Q: What is naturopathy and naturopathic medicine? 
A: Naturopathic medicine (aka naturopathy) is a comprehensive and holistic approach to improving health and treating illness.  The goal of this medicine is to educate and empower patients to improve their health, identify and remove obstacles to healing, and create optimal conditions for allowing the body to rebuild and heal itself.  The primary goal of naturopathic treatment is to address the underlying cause of illness, rather than simply treat or suppress the symptoms.  Naturopathic medicine combines many methodologies including herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, spinal manipulations, homeopathy, exercise and relaxation techniques.  The Naturopathic Doctor takes the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions into account when diagnosing and treating patients. 

Link to a good explanation from the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

Link to a good explanation from an outside source.

Q: Is naturopathic medicine safe?
A: Yes, very safe.  One of the primary goals of naturopathic medicine is “First Do No Harm.”  Our goal is to help you feel better without causing harm or uncomfortable side effects. We refer
patients to other health care providers when treatment is out of our scope.

Q: Is naturopathic medicine scientific?
A: Yes.  Research into complementary and alternative medicine has been ongoing, and is increasing now that interest and awareness have created more national funding opportunities.  For more information on research into natural medicine, please visit the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Q: What type of training does a naturopathic doctor receive?
A: Naturopathic Doctors, like other medical professions (such as Medical Doctors, Chiropractors, and Dentists), must first complete their premedical undergraduate studies.  After that they complete a 4-year doctorate level medial training from one of 6 recognized schools in North America.  Similar to the curriculum at a conventional medical school, the first two years of naturopathic medicine are focused on gaining an in-depth understanding of the function of and development of disease in the body.  Naturopathic students complete at least 1,200 hours in the teaching clinic treating patients under the close supervision of a licensed naturopathic physician, as well as 300 hours observing naturopathic doctors in the community. Upon successful graduation from Naturopathic Medical College, they must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Board Examinations (NPLEX) in order to qualify for licensing as a Naturopathic Doctor (ND).  Upon completion of this education, naturopathic physicians are qualified to work as primary care physicians. 
They are also trained to draw blood, order lab workng and diagnostic imaging (such as X-rays and MRIs), and interpret the results to formulate an appropriate treatment plan.

Q: How is naturopathic medicine different from conventional medicine?
A: Naturopathic medicine uses a different strategy than conventional medicine. Our goals for our patients is the restoration of their overall health, and not just the improvement of their symptoms.  We work to identify the underlying cause of the medical condition(s) that bring you in, and use treatments that stimulate the natural healing mechanisms of the body.
Side effects of treatment are quite rare with the gentle therapies she uses. Prevention is of the utmost importance in this treatment philosophy.  We spends more time with our patients, and are therefore very familiar with their state of health.  We considers the education and answering of our patient's questions a central aspect of the care we provides.


Q: What types of patients can these doctors treat?
A: We treat you as a whole person. The treatments prescribed will aim to optimize your health and wellness in a complete way to both reduce your symptoms and increase your quality of life.  This is effective in chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, digestive disorders, or obesity as well as in acute conditions like earaches, colds, or flus.  Because of this, we can help you to feel better with just about any medical condition, with the exception of medical emergencies or conditions requiring immediate surgery.  All ages and genders may benefit from treatment by naturopathic doctors.  This medicine is most helpful in patients who are motivated and ready to make any necessary changes.  We encourage patients to take personal responsibility for their own health.  We closely monitor and support our patients in this by teaching them the steps necessary to create and monitor their own wellness.  Many patients have multiple health providers, and we are happy to be a part of your team of providers.

Q: What can I expect from my first visit at Cornerstone?
A: The first visit typically lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, and includes obtaining a complete medical history, addressing your primary concerns, and identifying the most immediate medical issues.  Physical exams may be performed and lab tests may be ordered.  The treatment plan may include supplements, homeopathic remedies, dietary and/or lifestyle changes, counseling, and referral to other physicians or practitioners when necessary.  A follow-up appointment will be scheduled in the following 1-3 weeks.

Q: Do the doctors work together with other health care practitioners?
A: Absolutely.  If you would like us to work with any other physicians, please bring their contact information to your appointment. 
Naturopathic medicine works very well when used in conjunction with other forms of medicine including pharmaceutical drugs, acupuncture and chiropractic care.  The doctor will custom-tailor your treatment to avoid negative interactions with other therapies you may be using.  In addition, naturopathic medicine can help counteract the side effects of difficult conventional treatments.

Q: If I am taking prescription medications, can I take natural medicines? 

A: Yes, but this should be supervised by a physician to ensure safety and efficacy.  Our doctors have been trained extensively in the interactions of pharmaceutical medications and herbal medicine, including a deep understanding about the potentially adverse effects that may occur if drugs and herbs are improperly combined.  It is very important that you provide our doctors with a list of current medications and keep them informed of any changes to that list.

Q: Will insurance cover naturopathic treatment?
A: Some insurance plans will cover naturopathic medicine. 
We can help you to determine what your insurance benefits are.  As a courtesy, we will bill your insurance company for you.  Insurance companies typically do not pay for vitamins and supplements. 

Q: Do Medicare and Medicaid cover Dr. Emma’s services?
A: Unfortunately, Medicare and Medicaid do not cover naturopathic care at this time.

Q: Is naturopathic medicine cost-effective?
A: Absolutely.  Naturopathic medicine is focused on treating causes, not just individual symptoms.  While identifying the cause of any particular condition may take some time, each treatment step is aimed at improving your overall health to help prevent costly future illnesses.

Q: How long will treatment take?
A: The doctors believe in establishing a relationship with each of their patients.  Each patient is unique, as is his or her journey towards health and wellbeing.  Every patient’s treatment plan is individually tailored to their healing process, and the amount of time it takes for each person varies.

Q: How often will I need to see the naturopathic doctor?
A: How often you will need to come in depends on the nature of your ailment.  Many patients continue to see us every four to six weeks, or as appropriate for their individual health condition.