The Reasons Why I Became a Naturopathic Doctor are Many
After working for years in ERs, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and conducting clinical research, and seeing how much iatrogenesis there is, including nosocomial infections, poor clinical outcomes for chronic disease, and high rates of preventable disease like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, this is what guided me towards studying naturopathic medicine since our medical philosophy focuses on disease prevention, disease reversal, and optimizing disease management, rather than maintaining the status quo with defensive medicine. Our medicine is proactive!
Naturopathic Doctors’ Respect for Allopathic Medicine
Naturopathic doctors are not alternatives to surgeons, emergency room physicians, anesthesiologists—we have an amazing respect for allopathic medicine and what it offers. NDs focus on areas where conventional medicine lacks – treating the root cause of disease and seeing the patient as a whole person – as the sum of all symptoms, all systems, all organs, and body parts. Compartmentalizing symptoms only goes so far, and it is easy to see how that model of care is failing.
Physicians and healthcare workers are seeking training in integrative medicine, whether through our naturopathic schools, functional medicine training programs, or elsewhere, because they are sick and tired of seeing patients who are sick and tired of being on the hamster wheel of medication management and algorithms in mainstream medicine. They want personalized medicine that prioritizes nutrition, mind-body medicine, and lower force interventions, which might actually help a patient recover.
Natural Treatments Certainly not for Everyone, but Certain for Many
Natural treatments are certainly not for everyone—some people need higher force interventions like suppression, surgery, radiation, and pharmaceutical medication. There are people who want nothing else. However, there are people who need conventional treatments and naturopathic medicine can still help. For example, most people on medications are experiencing nutrient depletions or side effects to mono- or polypharmacy. Who is managing nutrient depletions? Drug interactions? What about nutrient-herb, nutrient-drug, herb-herb, herb-drug, or other interactions? This is where naturopathic medicine is important. NDs work well with the patient’s medical team to optimize health while the patient also seeks conventional treatments. MDs work well with NDs and vice versa because where there are deficits in naturopathic medicine, MDs can shine, and where there are shortfalls in allopathic medicine that is where naturopathic medicine can lead. And guess who benefits? Our patients.
Natural Medicine and Life Threatening Disease
Another example of care are patients who have cancer or HIV or a very life threatening disease –many patients going through treatment or drug regimens are experiencing excessive amounts of side effects. Being able to treat mucositis, cachexia, nausea, anorexia, etc. really improves clinical outcomes and quality of life.
What about patients who seek allopathic care but are given very few options for treatment?
And what about patients with conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic stress, chronic intractable headaches, migraneurs, chronic pain, depression, interstitial cystitis, erectile dysfunction, incontinence, chronic UTIs and URIs? People suffering from metal exposure? Lyme disease and other viruses? How is our model of medicine treating the cause of these ailments? Or are we just treating symptoms? Or palliating?
A Message for the Skeptics, Naysayers, and Those who Hold Naturopathic Medicine in Contempt
And for the skeptics, naysayers, and those who hold naturopathic medicine in contempt, I urge you to understand more about naturopathic medicine. Not only do we go to 4-5 year naturopathic medical schools where we learn the same basic and clinical sciences, at many times taught by MDs, we also have outstanding clinical outcomes. If you have not looked at the clinical research, I urge you to. If you’re not finding evidence-based research specifically for “naturopathic medicine,” then adjust your MeSH (Medical Subject Heading) in the index for MEDLINE PubMed, but please remember that if we are using the same physical exams from Bates, we learn the same orthopedics tests, we learn from the same Berek & Novak’s gynecology textbooks (and all of the other thousands of dollars worth of textbooks and classes that are similar if not the same to our MD and DO colleagues), and we use the same clinical, lab, imaging, and diagnostic skills, then we are definitely evidence based to the extent that conventional medicine is evidence-based.
For Those Experiencing Acute or Chronic Conditions…
If you’re reading this article, and you’re experiencing acute or chronic conditions including allergies, chronic pain, insomnia, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, respiratory conditions, heart disease, infertility, menopause, anxiety, depression, cancer, fibromyalgia, stress, or anything else, I urge you to ask yourself if you’re adequately treating your condition(s), and if not, consider trying naturopathic medicine in conjunction with your current health providers—we can all proactively work together to get you on the road to health and healing!
Rosia Parrishearned a undergraduate degree in Anthropology that focused on Medical & Nutritional Anthropology and Pharmaceutical Politics with a Pre-Med focus (2004) at CU-Boulder, which lead her to work in HIV research for nine years prior to moving to Seattle to study medicine, to ultimately receive her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University (2016). She is particularly interested in social determinants of health, naturopathic legislative efforts, addiction medicine, chronic disease and pain, mental health, public health, and serving the underserved. Rosia is currently seeing patients at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, WA, and will be practicing in Boulder, CO, in early-Fall 2016. She is trained as a naturally-focused primary care physician who treats patients of all ages and medical conditions.
Rosia struggled with a chronic disease for the first 17 years of her life and was mismanaged by the health profession before seeking care from integrative medicine providers, which finally put her on an actual path towards reversing and not just managing chronic disease. She found that treating the root cause of disease or preventing disease from arising in the first place is what she loves best about naturopathic medicine. She has a huge fire lit in her heart for helping others, and has dedicated her life to service. Because she has had such a profound experience with her own health, this is what propels her to help others follow their own path on their health journey.
Rosia considers herself to be a medical detective of sorts, and no matter how complex, there is always a root cause. She loves inspiring and educating others about health, healing, and the human body, and she also has believes that treating the cause of illness is just as important as helping people, whether they are free from illness or not, to rediscover joy and find meaning in their lives.
Learn more about Rosia Parrish at