Health Care Choices: My visit with a Naturopathic Doctor
A Frustrating Journey
During my journey to wellness (read my whole story here), I was overwhelmed with how many doctors could not help me solve what was happening with my body (high cholesterol, extreme weight gain, signs of diabetes and even heart disease).
Constantly feeling ill, scared, and quite frankly, irritated…I had almost given up hope in finding an explanation for my symptoms and a solution.
Through a friend, I found my way to an alternative care provider (Eastern medicine), but my experience was less than stellar. The practice promised in their brochures and on their website that they would help with things like unexplained symptoms, mysterious illnesses and weight issues. I booked an appointment, full of hope, and went in with my dietary journals and photos of the vast changes my body had experienced. I was alarmed and afraid of how quickly my health was deteriorating, so I was really hoping for answers.
The practitioner came in, glanced at me and my journals, wrote “morbidly obese” on my appointment paper and told me I was eating too much protein! Since I was there to address my health issues first and my weight second (which I suspected was a result of whatever was going on), in that moment I felt my blood pressure rise as it never had before. Angry and frustrated, feeling completely deflated and all hope seemingly gone, I left the practice in tears, crumpling my paper as I went. I sat in my car and prayed for help.
A Holistic Experience
Fortunately for me, an answer to my prayer came in the way of an integrative physician. This was a medical doctor, who studied my lab results quarterly and gave me proper supplementation to get to the root cause of my issues. I spent about two years with him and his program, and after trying everything else, it turned that I had Celiac Disease and Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune thyroid condition). It taught me so much about the effect of different foods on my body, and was my first experience with a more holistic approach to healthcare.
That was in 2010. In between, I went gluten free, then grain and soy free, healing afflictions I didn’t even know I had. Since 2012, my body had healed and I became healthier than I had ever been, rarely experiencing illness. I had mostly kept to my routine of taking my vitamins, eating properly, getting enough sleep and keeping my stress level as low as possible (which are all contributing factors to whole health and absolutely necessary, especially for one with an autoimmune condition). Recently, though, with owning a business, traveling, and still being a single parent, I hadn’t been as diligent with everything, and something was changing. I knew I didn’t feel right and I needed to seek some medical advice, but my integrative physician had moved away.
My prayers were answered again when I met Dr. Trudy Pieper, a board-certified Naturopathic Doctor. After co-speaking with her at a Local Food Council meeting, I knew we had a lot in common with the way we approached our health and the health of our clients. I knew nothing about Naturopathic doctors, so I was excited to expand my horizons once again with a new experience.
She and her husband Hal run the practice together, and her mission is to “seek the root cause for illness and build your body from the cellular level through vitamins minerals, food, herbal remedies and lifestyle choices to create vibrant health.”
Doesn’t that sound refreshing?
According to naturopathic.org, a Naturopathic physician is one that a “combines the wisdom of nature with the rigors of modern science.” The Naturopathic doctors use “traditional healing methods, principles and practices, [and] focus on holistic, proactive prevention and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment.” And, this is my favorite part: “By using protocols that minimize the risk of harm, naturopathic physicians facilitate the inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health.” YES!
For someone who has only ever seen a traditional doctor, though, the above description might sound scary, or even “out there.” I would have never considered this option during my own health journey, because in a corner of my mind I’m sure I thought, “those people are wacky!”
Well, there is absolutely nothing wacky about the body healing itself! It’s what your body was designed to do. It really does want you to feel good! Many times it’s hard to think that way if you’re feeling bad or even “off.” However, these are signs that your body is telling you that something needs attention, much like the “engine light” in your car. Make a little adjustment here or there, or sometimes big adjustments, and your mind and body can be completely restored. I’ve seen it over and over!
During my visit, I found Dr. Pieper’s practice to be rather unique. The waiting area is very welcoming. Her code of ethics is posted on the wall. It’s clear that she runs a practice, but with faith-centered values, and it’s also clear that she cares about her patients.
While she doesn’t take insurance, (not permitted in the state of Ohio), her rates are very reasonable, and her approach is to do just what the description above says: to facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore health. She is the type of person who wants you to succeed and will offer you the tools to get there. Of course, from there it’s up to you to follow her advice and follow up for check-in appointments, but it’s quite refreshing to know that you have a doctor “pulling for you.”
The first thing that happened at my appointment was that Dr. Pieper had me place my hand on this unique device, called a Zyto. There are mixed reviews out there about it, but Dr. Pieper just uses it as a guide to see what your body’s responses are showing, and to facilitate the initial assessment and discussion of your symptoms and issues. (You can read more about the specifics of it on the Zyto website, and as with everything, there are multiple ways to get the same information – my integrative physician used specific lab work; some chiropractors use muscle testing, etc.)
The report from the Zyto machine gave a few indications that something indeed was awry, but thankfully it wasn’t anything of grave concern. Dr. Pieper sat with me and we discussed all of my symptoms and what I was feeling. There were a couple of areas that I already knew were a problem, and she identified them before I said anything (I was deficient in B vitamins because I had slacked off, and my adrenals were not functioning optimally because I wasn’t getting enough rest).
I loved her summary checklist of what to do when I left! I didn’t walk out with a prescription for a pharmacy, I walked out with a prescription for wellness! She recommended some vitamins, a few tweaks in my diet with foods that would help detox, proper rest, and a hormone cream. I love that she gave me steps to follow, had the products available there (or I could purchase on my own) and information presented in a way that I could understand!
If you’re not already following a gluten free or grain free diet, she will definitely recommend that, along with removing other foods depending on your illness or affliction. She and I think very much alike in removing gluten, grain, soy, dairy, refined sugars, preservatives, and anything artificial to promote the body’s healing and to reduce inflammation.
Incidentally, Dr. Pieper just finished her first book: Prevention is the Cure for Cancer (a title with which I 100% agree!), and you can find the link to purchase it on her website.
Phoenix Wellness Center
Check out her website to make an appointment or read more information.