On a typical day in my office, it is not uncommon for me to see a patient seeking integrative naturopathic support during their cancer treatment. Imagine a patient named Carey. Let's say Carey is a 55 year old female presenting with metastatic colon cancer, currently undergoing chemotherapy. The first thing I might observe is that Carey is under a lot of stress. She was recently diagnosed with cancer and quickly started treatment with her oncologist. She presents in my office today with a bag of supplements recommended by friends, family and health food store clerks. She is not sleeping well and states she lost her appetite since being diagnosed. She shares that her dad died earlier this year, which has been a tremendous loss for her. Now being diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer, she worries about her own children losing their mom. She's doing her best to juggle work, to stay strong for her family, to care for her mom, and to cope with the side effects of her treatments. She has been severely constipated and hasn't had a bowel movement in two weeks! She needs her job because she depends on it for her health insurance. Carey states she hasn't had time to exercise or care for herself the past several years.
The viewpoints of several health paradigms spin in my head as she shares her story. The impact of stress, inflammatory cytokines, and their role in cancer progression comes to mind. Lowering these inflammatory cytokines by addressing her stress will help her outcomes. I imagine what her visit with her oncologist might have been like and what the oncologist might have considered in selecting a treatment for my patient. I reflect on what I have been taught about safety of combining chemotherapy with dietary supplements as I go through each dietary supplement in her bag. We discuss supportive options to help address the chemotherapy side effects she now faces, while I weigh what we can safely use with her prescribed treatment. Her lack of sleep can be contributing to low melatonin levels and decreased functioning of her immune system. I know that cancer survival rates drop with malnutrition, lack of exercise, and poor performance status. I think about what my Chinese Medicine professor taught me about the connection between grief and the organ systems of the lungs and large intestines (colon).
She is under the care of a medical oncologist and now me, a naturopathic doctor. In our first visit, I know she will have better outcomes if we can get her further integrative support. Ninety minutes was barely enough time to hear her story and collect her medical history, review all the supplements she has been given, recommend some functional tests, and address side effects and overall naturopathic recommendations. Getting assistance with healthy and appetizing meals would do her well. Social support could aid her in her mother's care, time management, and find community and financial resources to support her through her own treatment. In her efforts to "stay strong," she's holding in a deep amount of grief and fear that comes pouring out in our appointment. Who can she share these feelings with on a frequent and regular basis so they don't build up so large inside of her? Exercise would help decrease her stress, improve energy levels, and contribute to improved survival outcomes; an exercise specialist with knowledge of oncology could help safely get her started without wearing her out and contributing to further fatigue. She could also benefit from a restorative yoga and relaxation exercises. Given the relationship between the colon and grief, a Chinese medicine approach might be synergistic in her treatment. These are areas I have a basic working knowledge of, but she would thrive working with a specialist in each of these areas. I see a village of support that could greatly improve the quality of her life and potentially her cancer outcomes. I worked for a place that offered all of these services under one roof and I witnessed how patients benefited from this integration of care.
I love that I have been exposed to all these different paradigms of healing--conventional medicine, naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, mind-body medicine & counselling, physical medicine therapies, nutrition, yoga. I can appreciate that each of these paradigms will look at this patient with a different set of eyes. I know that Carey needs more than I can alone provide and that she will thrive if her practitioners work and communicate together. Carey, like many patients, may not be able to utilize all these different professionals, but she will benefit from adding what she can. In the meantime, I will point her to books, resources, and give basic recommendations to get her started.
Whether it is cancer or any number of other chronic diseases, there is synergy to be gained through integration. It is a situation where one plus one is more than two. One practitioner may see something the others don't see. Each paradigm has its limitations, even mine. It goes back to the old saying that goes--"If all you have is a hammer, then everything appears as a nail." Bring in the other tools, because we've got more than nails here. We have the beautiful intricacy of human life.
Naturopathic healthcare is one of many paradigms of healing. I personally believe there is no one single healing paradigm for every person and every situation. It is hopeful to know that if one paradigm can't explain "what's wrong" that other paradigms may offer answers and effective approaches to healing.
The naturopathic paradigm originates from the beliefs that (1) nature (fresh air, clean food, light, hydrotherapy, exercise, rest) is healing, and (2) we each are endowed with a vital, healing force that works well when obstacles (i.e. excesses of the diet, lack of sleep, emotional stress) are removed. Think about the chronic illnesses that have become more prevalent in industrialized countries--type II diabetes, heart disease, allergies, gastric reflux, hormonal irregularities. These types of illnesses are often secondary to changes in our culture's diet, lifestyle and environment. These chronic illnesses that come from industrialized living often respond well to naturopathic care, because we seek to remove the underlying cause (or obstacle) that got in the way of optimal health.
The history of naturopathic care is intertwined with the European Water Cure movement which used hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is the use of water in healing. When I mention hydrotherapy, most people envision enemas, colonics, or maybe a hot tub. While it might include enemas and colonics in some naturopathic clinics, hydrotherapy includes a diverse array of water applications. Instead of the hot tubs of America, this tradition relied more heavily on cold water applications because it stimulates the body's blood flow. Healthy blood flow supports nutrients being delivered to the tissues and waste products being carried away, thus supporting the health of the body.
Over time, other healing modalities were practiced by naturopathic doctors. When I attended naturopathic medical school, I had the privilege to be exposed to many different paradigms in my training, which also included herbal/botanical medicines, homeopathy, classical Chinese medicine, physical medicine, environmental medicine, nutrition, massage, pharmacology, and mind-body medicine. Did you know the some naturopathic doctors of the past didn't believe in using herbs because they considered them them "drug therapy"? In the 1850s, much of the US Pharmacopeia consisted of herbal medicines as "drug therapy" and naturopaths of that time were considered "drugless doctors." Naturopathic healthcare has changed considerably over the years. Naturopathic doctors now days have several modalities to choose from, and because of this, care can vary widely between naturopathic clinics. One clinic may focus on specialty testing, supplements and nutritional IV therapy, while another clinic may offer mainly hydrotherapy, homeopathy, and herbal support.
Visits in my office often address the obstacles to healing and how those obstacles can be minimized or removed. When conventional tests don't explain why a person is not feeling well, then I may recommend specialty tests that look more at the physiology and optimal function of the body. The visit may evolve into discussions of safely integrating natural supplements, individualized selection of herbs and homeopathics, using the mind as a tool in health and healing, and home hydrotherapy techniques. I respect the fact that there are limits to what I can provide, and sometimes a referral to a professional of another paradigm is more appropriate.
I find it is an exciting time to be a naturopathic doctor. Evidence based medicine for natural therapies and research studies are expanding in our field. Our understanding of epigentics (how environment influences genetic expression) is growing. Members of different health professions are working together more often and we are learning from one another. Each day in my professional life is filled with learning in this ever expanding field and puzzling together the pieces of health and healing. I delight in it!
If you would like to explore a naturopathic approach with Dr. Katrina Bogdon, please visit her website at www.ourhealingroots.net to learn about the appointments she offers or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to my new blog site! Posts from my previous blog can be found at www.ourhealingroots.blogspot.com. As a new chapter of my life and business unfolds, I think it appropriate to begin fresh with my blog.
My name is Katrina Bogdon and I am the owner of Our Healing Roots. LLC. Growing up, I never knew there were such things as naturopathic doctors, and I certainly never imaged being one myself. When I discovered naturopathic medicine, I was thrilled that I could go to a medical school that taught about medical science & research, natural medicines, allowed me to spend time listening to my patient's stories, how puzzle out the development of illness and remove the obstacles to healing.
I completed my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. It is the oldest naturopathic college in North America. I spent four years learning naturopathic philosophy, basic medical sciences, how to diagnose disease with physical exams and testing, and about several treatment modalities--herbal medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, stress management, mind-body techniques, physical medicine, pharmaceutical drugs, and minor surgery.
I am licensed as a naturopathic physician in the state of Washington, but I live and practice in Oklahoma & Missouri. After I got my license in Washington, I returned to the Midwest. Certain states such as Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri do not license naturopathic doctors, so I cannot diagnose disease in these states, use minor surgery, or prescribe drugs. In Oklahoma, I completed a residency and worked in an integrative cancer setting for five and half years. My time there taught me a lot about working in an unlicensed state and how to integrate with other health professionals for the benefit of the patient.
In 2013, I began a full-time naturopathic practice in Tulsa, OK, called Our Healing Roots, LLC. I have the wondrous opportunity to sit 45-90 minutes with each person learning about their health & life stories. For many people, I bring a new paradigm and understanding of health. Health is not just the absence of a diagnosed disease. It is about feeling good in your body, having a clear mind, being emotionally well, and so much more. My goal as a naturopathic doctor is to seek the underlying obstacles standing in the way of health and to help guide people to the least invasive ways to remove those obstacles. I am also a huge supporter of integrative healthcare, and I love making referrals. Each healthcare provider brings a different set of tools, abilities, and a fresh perspective to healing. There is strength and synergy when different providers work together. People get better results and heal faster.
This past fall, I began expanding my practice to Springfield, Missouri. Beginning January 2015, Our Healing Roots, LLC will begin offering naturopathic consultations at 2BWell, in addition to my clinic in Tulsa. After living in Tulsa for seven years, I am slowly transitioning to the Springfield area in 2015, and I will close my Tulsa office on October 31, 2015. I grew up in the Ozarks and my heart is called back to the Ozarks. Thus, begins a new chapter for my business and my life...
If you are interested in using naturopathic services as part of your integrative healthcare, please feel welcome to contact me through my website.