Integrative medicine utilizes the best of natural and conventional medicine to restore optimal health. As a naturopathic doctor, nurse, and nutritionist, and now an IFM Certified Practitioner, I have experience in both natural and conventional medicine, utilizing both to achieve optimal outcomes for my clients. Most clients have health issues such as digestion and elimination, autoimmune disease, fatigue, hormone imbalances, mood and focus, thyroid, diabetes, arthritis, bone loss, and stress & anxiety. We work to address the underlying cause of their symptoms and formulate the steps necessary to restore health and vitality. I don’t “treat disease”, I restore health!
Integrative Medicine is a term commonly used to describe a medical approach devoted to finding the underlying or “root cause” of distress or illness. Most commonly it is used to refer to the combining of conventional medicine and “holistic” or “alternative” medicine to create the best outcome for the client. The term is often confused or used interchangeably with “Functional Medicine” and “Alternative Medicine”.
The focus of Integrative medicine is to use the totality of a client’s history to create a personalized regimen to intervene, disrupt, and reverse these underlying causes of disease, restoring a client to a state of health. This approach can be used to target virtually any chronic medical condition and, when done properly, can often fully revitalize health.
Conventional medicine is focused on a disease-based model that includes acute illness, trauma, suppressing symptoms of chronic illness, or heroic end-of-life interventions using pharmaceuticals and procedures.
Integrative Medicine utilizes the best of naturopathic, “functional”, and conventional medicine to address chronic conditions at a much earlier stage and to reverse them, hopefully preventing or even curing the full-blown disease state.
Every patient’s health can be improved with this approach. The extent to which a disease process can be reversed primarily depends on how willing the patient is to implement the physician’s suggestions. Other contributing factors include how much damage has already been done, genetics, environmental exposure, dietary habits and lifestyle factors. Starting early and preventing a severe illness is much easier than treating an established full-blown illness. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Conditions that respond well to Integrative Medicine include but are not limited to:
Type II Diabetes/Metabolic Syndrome
High Blood Pressure/ High Cholesterol & Triglyceride
Food Sensitivities and Food Allergies
Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Dysbiosis
Anxiety and Depression
Hypoglycemia and Type 2 Diabetes
Eczema and Psoriasis
Each patient is assessed as an individual with an extensive medical, dietary, toxicity, and nutritional history. Dr. Ford often uses “functional medicine” testing to evaluate underlying causes of disease. Recommendations are individualized based on specific metabolic imbalances detected via this approach. Nutritional supplements, botanical formulations, homeopathic remedies, dietary and exercise regimens, lifestyle suggestions, and bio-identical hormones may be employed to return the patient to a state of health.
Your partnership with Dr. Ford means that she will happily utilize her extensive training, education, and experience as a detective in her endeavor to determine the best course action to restore your health. Your responsibility will be to follow her recommendations as closely and as consistently as possible. Most people do not lose their health overnight, and similarly, most will not restore their health overnight.
Change can be challenging, but those who persist in following Dr. Ford’s recommendations are very likely to be astonished to see the kinds of results that naturopathic medicine can deliver. Dr. Ford cannot do for you that which you will not do for yourself!
In the state of Texas, because NDs are not licensed, Dr. Ford is unable to accept any type of insurance, but she accepts cash, checks, Visa, Master Card & Discover. Dr. Ford cannot accept or work with insurance carriers and cannot sign any documentation regarding, but not limited to, the reimbursement of monies regarding supplement recommendations, testing recommendations, and/or diet recommendations.
If you are looking for someone qualified to understand both the conventional aspects of your health care and provide a more holistic and natural approach, you have come to the right place! I am a naturopathic doctor (ND), a registered nurse (RN), and a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN). I am licensed to practice medicine in the state of Arizona as a primary care physician.
I completed my 4 years of training in naturopathic medicine at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Az. in 2008. I have a master’s degree in Nutrition from University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Tx., and have been a CCN for 26 years, and I started out as a RN 37 years ago with most of my nursing career spent working in ICU.
I understand conventional medicine and that approach to illness as well as I understand the naturopathic or holistic approach to restoring health. I believe there is a place for both in our world of medicine and regularly refer clients to a conventional practitioner when appropriate.
It is important that if we are to work together, we are a “best fit” for one another. Please read the all of the frequently asked questions and answers. They answer just about every question I have ever received prior to working with someone looking to restore their health. In this manner you can make a more informed decision about my being the “best fit” for you.
The state of Texas does not license NDs, so no, I cannot be your primary care doctor. I practice as a wellness consultant, work with chronic conditions, and do not see clients for emergencies or acute illness. I strongly recommend all of my clients retain a MD, NP, PA, or DO as their primary care providers.
I work with people on a longer-term basis to correct the underlying cause of their health challenges, and never carry a pager nor am I “on call” after office hours.
In Texas, I cannot perform physical exams of any sort including pelvic exams or school physicals.
I see clients, on average, once per month in the beginning of our working relationship, and as time goes on and your health improves, our visits will become less frequent. Most clients happily “graduate” to an “as needed” schedule of visits within 6 months, and I have many who have returned years after their last visit due to some other health concern developing.
The largest investment you will make in our work together will likely be the nutritional supplements that I will recommend you use to facilitate your restoration of health and healing.
Supplements can be a substantial investment, regardless of quality or potency as evidenced by some very expensive “multi-level marketing” products that may tout the latest “magic” nutrient, but contain woefully inadequate doses.
I take great care to choose and/or formulate highly effective supplements containing therapeutic doses of biologically available nutrients. I am able, through my education, experience and expertise, to discern quality, potency, synergistic formulations, bioavailability and whether important standards are met by the manufacturing facilities.
Because of the time I routinely take to “keep up” with the latest information that impacts the quality of the supplements I recommend, I insist that my clients purchase their supplements from distributors I recommend. I MUST know that your progress or lack thereof is related to your following my recommendations.
If you are purchasing your supplements from online stores other than those I give you access to, you may very well be purchasing counterfeit (yes, they look just like the “real thing”), expired, or spoiled products that have been stored in conditions that cause the ingredients to decompose. Please read the two blogs on this website regarding counterfeit supplements.
The second largest investment you likely will make in our work together will be for functional medicine testing to determine your current state of health in different areas such as adrenal function, your microbiome and gut health, thyroid function, genetic testing to determine your individual challenges, and other functional medicine panels that conventional doctors typically do not do.
As my client, you will enjoy the privilege of having access to “the best of the best” in terms of supplements. You will be able to set up your own account with the distributors I know, use, and trust, and order your recommended supplements at your convenience! No automatic monthly refills (unless, of course, that is your preference) as is often the case with multi-level marketing companies. You can rest assured that you are buying quality supplements that are direct from the manufacturer, never counterfeit or expired, and stored in proper conditions to maintain potency.
I use “physician grade”, quality supplement lines, that “are what they say they are, and have in the capsule what is on the label”. They are designed to be potent and effective and are therefore available only to qualified practitioners, as opposed to “over the counter” products that can be purchased locally.
Many companies that manufacture the nutritional supplements I choose and recommend were started by doctors like me for doctors like me that “know the difference” and they cater to our particular, critical and demanding standards. There are a wide variety of raw materials and various forms of “the same” nutrients available in this growing market. Some forms are much better absorbed and much better utilized in the body than other forms.
Many “over the counter” products use inferior materials, exploiting the general public’s lack of knowledge about the subject. Knowing these differences, and providing these better forms and formulas is part of my obsession with providing you with the “best of the best”.
The supplements I recommend would not be found in any version in the over-the-counter market. I also do not engage in the use or sale of multi-level marketed supplements and have no future plans for doing so.
Our profession’s education can be completed in no less than 8 years, requiring a bachelor’s degree from an accredited organization followed by a minimum of 4 years of naturopathic medical school. Accordingly, those enrolling in such programs are eligible, upon graduation, to sit for state department of health licensing exams. The required basic medical science exam, taken at the end of a student’s 2nd year, and clinical board exams, taken after graduation, involved four 8 hour days of testing. Those that passes these exams are then licensed as a primary care physicians.
The Naturopathic Doctor thereafter has prescriptive authority and the right to do out-patient minor surgery and all aspects of out-patient family care medicine. Naturopathic Doctors are licensed as primary care physicians in 18 states, 2 territories and Washington, DC.
Texas is not one of the states that licenses or regulates this profession. In the states that do license the profession, the law is clear…either a person pursued and accomplished the education or they did not. They hold a license or they do not. Correspondence course certificate recipients cannot legally call themselves Naturopathic Doctors or “NDs” in these licensed states. (It would be like calling yourself an MD, without having gone to medical school, but having learned about medicine through a correspondence course.)
In Texas (as in many states), Naturopathic Doctors are not licensed or regulated, therefore there are many people who took a correspondence course using the term “Naturopathic Doctor”, or “ND”, and in some cases “Traditional Naturopath”.
It is important for the public to be aware of the distinction because some of us went through the vigorous and thorough Naturopathic medical education and testing to achieve a medical license, and many others did not. The accredited four-year Naturopathic medical programs are as follows:
National College of Naturopathic Medicine
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
National University of Health Sciences
Functional Medicine is a term that I first encountered in the early 90s as a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, which was used to describe an approach to health that considered the “functionality” or biochemistry of an organ system and how that applied to a person’s health status.
Today, the term functional medicine has been adopted by progressive conventionally trained practitioners that understand that the traditional “symptom suppression” or “band aide” approach to medicine is not usually helpful when it comes to restoring health.
There are organizations that provide conferences and training to learn functional medicine, which consists primarily of the biochemistry and nutritional aspects of health. Functional medicine practitioners often “integrate” their new training and knowledge with their conventional training to practice “Integrative Medicine”.
Naturopathic Medicine, on the other hand, incorporates all of “functional medicine”, “conventional medicine” therapies such as prescriptions and minor surgery, and all of the other “alternative medicine” therapies we are trained to do such as botanical medicine, homeopathy, mind/body medicine, physical medicine (such as chiropractic), hydrotherapy, and acupuncture.
I named my company “Integrative Medicine Consultants of Texas” before there was so much confusion about the terms that are sometimes used interchangeably.