I have been in practice since 1989 as a chiropractor and since 1992 as a naturopath, but I remember wanting to be a physician from the time of my first memory. Family lore is that I made a doll hospital out of a shoe rack and brought home all manner of injured creatures, some of them way past saving.
I am entirely lucky to work in a collaborative and integrative group practice at Seattle Healing Arts where a vital community of doctors shares clinical wisdom and different perspectives. In Washington state naturopaths are licensed for a wide scope of practice that includes the ability to prescribe many ‘regular’ medicines, allowing for the best of both worlds. Diagnostic testing is virtually the same for M.D.’s and N.D.’s, and treatment protocols in our practice are research and evidence based.
My practice has evolved over twenty four years to be a combination of primary care medicine, with specialty in hormones and mood disorders (as the endocrine and cognitive/emotional systems are literally inextricable) and physical medicine, using osteopathic and chiropractic techniques for musculoskeletal pain. I use bio identical hormones, advanced restorative and anti-aging medicine and EEG neurofeedback along with the more familiar naturopathic tools of nutrition and targeted supplements.
I came to the art and science of natural medicine out of deep belief and confidence in what healing is possible when the patient and the doctor collaborate with the principles of human physiology. This includes both the structural (spinal) and systemic parts, and encompasses all systems of the body: vibrant health is an interplay of motion and co-ordination.
The brain/mind controls the hormones, which affect the reproductive tract and the digestive system, in turn influencing the immune system. The nerve supply orchestrating all of it emerges from the spine and is affected by one’s thoughts and experiences. The grand choreography of all this is often forgotten in the treatment of illness. Compartmentalized medical thinking misses the forest for the trees. Thanks to modern science, we now know how to shift the body processes away from the oxidative and inflammatory pathways that are the basis for disease states using the food you eat, the way you breathe, the chemistry that is created by what you eat, drink, think and do.
With the base of health in one’s chemistry, food medicine is where we start. One’s diet has a vast influence on the level of inflammation in the body, and disorders of every system in the body have a basis in inflammation from depression to heart disease. By shaping your food into an anti-inflammatory diet (easier than it sounds) bodies simply do not create the inflammation that is the breeding ground for dysfunction and disease.
Musculoskeletal pain and injury is where my practice began in 1989, and approaches the spine from the muscle’s point of view. After all, the only thing that moves bones is muscle and tendon. Spinal adjustments in my practice are always preceded by addressing the muscles that surround the area, follow up care usually includes exercises to stretch and strengthen core muscles and limbs. The human body is built to move, and the postures of modern daily life are unbalanced in their demands, leading to pain and dysfunction without thoughtful undoing. Repair mechanisms in the musculoskeletal system can be stimulated by amino acids and minerals, used advisedly.