-based options for healing and feeling your best.”