Read through IMCTex's FAQs today and learn more about our dedication to effective health treatments or practices. If you should have any further questions, feel free to contact us as well.
Are we a good fit?
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! Dr. Ford is a naturopathic doctor (ND), a clinical nutritionist, a registered nurse (RN), and an IFM Certified Practitioner (IFMCP). She is licensed to practice medicine in the state of Arizona as a primary care physician.
She completed her 4 years of training in naturopathic medicine at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Az. in 2008. She has a master's degree in Nutrition from the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX, and has been a Clinical Nutritionist for 29 years. She started out as an RN 39 years ago, with most of her nursing career spent working in ICU.
She understands conventional medicine and its approach to illness just as well as she understands the naturopathic or holistic approach to restoring health. She believes there is a place for both in our world of medicine, and she regularly refer clients to a conventional practitioner when appropriate.
It is important that if we are to work together, we are truly the best fit for one another. Please read the FAQs on this page, as well as their answers. They answer just about every question we have ever received prior to working with someone looking to restore their health. In this manner, you can make a more informed decision about Dr. Ford being the best fit for you.
What is integrative medicine?
Integrative medicine is a term commonly used to describe a medical approach devoted to finding the underlying 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.
How is integrative medicine different from conventional medicine?
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.
What types of conditions respond to integrative medicine?
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. Remember, 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
- GERD/Indigestion/Acid Reflux
- Menopause/ Peri-Menopause/Andropause
- Food Sensitivities and Food Allergies
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Dysbiosis
- Anxiety and Depression
- Chronic Fatigue
- Hypoglycemia and Type 2 Diabetes
- Autoimmune Disease
- Eczema and Psoriasis
Integrative medicine is personalized medicine.
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 the 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.
Integrative medicine is a partnership between you and your physician.
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!
Does insurance pay?
Because NDs are not licensed in the state of Texas, 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.
Can you be my primary care doctor?
The state of Texas does not license NDs; so no, Dr. Ford cannot be your primary care doctor. She practices as a wellness consultant, work with chronic conditions and do not see clients for emergencies or acute illness. We strongly recommend all of my clients retain an MD, NP, PA, or DO as their primary care providers.
Dr. Ford works with people on a longer-term basis to correct the underlying cause of their health challenges, and she never carries a pager nor are we 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 we have many who have returned years after their last visit due to some other health concern developing.
What is a naturopathic doctor?
The following is taken directly from our national association website. We could not have said it better!
"Naturopathic physicians combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science. Steeped in traditional healing methods, principles and practices, 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.
Naturopathic physicians work in private practices, hospitals, clinics and community health centers. NDs practice throughout the United States and Canada. Qualified naturopathic physicians undergo rigorous training before they become licensed health-care practitioners. Visit our Professional Education page to learn about naturopathic education.
NDs treat all medical conditions and can provide both individual and family health care. Among the most common ailments they treat are allergies, chronic pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, fertility problems, menopause, adrenal fatigue, cancer, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. NDs can perform minor surgeries, such as removing cysts or stitching up superficial wounds. However, they do not practice major surgery. NDs are trained to utilize prescription drugs, although the emphasis of naturopathic medicine is the use of natural healing agents."
Are there any additional expenses that I should be aware of?
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.
We take great care to choose and/or formulate highly effective supplements containing therapeutic doses of biologically available nutrients. We are able (through our education, experience, and expertise), to discern quality, potency, synergistic formulations, bioavailability, and whether important standards are met by the manufacturing facilities.
Because of the care we take to keep up with the latest information that impacts the quality of the supplements we recommend, we insist that my clients purchase their supplements from distributors I recommend. We must know that your progress or lack thereof is related to your following our recommendations.
If you are purchasing your supplements from online stores other than those we 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. Call to learn more.
The second largest investment you likely will make in our work together will be for functional medicine testing. This determines 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.
Where will I get my supplements?
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, top-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 truly know the difference. 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.
What about the education and licensing of a naturopathic doctor (ND)?
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 the 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 pass these exams are then licensed as 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 license or regulate 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", "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
- Bastyr University
- Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
- Bridgeport University
- Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
- Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
- National University of Health Sciences
What is "functional medicine" and how is it different from naturopathic and integrative medicine?
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-aid" 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 these terms that are sometimes used interchangeably.
More information can be found with the American Association of Naturopathic Medicine and the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges. We hope this brings clarity to any education, training, and practice style questions that you may have. Please feel free to contact us with further questions with regard to the possibility of our working together. It is important to us that you have those questions answered and that we both make the important decision to work together in an informed manner. Should we embark on this journey of healing together, it will be an honor to do my best work for you.