Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Naturopathic Physician, exactly?

Licensed naturopathic physicians are unique in that we draw on the proven medical philosophies of various cultures and integrate these with modern scientific research. We also maintain that an underlying cause exists behind all disease and symptoms. We seek to address this underlying cause and restore the body back to health. In my practice I also have an emphasis on education and empower clients to take back control of their own health.

Modalities I use include but are not limited to: Clinical Nutrition, Botanical/Herbal Medicine, Dietary Supplements, Stress Management and Prevention, Exercise therapeutics, Lifestyle Counseling and Coaching.

What things would I see you for?

As a practitioner of both Western and complementary medicine, and 18 years under my belt of integrative medical practice in Portland, I can consult on just about everything that a primary care physician would treat. I have had particular success with conditions that are not terribly responsive to Western medicine such as:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • PMS
  • Generalized malaise and fatigue
  • Migraines and other headaches

Naturopaths also have very good results using natural therapies (alone or in conjunction with medications you are already on) to address conditions such as

  • Menopausal symptoms
  • High cholesterol
  • Mild anxiety and depression
  • Insomnia
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Food sensitivities

Additionally, naturopathic medicine is also perfect for those who are feeling well but want to prevent disease in the future. We assess risk factors and give you tools for optimal health.

How are Naturopathic physicians trained?

We go to medical school just like any other doctor. The difference is that along with traditional studies, we also learn naturopathic philosophy and we’re extensively trained in nutrition, herbs, supplements, lifestyle counseling and other complementary modalities.

Regarding specifics required for licensing in Oregon, after pre-medical training, we must complete medical school at an accredited institution, where we graduate with a doctoral degree, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND). We are trained in basic medical and clinical sciences, physical and clinical diagnosis, Naturopathic philosophy and therapeutics. In Oregon, Naturopathic candidates must pass a board licensing examination, and then we are licensed to practice primary care medicine (with the exceptions of major surgery and a few prescription limitations such as atypical antipsychotics and chemotherapy drugs.)

Can you really fix my problem if you don’t see me in person?

If you have a mole that needs to be biopsied or you need to have the wax blasted out of your ears, no, I can’t manage those things. However, almost all of what I practice does not require that you be sitting across a desk from me. We address your concerns from a whole-person centered approach and if you need some kind of exam I have you see someone locally and we will request that a full report be sent so I can review it. In short, distance consults are just that – consults – and medical care should be obtained locally for hands-on treatment.

Can you be my primary care doctor?

For local patients I can be a primary care doctor although in most cases I encourage patients to have a Western medical primary care provider for emergent situations and middle of the night crises. For distance-only consults, I am not providing medical care but consulting, so simply, no, I cannot be your primary care doctor. I can, however handle most things that need addressing by working with you and supporting your relationship with your local provider.

How long/how many sessions do I need to work with you?

This varies dramatically person to person, related both to the condition and the preferences of the client. Some clients want general advice and others want ongoing care to really get to the root of their issues.

After our first visit I will make recommendations that you can implement immediately to feel better. Beyond that, it’s up to you. Each person needs a different amount of support to finally get to where they want to be.

I tailor make a plan for you so we can get to the bottom of your concerns rather than just putting a band-aid on your symptoms. If you’re ready to feel great, I’ll leave no stone unturned until we get you there.

Will my insurance/Health savings account (HSA) pay for your services?

There are some insurances that will pay for online/virtual consultations but in these cases you will need a face-to-face contact with me first. In most states there is no coverage for naturopathic medicine regardless of whether it is face-to-face or virtual.

Your HSA may or may not be able to be used. Please contact your company directly to inquire about this. If you have specific questions about your policy please contact me via my contact form and I’m happy to have someone get back to you.

How do I know if this will be worth my time and money?

You have to ask yourself what the long-term cost of not taking care of your health will be. It might be more expedient in the short term to ignore nagging conditions that don’t keep you from living your life, but you can be certain that most symptoms grow over time if you don’t deal with the underlying problem. And usually the longer it takes to address them, the harder it is to undo them.

If you are trying to decide if you are ready to financially invest in your health, you have to ask yourself a few basic questions…be honest with yourself.

  • What would it be worth for me to feel better/meet my health goals?
  • Would investing in my health at this time keep me from meeting my basic needs: food on the table, roof over my head, etc?
  • How will feeling well allow me to be more productive both at work and at home?
  • What is the long-term cost of not taking care of my health?
  • What could I give up, if needed, to prioritize my  health at this time?
Can you help me manage my medications or get off of them completely?

If I am working with you virtually I can’t take you off of a medication or write a prescription, but I can discuss other options with you so you can work with your physician to make changes in your current plan if appropriate.

As far as my philosophy of medications goes, I believe ideally you wouldn’t need them. In my 18 years of practice I’ve had countless patients get off of many different types of medications.But, there are some times that a medication will be less harmful on your system than the symptom itself. Other times it’s worthwhile to be on a medication while you make the changes you need to get your health in better order. And of course there are some cases where medications are simply necessary no matter how you slice it.

As a licensed naturopathic physician in a state that allows us prescription rights, I am able to address your medications from an integrative medical perspective in a way that differentiates me from other practitioners such as health coaches, unlicensed naturopaths, nutritionists, counselors and dietitians.

Isn’t naturopathic medicine kind of woo-woo?

I am here to provide health care that is in alignment with your values. Period.

My patients and clients are a diverse lot and seek naturopathic care for a variety of reasons. Some prefer to have a whole person approach to health care, some have reached the end of what Western medicine can offer them, others want only nutritional counseling but are fine being on medications. I have a practical and down to earth approach to your care and will work with you to make sure that your needs are met, whatever they may be. And if you’re a bit woo, I can meet you there too.