What is a naturopathic doctor?

Naturopathic doctors combine age-old healing arts with modern medical knowledge to help patients take charge of their health, naturally.  We strive to help patients find the root cause(s) of disease rather than just treating the symptoms, and to establish the conditions for health in their lives so that their bodies can heal from the inside out.

I treat most of my patients with lifestyle changes, customized nutritional recommendations, movement therapies, herbs/supplements, hydrotherapy, and hands-on bodywork.  I focus on natural and non-invasive treatments, however conventional medicine may be helpful or necessary at times, and I always recommend that patients have a primary care doctor on their health team as well.


What types of conditions do you treat?

The great thing about naturopathic medicine is that it can improve the quality of life of just about everyone, regardless of your health challenges!  That being said, people often come to see me for help with:

  • Burnout & chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive issues
  • Menopause
  • Insomnia
  • Allergies
  • Cold & flu
  • Health issues that haven’t responded well to conventional therapies
  • And much more

If you’re not sure, just ask!

I offer free 15-minute consults and free consult parties (invite a friend or three, and I’ll be happy to come by your place for an hour to talk natural health and answer any questions you or your friends might have -- I’ll bring the tea!)


Are you opposed to conventional medical treatment?  What about my regular doctor?

Conventional medicine is life-saving and very important.  In my opinion, naturopathic medicine is not opposed to, but complementary to conventional medical treatment.

In practice, we have different treatment goals: conventional medicine often focuses solely on saving/prolonging life, managing disease symptoms, and limiting disease progression.  My goal is to actively move my patients toward better health, which is a very different thing than disease management.  Sometimes that means they have less need of medications that they have used in the past, sometimes it doesn’t.

I always recommend that everyone have a primary care provider on board.  My patients are better served by me working with and not against conventional therapies, which is what I do.

That being said, sometimes my professional opinion is that conventional therapies are not the best option - if that is the case, I am happy to collaborate with you and/or your primary care doc and come to an agreement that works for everyone.


Can you be my primary care doctor?

I was trained to primary care standards in medical school, however I choose not to practice primary care medicine.  That means that I serve patients in a supportive capacity, rather than as their primary point of contact in the medical field.  I always encourage clients to get established with a local primary care provider for basic health care, screenings, acute health issues, and medication management.


How do I know if this approach is for me?

You never know until you try!  In general, I tend to attract clients who:

  • Are ready to commit to making long-term changes in their lives and working toward better health
  • Prefer natural medicine to pharmaceuticals
  • Want a more meaningful doctor-patient relationship
  • Have tried everything else and are desperate (that’s fine! This is often how people “find” naturopathic medicine – let’s see if we can get you some relief where other therapies haven’t worked!)

If you’re not sure, schedule a free 15 minute consult and we can chat about my approach and what I can do for you.


What kind of medical education do naturopathic physicians complete?

In states that license naturopathic medicine (Oregon is one of them) NDs are required to complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree followed by a 4-year, residential, graduate level naturopathic medical program with over 1000 supervised clinical hours, at a fully accredited naturopathic medical school.  We then go on to complete two sets of professional board exams before we are eligible to receive a license.

Much of our training is in the same subjects as are taught in conventional medical school (anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pathology, laboratory diagnosis, pharmacology, etc.).  We also receive extensive training in holistic approaches to health and disease, natural therapies, mind-body medicine, and more.


What if I live outside of La Grande?

Currently, I offer house calls in the Grande Ronde valley.  There is no extra fee for house calls within 5 miles of La Grande city limits.  Anything outside of that (but within the valley) is an extra charge of $20 per appointment.

If you work in La Grande, I can come to your office (given that there is a private place for us to meet, and assuming that’s okay with your business owner/manager).

If I have 3 or more appointments in a given region on the same day, the travel fee will be waived.

Travel outside the Grande Ronde valley will be considered on a case-by-case basis; additional fees may apply.  Please give me a call to discuss this.


Is there a natural cure for cancer?

Unfortunately, no.  There is no silver bullet in the natural medicine world for cancer, and I would be very suspicious of anyone who says otherwise.

That being said, I would be honored to be a part of your care team as you go through cancer treatment with your oncologist.  Natural medicine can be effective in helping relieve the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and has been shown to improve quality of life for individuals with cancer.  I DO NOT see clients with a cancer diagnosis unless they are ALSO being managed by an oncologist.


Isn’t naturopathic medicine kind of woo-woo?

It can be but it doesn’t have to be.  My approach is practical and down-to-earth.  I ask that you keep an open mind as far as the therapies that I recommend, as many will not be the mainstream treatments you’re used to, and some of them might seem a little out there.  At the end of the day, I care about you, your quality of life, and your values, and I’ll create a treatment plan for you with those factors in mind.


Do naturopathic doctors use treatments that are supported by scientific evidence?

Yes – All naturopathic doctors are trained to use scientific, evidence-based therapies.  However, there are several natural therapies that have been used for decades or even centuries by folk healers, but have not been studied, or only have minimal research to support them.

If I feel that it would be beneficial to recommend a treatment that has little or no research on it, I will always advise you of that, discuss why I think it is a good option for you, and what the safety and effectiveness of the treatment are according to both scientific research and clinical anecdotal knowledge.

Bottom line: I will always give you the information you need to make an educated and informed decision about your health care.


Do you accept my insurance?

I do not accept insurance, and I am considered an “out of network provider” for insurance purposes.

Some health coverage plans may cover naturopathic medicine*, in which case you are welcome to bill your own insurance company after the visit.  They may reimburse you (in full or in part), however this is not guaranteed.  You will still be required to pay in full at the time of the visit.

If you would like to submit paperwork to your insurance company for reimbursement, I will provide you with the proper paperwork.

It is always your responsibility to call and verify your coverage and benefits with your insurance company prior to receiving any services.

*Medicare does not cover any costs associated with naturopathic medicine.


Are lab tests and imaging that you order covered by my insurance?

I do not accept insurance, and I am considered an “out of network provider” for insurance purposes.

In general, fees associated with medically necessary laboratory and imaging orders should be covered by your insurance company at the same rate(s) as usual, regardless of whether the ordering medical professional is an in-network or an out-of-network provider.

However, there can be some grey area in terms of “medical necessity”, and occasionally labs and imaging that were ordered will not be covered by your insurance provider as expected. If cost is an issue, it is always best to call and verify your benefits before getting the test.

I cannot and do not guarantee that any lab tests or imaging that I order for you will be covered by your insurance.  It is always your responsibility to call and verify your coverage and benefits with your insurance company prior to receiving any services.


What’s the average cost of supplements you recommend in a visit?

I don’t recommend supplements to everyone, at every visit.  However, they are often a useful part of treatment, and I usually recommend at least some supplements to the majority of my patients.

At a first office visit, you can expect to spend $100 (average) on supplements.  If cost is an issue, please let me know and I will do my best to tailor my recommendations to your budget.