Frequently asked Questions
Q: What is a Naturopathic Doctor?
A: 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.
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.
What kind of education does a Naturoapthic Doctor receive?
A licensed naturopathic physician (ND) attends a four-year, graduate-level naturopathic medical school and is educated in all of the same basic sciences as an MD, but also studies holistic and nontoxic approaches to therapy with a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic physician also studies clinical nutrition, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and counseling. A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician. Please see the AANMC’s Professional Competency Profile for more information.
Additional information on naturopathic schools can be found on the American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges Web site.
Q: What can I expect in a first visit and subsequent visits?
A: Naturopathic Visit with Dr. Jason Barker: In a new patient visit we will discuss your medical history, lifestyle/diet, familial genetics, medical labs, and medications/supplements. We will discuss your health goals and challenges. A physical exam will be performed. Further lab testing may be recommended to gather more information. A treatment plan will be designed to optimize your individual health.
Oriental Medicine Visit with Danielle Barker LAc: Your first visit will consist of an in-depth health review during which your current health concerns, history and health goals are discussed. Most of this information is gathered from the initial health history form that you fill out, which is reviewed and helps guide the discussion. Further questions will be asked to help determine a pattern and treatment plan. Oriental Medicine relies on traditional diagnostic tools, which include examining the pulse, tongue, abdomen, channels and other observations that are made by Danielle. Not all of the tools are necessarily used each time, but they are available when required. This along with the discussion and information gained from your initial paperwork allows Danielle to determine a pattern of disharmony that will be treated with acupuncture and possibly herbs, moxibustion, cupping, tui na, and dietary and health advice. The first visit usually lasts 1.5 hours. Subsequent visits begin by assessing your progress, and treatment either continues along a similar course of action or is modified to meet the changing nature of your condition.
These appointments typically last an hour to an hour and half.
Q: How to come prepared for acupuncture?
A: In general, it is best to have eaten a small meal several hours before your appointment. Fasting is not advised prior to receiving acupuncture. It is also best to wear loose fitting clothing as tight fitting pants and shirts restrict access to points along your legs and arms. Furthermore, tight clothing can restrict qi and blood circulation, which is counterproductive to acupuncture treatments.
Q: What does acupuncture feel like?
A: Acupuncture is generally not painful, but different sensations are often felt. Common experiences include, a feeling of movement, electricity, warmth, lightness, heaviness, distention or an achy feeling depending on the point. These are all favorable signs of qi arriving and are correlates of acupuncture taking effect. Patients often become deeply relaxed on the table and many even fall asleep during treatment!
Q: Do you reuse needles?
A: No. All needles are single use and come prepackaged in sterilized packets. They are disposed into a biohazard sharps container immediately after removal from the body. All acupuncturists are required to complete a “Clean Needle Technique” course prior to licensure.
Q:Do I have to have a specific health concern to receive acupuncture?
A: Absolutely not! Acupuncture can be used as preventative medicine and treatments for optimizing athletic performance, reducing stress, or boosting your immune system to prevent future illness are always appropriate. Furthermore, Dis-ease often begins in the acupuncture channels/meridians and treating channel related illness before they affect the Internal Organs is an excellent way to prevent future illness from arising.
Q:How often should I receive acupuncture treatments?
A: Frequency of treatment is dependent on the nature of your health concern. In general, acute conditions respond very favorably to acupuncture and sometimes one to two treatments can address the problem. More chronic problems require a longer course of treatment. Just as chronic health conditions emerged over months and years versus weeks and days; treatment might require weeks or months before health goals are achieved. To work on chronic conditions, patients are often initially seen twice a week for a couple weeks and then tapered back to once a week, twice a month, once a month, and so forth. Furthermore, it is important to realize that acupuncture is only one tool in nourishing your overall health and that patients who receive the best results are those who are motivated to make the appropriate changes required and to accept responsibility for their own health.
Q:Do you accept insurance?
A: Dr. Jason Barker is an in-network provider with Anthem BCBS, Cigna, and Aetna. If you have a plan with any of these insurance providers and have naturopathic medicine as a benefit on your plan, then we will be happy to file a claim with your insurance company for your visit! If you do not carry any of these plans, we would be happy to provide you with a treatment receipt for you to submit to your insurance.
Q:Does Dr. Barker offer virtual appointments or do we have to meet in person?
A: Dr. Barker offers both. Many local patients choose to meet in-person for their first appointment, and then complete their follow-ups virtually.
In-person appointments are available in Westport, CT and Ridgefield, CT on Tuesdays. Virtual appointments are available via phone or HIPAA compliant video call. *Please check with your insurance provider to confirm if HIPAA complaint video calls are covered. If you would like Dr. Barker to perform a physical exam or order blood work, you need to meet with him in-person in the Westport office.
Can I speak with someone before the booking a first appointment?