The 4 Seasons of Health: The Benefits of Seasonal Doctor Visits

Doctor examining a child's eye.

Instead of annual visits to the doctor, how would you feel about seasonal visits? 

Okay, hear me out. If you haven’t noticed, our healthcare system isn’t always so much about health. At my last physical exam, I was told by the doctor that I didn’t need to come back for another visit for 5 years, as that is when my next test was due! She said some people have annual doctor visits, but they are not really necessary if I don’t have any medical complaints. She did not know what to do with me because I am pretty healthy, especially in her disease-focused eyes.  

I thought about this a lot. In some ways, I thought that I was lucky. I don’t have to see the doctor for a heck of a long time! But in other ways, I felt dismissed. A conventional medicine doctor considers me healthy, so they have nothing to offer. This is because of the way they think about medicine. They use a disease model, not a health model. 

This was frustrating because I was hoping to have my own doctor – someone with whom I could build a relationship, in case I did need some help down the road. I think the chances of this doctor remembering me in five years is nil (if she is even around anymore). So much for the doctor/patient relationship. 

Had the doctor asked about my diet, stress levels, water consumption, sleep, etc., she would have had lots to work with. I am a human being and I could use some extra support in some places, just like I am sure you could too.  

So to bring it back to my question above, what do you think of the idea of coming to the doctor seasonally?  

The Benefits of Seasonal Doctor Visits

For my own patients, adults and children alike, I am beginning to offer quarterly visits, also known as the “4 Seasons of Health.” I think generally, we could all use some extra support. Each season brings up its own physical and mental/emotional challenges, such as seasonal allergies, hydration, the start of the school year, holiday stress, colds/flus, winter blues, etc. So, just focusing on calendar-based health concerns could make seasonal visits worth your time. We could also approach these seasonal visits proactively. For example, you may want to work on your seasonal allergies in the winter so that you are not as uncomfortable in the spring.  

More importantly though, seasonal visits would provide you or your child with a person whom you know and who knows you. A person who asks, “How are you doing?” and then listens. Together, we would make tweaks to treatment plans, discuss challenges around food choices, sleep, exercise, etc., and change up medications or supplements as needed.

For children, seasonal visits build an ongoing relationship of trust and safety with their doctor. They will feel more comfortable and not see me as a stranger if they have to come in when they are sick or need a sensitive exam or procedure. For adults, seasonal visits provide you with a health “cheerleader” to keep you on track and help you achieve your long-term health goals. The time spent in building this doctor-patient relationship minimizes the potential for medical trauma. It could even provide a corrective experience for those who have had a negative experience with a doctor.

Having to wait a whole year to ask about all of your health questions and concerns is too long, don’t you think?  

Seasonal Doctor Visits with Dr. Kate Sage, NMD

Before you ask… No, these visits will likely not be covered by your medical insurance. Why? Because this is not disease-based care, but instead is health care. There isn’t a catch here though. After you are an established patient, each seasonal visit is 30 minutes, costs $100, and can even be done over telemedicine. If I am your primary care provider, we would sub in one season for your full annual physical, which is 45 minutes, costs $125, and should be covered by your insurance. No contracts or conditions.    

To learn more or to get started on your seasonal journey to health, give Intuition Wellness Center a call at 520-333-3320. At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.

Written by: Dr. Kate Sage, NMD, Naturopathic Family Physician

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