This past weekend, Lauren and I went on a pumpkin search at a
local farm here in Illinois. After a nice (yet not so healthy)
snack of freshly made apple cider donuts and local fresh apple
cider, we embarked on our journey through the corn maze to the
secret pumpkin patch where we continued our hunt for the perfect
pumpkin! As the day progressed and the sun shined in all its glory,
we realized we needed some water, so we paused the great pumpkin
hunt to stock up and refill with some high quality H20!
Who knew that we would need to rehydrate on a little pumpkin
search!? I guess that keeping hydrated is key to finding a great
pumpkin. So, after filling up on water, we continued on our quest
only to find pumpkin fudge instead! I guess supplementing with
water doesn't help with finding the perfect pumpkin, but pumpkin
fudge (in moderation) is a nice treat!
This leads me to supplementation, another skill that is built
and added to our doctor's toolkit here at NUHS. According to the
Oxford dictionary, in general terms, to supplement is to enhance or
complete something where a deficiency exists. In naturopathic
terms, administering supplements acts in the very same way for
Supplementation can include a simple saline solution, water or
electrolytes for someone who is dehydrated (on a pumpkin hunt),
vitamins, amino acids or a combination of any of the building
blocks, enzymes, cofactors...well, you get the idea...for any
deficiency in a human being.
Just a few of the conditions that we treat with supplementation
Our supplementation training begins very early in our
biochemistry classes with Dr. McRae, through our clinical
experience training with simulated patients and practice cases
until we reach the naturopathic clinic as interns. We learn the
various methods of administering a supplement to achieve the
greatest efficacy from the dose, whether orally, topically, or
Through the appropriate use of supplementation, we can help our
patients correct imbalances while incorporating and restoring the
basic determinants for healthy living. Ideally, once our patients
are returned to a basis for health, we will no longer need to
supplement as their diet, lifestyle and habits can help them
maintain a healthy state of living. For those who need
supplementation, a properly trained naturopathic intern and doctor
can provide the proper supplementation at the proper dose to help
our patients be their healthiest!
The autumn finally settled in here in Illinois this past week
with crisp mornings and warm days. The trees have shifted in color
just a bit on their topmost branches and I expect that we will see
the full blossoming of autumn in the next two or three weeks.
This week I'll talk a bit about botanical medicine and our
skillset that is developed both in our botanical medicine courses
as well as in clinical practice. Botanicals are powerful tools in
the naturopathic doctor's toolbox; proper instruction, use and
avoidance are necessary to effectively help others with this form
of our eclectic approach to medicine.
LaKisha Brandon (9th Tri), Darius Lembert (10th Tri), and
Joclyn Davis (9th Tri)
formulating and dispensing a custom tincture from our clinic
My definition of botanical medicine is using plants and their
constituent chemicals to help others heal. To that end we have a
series of four botanical medicine courses before and during our
clinical rotations here at NUHS to prepare us as new practitioners
out in practice.
Dr. Lorinda Sorensen and Dr. Fraser Smith (Dean of Naturopathic
Medicine) guide our ND students skillfully through this course
sequence in a way that prepares our future docs with a wealth of
information. We study the habitat, harvesting methods, parts of the
plants that are used, and proper preparation from harvest to
medicine. We are taught interactions (both beneficial and
dangerous) with pharmaceutical drugs. Finally, we learn the proper
times to use and avoid any botanical medicine, as well as the
proper dosage method, amount and timing.
When in clinic, we custom prepare our own tinctures based upon
the needs of the patient. We utilize the variety of professionally
prepared, medicinal grade botanical preparations at our disposal in
the clinic dispensary. We combine our botanical medicines with
other therapies that can help our patients on the path to a return
to their basis of health. This could be a quick turnaround or could
take some time depending upon the pathology and methodologies
utilized in the treatment plan. Through learning botanical medicine
at NUHS, I feel that we are well prepared to enter our practices
with a solid botanical skillset.
This week, I'll take a look at another of the skills that
Naturopathic Interns need to master prior to graduation:
Hydrotherapy treatments that we perform with the patients in our
clinic as well as training patients for hydrotherapy they can do at
Some of the reasons that people would visit our clinic for
...just to name a few.
As we sit with each patient, gather the symptom picture,
understand all facets of the patient's case, and work toward the
center of gravity (or root cause) of the patient's complaint, we
work with our clinicians to establish the best treatment strategy
for our patients. Sometimes, this treatment plan includes a form of
After determining if hydrotherapy is appropriate and beneficial
for our patient, we refer the patient to our hydrotherapy shift,
which consists of our 7th trimester ND students. This is one of the
best aspects of our program here at NUHS. Our students are not only
being exposed to the clinic environment, but they are working in
clinic under the direct supervision of a clinician as an observer
at the halfway point in their education here, getting practical
experience outside the classroom. That aside, we refer the patient
with treatment plan to the hydro shift where "in office"
hydrotherapy treatments such as these are performed.
Dr. Kristina Conner - ND Faculty
Finally, the high quality of hydrotherapy care here at NUHS is
the direct result of the skill and knowledge shared by Dr. Kristina
Conner, who teaches our hydrotherapy classes in the tradition of
Father Kneipp and Dr. Henry Lindlahr, both pioneers of naturopathic
medicine. Dr. Conner has perhaps the most thorough labs that I have
experienced here at NUHS. We are immediately thrust into
treatment in a lab setting, learning the skills that are necessary
for accurate diagnosis and application of hydrotherapy treatments.
As a result, when we start performing hydrotherapy treatments in
the clinic, we are prepared for our patients. Hydrotherapy, a
powerful treatment option, is one of the more solid skillsets I
will take with me from NUHS.
I will cover more of our naturopathic intern skillsets in the
coming weeks. Until then, I'll be by Janse pond.
I thought that, starting this week, I would share a bit about
the therapies and skills required of each Intern before
This week, since we here at NUHS are historically a chiropractic
school, I will start with the obvious requirements of physical
therapies and manual manipulation (or adjustments) skills.
Physical therapies are any therapy for the body including soft
tissue (muscle, tendon, fascial) therapies, ultrasound, cold laser,
phonophoresis, or massage. These therapies can range from treating
ganglion cysts, scars, sprains, strains, swelling or tissue
Manual manipulations (adjusting the skeletal structure) include
manual adjustments of the spine and extremities (arms and legs). We
are taught a tremendous amount of physical medicine while here at
NUHS and the training came in handy as one of my first patients as
a ND intern required both physical medicine and manual
I have been fortunate to complete all of my physical medicine
and manual manipulation requirements after only fours weeks into
9th trimester. The opportunity to get this much practice with
physical medicine prepares me thoroughly for understanding the
proper feel of a patient's musculoskeletal structure, based upon
their age, activity level and level of injury. I feel that this
will give me a competitive advantage versus other NDs in the
marketplace, based upon the scope of practice in the state where I
I have shared another pic of the swan and duck families who have
grown and thrived on Lake Janse this past summer. Soon, the ducks
will migrate south and the swans will return to their winter
lodgings to rest and get ready for another year of scaring away the
flocks of geese that attempt to invade our little campus on their
Next week, I'll share more about the skills that naturopathic
interns need to master prior to graduation. Until then, enjoy the
newly birthed autumn season
Time to settle into the weekly routine again, albeit things are
a bit different this trimester. With class and clinic rotations 5
days each week, along with work on the side during some mornings
and each weekend, time is a precious commodity.
This is what a typical clinic schedule looks like for a 9th/10th
trimester ND Intern.
During clinic, we sit down for "preview" each day to discuss
upcoming patient cases and strategies for best helping our patients
in a roundtable discussion. This is a "safe zone" to bounce ideas,
debate the best strategy amongst peers and under the guidance of
our clinicians. The idea is to share knowledge through discussion
in a practical manner without judgment. This approach allows us to
discuss all treatment modalities, their benefits, drawbacks and
limitations, then move forward with the best overall treatment for
After preview, we see our patients, chart, research, develop and
bring our suggested treatment plans to our clinicians, who vet the
plans and approve or amend as required for the benefit of our
patients. We must complete all of these tasks during our shifts as
HIPPA regulations dictate that no patient records leave the
premises. We learn quickly to be accurate, concise and have all
work completed by the end of the day out of necessity.
Even though this seems like a lot of work, clinic is a fun,
nurturing environment that I look forward to every day. The smiles
on patients' faces when they begin to feel better, heal and share
is priceless! The patience, knowledge, skill and care that our
clinicians share with each intern on a daily basis set an excellent
example for all of us as future doctors.
Me with Carrie (left) and Juanita (right), both 6th trimester
The photo I'm sharing this week is of two friends and me. I was
printing something at the library the other day and ran into them
after having not seen either for about two months! This made me
realize that I was separated from the rest of campus now that I'm
in clinic and needed to visit my old friends still in their
clinical courses. Challenge accepted...
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
• Minor Surgery
• Intern Skills
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