Answers To Some Commonly Asked Questions


What is a naturopathic doctor? Is that the same as a homeopath?


A naturopathic doctor is a licensed doctor who undertakes academic and clinical training at an accredited, four–year medical school. Naturopathic doctors are licensed as doctors or physicians by the state Department of Health. Homeopaths are not doctors and do not practice medicine but are professionals that have studied homeopathy and prescribe homeopathic remedies. Naturopathic doctors do, however, study homeopathy and consider it one of the modalities for treatment.


What's the difference between a ND and a MD?


In some states, NDs operate as primary care doctors and can serve as family doctors alongside MDs with the same specialty. In New York, however, since naturopathic doctors are not yet licensed, NDs serve as wellness practitioners. 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 will 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.


What is the education and training of NDs?


NDs graduate from accredited medical schools where the first two years feature a comprehensive study of the basic medical sciences, including anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, immunology, clinical and physical diagnosis, and laboratory diagnosis. In addition to the basic sciences, a ND takes four years of training in nutrition, homeopathy, botanical medicine, counseling and natural manipulation therapy. The second half of naturopathic medical training focuses on the clinical aspects of medicine: endocrinology, gynecology, pharmacology, cardiology, gastroenterology, dermatology, etc. During this stage, students complete outpatient rotations in naturopathic primary and specialty care. A small number of NDs complete post-graduate residencies that further train naturopathic physicians in primary or specialty care, such as pediatrics, oncology and gynecology.


If I already have a PCP (primary care provider), is there any reason to see a naturopathic doctor?


As a naturopathic doctor, I can work with you to address specific concerns that have not been fully investigated or solved by your primary care provider. Or I can help you to make connections between various signs and symptoms or to look at how your body is functioning in a more general sense in a way that your PCP may not have the time to do. I collaborate well with other PCPs (MDs, DOs, ARNPs or other NDs) and am happy to provide adjunctive care to complement your primary care. My goal in working with you is to bring your body into better balance in order to help prevent disease, to prevent acute conditions from becoming chronic, and to reverse chronic conditions by identifying and treating the underlying cause.


What do NDs think of pharmaceuticals and conventional medicine?


Patients are often surprised that I am NOT against pharmaceutical drugs or conventional medicine. Ever since the discovery of antibiotics and vaccinations, conventional medicine has saved countless lives. There are times when there are no substitutes for conventional care, for example emergent health issues, surgeries, and cancer treatment. I may refer patients to a specialist to receive conventional care and treatment if necessary. My decision to practice naturopathic medicine came from a desire to offer patients BOTH natural treatments as well as conventional treatments, and not because I was rejecting conventional medicine. As a naturopathic doctor with a passion for preventative medicine, it's a wonderful thing to be able to recommend so many different treatments rather than depend on my prescription pad.


Will naturopathic medicine interfere with my medications?


While there are many interactions between herbs, supplements, lifestyle changes and medications, naturopathic doctors are highly trained to understand these interactions. Our physicians will review your medications and choose a personalized treatment plan that avoids interactions and side effects with your current and previous therapies.


Do NDs practice acupuncture, obstetrics/midwifery or chiropractic?


Naturopathic doctors only practice acupuncture if they receive special training in acupuncture; in which case they would have an additional license (LAc) in addition to their ND degree. The same is true for midwifery - a small subset of NDs also have training in midwifery and can deliver babies at birth centers or at home; they are called ND-midwives (ND, LM). Although NDs learn various physical medicine techniques (some which look like chiropractic techniques), they don't practice chiropractic unless they received additional training and licensure for chiropractic (D.C)


Is naturopathic medicine covered by insurance?


No, we do not accept insurance at WCNH because naturopathic care is not covered by health insurance in the state of New York. You will receive a receipt following your appointment which you can use to submit to your insurance company for attempted reimbursement on your own. HSA's (Health Savings Accounts) and MSA's (Medical Savings Accounts) can usually be used for the cost of Naturopathic care. These are accounts where you can set aside monies tax-free for the year to use for almost any medical expense.


Is naturopathic medicine cost-effective?


Yes. Because naturopathic doctors use a preventive approach that reduces the incidence of high-cost chronic conditions, naturopathic medicine reduces long-term health care costs.


Is naturopathic medicine safe?


Yes. Safety records that are monitored in states with review boards are excellent. Naturopathic doctors most often use gentle therapies with low risk for side effects. A core principle of naturopathic medicine is to "first do no harm."


Is naturopathic medicine scientific?


Yes. Naturopathic medicine has its own unique body of knowledge. It incorporates scientific advances from medical disciplines throughout the world with the wisdom from traditional medical models. Many naturopathic medical therapies have been scientifically validated, especially in the areas of clinical nutrition and botanical medicine. The research departments of naturopathic medical colleges in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health conduct on-going research, examining naturopathic therapeutics and practice.


What should I expect at my first visit?


Initial visits are 90 minutes in length during which your intake forms and health history will be thoroughly reviewed. We will discuss with you your personal goals and any additional information needed to formulate a treatment plan. Generally your full treatment plan will be explained at your follow-up visit but some beginning recommendations may be made at the end of your initial appointment. Recommendations may include supplements or referrals and these will be explained in detail. Even if your concern is a straight-forward one, we will review your full health history. By getting a well-rounded picture, we treat your current symptom and also put you on the path toward lifelong optimal health. You should plan on scheduling a follow-up appointment 1-3 weeks following your initial appointment. Follow-up visits are generally 45 minutes in length and, having had time to research and follow-up on things presented in the first office appointment, will present and explain all treatment recommendations. The appointment may also include treatment such as craniosacral therapy or homeopathic remedies.


If my symptoms are managed with medication why should I seek a naturopathic doctor? 


Symptoms are the body's attempt at telling us there may be something deeper going on. While medications can take away the symptom, the cause of that symptom is generally still there. For example, taking acid-blockers for heartburn may help with the symptom of heartburn, but the underlying problem still exists. When medications mask symptoms over a long period of time, other symptoms begin to appear and deeper pathology can develop. Naturopathic medicine can help you discover why you developed your disease in the first place and how to prevent further progression. Most importantly, naturopathic medicine can help bring you back into a state of balance and freedom from daily medications or supplements.


Why should I come to see you if I do not have any current health concerns?


I am not sick, I don't need a doctor. Naturopathic medicine is consistent with Benjamin Franklin's saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Coming in when you are healthy is the best time to establish care at WCNH! It is much easier and more effective to prevent a disease than to reverse it and treat it. More than 80% of chronic and degenerative diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer's, are preventable. Waiting to go to the doctor until you are diagnosed with one of these diseases is retroactive. A more sustainable approach is the proactive model of preventative medicine. Naturopathic medicine can provide you with the tools to be proactive about your health. As US Senator Tom Harkin has said in referring to our conventional medial model, "Let's face it, in America today we don't have a health care system, we have a sick care system." During initial visits at WCNH, we work with you to build a solid foundation of health by reinforcing your healthy habits and recommending simple lifestyle changes. Each patient will receive individualized diet and lifestyle advice that will help your body's systems to find a balance that will enable innate healing. You will feel a sense of empowerment to take control of your health with the advice given. Once we have created this solid foundation of health, we can begin the Four Seasons of Health program. This program protects your body from the insults you come in contact with throughout the four seasons. Colds, coughs, and hay fever are among some of the easily preventable illnesses. For example, coming in to the office months before hay fever season is the most effective treatment to avoid the incessant sneezing, itchy eyes and runny nose that characterizes Spring for some people Don't wait until symptoms arise. Be proactive with your health and enjoy life to its fullest!


Can Dr. Egginton help my children?


Having worked with children and young adults for much of her life, Dr. Egginton has exceptional skills in connecting with young ones. She approaches them on their level and strives to help them feel comfortable and safe and able to ask their own questions. There are toys in the office for many ages and all of her pediatric patients know where they are and look forward to visiting the office.
Dr. Egginton has experience with infants and children of all ages. She can counsel you in the issues of behavior, vaccinations, common childhood ailments, eating disorders, chronic fatigue, chronic infections and general well-being.