by Kirby Lindsay
The human body has “a natural drive toward health,” Dr. Deborah Epstein pointed out, and natural medicine supports that drive for wellness. Fremont has a growing number of naturopathic and natural medicine practitioners, who practice a variety of methodologies. When considering health care options, why not go natural?
Susan Moore L.Ac., a specialist in Japanese Acupuncture, is one of eleven practitioners at Dragonfly Holistic Healing (760 N. 34th St). Moore listens “to the whole story” when setting out treatment for a client. Following the holistic model of natural medicine, she seeks out the root cause rather than treating only the exhibiting symptom in her clients.
Through listening, and a holistic view, Moore can more easily solve complex problems - the ones that “seem difficult to unravel.” She takes time. “We all want the quick fix,” she acknowledged, “and some do find that in natural medicine.” Yet, her approach is more likely to succeed if the symptom actually disguises a deeper issue.
“Naturopathic really shines with chronic problems,” explained Deborah Epstein, N.D., a state-licensed physician with Lumina Health Naturopathic Medicine (4459 Fremont Ave N, #2.) Her treatment room may resemble a conventional doctor’s office, yet her approach sounds much the same as that of Moore.
For Dr. Epstein natural medicine is about “restoring the basis of health.” She likened natural medicine to “adding light to a dark room.” Metaphorically, a symptom can be like a warning light on your car’s dash, and pharmaceutical medicine treats the problem by unscrewing the light bulb. “Most people come in when they’ve been to doctors to no result,” Dr. Epstein explained. She will evaluate the whole person – their eating, sleeping, contact with nature, and their outlets for love, laughter and light – to see “what are the obstacles to regaining health.”
Natural medicine has many different modalities, and Moore quickly referenced yoga, massage, talk, acupuncture, naturopathy, meditation and movement therapy. In her acupuncture practice she will help identify issues and “if someone is not responding,” to treatment, she explained, she can refer them to another modality/practitioner.
“There is a lot you can do to prevent illness,” Moore explained. Natural herbs act as tonics and nourishment. “Nutrients, instead of manipulating symptoms,” Dr. Epstein explained, “it’s safer to go with things that nourish the system.” Moore describes natural medicine as “a way to happiness, because we’re taking care of ourselves,” and its methods, “puts our health care in our hands.”
Naturopathic & Allopathic In Harmony?
According to Martin Cahn, M.D., a general practitioner in Fremont (at 3601 Fremont Ave N – 206/545-9300), before 1890 anyone could call themselves a doctor. As regulations, and definitions, took hold in the West, allopathic methods became conventional while chiropractic and naturopathic practitioners were shuffled aside.
Dr. Cahn practices allopathic medicine because “I have a scientific mind. I like to go down to scientific principles.” He described naturopathic principals to be as old as medicine, and “regular doctors have been cribbing from naturopathic doctors all along.”
“When I first started out, I think there was an antipathy toward other practices,” he said, but with Bastyr University, and growing awareness, “people have realized we have a lot more in common than we don’t.” Ultimately, “I think the emphasis is on different things,” Dr. Cahn said, “I’m using things that have been more scientifically tested.”
Natural medicine can also provide preventative options, like the ‘Holistic Wellness Packages’ offered through Dragonfly, including ones for treating colds and flu, or fertility/nurturing. Dr. Epstein regularly gives talks on a variety of topics including ‘Finding Food Sensitivities’ on March 10 and ‘Time for Spring Detox’ on March 18. Check their websites for more information – and other methods to restore health.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.