Archive for tag: naturopathic

Experience as an Observer

I spent this past week at an integrative medical practice observing a medical doctor provide "natural" injection therapy for patients with anything from trigger points to osteoarthritis of the knee. At first I was actually skeptical of how "natural" injections were considering it was an injection, which is pretty invasive, and definitely not anything we have the opportunity to perform or be exposed to in clinic. 

However, after speaking with the medical doctor and his patients, it was amazing to see the impact his care was doing in conjunction with chiropractic care. He was injecting a homeopathic remedy called Serapin, which is similar to what we learn in school as Traumeel (contains mainly Arnica) as a potent anti-inflammatory. The medical doctor himself revealed that when he was asked to be part of this treatment protocol, he was very skeptical himself. He did not think there was any way for the "homeopathic remedy" to work as well as something like a corticosteroid. However, after utilizing this treatment modality for 6-7 months now with multiple patients, he has admitted that he has "converted" to a believer in non-invasive and gentle therapy such as homeopathy! What a huge accomplishment for us as naturopaths!

After all, we are not in this medical profession alone but we are surrounded by brilliant and knowledgeable medical doctors who may start off just as skeptical as the medical doctor I observed. But our medicine works! Most of the patients at this clinic are part of the geriatric community, already take tons of pharmaceuticals, and are not willing or able to participate in all the "lifestyle changes" we may want to make before resorting to something like an injection. So, I completely learned to understand and respect the medicine that was being practiced at this clinic and became very impressed. Due to HIPPA, I could not provide you with pictures of the actual injections I witnessed but it was a very awesome experience!


And the people we got to work with were great! They even had a potluck while we were there that we participated in! (The picture above shows the food and some of the therapists at the clinic.)     


The patient population I see at school is mainly 20-50 years of age, which is still very young, while the clinic I observed this week ranged mainly from 50-90 years of age! That is a huge difference in how treatment must be delivered and patient management in general. It was a great experience to be exposed to something so different and a fun break from being on campus all day long!

My grandma and I at dinner after my family picked me up at the airport!

Now, I am (don't be jealous) writing this blog from sunny Southern California! I am actually sitting enjoying a cup of coffee (just ONE cup) while waiting to head into my next clinic adventure with a licensed naturopathic doctor. I am so excited and nervous at the same time. I have absolutely no idea what type of patient population I will be exposed to but just love that I get to be in California. Driving in morning rush hour traffic isn't so bad when you have mountains and palm trees surrounding your view! :)

Next week will be my last blog for you guys...for good! I am so happy that I have the opportunity to share with you my experience in California and hope you have enjoyed my blurbs thus far. :) Take care and have a good & sunny week!

Oh, and here is my 16-week baby bump! 


Oh, Christmas Tree

It's December! Although there is no snow yet on the ground, it is officially December!

As all of you may know or can read from my blogs, I am a busy girl! Along with keeping myself busy with school, board exams, clinic, etc., I also jam pack my weekends with seeing family and friends, which always makes me so happy. However, our first weekend to just spend time together, run errands together, buy a Christmas tree, watch movies, and make dinner together is priceless. And that's exactly what we had the opportunity to do this weekend.

2011-12-05_tree2             2011-12-05_tree1

I had an amazing weekend and now have a REAL Christmas tree in our house! I wish we had time to decorate it in time for me to show you a picture. Our theme for our gifts and tree this year is "Recycle," so I made some papier-mâchéornaments with newspaper and wrapped all of our gifts with brown paper bags and newspapers that I collected from my colleagues. I love the holidays!

Some of the gifts that I wrapped with recycled paper and a hint of lace. :)


This week, I had a patient that needed a tincture! What is a tincture you might ask? An example of a tincture is an alcohol- based (usually ethanol) solution with different botanicals (herbs) in it. The alcohol base acts as a solvent to extract out the constituents of the botanicals, which can be used instead of a capsule (pill). Since it's alcohol based, it cannot be used with patients who may have a history of alcohol/drug abuse, a type of liver disease (very severe) and children.


However, there are other forms of tinctures that may include vinegar bases or glycerin. Although they are not known to be very good solvents, they are still great options. The other great thing about tinctures is that you can CUSTOMIZE it for your patient for their own needs. If they have 2 or more chief complaints, you don't have to give tons and tons of supplements. Instead you can combine 2 or more herbs that may act on different parts of the body, and can cover complaints that range from musculoskeletal to reproductive all in one bottle. It's amazing, and since it's in liquid form, it has been seen to work in acute cases faster than the body breaking down and absorbing different capsules/tablets/pills.

However, there are limitations as well to using tinctures. COMPLIANCE! Since the tinctures don't taste very good, some patients may not always be compliant and use them as directed (example of a dose: 1 tsp. for up to four times a day!). The strong taste and bitter properties of certain botanicals has some people wanting to throw up. So, in theory they are great, but the patient needs to be made aware of the taste/compliance issue before purchasing it. Tinctures at our clinic for 100mL are $20, which can be expensive over time since 100 mL can last anywhere from 7 to 10 days if you are dosing up to 4xs/day.

Well, I hope you have learned something new today about tinctures! They are great and I love them, but like everything else, there are limitations! I've seen great results with my patients and myself, too, if the compliance is there. Have a great week everyone and enjoy time with your loved ones during this holiday season!!

Blissor: My weekend off to relax, start wrapping gifts, buy our first Christmas tree, and overall spend time with my husband! It's the little things in life! :)

The Gathering

"Healing--remembering who we were made to be despite all of our life tragedies/trials, and allowing ourselves to feel unconditional love, which consists of compassion, living without fear, forgiveness, and a deep experience of peace that leaves you with joy and stability." Dr. Anthony Godfrey. 

NUHS and SCNM naturopathic students at "The Gathering"

Opening night of "The Gathering" at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was amazing as Dr. Godfrey eloquently discussed his interpretation of the "vis," the CORE of naturopathic medicine. It almost seemed as if Dr. Godfrey was speaking directly to my heart as he made his address during the opening of the conference.

Sidney and I with Dr. Godfrey.

"The Gathering" is an annual event hosted at different naturopathic schools. It was originally created as an event FOR the students. "Elders", experienced and successful NDs from across the country/world, assemble to provide inspiration, wisdom, and hope. The weekend was definitely packed with tons of sessions where the elders had ample opportunity to penetrate into the hearts/minds of everyone around them.

Dr. Paul Epstein and I.

Dr. Paul Epstein is a very well known ND who studies the connection between the mind and body. He also happens to be the classmate and very good friend of our amazing clinician, Dr. Julie Martin! Dr. Epstein was able expand upon Dr. Godfrey's opening message. It made me realize how powerful and strong our minds, past, stresses, etc., have on our health--short- and long-term.

Throughout all the hustle and bustle of getting through classes and studying for board exams, it is hard to focus on WHY we chose this profession in the first place. Anyone and everyone who chose the ND route but can only think with their mind and not their heart will end up failing in practice. "The Gathering" was a place of rejuvenation and revival for me, and I know that is exactly what it was for my colleagues who are also in clinic. Through all the botanicals, homeopathy, diet changes, etc. that we recommend to our patients, we lose sight of the root and core of our medicine which is the vis--the healing power of nature!

Dr. Louise Edwards and I.

On our campus, Dr. Louise Edwards is our Dr. Godfrey and Dr. Epstein. She has been a beaming light and continues to carry the torch for what defines us and green allopaths. She is such an amazing person that has done so much for our new program; and after "The Gathering," I have learned to really appreciate her more! When you start the program, make sure to soak in as much goodness from her as you can just like I have. She will be a constant reminder for you of the physician you SHOULD be when you become a naturopath.

Overall, I had the most unforgettable, inspiring, and life-changing experience and it was worth the 9-1/2 hour drive, getting through Toronto traffic, and the lack of sleep! :)

Blissor: "The Gathering." Thank you for changing my life!

Time to Breathe

This week has been absolutely tiring! Not only did midterms start to kick in, but a horrible viral respiratory infection took hold of me as well. It started on Sunday and I actually had laryngitis (no voice!) up until Wednesday accompanied by an extremely sore and painful throat, spasmodic dry coughs, night sweats, and high fevers.

I took a couple hours off my clinic shift to be treated in the ND clinic by a couple of awesome colleagues of mine. They put together a very impressive and pretty aggressive treatment plan since the infection sounded like it was going deeper into my lungs every day. There were some doubts floating around from other colleagues about whether or not I would actually improve because with each passing day I was getting worse. A huge component of the progression was the fact that I was sleeping about 2-3 hours/day because I coughed throughout the whole night.

However, this weekend I had the chance to finally SLEEP in as long as I wanted. After some new additions to the treatment plan they put together, I slept about 12 hours and then another 10 hours the next day and woke up feeling brand new! I still had the coughing and sore throat but to a minimum! So after a week of torture on so many different levels, my body halted the viral infection on it's own without the accompaniment of antibiotics or anti-virals, which is amazing!

I am so passionate about this medicine that I delve into every day. I KNOW it works and I believe in it wholeheartedly--well, I think I do--then I encounter moments of doubt when applying the medicine to myself. In this case, I was very positive that the treatment plan implemented was going to work, but I know there was also a line of doubt that I continuously had running through my head. However, I was very against giving up before at least giving it about 5 days. Well, the treatment plan started Wednesday and the effects were seen about late Friday/early Saturday, so it kicked in a lot sooner that I expected!

I am still recuperating and taking it easy for at least a couple more days, but all in all, I feel like I can finally function and have returned back to the world! :) Not only am I excited to get back into functioning normally but also I miss my daily workouts! Crazy, huh? :)


Well, I hope you all had an amazingly sunny weekend like I did minus the sickness! Oh, and I included a picture of my beautiful nephew because looking at his picture just makes my heart smile so I thought it could possibly do the same for you!

Blissor: My husband bought me a 60" kiddie pool that I fit perfectly in and laid out for a couple hours to soak up some vitamin D! 

Trying New Things


Hellloooo worrrllddd!! My last week of midterms! To be completely honest, and it actually sounds crazy, but I really enjoyed midterms! This trimester has been amazing and refreshing so far. Although my credits are lower than when I was dually enrolled, I believe that this tri has been challenging in its own way.

One of the most challenging aspects of this trimester is that I have to switch my thinking modes. Although I try to eat, breathe and live naturopathic medicine, being exposed to a high percentage of physical medicine in clinic has helped me strengthen that aspect but also (possibly) overlook all the principles of naturopathic medicine (subconsciously).

It is awesome (and challenging) to be re-submersed into the medicine that I will practice mainly in the future, and be reminded of how amazing naturopathic medicine can be. Studying for these classes has been more enjoyable since I am in a clinical state of mind, and it's fun (yes, fun!) to re-learn and master everything and find the niche that I would like to incorporate in my future practice. I have encountered some discouraging moments, which has caused me to question everything I am doing, but having a supportive husband to get me back on track has made this trimester much more memorable.

This week, along with midterms, my husband and I started the famous and brutal P90X! We've had it stored for almost six months now and finally decided that our daily workouts have gotten boring and we wanted a challenge. And boy did we underestimate the intensity that we were getting ourselves into. So far, muscles I didn't know I could work out are sore, and laughing/sneezing/coughing makes me crouch in pain because of my abs. It is an insanely good feeling that I cannot explain to be challenged in this way, come out feeling this sore, but so good all at the same time! We are doing the full 90-day challenge, so 90 days from now I'll post (maybe) before and after pictures that will help inspire you to go above and beyond health wise!

Miravone -Two -sm
 We finished the week with a fun night in Chicago with friends visiting all the way from Alaska! (If you remember from last year, I went to Alaska at the end of May to be part of their wedding!) We used "Yelp" and found an amazing family-owned authentic Italian restaurant (Buona Terra on California Avenue) that was AWESOME! All of you should go and try it. Support a small business and have some delicious homemade creative Italian food! Then we went to this place called Outdoor Café that looks like a huge garden but is decked out inside with patio furniture and comfy couches. I love trying new things and can't wait to venture out into this big city more to find all the hidden jewels! You should, too!!

Blissor: My husband. He is my rock and ultimate support and I could not get through everything without him!

Miravone -Husband -sm