Frequently Asked Questions
Is Integrative Medicine Right For Me?
Is this approach right for me?
If your goal is to activate your body’s healing abilities, and to enjoy more energy and vitality in every part of your life…you are in the right place.
Dr. Ford leverages a natural approach, which will likely include specialized testing, personalized nutrition, targeted supplementation, and customized lifestyle recommendations.
She believes there is a place for both conventional and integrative medicine, and she has experience in both fields.
If Dr. Ford feels that a conventional approach would be more appropriate for your unique case, she will refer you to the right practitioner. Either way, she is committed to helping you find the answers you need.
What conditions respond well to integrative medicine?
Integrative medicine shines when addressing chronic disorders, imbalances, systemic dysfunctions, and/or failures to thrive.
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 Dr. Ford’s suggestions.
Other contributing factors include how much damage has already been done, genetics, environmental exposure, dietary habits, and lifestyle factors. However, the majority of IMC clients see results, often rapidly. Dr. Ford will be able to give you a more accurate estimation of how well you might respond after your initial consultation
What is integrative medicine?
At IMC, we utilize Naturopathic Medicine, Functional Medicine, nutrition, and conventional medicine to develop health restoration plans for our patients.
It’s this multi-faceted approach that lends the name Integrative Medicine, a term commonly used to describe a medical approach devoted to finding the underlying root cause of distress or illness.
IMC’s focus is to use a client’s complete history to generate a personalized plan that restores health.
Is this the same as functional medicine?
Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences.
Functional medicine is a term used to describe an approach to health that considers the “functionality” or biochemistry of an organ system and how that contributes to a person’s overall health.
Today, the term functional medicine has been adopted by progressive, conventionally trained practitioners who understand that “symptom suppression” or a “band-aid” approach does not often restore health. It consists primarily of the biochemistry and nutritional aspects of health.
Naturopathic medicine incorporates a broader scope. It includes ALL of functional medicine, some conventional medicine therapies (such as prescriptions and minor surgery), AND all of the alternative medicine therapeutics (such as botanical medicine, homeopathy, mind/body medicine, physical approaches like chiropractic, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture). Naturopaths have a much broader “Therapeutic Tool Kit,” and are therefore most equipped to resolve the root cause of symptoms and balance the body.
What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
Here is a summary based on the definition created by the American Association of Naturopathic Doctors:
Naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to identify and remove barriers to good health by helping to create a healing internal and external environment.
Licensed naturopathic physicians undergo rigorous training in an accredited medical school before they become licensed health-care practitioners. NDs treat all medical conditions and can provide both individual and family health care. NDs are trained to utilize prescription drugs, although the emphasis of naturopathic medicine is the use of natural healing agents.
How is this different from a conventional approach?
Conventional medicine includes treatment for acute illness and trauma, or end-of-life interventions using pharmaceuticals and procedures. It focuses on alleviating the symptoms of disease rather than addressing the cause. Integrative medicine addresses chronic conditions and aims to reverse them. At its best, its goal is to prevent or cure disease and fully revitalize health.
How do I know this approach is legitimate and trustworthy?
The educational process to become an ND requires a minimum of 8 years. Once education is complete, an ND is eligible to sit for their state’s Department of Health licensing exams.
Those who pass these exams are then licensed as primary care physicians in 20 states, 2 territories, and Washington, DC. In many states, licensed naturopathic physicians have prescriptive authority, and can perform minor out-patient surgeries, as well as handle all aspects of out-patient family care.
HOWEVER — Texas, among many others, is not one of the states that license or regulate naturopathic doctors. Therefore there are many people who took a 6-12 month correspondence course and use the title “naturopathic doctor”, “ND”, and in some cases “traditional naturopath” without having truly earned the title.
This is an important distinction because some practitioners have been through the vigorous and thorough naturopathic medical education and testing to achieve a medical license, while many others did not. The accredited four-year naturopathic medical schools are as follows:
To learn more about Dr. Ford’s licensing and background, you can read about her here.
What’s It Like Working With IMC?
How will you personalize my treatment plan?
Each client is assessed as an individual with an extensive medical, dietary, lifestyle, and nutritional history…often followed by specialized testing. All of your recommendations are then individualized, based upon the specific imbalances Dr. Ford detects.
What kind of support will I receive?
Your visits with Dr. Ford are not rushed. You will have enough 1:1 time in each consult to answer all your questions, translate the meaning of test results, and clarify the steps in your personalized health program. If additional questions arise, email support is available.
How long will it take to see results?
For clients in our private care plans, we recommend one visit per month (on average) in the beginning. As your health improves, less frequent visits are needed. Most clients happily graduate to an “as-needed” schedule of visits within 6 months.
Of course, you are always welcome to return should other conditions develop in the future.
Will insurance pay?
Unfortunately, due to licensing regulations regarding naturopathic doctors in the State of Texas, 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.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, checks, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Venmo, and Discover.
Can you be my primary care doctor?
Unfortunately, due to licensing regulations regarding naturopathic doctors in the State of Texas, Dr. Ford cannot be your primary care doctor or perform physical examinations, and does not offer after-hours care. We strongly recommend all clients retain an MD, NP, PA, or DO as their primary care providers.
Instead, Dr. Ford’s focus while working with you will be enacting a longer-term plan to correct the underlying cause of your health challenges.
Are there any additional expenses I should be aware of?
While working with Dr. Ford, the largest investment you will likely make will be on your recommended nutritional supplements. You can learn more about the supplements below.
The second largest investment you likely will make will be for specialty testing. The tests are used to determine your current state of health in many different parameters, which are far more comprehensive than conventional testing. The data from your tests allows Dr. Ford to create a highly targeted and personalized protocol for you.
How do you ensure that the supplements I buy will actually work?
We only use physician-grade, top-quality supplements. We also take great care to discern quality, potency, synergistic formulations, bioavailability, and whether important standards are met by the manufacturing facilities. You won’t be guaranteed this level of quality assurance when buying off the shelf online, or at a store or pharmacy.
Because of the care we take to ensure that your investment is going towards quality products, we insist that clients purchase their supplements from distributors we recommend. That way, if something isn’t working, we can be confident it’s not because of a supplement quality issue.
If you are purchasing your supplements from other sources, 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.
Working with IMC, there are no automatic monthly refills or subscription schemes — you will buy only what you need, as you need it…so you’re most efficient with your money.
I’ve struggled with unheard of high cholesterol for my age and lifestyle. I eat a healthy diet, I’m physically active, I watch what I drink, and I get plenty of sleep. I’ve tried every statin on the market (since the age of 16) in such large doses they made me physically ill. Nothing worked — until I found Dr. Ford. Now, I can’t believe the difference in my last lab reports!
—Gina B., TX