Here are common questions I am often asked about Naturopathic and Functional medicine, Acupuncture treatments or the modalities I use in my practice. If you don’t find a particular question answered here, the information is most likely elsewhere on my site, but if you require further information, please feel free to contact me.
+ How do I know if I should make an acupuncture appointment or a naturopathic appointment or consultation?
Both Naturopathy and Chinese medicine can offer solutions to your condition. I find that the combination of the two offers superior results. If your primary issue is pain, then I will always recommend acupuncture as part of your plan. For any other condition, starting with a naturopathic consult allows us to determine your options for treatment.
I approach all situations with a holistic view and create a personalized plan tailored to your specific needs. You get to decide if acupuncture will be a part of our plan or not. When you schedule your appointment in Portland, please mention whether you are coming in for acupuncture as the main focus.
+ What if I do not live in Portland, OR, is there still a way you can help me?
Much of the integrative wellness and lifestyle coaching and medical consulting I do can be done via video conference or over the phone. I have clients all over the globe and several patients that have moved from Portland, still access me for part of their wellness care. I am excited to assist you regardless of where you live.
If you are out of town and interested in working with me, our visits will be similar to my person to person naturopathic visits but will be done via video conference. See how to work with me for more info. All consent forms must be signed and on file before our first meeting and payment will be taken at the time of our visit.
+ How do I know if you can treat MY problem?
What I know to be true is that a personal lifestyle medicine approach can offer any individual a guideline to improving their health. The dietary, lifestyle and nutritional recommendations that you receive will address not only your main health concern but will improve your overall wellbeing and quality of life. Sometimes the time tested approaches I offer, help you finally transform something that has been bugging you for a long time. You really don’t need to suffer any longer. Oh, and one more thing; action you take now towards improved self care , prevents further illness in the future.
+ Why is your intake form so long?
The more I know about you ahead of time, the more I am able to focus your visit on getting to the solutions you are looking for. I treat you as a whole person, not your symptoms, condition or disease. I want to know who YOU are. I need to understand all aspects of you and your lifestyle, your health history and your wellness goals.
Some of the questions may even offer you an opportunity to consider things you haven’t previously thought of as being connected to your health. I know it’s long, but trust the process. This is an important initial step and makes your initial visit more effective.
+ Can you serve as my primary care doctor?
Although in Oregon I can provide most primary care services, including physicals and writing prescriptions, as well as care for most conditions that do not require a specialist, insurance plans are particular so I ask that my patients establish a relationship with a designated Primary Care Physician. I believe a team approach allows you to always receive the best health care you deserve taking advantage of multiple perspectives. I am not on-call overnight or during weekends and I do not have hospital admitting privileges at this time. I also do not administer vaccines, do minor surgery, or male exams. If you have any other specific questions about this you can call my office.
+ Can you write a prescription?
As a practitioner in Oregon, I am licensed to prescribe most medications. However please know that my approach does not aim to manage symptoms for you, but rather my commitment is to help you get to the root cause and restore your body to balance. Sometimes this may require prescription medications, but I will always explore other options first. There are some medications that I prefer you have managed by an allopathic medical doctor or specialist. We will discuss this if required.
When I do prescribe medications it will be part of a specific treatment plan and will require regular assessment for refills. Given that many medications carry possible side effects, contraindications and interactions with supplements and other botanical medicines, it is important that you always inform me of new or changes in any of your prescription medications.
For out of state health and lifestyle coaching, I am not able to write prescriptions.
+ Will you work with me if I already have a primary care MD?
Absolutely. I believe we all need a health care team, not just a single individual (ie. single perspective). I am interested in collaborative care and will do what is necessary to work with your medical doctor or specialist to create a plan that serves you best. If you are local in Portland and need to find a primary care MD or specialist who will respect your desire for an integrative approach I have a number of referrals that can be made available to you.
+ What if I miss or need to reschedule an appointment?
I set my schedule to ensure ample time with each patient. Please understand that I need your cooperation in order to keep my visits patient-centered. Please arrive on time. I have a 24-hour cancellation policy. There is no charge for canceling or rescheduling with more than 24 hours’ notice. If you miss your appointment or need to reschedule with less than 24 hours notice, you will be charged. If you have a “telemedicine” or consulting/coaching session with me and you miss your appointment you will be responsible for the cost of your scheduled visit.
+ What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Healing is an ART. The art of Naturopathic Medicine operates under six fundamental principles that will guide our work together. The alchemy of modern medical science, ancient wisdom traditions and Nature’s elements helps us in both finding the root cause of what ails and creating the personalized solution for your healing.
THE HEALING POWER OF NATURE The body has an inherent, dynamic intelligence which allows it to self-regulate, return to balance and therefore heal. We must give up the idea that we will ever have the intellectual capacity to fully grasp, let alone control or power over, the body’s magnificent wisdom. Instead stay in the wonder of the Elements of You, decide to partner with all that occurs without a single consideration from your thinking mind. Trust is our foundation. My job is to help you remove obstacles to this life enhancing intelligence, give the body nourishment, rest and the movement it needs and then get out of the way and let nature work it’s miracles.
DOCTOR AS TEACHER Doctor originates from the Latin word “docere”, meaning “to teach. Educating, supporting and empowering my patients to take personal responsibility for their health is an aspect of my role as your wellness guide. When you understand the therapeutic value of suggested lifestyle and dietary changes, you are more likely to embrace change and follow through. I’m excited to share my years of study and continual expanding knowledge in order to help you feel the way you want to feel.
PREVENTION The present moment is a result of all actions taken up to this Now. Prevention of disease requires that we begin to pay closer attention to our every day choices. Our body is constantly repairing, healing, transforming. Our lifestyle choices do matter. How we think about things does matter. How we rest, move, nourish and love ourselves matters. 80% of known diseases are directly related to lifestyle choices. It’s time to deepen our conversation about how we care for our bodies, how we inform our tissues and how we relate to the miracle vessel of the body that we get to experience life through.
TREAT THE CAUSE Naturopathy (and Chinese Medicine, Earth Medicine) focus on the ROOT cause of your illness or ailment. When we work together, you will be witnessed deeply in order to help you restore wellbeing and enhance your quality of life. By identifying cause, we are able to remove obstacles, transform that which hinders our innate ability to heal and then provide the body with what is missing. I combine modern medical science with ancient wisdom and the experience of my own personal healing journey to address underlying issues so that you are no longer simply managing symptoms, but healing, thriving and enjoying your life in the way you desire.
TREAT THE WHOLE PERSON You are more than a symptom or a disease label. You are so much more than any of your many roles. You are living through your body but also have a feeling heart, a spirit and a soul; the wellbeing of all parts of you crucial to your vitality. I will consider all aspects of you as an individual; not only your physical body, but how you think and feel, how you connect with your life and all that you experience. No one is like you, nor ever will be and your unique alchemy of being deserves a unique approach to your healing.
FIRST DO NO HARM Your body is not at war with you, let’s stop “fighting” it please and instead partner up. I choose the most non-invasive, least toxic, and most natural remedies first. Our modern world has forgotten the foundations of Healthy Living = Whole REAL food, clean water, joyful movement, restorative rest and healthy relationships. Once we ground into these, then targeted nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, essential oils and sound therapy our my allies. The safety of medicines is a concern, they are available an sometimes needed, but nature often provides us with simple, yet powerfully effective ways to return us to balance.
+ What does it take to become a licensed naturopathic doctor?
After attaining a Bachelor’s degree and taking the usual barrage of undergraduate pre-med courses, licensed Naturopathic doctors attend a four year accredited Naturopathic medical school. In those four years (in my case 6 years as I gained my Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine simultaneously) we undergo a rigorous academic program including all the classes you would you expect in any medical school environment. In addition, we are educated extensively in CLINICAL NUTRITION, BOTANICAL medicine, CHINESE MEDICINE, physical medicine, etc. Our clinical training starts in the second year of school and continues through graduation when we spend many hours working with patients under the supervision of attending physicians.
After graduating and taking board exams, many NDs have residencies lasting one to three years. Some NDs practice as primary care providers, others may have an area of specialty. You deserve a physician and health care provider who has the education and experience to support your wellness goals. Not all health care providers are created equal.
+ What if I’ve never tried alternative medicine before? Isn’t it kind of woo-woo?
There are many forms of medicine out there and the spectrum is quite broad when it comes to the “woo-woo” factor. I believe in holistic, patient-centered care and provide you with a plan that meets you where you are and invites you to take action to achieve your desired outcome. I am here to present you with a Personalized Lifestyle Medicine approach to your health concerns, something that is based in science and the wisdom of centuries-old healing traditions and always sees you as a whole, complex individual. I encourage all of my patients to think “outside the box” and open to new ideas. In order to see change, we have to do something different than what we’ve always done.
+ Does acupuncture really work?
Yes! Acupuncture is effective for many conditions. From a Western medical perspective it is not fully understood how it works. However, the science of Chinese medicine has a 5000 plus year history and has been used successfully for just about every medical condition. Chinese medicine looks at the world through a wholistic lens, one that sees the connection between all things. Just as the natural world has its processes to restore balance so too does the human body. Acupuncture is a beautiful technology that assists this process. I have seen even complicated cases greatly improve or completely resolve when including acupuncture in the treatment plan.
+ How do I know if acupuncture is for me?
In classical Chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbal therapies are the main treatment modalities for all conditions; therefore one could suggest it is for everyone. Let me put it another way, you won’t know if you don’t try! And like most holistic therapies, they can’t help you if you don’t use them. If you have tried many things and just can’t seem to turn the corner, acupuncture may just be the piece of the puzzle that allows everything else to fall into place. What I know for sure is that during a session you will calm your nervous system and begin healing on a cellular level. The value in a subtle shift such as this cannot be under emphasized. Try it; you might like it!
+ I don’t like needles; does acupuncture hurt?
For most, acupuncture is a painless process. Occasionally there can be some mild pain or discomfort associated with the needle insertion process, but this subsides within seconds. It is my belief that acupuncture does not have to hurt to be effective. Most find the experience incredibly relaxing and restorative.
+ Is Acupuncture safe?
When performed by a licensed acupuncturist the treatments are very safe. I use very thin, sterile-single use needles for your comfort and safety. Even the World Health Organization endorses acupuncture for the treatment of many pain syndromes and it has been used safely in China and all around the world for centuries.
+ How many treatments does it take to achieve results?
Every situation is unique, just as you are. Acute conditions may resolve within 4-6 treatments, while chronic conditions may take longer. A typical course of treatment in these cases is 10-12 sessions spread out every week or every other week. I will work within your budget or insurance coverage and schedule to design the best plan that will bring results while being cost effective.
+ How often do I need to receive treatments?
Acute conditions respond well to 2 treatments per week for 2-3 weeks. Chronic conditions may warrant weekly treatments for a period of time, usually 12 weeks to start. Once the chief complaint has found improvement or resolution, many often choose to come in 1-2 times per month for wellness and prevention. I have seen monthly acupuncture treatments serve my patients very well as a primary element in their self-care and wellness plan.
+ What is Qi?
Qi is our life force energy or the energy flow of the body. It is that which sustains all living things. The literal translation of Qi is “breath” and is the foundational principle of Chinese Medicine. Health and Happiness is said to be the expression of a dynamic and harmonious combination of all aspects of Qi that make up who we are. From our physical bodies to our emotional and spiritual self. Restoring the balance of Qi and its movement in your body is the primary goal through an acupuncture course of treatment. This concept is deep and complex, feel free to research more…. One place to start: http://taoism.about.com/od/qi/a/Qi.htm
Diet & Exercise
+ Will you make me change my diet?
I believe that the way we nourish ourselves greatly impacts the state of our health. I will make recommendations and it will be up to you to choose to implement them. I do not believe there is one diet for every BODY. I will make suggestions based on your medical history, current concerns, and lifestyle and wellness goals.
+ If I incorporate a whole foods lifestyle, does that mean that I can never have my favorite foods again?
Short answer, no. Or….. maybe. Depends on your situation and what those foods are! I believe that the foods we choose to eat can nourish us or add to the irritation and disruption of our body’s balance. Food can be our medicine and every bite informs our tissues and provides the fuel we need to live our days. For some conditions, strict adherence to a certain way of eating can prove immensely beneficial and speed the healing process. This means that for a period of time, avoiding your favorite treats may be required. Once you are experiencing good health, vital energy and have reached your wellness goals, you are less likely to be negatively impacted by occasional indulgences.
Part of the support I provide is guiding your through the myriad of dietary options available. The good news is that once you implement a whole food lifestyle you will notice cravings diminish and your preference for certain foods change. Eat more green veggies and you end up craving more green veggies! Hard to believe but true.
+ Does it take a lot of time to eat a whole food diet? I am crunched for time. What about when I am at work or traveling?
Like any new skill we wish to have in life, there is a learning curve. At the beginning there will be some time and effort involved. But once you create new habits, eating this way does not take that much time. The good news is I am an expert in this area and will help you learn the skills necessary to adopt a healthy and personalized whole food lifestyle. I too am a busy professional with a full life and can teach you all the tricks to sticking to your commitments at work, play and on the road.
+ Can you help me lose weight?
If this is a part of your goal we will absolutely consider this in the creation of your treatment plan. I’ve seen patients successfully lose weight and keep it off when they commit to accountable action with me as their guide. My desire is to assist you to achieve a healthy lifestyle where you feel comfortable in your body, have all the energy you need to lead a full and active life, and sometimes weight loss is a part of that. By identifying proper nutrition and movement plans for your body’s needs I often see my patients achieve a healthy weight as a result. Interference in this process may arise if there is a history of chronic dieting, eating disorders or a sedentary lifestyle. My mind-body-spirit approach is incredibly effective in helping you create new habits and new sense of confidence.
+ What about exercise? What if I hate the gym?
Movement practices are an important and integral part of any healthy lifestyle. We all must move our bodies daily to stay young and energized. There are many options out there today; it is up to you to find something that brings you joy and then do that on a regular basis. When we work together I will encourage you and help you create a movement plan that works for you.