Healthy lifestyles through Naturopathy
Suzie Daggett interviews Carolyn and Gregory Weisswasser, Naturopathic doctors. A Naturopathic doctor is a licensed primary care provider who treats the whole person, calling on science and the body’s innate wisdom to heal.
How did you get interested in Naturopathic medicine?
Dr. Greg – I was always interested in medicine, even as a young child. I had a way of listening to people, paying attention to their needs – friends came to me for physical and emotional problems. While earning my undergraduate degree in psychology, I became disillusioned with conventional medical practice.
Strong conventional treatment of family members’ illnesses had brought devastating consequences. Naturopathic medicine offered amazing alternatives to drugs and surgery. The holistic philosophy struck me as exactly what I wanted to study and practice.
Dr. Carolyn – In my early years, my grandfather, a botanist, enthused me with an interest in the healing nature of plants. Later, while working as a wrangler in the High Sierra, a woman came up to ride with us for the day. She was studying to be a naturopath and told me the principles of the medicine. It was as if I’d been struck by a lightening bolt, I knew instantly that this was what I wanted to do.
Naturopathic medicine combines my love of nature with healing and helping people. I am very much a naturalist and environmentalist, which fits with the work I do with people. Gregory and I met at Bastyr University in our first week of school – another lightening strike!
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic Medicine is a system of primary health care that emphasizes prevention, promotion of optimal health through education on healthy lifestyles and natural therapies.
As licensed ND’s in California we use conventional diagnostics, lab testing and imaging and prescribe treatments such as therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, physio-therapy, massage, natural hormones and pharmaceuticals. Our principles define our practice.
We practice “First do no harm” by utilizing the least invasive, least toxic treatments first. We believe in the inherent healing ability within each person and we try to stimulate it.
We approach patients holistically considering their body, mind and spirit and we try to treat the root cause of illness rather than the symptoms. We also spend a significant amount of time with each patient and afterward researching their case.
What is the difference between traditional medicine and Naturopathy?
Our holistic philosophy and our natural treatments are the most apparent. MD’s are trained in treatments consisting mostly of drugs and surgery while ND’s have many additional hours of training in nutrition, herbs, homeopathy and hydrotherapy.
At this point, our licensing does not include major surgery, hospital privileges or the ability to prescribe narcotics so we refer to MD’s. However, we are able to do labs, write prescriptions and are highly trained in the same medical science.
A good example of a difference in treatment approach would be fever. A fever is usually the body’s immune system at work and suppressing it with a drug can be counterproductive, perhaps even causing chronic pathology.
We manage a fever with hydrotherapy and homeopathic medicines that support the body’s process while keeping the temperature below 104 F. In general, we try to improve things like sleep, digestion and elimination, body alignment and then let Mother Nature take care of the rest. Of course in a life-threatening situation we would also use strong medicine, like epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis.
What are your specialties?
Dr. Greg – I specialize in hands on therapies and psycho-emotional concerns. My bodywork is a mix of massage and osteopathic techniques like visceral manipulation, craniosacral, tui na, MES, trigger point therapy, deep tissue, and more.
Often there are emotional traumas held in the tissues that release during treatment. My training in psychology and experience as a counselor give me the tools to work through these emotions with my patients. I also love to practice many traditional nature cure techniques like water therapy, food as medicine and botanical medicine.
Dr. Carolyn – I work with food as medicine for healing diets, food sensitivities, botanical medicine and I am a specialist in environmental medicine – heavy metals, solvents, toxins in the work place. I also work with women as a primary care physician.
What do the two of you do in your practice together?
We complement each other very well – Carolyn is more of a clinical primary care physician who will draw the blood, do the labs, health screening and women’s care. Gregory includes more mind-body medicine and bodywork like visceral manipulation to improve the structural alignment.
Drs. Carolyn and Gregory Weisswasser can be reached at Whitewater Naturopathic Medicine, 530-271-7123. You can meet them at the Mind Body Spirit Health Fair, March 19 & 20 at Miners Foundry. http://www.minersfoundry.org
Suzie Daggett is the TV host of Healing INsights on NCTV, and the publisher of INSIGHT, the Directory of Healing Arts Practitioners; she can be reached at 265-9255 or http://www.insightdirectory.com
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