(Least)* Complicated

Walking the tightrope between being a current MSII medical student and a Naturopathic Doctor is a delicate balance sometimes. I never know whether my career as an expert in alternative medicine is going to be a blackball or a gold star because of the very mixed opinions people have about my former profession in the medical world. My plan, heading into the first day of medical school was not to tell anyone my (second) degree when I started (my third degree) at UNECOM, but it was announced in orientation so my cover was blown.

Being a ND in general is pretty complicated – working outside of insurance in most states is a financial challenge for patients as well as doctors, and public knowledge about the profession is highest on the west coast of the US and Canada, and in more affluent areas of the NorthEast. Many people get excited when I say I am a doctor, then look back blankly when I tell them what kind of medicine I practice(d). People who know the field have reactions that are pretty love: hate. Lots of lovers, quite a few haters, and an ever-growing population of quiet converts who realize that, as one anonymous Twitter medical student said in my recent Twitter Flaming on the topic: people who are interested in alternative medicine are usually trying to take care of their health and make themselves feel better.

IMG_6031I have recently been made aware of a woman who attended a west coast Naturopathic Medicine College who has turned against the profession “with an inside view” and who is engaging in aggressive muckraking. She is getting recognition and validation as an “insider” to Naturopathic Medicine as she did complete our 4-year postgraduate degree before she quit and moved to Germany. She has started a petition to defame the profession worldwide. The unfortunate thing is she lives outside the US and is not accountable for US or CDN slander laws. What she is doing is poignantly effective because she has inflamed the haters. One doctor in particular is a physician and educator with the influential Doctors in Training Boards Exam Review Series. He has a large Twitter following and has enthusiastically joined in the slander of the Naturopathic Profession. I worry about how his “expert” personal opinion will effect future generations of physicians who have not considered their professional opinions of Naturopathic Medicine due to lack of exposure.

Big media like Forbes has jumped on the “tin foil hat” bandwagon by supporting her claims that botanical medicine, nutrition, physical medicine, homeopathy, mind/body practices and stress management are invalid sciences without evidence. The American and Canadian federal Naturopathic associations have both started a counter-petition against these muckracking efforts.

All of this is personally upsetting for me. It stirs a complicated turmoil of emotions, injustice, pride, and frustration that mixes my own choices with a very clear working knowledge of the weight that “the big lie” technique can carry in the world of propaganda. All of this comes at a time when “Functional Medicine” and “Integrative Medicine” are the new darlings of allopathic medicine alongside epigenetics and the microbiome.

Newsflash: Functional Medicine and Integrative Medicine ARE evidence based Naturopathic Medicines, researched by and for NDs originally.

Naturopathic Doctors are systematically being defamed and slandered while our actual practice techniques are being picked up and renamed and celebrated for their effectiveness.

I feel helpless in the face of this complicated adversity. I made my personal choice to add an Osteopathic Degree to my knowledge base because there was more to medicine I wanted to know – pharmacology, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and other facets of transgender medicine I need additional training on. I know the great value of Naturopathic Medicine and so do a great number of North American consumers. I suppose I need to trust that the greater good will prevail in the end…. but that may not help me or my career path when I am placed in a hospital as an MSIII or resident with an attending like the Internist above who hates everything alternative and Naturopathic medicine stands for.


Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Homeopathy

Naturopathic medicine is not a single kind of healing, but is an array of healing practices. I think of Naturopathic Medicine as a wheel, and what we do as the different spokes that make up the whole. These “spokes” are called modalities, and include acupuncture, counseling, herbal medicine, functional medicine, homeopathy, massage, minor surgery, nutrition and in some states/provinces, prescription medications and/or IV therapies. Naturopathic Medicine is diverse – each doctor chooses what areas to focus on.  Many N.D.’s choose one specific modality, like acupuncture, functional medicine, or homeopathy. Others, like myself, are eclectic and utilize many of the modalities, depending on the individual case.

Acupuncture, counseling and massage are not as applicable for self care; however, nutrition, herbal medicine, and homeopathy are very important ways that people can take care of themselves. There is only so much help that Dr. Google can offer. If general information basics are not resolving the issue, or you have complex health concerns with multiple medications involved, having a licensed ND assist you in recovery is going to be the most effective and safest utilization of natural medicines.

NUTRITION is the philosophy of using food as medicine. Nutrition can be used therapeutically to treat specific conditions – such as eating beets and dandelion leaves for liver cleansing, or cabbage juice for ulcers. The foods that we eat in 2013 are very different from what our grandparents were eating. The soils are stripped of minerals (or toxic like on Munjoy Hill, ) many foods are genetically modified, and the preparation and processing of foods radically alters nutritional values. Supplementation is generally included with nutrition as it is often necessary, given today’s food choices, to supplement some nutrients that are no longer found in food.

HERBAL MEDICINE is an excellent way to treat the whole family. In theory, it is similar to using pharmaceuticals – specific components within each herb cause specific actions in the mind, body and spirit. Herbs can have a powerful action or a gentle action. Generally, the best herbs for self care are simple, common and safe for everyone in the family. If there are any specific contraindications such as interactions with medication, I would be sure to mention those.  The general dose for herbal medicine for an adult is 1 teaspoon of tincture (alcohol extract) in a small amount of water, 3 times a day. Teas are drank hot 2-3 times a day or as needed. Children’s dosage can be determined as follows:

Patients weight in lb divided by 150 = percent of dose

ie) 70 lb child / 150 = 0.46 so child gets slightly less that ½ adult dose.

If is 1 tsp 3 x a day for adult, give ½ tsp 3 times a day to child.

Herbs are generally best taken on an empty stomach, to maximize absorption.

HOMEOPATHY is a very complex system of medicine that gently supports the body’s ability to heal itself through the use of “remedies” and the philosophy that “like treats (or cures) like.”  The specific remedy chosen is one, which, if given to a healthy person, would elicit the very symptoms of an illness. Therefore, the remedy is known to cure that illness. Homeopathic treatment can be a profound journey of self-discovery as old wounds are healed and our true potential is illuminated. Explaining the mechanism of homeopathic medicine is difficult as it operates on the quantum level rather than the commonly understood Newtonian mechanism of action.  Symptoms are seen as effective reflections of compensation on the  mental, physical, and emotional levels. For example, when a warning light comes on in your car,  we investigate what was wrong with the engine, not just disconnect the light! Seen as warning lights, symptoms are the body’s way of showing the outside world that something is wrong or not working properly. The constellation of symptoms points the Homeopathic Doctor to understand the bigger picture overall, and which remedy is indicated to effectively treat the underlying condition. A Naturopath practicing Homeopathy gives a homeopathic remedy to stimulate the body’s defense systems to complete the healing process. This is the concept of the vital force: the body is always trying to move towards health.  This medicine is an extremely safe and effective method of eliminating disease.



Treatment Protocol: Weaning Off Coffee

Treatment strategy adapted in part from Naturopathic Doctors News and Review article Managing Caffeine Withdrawal in the Patient Undergoing Detoxification (V. 7 Issue 12 p. 8-9) by Dr. Peirson ND and from Dr. Braverman’s Dopamine Deficiency Protocol. For more information on caffeine addiction see: http://thewrightdoctor.com/2011/12/26/coffee-addiction/

Daily Supplements and Lifestyle Changes:

  • 200-400 mg Magnesium Citrate – I like Trace Minerals Research liquid mineral formulas. It allows for a personal tailoring of dosage. Too much magnesium can have a laxative effect (which can be helpful if constipation is a side effect of caffeine withdrawal.) Take daily in juice.
  • 100mg B Complex  – I like Orti B by Seroyal, Thorne B5 Complex or Cortico B5B6 by Metagenics. 1 daily with food.
  • Buy several organic green teas, decaf coffee beans, a black tea and a decaf black tea. Start to mix the caffeinated and decaffeinated beans in your morning brews, and order “half-caf” when out.  Eventually leave the coffee behind and just have decaf or green teas.
  • Adrenal Assist by Vitanica – Vitamins, herbs and minerals for restoration of adrenal glands. Cross-check any medications with the herbs for possible interactions before starting this. 3 capsules daily, best in the morning for 3 – 6 months.
  • Coffee 6ch homeopathic remedy. 2 pellets as needed for headache associated with caffeine withdrawal.
  • High paced lifestyles need to be balanced with relaxation and restoration. Stress busting exercises such as deep breathing exercises, non-work related reading, chess, and non-aerobic exercises such as weight lifting are recommended 3 times per week.
  • Eliminating the kick of caffeine will result in cravings for sugar. Instead of sweets, turn to high protein foods rich in phenylalanine and tyrosine to restore dopamine levels depleted by chronic caffeine use. Round out high protein meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid found in the brain and blood that is converted to tyrosine and then to dopamine. Food sources of dopamine include:
Foods Amount Phenylalanine Tyrosine
Wild game 6-8 oz 2.6g 1.5g
Cottage cheese 1 cup 1.7g 1.7g
Chicken 6-8 oz 1.6 g 0.40
Duck 6-8 oz 1.6g 0.60
Turkey 6-8 oz 1.6g 0.70
Walnuts 6-8 oz 1.4 g 0
Wheat germ 1 cup 1.35g 1.00
Ricotta 1 cup 1.35g 1.50
Granola 1 cup 0.65 0.40
Rolled Oats 1 cup 0.50 0.35
Plain nonfat yogurt 1 cup 0.40 0.40
Whole milk 1 cup 0.40 0.40
Egg 1 0.35 0.25

Naturopathic Botox Support

Botox is a drug preparation of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The order of bacteria Clostridium all has a physical similarity that they cause “profound paralysis or profound contractive spasmodic conditions…” (Klein, Miasms and Nosodes Book 2009 p. 90) This is true from a homeopathic, bacterial, and drug perspective.

Getting Botox injections are part of many peoples reality. It smoothes the effects of stress and tension on the facial muscles, imparting a more youthful, relaxed visage. Botox is not for everyone, and for some, it can be a one or two time treatment for specific events – weddings, career moves, mid life crisis! After many years of considering it, I had a first (and follow up) Botox treatment this year for my 38th Birthday from Kathy Molloy RN – a well-established and experienced Botox expert at Akari who loves to see facial transformations. It was a positive experience for 3 reasons:

1. I did pre and post care using teas and homeopathic remedies to ensure the best treatment success for the therapy. Botulism is a serious condition, which can be fatal. Very few people have statistically negative results from cosmetic dermal procedures, but side effects are possible.  To counteract possible side effects of the Botox Injection, I took Homeopathic Arnica and Ledum before the injection, and a single remedy from the Clostridium group of remedies after the injection that best fit my symptom picture. When I went in for a secondary set of injections and follow up, I was lazy and did not do my prophylactic treatment, as my initial treatment had been such a success!  I had a headache for 4-5 days afterwards, and some very tender spots where the injections had gone in. I may have also had a slight transient droop in my right eyelid. This proved to me that prevention is the best medicine! Taking homeopathic remedies to counteract the possible side effects proved more effective than not taking the safe, and inexpensive remedies.

2. The best Botox effects result in youthful transformation.  Transforming the face to erase lines may sound like a simple paralytic procedure, but you are actually asking your body to release muscle memories. My experience of this was that I needed to consciously release some old anger and frustrations in the first few days after the treatment, to help my body align with the new muscle structure.  Think about it  – all those years of frowning were for reasons; addressing the emotional context on a physical AND emotional level allowed for more profound transformation.

3. Headaches are a very common side effect – as the biochemical systems of the body are literally metabolizing the toxic Botox substance.  Improving your lymphatic circulation through local massage and gentle detoxification support allows your body to more easily transform the chemical. Too much detoxification, and the Botox drug may actually not work as well as you hope! Not enough detoxification, and flu like symptoms, headache, facial pain, nausea and prolonged redness will result.

I also saw Hadley Clark L. AC from Zenkai Acupuncture for a post-Botox acupuncture treatment to eliminate my headaches. She was wonderful!  Traditional Chinese Medicine has an entire system of care devoted to Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture -designed to reduce fine lines, improve skin tone and texture, and eliminate redness. Following a Botox treatment with a facial acupuncture series, or having a series done when a new Botox injection would be indicated is one way to make the effects of Botox last longer, to decrease the amount of injections, and to address facial aging from a more holistic perspective.

Many people were surprised that as a ND, I would even consider Botox.  Naturopathic Medicine is not against the science of (anti-aging) pharmaceuticals, nor is it only “natural” products. It is a system of medicine that offers individualized care, grounded in the understanding that given the correct support, the body has the wisdom to heal itself.  Naturopathic Medicine uses the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies needed for each case – in this case to support the toxic therapy at hand!

Why use homeopathy? Because it is the safest, and most effective way to counteract the side effects of invasive medical treatments. Homeopathy believes that many substances, but especially bacterial, viral and fungal infections, can create a genetic taint or footprint that continues to affect cellular expression beyond the primary infection. These “taints” or “miasms” can affect the genetic memory enough to cause intergenerational health problems.  If you are willingly introducing very toxic bacteria into your system, for beauty (or pain relief) isn’t it worth also addressing the potential long-term negative ramifications from the start?

To Book a Facial Rejuvenation Support Treatment, please call 207-233-3944. The initial consultation is 45 minutes, with a post-injection follow up phone or Skype consult


“The most common side effects of injections around the eyes and in the face include temporary bruising, eyelid drooping (ptosis), dry eyes, and double vision (diplopia) (Hsiung 2002; Tan 2002), and facial droop can occur with injections into the cheek. “http://www.botoxfacts.ca/sideEffects.html

“Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome when using Botox: Anxiety; arm pain; back pain; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; dry or irritated eyes; facial pain; flu-like symptoms; headache; inability to focus the eyes; increased cough; indigestion; nausea; neck pain; pain, redness, swelling, or tenderness at the injection site; runny nose; sensitivity to light; stiff or weak muscles at or near the injection site; tiredness; sweating.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Botox: Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); bleeding at the injection site; chest pain; difficulty swallowing or breathing; double or blurred vision, or other vision changes; drooping of the upper eyelid; eyelid swelling; fainting; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; irregular heartbeat; loss of bladder control; loss of strength; paralysis; seizures; severe or persistent muscle weakness or dizziness; shortness of breath; speech changes or problems; worsening migraine.” http://www.drugs.com/sfx/botox-side-effects.html


A Little About Me

I had an unusual childhood that has certainly influenced my career. When I was three my mother  and I moved into Kripalu Yoga Ashram in rural Pennsylvania. http://www.kripalu.org. Kripalu has had many incarnations from the early 70’s, and is now a beautiful holistic health center in western Massachusettes. At the time, it was a residential community based on the classic principals of yoga. We ate a macrobiotic diet, and lived a simple lifestyle. I was not vaccinated, and treated primarily with homeopathic medicines for all my childhood fevers and such.  As the community developed into a retreat center for spiritual learning and the yoga teacher training programs developed, the community moved to the current site in Lenox, MA.

I was at Kripalu on and off for 18 years until the community formally changed from a non-profit religious residential community in 1995 to a for profit holistic health center. I left in 1987 for boarding school, and then attended Middlebury College in 1991 so I only lived there a few summers after age 13. Still, the influences of diet and nutrition, stress management,  healthy lifestyle and homeopathy as remedies for our modern disease are at my very core.