April 3, 2011

Why Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is basically primary care medicine using natural therapeutics. We practice under seven principles that define our philosophy of healing. These principles are (sorry some technical difficulties here, see principlies listed below!?!):
Primum non nocere  (First Do No Harm)- This principle exists to all physicians via the Hippocratic oath. In naturopathy it takes on the dual purpose of attempting to use the least invasive therapy or medicine that will bring the patient back to health.


Vis Medicatrix Naturae (The Healing Power of Nature)- All living creatures have an innate ability to heal. In Naturopathy this innate ability is encouraged by using the appropriate natural therapies to restore health.


Tolle Causum  (Identify and Treat the Cause)- Naturopathic physicians are trained to identify the root of the health problem and not to settle for only suppressing symptoms. We believe that chronic symptom suppression can only drive disease to continue rather than resolve.


Docere (Doctor as Teacher)- Naturopathy is centered around education, and with each visit the patient learns more about themselves and their disease/healing process. The purpose of this is to empower the patient to understand the healing process and utilize that knowledge to improve their health each day.

Treat the Whole Person- Patients are more than the problem(s) they present, they are people with lives, jobs, families, stresses, and hopes. By addressing social, nutritional, spiritual, as well as physical well being we are better able to identify the barricades to health. Patients are given an individualized treatment plan to address their specific healing obstacles.

Prevention- Naturopathic philosophy, therapies and medicines are all geared towards the prevention of disease. The education a patient receives in the areas of nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes are for the long-term goal of disease prevention.

Wellness- Naturopaths believe that health is not simply: freedom from symptoms. Wellness is a state of health where the patient feels satisfied with his or her ability to live each day.


 Sounds pretty ideal, but what does it actually mean when sitting in a naturopath’s office? Let’s take the example of someone coming in for the ‘flu’. The visit may be longer for starts; most naturopaths spend at least an hour with new patients. There would be a thorough review of health, diet and general lifestyle patterns. There would be a physical exam to listen to lungs, look in ears and throat, temperature and blood pressure check, or any other areas needing attention. There may be blood work, chest x-ray or a strep test ordered.

Based on all the information a treatment plan would be laid out. This plan would likely include some dietary restrictions to assist the body in healing. It may include a homeopathic, herbal tincture or tea, or a hydrotherapy treatment to be done at home. There may be a specific array of vitamins and minerals that would help the immune system in healing the body. If there was a positive strep culture or chest x-ray then antibiotics may be warranted. As the patient you would leave with a thorough understanding of how your body is functioning with the illness and the changes that need to happen in order to achieve wellness, as well as warning signs if the illness is not improving. In summary the naturopath would work to assist your natural healing forces, in this case the immune system, to restore health versus suppressing the symptoms.

The next time you have to decide on a health care provider, try something new or rather old…choose naturopathy.

March 14, 2011

Radiation coming to the North Coast? What to consider…

We have a lot of people concerned about radiation!  What are you recommending for this?   I am eating seaweed and miso.  What else can we recommend?  Some sources say that the radiation, even from a full blown meltdown in Japan, would be very dispersed by the time it gets here.  Other sources make it sound so scary.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.   Thanks!  Matt

Yes I hear your concern, it’s hard to suffer the consequences of decisions made by others!!  And of course the unforseen consequences of natural disaster.  With the levels of exposure being such an unknown it’s hard to make very precise recommendations.  And short of a magical forcefield there is nothing that is super specifically designed to prevent raditiation damage.  NOW that being said we are all exposed to radiation everytime we get in our cars, fly on an airplane, use a cell phone, so clearly the body had defense mechanisms…and bolstering those makes lots of sense.  Believe it or not this is something I’ve already written an article about…so I am going to copy that below.  Feel free to share it’s content, refer people to my facebook account where I will also post a link to this article.  Dr. Tracy

Radiation: The Sub-Sensory Stressor

     Have you ever stopped to think about the potential effects that modern technology is having on your health? Did you realize that flying across the country (i.e. 4-7 hour flight) is equivalent to the radiation exposure of a chest x-ray? I attended a conference where the effect of various stressors on the body was discussed. I was interested to hear radiation included on the list. The speaker, Angela Hywood ND, gave an eye-opening account of our exposure to radiation and ways to enhance our defenses against it.

     Where is this radiation coming from? This force which we cannot see, hear, touch, smell or taste is emanating from our computer screens, cell phones, televisions, cordless phones, microwave ovens, electrical appliances, power lines, cars, airplanes, the list goes on. It has varying levels of intensity, and depending on your job, hobbies, or habits it may be worth spending a little time evaluating your exposure.

     What are the health effects of radiation exposure? This is a topic that is still under debate. There are many studies out there discussing a variety of results, but certainly an area I would imagine we will continue to hear more and more about. Here is one of the more compelling theories with supportive studies I wanted to share. It seems that radiation affects our sleep, a time necessary for rejuvenation and repair. Studies have shown EMF’s (electromagnetic forces, a form of radiation) decrease melatonin production. This well-known hormone is essential not only for the quality of sleep but is a powerful antioxidant as well. Our cells suffer DNA damage each day from many sources including radiation itself. Melatonin circulates the body at night using its antioxidant action to repair cellular damage; if left unchecked DNA damage could lead to cancerous changes. This decrease in melatonin also decreases our REM and non-REM sleep, affecting its quality and depth…double whammy.  Using Melatonin as an anxitoxidant may not be recommended for all but there are dozens of other wonderful antioxidants which could be…alpha-lipoic acid, vitamins C and E, bioflavinoids, glutathione are some nutrients of note.  Herbs to consider would be Curcumin (Turmeric), Gingko, Gotu Kola, St John’s Wort, as well as any liver herbs like Dandelion, Burdock or Nettles. 

          Another fairly well publicized reducer of radiation is Epsom salts. Good old magnesium sulfate salts have long been recommended for detoxification, and radiation exposure is on this list. Taking a nice Epsom salt bath after a long flight can help attract unwanted radiation away from you. Make this bath by adding 1-2 cups Epsom salts and 1 cup baking soda to the water, soak for 20 minutes and feel the radiation drain away. It is not advised to do this type of detox bathing night after night as it may deplete the body of other necessary resources, but certainly following an exposure is warranted. Another idea presented was to keep an open container of Epsom salts near your computer screen as their absorptive qualities work in this environment as well. As public concern over radiation continues to rise so will the products to combat it.

     For now keep radiation on your health awareness radar and make the lifestyle shifts necessary to reduce your exposure to and protect yourself from this sub-sensory stressor.                                                                                                

DO something you love, BE with someone you love, EAT your vegetables, DRINK clean water, BREATH deeply, and MOVE your body EVERYDAY!!

March 12, 2011

History of Naturopathy

The philosophy of naturopathy dates clear back to Hippocrates and Paracelsus who understood the primary naturopathic principal Vix Medicatrix Naturae (healing power of nature). Paracelsus stated the following about practicing medicine:

“Nature is the physician, not you. From her you must learn, not from yourself; she compounds the remedies, not you.”

The more direct descendents of naturopathy however, were European (mainly German). Vincent Priessnitz, Arnold Rikli and Sebastian Kneipp were all firm believers and practitioners of Nature Cure which was a mix of hydrotherapy, diet reform, exercise and stress reduction. Nature Cure used the basics of air, water and food for healing. These men operated large sanitariums where patients would come for weeks or months to heal…ah those were the days…

Nature Cure was brought to the United States by Sebastian Kneipp and along with Benedict Lust, his wife Louisa, and Henry Lindlahr; thanks to them the ideas of naturopathy began to spread. The Lusts were the first known educators of naturopathy, they opened the American School of Naturopathy in New York City in 1901. Benedict started the American Naturopathic Association in 1902, which promoted the recognition and licensing of naturopaths in 30 states (today only 16 states recognize naturopathy as a licensed profession). Louisa was an early promoter of what we now call organic foods. Henry Lindlahr is remembered for bringing modern medicine to Nature Cure. He was a chemist and medical doctor and practiced the elimination of toxins from the body, as he believed this was the cause of all disease.

OG Carroll and John Bastyr are the link between Nature Cure and naturopathic medicine practiced today. OG was a native Oregonian who invented and used constitutional hydrotherapy treatments, still taught and practiced by all new students of naturopathy. OG’s son was an integral part of the founding of NCNM (National College of Naturopathic Medicine) in 1956, this school continues to thrive in Portland as NCNM (National College of Natural Medicine). John Bastyr was trained as a chiropractor but studied with OG Carroll and quickly adopted naturopathy into his practice. John Bastyr is quoted as saying:

“The basic difference (from conventional medicine) is that in Naturopathy it’s not the doctor that does the curing. It’s the patient.”

In the late 1970’s two of his students founded the second naturopathic school in the Seattle area Bastyr University, which also continues to turn out naturopathic physicians.  Other schools which are currently educating new naturopaths are Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Pheonix AZ, National University of Health Sciences in Chicago IL, University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine in Bridgeport CN, and two schools in Canada. 

Although the practice of naturopathy was strong in the early 1900’s the discovery of antibiotics, introduction of vaccines, and the greater sophistication of surgery lead to a decline in the public’s interest in natural medicine. Who needed to eat right, exercise or get fresh air and food when drugs and surgery were clearly going to fix all that ailed us? Well we all know the answer to that one I think. Now I must say that ‘modern medicine’ has indeed given us many beneficial therapies, for which I am truly grateful. But I believe there is a balance, and thankfully the ideas of Nature Cure are surviving in today’s naturopathic physicians.

For more information on schools education and the profession in general check out the AANP (American Association of Naturopathic Physicians).

March 6, 2011

ASTORIA and other new pages added to blog

Howdy all!  Wanted to share my newest additions to my new blog…I’m already in love and hope you will continue to visit and share your comments for this site to grow and grow.  M

Make sure you visit my pages ABOUT me and ASTORIA and of course LINKS to my favorites in the office.

AND now an article to remind/share with you my reasons for loving my community…read on…

Fresh Air, Good Food, and Friendly Folk

What do these three items have in common? They are all in abundance in the Lower Columbia Basin, and they are my top three reasons why living here is good for your health. Many of us have already discovered the value of our small communities, lush surroundings, and blossoming arts culture. But now it is time to take a different perspective and realize that living here is good for your health too…let me elaborate.

Fresh air is a natural resource in short supply. I would venture to say that many, if not most, urban areas have some degree of air quality problems. In my hometown of Boulder Colorado (rated one of the top ten healthiest cities in the nation) there are daily air quality ratings. On certain days when air quality is poor, susceptible individuals (asthmatics, COPD, low immunity) are discouraged from going outside because the air outdoors may be more harmful than that in their home, can you imagine? Well not here! The healing combination of ocean breeze, higher humidity and low population density make this a fresh air oasis. So those affected individuals susceptible to poor air quality would definitely benefit from a routine visit, if not a permanent move to the area.

Good food is certainly a subjective topic, but we have a plethora of choices here. First lets stop at a local fish market where we can find fresh (not farmed) salmon, low mercury content tuna, and unparalleled oysters. The quality of this fish and seafood improves our cardiovascular system, helps lower our inflammatory response and may help increase our sex drive. Next lets mosey over to the local farmers market where greens, beans, garlic, onions, asparagus, berries, peaches, etc. await our shopping bags and our tummies (This produce may be found throughout the week at local markets and natural food stores). The richness of our soil, rain and just the right amount of sunshine make this a wonderful area to grow fresh produce nearly year round. Consuming 5 servings of these fresh fruits and vegetables daily helps to lower our risk of cancer, promotes good digestion, and gives us adequate energy to live well.

After fresh air and nourishing food, a healthy life would not be complete without good people. I believe that spending time with people you care about and who care about you helps improve the quality of our lives. Participating in the community through social events, clubs, volunteering, or furthering your education at a local community college all help keep our brains active. Making time to get out and socialize helps affirm that there are good and interesting people in the world, including yourself. We are lucky to be surrounded with many diverse and motivated individuals and groups right here on the Lower Columbia. From theater, music and art galleries, to brew pubs, restaurants and markets there are many ways to get out and enjoy the local community. With our favorite arts and culture paper back (Yeah Hipfish) we all know the where and when details to plan ahead. So no excuses now, get out there and enjoy your local community, and improve your health while doing it.

I would like to spend my last moment here to say that I’m so excited to be a new voice in this social networking community. I hope that my small contribution via this blog makes you all think about health in a new and exciting way. I invite you to comment, ask questions, or disagree at any time. Thanks for reading and remember…Do something you love, be with someone you love, eat your vegetables, drink clean water, breathe deeply and move your body EVERYDAY!! 

March 5, 2011

Wow Blogging

Hey friends,

Not only can you find me here on facebook, but I am now starting a blog through wordpress.  This will be an expanded format for me to share info with you.  SO if you are interested in checking that out you can just click the title and off you’ll go to my blog…enjoy!!