What is Naturopathic Pediatrician?

What is a Naturopathic Pediatrician?

A naturopathic pediatrician focuses on treating children from infancy through adolescence using a blend of traditional medical practices and naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic pediatricians focus on preventing illness and achieving optimum health while helping parents navigate through the important decisions and issues concerning giving their children the healthiest possible start in life. This typically involves complete baby wellness and child care, taking measures to prevent or treat a myriad of childhood ailments and chronic conditions early on.

Naturopathic pediatricians also possess a profound understanding of the unique physical, emotional, and developmental needs of children and how these facets of health impact childhood development, adolescence, and adulthood. Naturopathic pediatricians help build the foundation of a healthy life by holistically applying preventive care, nutritional counseling, lifestyle modifications, and the use of natural remedies among other things.

These all-natural natural/holistic pediatricians are trained to perform routine health examinations, diagnose and treat common pediatric conditions, and provide individualized care that treats the whole person and looks beyond symptoms to address the root causes of illness.

In addition to treating physical health issues, they also consider environmental, genetic, and emotional factors that may impact a child’s well-being, supporting the overall health and development of their young patients. Interested in bringing your child to see a Naturopathic pediatrician in Honolulu, HI? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

What is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is a holistic approach to healthcare that emphasizes the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses through natural therapies and techniques. It integrates the wisdom of nature with modern science, focusing on promoting the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine includes dietary and lifestyle changes, herbal remedies, homeopathy, physical therapies, and stress management techniques.

Practitioners aim to treat the whole person—body, mind, and spirit—by identifying and addressing the root causes of illness rather than merely treating symptoms. Naturopathy is grounded in principles such as the healing power of nature, identifying and treating causes, do no harm, and educating patients to prevent future health issues.

What Do Naturopathic Pediatricians Do?

What naturopathic pediatricians do will primarily differ based on the experience of the practitioner and the state in which their practice resides. In Hawaii, naturopathic doctors are licensed as primary care physicians, along with MDs and DOs. They perform physical exams, order labs, perform diagnostic tests, and diagnose and treat illness.

In essence, naturopathic pediatricians provide naturopathic care to children which typically involves taking a holistic approach to health by addressing the body in its totality and taking measures to ensure that children have a healthy foundation to grow from using natural modalities. Unlike traditional MDs or pediatricians, naturopathic pediatricians treat children by exercising the utmost caution when it comes to prescribing both natural and conventional medications or treatments, often recommending treatments that have the least amount of downside (risk profile) and then going from there.

Oftentimes this approach works well, especially in cases of childhood asthma or eczema where the common solution may be cleaning the environment in which the child resides or increasing the intake of a handful of specific nutrients or vitamins while avoiding certain allergens or chemicals. One of the unique characteristics of naturopathic pediatricians is that they seek to resolve the root of the illness/ problem (if it arises) rather than solely addressing the symptoms.

Although the bulk of naturopathic pediatrician treatment involves nutrition, naturopathic pediatricians also provide comprehensive healthcare for children by integrating conventional pediatric practices with naturopathic treatments which may include:

  • Preventive Care: Focusing on nutrition, lifestyle, and wellness to prevent illness.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment: Using natural and holistic approaches to treat acute and chronic conditions, from common illnesses like colds and flu to chronic issues like asthma and allergies.
  • Support for Parents: Offering guidance on healthy lifestyles, nutritional support, and alternative formulas for infants.
  • Child Exams: Conduct regular health assessments and developmental screenings.
  • Immunization and Allergy Testing: Providing natural and conventional options for immunizations and allergy assessments.
  • Natural Remedies: Utilizing herbal medicine, homeopathy, and dietary supplements.
  • Lifestyle Counseling: Advising on diet, exercise, and environmental health to improve overall wellness.
  • Specialized Treatments: Addressing specific conditions such as ADHD, autism, and eczema with tailored naturopathic strategies.

What to Expect During The First Visit With a Naturopathic Pediatrician

During the first visit with the pediatrician, you will usually discuss your child’s entire health history with you and consider what genetic, environmental, and nutritional factors could be contributing to your child’s illness. He or she will perform a physical examination of your child and may order laboratory tests to arrive at a diagnosis. He or she can provide you with nutritional, botanical, and homeopathic remedies tailored to your child’s needs, and that will help your child’s system to be more resilient and resistant to infection. Often, a home treatment is recommended that will ease your child’s discomfort and accelerate recovery.

Occasionally, a first visit with a sick child will be briefer, focused on getting your child (and you!) some immediate relief and leaving longer-term treatment plans for a later visit.

If you have questions about nutrition, your naturopathic doctor will answer them and make helpful suggestions about providing your child with the best possible nutritional foundation. Most naturopathic and holistic health doctors also carry high-quality multiple vitamin and mineral supplements formulated especially for children. These professional-grade supplements are free of dyes, additives, and allergy-promoting substances that can be detrimental to your child’s health and are compounded using the forms of nutrients that can be most easily absorbed.

If your child is nursing, naturopathic care, and holistic healing will include a discussion of any breastfeeding problems, suggestions for dealing with teething problems, and the best ways to introduce solid foods to minimize the development of food sensitivities that can lead to health problems such as ear infections and asthma.

How Can Naturopathic Pediatricians Help Children?

Naturopathic pediatricians assist children in achieving and maintaining optimal health by focusing on the whole child and incorporating physical, emotional, and environmental health aspects into their care. They promote optimal growth and development through personalized nutrition and lifestyle advice. By emphasizing preventive care, they aim to strengthen the child’s immune system against common illnesses and reduce the prevalence of chronic conditions such as asthma, allergies, eczema, and digestive issues through natural remedies and lifestyle adjustments.

Conventional medicine focuses on treating symptoms and diseases with prescription drugs. While at times these are necessary, antibiotics and other drugs can lead to problems of their own and rarely address the underlying problems. Alternative, naturopathic pediatric care and holistic healing can address problems when they are still minor and prevent the development of more serious and chronic problems.

Children respond readily to natural treatments and holistic medicine. Chronic conditions, such as asthma and allergies, are often treated very effectively with properly prescribed natural medicine, homeopathy, and high-density nutrient formulations, reducing or eliminating the need for prescription or OTC medications.

If acute illnesses do occur, naturopathic pediatricians offer natural treatments aimed at alleviating symptoms and promoting a quicker recovery with fewer side effects. Recognizing the integral connection between physical health and emotional well-being, they also provide support and strategies to help manage stress and anxiety in children. Additionally, by educating families on health and wellness, naturopathic pediatricians empower parents and caregivers to make informed decisions, supporting the overall health and happiness of their children.

Naturopathic pediatricians help children by:

  • Promoting Optimal Growth and Development: They offer tailored advice on nutrition and lifestyle to support healthy growth and development.
  • Preventing Illness: Through dietary guidance, lifestyle modifications, and natural supplements, they work to strengthen the child’s immune system to prevent illness.
  • Treating Chronic Conditions: Conditions like asthma, allergies, eczema, and digestive issues are managed with natural remedies and lifestyle changes, often reducing the need for conventional medications.
  • Addressing Acute Illnesses: They provide natural treatments for common childhood illnesses, aiming to reduce symptoms and speed recovery while minimizing side effects.
  • Supporting Emotional Well-being: Recognizing the link between physical health and emotional state, they offer strategies to help manage stress and anxiety in children.
  • Educating Families: Naturopathic pediatricians empower parents with knowledge and resources to make informed healthcare decisions for their children.

Naturopathic Pediatrician’s Education

The education of a naturopathic pediatrician involves rigorous academic and clinical training, beginning with an undergraduate degree in pre-med or a similar field. Following this, they must complete a four-year doctorate program in naturopathic medicine at an accredited university. This program is intensive and parallels conventional medical school, covering both basic sciences and clinical education. Due to its demanding nature, some students opt for a five-year track to complete their studies.

Throughout their education, naturopathic medical students are required to pass two rounds of national board exams (NPLEX), which test their knowledge in basic sciences and clinical skills. After earning their naturopathic doctorate, graduates must obtain licensure to practice, although requirements vary by state. Some states do not require licensure for naturopaths, which presents its own set of advantages and challenges.

Post-graduation paths for naturopathic doctors (NDs) include completing a residency, joining or starting a private clinic, or pursuing roles in teaching, research, or other related fields. However, unlike conventional medical residencies funded by government sources, naturopathic residencies often depend on private funding or donors, making them less accessible in some areas.

Is a Naturopathic Doctor a Real Doctor?

Yes, naturopathic doctors (NDs) are real doctors. They undergo rigorous education, including a four-year postgraduate naturopathic medical program at an accredited institution, which parallels the education received by medical doctors (MDs) in many aspects. NDs are required to complete over 1,000 clinical patient hours and must pass a licensing board exam to practice. The fundamental difference between NDs and MDs lies in their approach to treatment: NDs focus on whole-body wellness and seek to identify, diagnose, and treat the underlying causes of a patient’s symptoms, whereas MDs often prioritize symptom relief.

Naturopathic medicine combines modern medical science with traditional natural approaches to treat disease, restore health, and prevent future health issues. NDs are trained to offer a wide range of treatments, including lifestyle counseling, herbal remedies, nutritional counseling, and in some cases, pharmaceutical treatments. They can provide primary care services, perform consultations, order tests, make diagnoses, and even perform minor surgeries. NDs often collaborate with conventional medical doctors to create comprehensive treatment plans for their patients, indicating their recognition and integration within the broader healthcare system.

How to Find a Naturopathic Pediatrician or Holistic Pediatrician?

Before reaching out to a pediatrician or deciding to send their child to one, parents should consider the pediatrician’s credentials, their approach to healthcare, and how well it aligns with the family’s health philosophies and needs. It’s also important to evaluate the pediatrician’s experience with specific health issues or conditions their child might be facing. Gathering this information can help ensure a good match between the healthcare provider and the family’s expectations for their child’s care.

Parents can find a naturopathic pediatrician or holistic pediatrician through several avenues:

  • Professional Associations: Start with organizations like the Pediatric Association of Naturopathic Physicians (PedANP), the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), or the Institute for Functional Medicine. These associations often have online directories to help locate naturopathic pediatricians in your area.
  • State Licensing Boards: Check with your state’s naturopathic licensing board for a list of licensed practitioners. This is also a way to verify the credentials and licensure of potential naturopathic pediatricians.
  • Referrals: Ask for referrals from your current healthcare providers, friends, or family members who use naturopathic or holistic services. Personal recommendations can be very helpful.
  • Online Search and Reviews: Use the internet to search for naturopathic pediatricians in your area. Websites like Healthgrades or Yelp can offer reviews and testimonials from patients, which can help you gauge the practitioner’s reputation and effectiveness.

Schedule a Consultation With a Naturopathic Pediatrician

Naturopathic pediatrics and the holistic health of your newborn, infant, toddler and child or teen is one of the specialties of Dr. Diana Joy Ostroff at the Center for Natural Healing. With two children of her own, and 20 years of experience as a pediatric physician, she has profound compassion, empathy and understanding of what mothers and fathers go through in terms of caring for the special needs and demands of their children.

Dr. Ostroff understands that no two children are the same, and takes the time to care and individualize a treatment plan to appropriately suit your child’s personal health care needs.

From concerns about immunization to the use of antibiotics for chronic and re-curing earaches, asthma and allergies, to occasional or frequent diarrhea, constipation, croup, upper respiratory infections and even fussy behavior, Dr. Ostroff knows that you cannot relax until your child is healthy and happy, and takes great effort and pride in seeing to it that you see results in your baby or big boy or girl quickly and painlessly.

Dr. Ostroff has a natural and learned understanding of the delicate systems and needs of our youth, and is highly skilled at providing safe, gentle and effective natural care for your young one. There will be no side effects other than the rapid relief and elimination of unwanted symptoms, along with both you and your child sleeping soundly through the night. Contact our office to work with Dr. Joy in person or online.

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