4426 Burke Ave N. Seattle, WA 98103
p: (206) 919-0175 | f: (206) 567-9797

NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE

Naturopathic physicians combine the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care profession, emphasizing prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that encourage individuals’ inherent self-healing process. The practice of naturopathic medicine includes modern and traditional, scientific, and empirical methods.

Principles of Naturopathic Medicine:

The Healing Power of Nature (Vis Medicatrix Naturae)

Naturopathic medicine recognizes an inherent self-healing process in people that is ordered and intelligent. Naturopathic physicians act to identify and remove obstacles to healing and recovery, and to facilitate and augment this inherent self-healing process.

Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle Causam)

The naturopathic physician seeks to identify and remove the underlying causes   of illness rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.

First Do No Harm (Primum Non Nocere)

Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient:

  1. Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat
  2. Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms
  3. Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process.
Doctor as Teacher (Docere)

Naturopathic physicians educate their patients and encourage self-responsibility for health. They also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship.

Treat the Whole Person

Naturopathic physicians treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social, and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.

Prevention

Naturopathic physicians emphasize the prevention of disease by assessing risk factors, heredity, and susceptibility to disease, and by making appropriate interventions in partnership with their patients to prevent illness.

Naturopathic Practice in action

Naturopathic practice includes the following diagnostic and therapeutic modalities: clinical and laboratory diagnostic testing, nutritional medicine, botanical medicine, naturopathic physical medicine (including naturopathic manipulative therapy), public health measures, hygiene, counseling, minor surgery, homeopathy, acupuncture, prescription medication, intravenous and injection therapy, and naturopathic midwifery (natural childbirth).

Some of Our Frequently Used Tools

Primary Care

Primary care includes health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a variety of healthcare settings. Primary care is performed and managed by a personal physician often collaborating with other health professionals, and utilizing consultation or referral as appropriate. Primary care provides patient advocacy in the healthcare system to accomplish cost-effective care by coordination of healthcare services. Primary care promotes effective communication with patients and encourages the role of the patient as a partner in health care. Our primary care practice serves as the patient’s first point of entry into the health care system and as the continuing focal point for all needed healthcare services. Primary care practices provide patients with ready access to their own personal physician or to an established back-up physician when the primary physician is not available.

The Human Microbiome

The term ‘microbiome’ refers to all those microorganisms living and functioning within the human body, in a variety of specialized communities. Some of these microorganisms are comprised of bacteria, viruses, archaea, and eukaryotes. There are about 10 times as many bacteria in the human body as actual cells, but because bacteria and other micro-organisms are fairly tiny, they generally amount to less than 4% of an individual’s total body mass.

Generally speaking, all these microorganisms are beneficial in terms of maintaining good health, and do no harm to the human body. Some specialized microorganisms can produce vitamins that the human body would otherwise lack, some are able to assist with digestion and extract vital nutrients, and some even help to fight dangerous invaders, like disease-causing microbes.

An interesting area of research has recently shown that changes in the human microbiome seem to correlate with the presence of various diseases. What we have come to learn about the gut microbiome in just the past five years has revolutionized our understanding of the role of the digestive tract in body physiology, health, and disease outcomes.

The gut flora has been shown to influence brain development, behavior, mood, immune system development, cancer risk, cardiovascular disease, as well as many factors that influence body weight such as insulin production, appetite, metabolism and inflammation. Balancing gut microbiota is key for improving core gastrointestinal functions, such as digestion and absorption of nutrients, as well as metabolic functions.

Genetic Testing

We use cutting edge genetic testing designed to assist you and your practitioner in choosing the most appropriate course of treatment tailored to your genetic profile. The testing identifies patient-specific genetic markers that indicate which treatments are likely to work as intended, have no effect, or cause adverse effects. By analyzing key genes whose variations have been shown to inform treatment decisions (based on hundreds of studies), we are able to custom tailor your needs. We use the results of your genetic testing to guide treatment for a range of psychiatric conditions including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), autism, schizophrenia, chronic pain, and substance abuse.

Comprehensive Hormone Testing

Hormones fluctuate. We use specific technology to provide stable indicators of output not susceptible to the hour-to-hour fluctuations seen in serum measurements. Urine and salivary hormone testing is well-established in medical literature as a reliable method of assessing physiological hormone levels. Evaluations allow the measurement of multiple metabolites that provide critical information about a person’s relative risk for estrogen-related cancer. These specific hormones and metabolites can be a sensitive monitor of liver detoxification capability, and show exposure to compounds that stress the liver, such as environmental chemicals—including medications. We test a broad array of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid metabolites to measure specialized adrenal assessment beyond simple cortisol measurements. We are interested in providing a comprehensive picture for long-term adrenal, thyroid, and sex hormone health.

Assessment of Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters act as the chemical messengers between the trillions of connections that link the brain with all the organs of the body, which is how homeostasis is maintained internally. The body’s nervous system is also linked by these neurotransmitters, and since the nervous system controls almost every bodily process, any disruption to it can have drastic effects. Conditions like stress, poor diet, excessive toxicity, and infections can adversely affect the proper function of the nervous system and its neurotransmitters. Any kind of neurotransmitter imbalance can thus lead to physical or emotional disorders, which can have a serious impact on an individual.

Heavy Metal and Environmental Testing and Chelation

Your body is naturally able to remove many of the harmful pathogens, chemicals, and poisons you may come into contact with in the environment. That's how we are all designed. But in the 21st century, we're seeing an explosion of accumulated toxin-related diseases like cancer, autoimmune dysfunction, brain disorders like autism, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, nerve disorders, and more common ailments like depression, learning disabilities, infertility, and fatigue. Environmental medicine as we refer to it often includes testing for the presence of heavy metals in the body. Blood testing is a good measurement of current exposure, but not of what is stored in the body—referred to as body burden. Urine heavy metal testing typically includes both a pre-challenge, also called unprovoked, and post-challenge or provoked urine collection. Heavy metal testing is an important part of an environmental medicine practice. Patients often suffer from health conditions linked to undiagnosed heavy metals which increase the total body burden. With appropriate and scientifically based testing and treatment you can significantly decrease your total body burden and radically decrease chronic inflammation in your body.

Stress Reduction Through Mindfulness

The term "mindfulness" has been used to refer to a psychological state of awareness, the practices that promote this awareness, and a mode of processing information.  Mindfulness is a moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgment. Researchers theorize that mindfulness meditation promotes metacognitive awareness, decreases rumination via disengagement from perseverative cognitive activities and enhances attentional capacities through gains in working memory. These cognitive gains, in turn, contribute to effective emotion-regulation strategies. For much of the last century, scientists believed that the brain essentially stopped changing after adulthood. But research has shown that experienced meditators exhibit high levels of gamma wave activity and display an ability to not get stuck on a particular stimulus—continuing well after the meditation session has ended. That is, they're automatically able to control their thoughts and reactions. It has long been known that stress disorders are often attributable to the mind, and meditation can reverse some of these negative effects, replacing them with positive thoughts and behaviors. For instance, it is possible to lower one’s blood pressure and control over-emotional reactions through meditation. Another exciting area of meditation research is in telomeres, which are the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes and are the new frontier of anti-aging science. Longer telomeres mean that an individual is likely to live longer. Recent research has shown that meditators have significantly higher telomerase activity than non-meditators. Telomerase is the enzyme that helps build telomeres, and greater telomerase activity may translate into stronger and longer telomeres.
Research has also demonstrated that meditation could reduce pain intensity by 40 percent and pain unpleasantness by 57 percent. Morphine and other pain-relieving drugs typically show a pain reduction of 25 percent. Meditation works by reducing activity in the somatosensory cortex and increasing activity in other areas of the brain.
Empirically supported benefits of meditation include: reduced rumination, stress reduction, boosts working memory, focus, less emotional reactivity, more cognitive flexibility, relationship satisfaction, and more. Further research has shown that other effects meditation bring to therapists as well as recipients of mindfulness training include, increased empathy, compassion, decreased stress and anxiety, and better quality of life.

Lifestyle mentoring or coaching

The fast-paced environment of the Digital Age creates a kind of breeding ground for stress. Coping with all the daily disruptions to your life—pressures from job, family, and numerous external sources—can be a very difficult thing to manage.
Lifestyle coaching from a Village Medicine expert can help reduce your exposure to the physical and emotional pollutants as well as put you in the driver's seat of your life. You'll sleep better, manage stress better, and develop your own coping mechanisms to function more effectively in your life.

Detoxification

Health magazines and online articles are filled with the latest detox programs, each of which is supposedly the very best one for you. But none of them take into account that you are an individual with specific needs. Our Village Medicine team will first evaluate you comprehensively, and then work with you to develop a detoxification or cleansing program customized to your daily routine and your specific medical needs.

Nutrition

Our integrative providers are thoroughly trained in and highly qualified to advise patients on nutritional therapy.Since your nutrition can have some of the greatest impact on your health and well-being, it just makes good sense to be eating the right foods. During your initial consultation with your provider, a thorough assessment will be made of your current diet and your lifestyle, and a sustainable program that includes a good nutrition plan will be a part of your treatment protocol. If any supplemental sources of nutrition are called for, these will be incorporated into the plan, and if any allergies/intolerances are identified during testing, these will also be taken into account.

Exercise and physical activity

Medical personnel agree that physical exercise is crucial to your continued good health, assuming you are not disabled. After evaluating your present lifestyle and activity level, your provider might recommend a program personalized for your level of fitness, often to include some combination of physical therapy, yoga, cardiovascular exercise, Tai Chi, and resistance exercises.

Herbal medicine

From the beginnings of civilization to present times, herbal medicines have been used to great effect as cures or aids for good health. As a trained expert in herbal medicines, your naturopathic physician or integrative provider can prescribe and provide high quality herbal medicines in a form—such as a tea or capsule—that best suits your needs and comfort level.

All content © 2019 Village Medicine.