Rockwood Natural Medicine Clinic's Commonly Asked Questions

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Sometimes during the heat I feel light headed and dizzy. Why does this occur and how can it be prevented?

What you are experiencing is the early stages of heat exhaustion. As the hot summer months approach the chances of developing heat stroke or heat exhaustion increase considerably. Both conditions are caused by prolonged exposure to heat and sunlight resulting in increased sweating and subsequent loss of fluids and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride. While the body is usually able to regulate the amount of fluid loss, in the elderly and very young this regulatory mechanism is compromised, resulting in a greater chance of developing heat exhaustion or stroke. It is further compounded by the use of diuretics such as caffeine, prescription drugs or alcohol.

The condition often goes unnoticed by the person being affected until it is too late. The first symptoms may be confusion and fatigue which come and go and are followed by disorientation, agitation, loss of memory, violent behavior and collapse. The person’s pulse may be rapid, respirations shallow and pupils constricted. There may be little perspiration and the skin will be hot and dry. If allowed to continue, the ultimate course is kidney and heart failure. It is important that the person receive prompt medical attention, as heat stroke can progress rapidly, resulting in dehydration, shock and even death.

In the elderly, an episode of heat exhaustion can exacerbate other existing medical conditions and should be accounted for when treating. If the person is on any prescription drugs, their actions may be altered because of dehydration. Re-hydration, both orally and intravenously are needed to correct the electrolyte imbalance. A number of homeopathic medicines are effective in the treatment of heat stroke, and if administered early on, can keep the condition from progressing to a dangerous state.

My doctor says that he wants me to increase my protein intake so I do not go into a negative nitrogen state. What does this mean?

What this means is that the human body needs a large amount of protein in order to replenish muscle mass, plasma proteins, and enzymes in the body. Protein is one of the key building blocks and is turned over at varying rates depending upon the tissue and activity. A negative nitrogen balance means that more protein is being broken down than is replaced. Eventually the body utilizes muscle mass which results in wasting. This is especially problematic in the elderly, and in all populations, leads to a greater chance of developing disease. Your physician wants you to maintain a neutral (protein in = protein out) or a positive nitrogen balance (protein in > protein out) which can be achieved through diet and exercise. The types of protein needed varies based upon a person’s blood type and age. Blood group O persons need higher amounts of meat protein while blood group A & AB need higher amounts of fish and vegetable protein. Blood group B individuals do better with a balance of fish, turkey and lamb sources but not chicken. Additionally, as we age our need for the heavier red meat proteins lessen and we need the more balanced proteins provided by fish, chicken, eggs, vegetables, and turkey.

I have had some problems with erectile dysfunction and a low sex drive and was told that my testosterone level was low. After several months receiving testosterone shots, my blood testosterone levels are still low and I am no better. Why is this?

The reason is that despite administration of testosterone based upon blood tests, that was probably not the underlying cause to begin with. Primary hypogonadism resulting in low testosterone levels is usually not the reason for erectile dysfunction and low libido in men. More often than not it is due to the effects of stress, organic diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, or psychogenic due to depression or some other factor.

Additionally, blood tests for the assessment of hormone levels are the least reliable simply because blood values are maintained at a steady state in order to insure proper tissue levels. A more accurate measurement such as salivary hormone testing, provides levels of bio-available hormones at the target organ. Bio-available hormone levels reflect current activity and will be better able to show your doctor where the true deficit is. Once this is known, a specific treatment plan can be established.

I have had some problems with erectile dysfunction and a low sex drive and was told that my testosterone level was low. After several months receiving testosterone shots, my blood testosterone levels are still low and I am no better. Why is this?

The reason is that despite administration of testosterone based upon blood tests, that was probably not the underlying cause to begin with. Primary hypogonadism resulting in low testosterone levels is usually not the reason for erectile dysfunction and low libido in men. More often than not it is due to the effects of stress, organic diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, or psychogenic due to depression or some other factor.

Additionally, blood tests for the assessment of hormone levels are the least reliable simply because blood values are maintained at a steady state in order to insure proper tissue levels. A more accurate measurement such as salivary hormone testing, provides levels of bio-available hormones at the target organ. Bio-available hormone levels reflect current activity and will be better able to show your doctor where the true deficit is. Once this is known, a specific treatment plan can be established.

What is bowel toxemia and how would I know if I had it?

Bowel toxemia is a well recognized condition when there is an over growth of non-beneficial bacteria resulting in an increase in indole, skatole, and phenol production. These toxic substances are produced by certain bacteria not normally present in high amounts and are absorbed where they travel to the liver to be detoxified. If the liver becomes over whelmed by the amount of these substances, symptoms of bowel toxemia ensue. Symptoms may range from a skin rash, excess secretion from the mucus membranes of the nose, sinuses and respiratory tract; a feeling as if you are coming down with a cold or flu; fatigue; headache; feeling feverish, gas and bloating, and perhaps constipation or diarrhea.

I normally take a multivitamin and other supplements but don’t really know what I need. Is there a way to determine if I have a deficiency or am lacking a certain nutrient?

Knowing what vitamins to take has generally been hit or miss as it is usually difficult to know what is needed unless the symptoms of an overt deficiency are found. We are able to get an indication from physical examination findings and certain types of blood work such as a CBC and chemistry screen, but these are not very accurate and subject changes from on going disease.

The best test available to date is the Functional Intracellular Analysis performed by Spectracell Laboratories. The test is unique in that it measures the intracellular presence of nutrients through the growth of your own cells. A deficiency found on this analysis reflects a deficiency at the cellular level and it has been our experience that once supplemented, the test becomes normal after a few months. In addition, an assessment of a person’s antioxidant status is determined. Both aspects allow for adjustments in supplements to correct the imbalance.

A friend of mine recently had a test for heavy metals and says that I should get one as well because they are so prevalent in the environment. How much of a problem is this and what is involved with the test?

Toxic metals such as mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium are being found in increasing amounts in the environment and subsequently the food chain. That these eventually are passed along to humans is inevitable.

Fortunately we have the ability to adapt and neutralize them somewhat, but eventually they can exert a negative influence on our health. When I began practice over 20 years ago the number of patients with heavy metal toxicity were few. This certainly has changed as we have seen a rise in the number of positive results on testing conducted more recently.

There are a number of tests for toxic metals, but we have found that a heavy metals challenge provides the best measure. Testing to uncover heavy metal toxicity is simple and involves a 6-hour urine collection which is analyzed for all of the potential toxic metals. Once this is established, they can be removed from the body through chelation therapy.

I have heard that IV therapy can be of benefit but as I am taking supplements anyway, why would I need one?

Intravenous nutrient therapy provides some advantages over daily oral supplementation in that vitamin and mineral supplements taken orally are not totally absorbed. Despite the best efforts of supplement manufacturers, only about 20% of vitamin supplements ingested are absorbed, and of this, only about 20% are utilized by the body. Intravenous administration bypasses the GI tract and directly delivers the nutrients to the interstitial fluid/cellular compartment for absorption.

Intravenous administration of nutrients benefits patients who are not absorbing well, those with long standing illnesses, elderly patients whose ability to absorb vitamins and minerals is diminished, at the first sign of a cold or influenza, and those that are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation for cancer. Nutrient IV therapy is also beneficial during the hot summer months to help replace vitamin and mineral stores used up at a faster rate due to the heat. Additionally, they provide additional fluids to help with insensible loss.

I am unsure if I want to have my child vaccinated because I have read about the possible side effects they may have. Are there alternatives that are safe?

There are a number of safe and viable alternatives to conventional immunizations that can be given. The immunization question is one that is hotly debated with advocates and detractors on both sides. We advocate an informed choice for parents and recommend that they review the available literature and ask questions before they make a decision.

Parents wishing alternative vaccination programs are asked to review some literature such as The Vaccine Guide by Randall Neustaedter or Vaccination & Homeoprophylaxis ? A Review of Risks and Alternatives by Dr. Isaac Golden. There are also a number of web sites devoted to alternatives to immunization such as or For further information of homeopathic alternative vaccination protocols please see the Immunizations/Vaccinations article on our web site.

Do naturopathic physicians recommend a basic vitamin supplement suitable for most people?

Because individual needs vary greatly, the best nutritional support program for any person will include the widest possible range of both vitamins and minerals which are prepared from high-quality materials for maximum absorption. In addition to carrying several quality brands of multiple vitamins and minerals, we are also able to address the specific needs of the person based on body type, diet, current stresses and diseases, physical examination and in particular, laboratory findings. Naturopathic physicians are trained to assist you in determining your individual nutritional needs. Ask your doctor about which formula is best for you.

Why is it that every year around the holidays I feel sad? I shouldn’t, it is the best time of the year.

Sadness during the holidays is not an unusual occurrence as there is generally an increase in visits to counselors, emergency rooms and physicians for his complaint. There are many reasons why people feel “blue” during the holidays.

  • Quite often it relates to a lack of sunlight which causes a decrease in neurotransmitters and a subsequent feelings of depression.
  • Another reason is the expectation of a “perfect holiday season” as portrayed by television and the movies which often does not occur.
  • Quite often it is a time where the grief or loss of a loved one is more pronounced as they are no longer there to share the happy times & good feelings of the season.
  • A change in economic status which makes it difficult to keep up with the high cost of gift giving.
  • Being unable to spend time with family or friends, or being ill and unable to travel.
    Whatever the reason, seasonal depression is very real and can be treated by your physician.

Botanical medicines sometimes have a strong taste to them, how do I get my children to take them?

While botanical medicines are effective for treating many childhood illnesses, their taste is due to their being extracts of whole plant material and thus incorporating some of the pungent chemicals produced by the plant. These often have therapeutic value. Plants attempt to protect themselves from being prematurely harvested by producing chemicals, which make it less desirable to eat. An example of this is a sour apple.

Mixing the medicine in with food or putting the dose in orange or other juices often does the trick. Using half of the dose but giving it twice as often accomplishes the same thing while decreasing the taste. In instances where a concentrated medicine is needed such as in sore throats, every attempt is made to make the medicine palatable.

Why do the doctors want to do follow up visits on the medicines that are given?

It is important that your doctor know how you are responding to the medicine that has been prescribed. Prescriptions are often very exact and based on your symptom pattern. Medicines given this way work better than giving the same medicine to everyone.
It is also important because symptom patterns will change as the person becomes better or the illness changes form. These new symptoms are important for the next prescription.

Lastly, we need to know how you are responding to the medications and after the illness has subsided, want to work with you to prevent its reoccurrence.

What is naturopathic medicine?

Founded upon a holistic philosophy, naturopathic medicine combines safe and effective traditional therapies with the most current advances in modern medicine. Naturopathic medicine is appropriate for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting all people of all ages.
Naturopathic physicians (N.D.s) are the highest trained practitioners in the broadest scope of naturopathic medical modalities. In addition to the basic medical sciences and conventional diagnostics, naturopathic education includes therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, classical Chinese medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, pharmacology and minor surgery.
Definition of Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care – an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. Naturopathic medicine is distinguished by the principles which underlie and determine its practice. These principles are based upon the objective observation of the nature of health and disease, and are continually reexamined in the light of scientific advances. Methods used are consistent with these principles and are chosen upon the basis of patient individuality. Naturopathic physicians are primary health care practitioners, whose diverse techniques include modern and traditional, scientific and empirical methods.

What is Naturopathic Education?

A Licensed naturopathic physician (N.D.) attends an accredited four-year graduate school of naturopathic medicine. As with any medical school in the United States, a naturopathic physician must complete two years of basic medical sciences and two years of clinical training to be eligible to take the national board examination. Once completed, the physician is then eligible for licensure.

Naturopathic medical education places a strong emphasis on clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, botanical medicine, psychology, and lifestyle counseling. A naturopathic physician takes rigorous professional board exams, so that he or she may be licensed by a state or jurisdiction as a primary care general practice physician. Additionally, naturopathic doctors place a strong emphasis on disease prevention and optimizing wellness. Additional information on naturopathic schools can be found at

Who are the licensing authorities?

Licensing Authorities
Federation of Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Authorities
SW Capitol Highway #160
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 224-7744

President: Susan Roberts, ND
Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination Board (NPLEX)
(416) 498-4255×227
(503) 250-9141

President: Paul Sanders, PhD, ND
P.O. Box 69657
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 250-9141

Executive Director: Christa Louise, MS, PhD
christa@nabne.orgNorth American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)
(360) 459-9082

President: Robin Moore, ND
8948 SW Barbur Boulevard #157
Portland, OR 97219-4047
(503) 778-7990

Executive Director: Christa Louise, MS, PhD
Arizona Naturopathic Board of Medical Examiners
1400 W. Washington Ave, #230
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 542-8242

Executive Director: Craig Runbeck

Can you give me some history of Naturopathic Medicine?
History of Naturopathic Medicine
 Written by Thomas A. Kruzel, ND

The roots of naturopathy can be traced back to the teachings of Hippocrates, Galen and Paracelsus, but many of its healing traditions are derived from religious tradition, folk and Native American medicine. In the early part of the 19th century, medicine in America was as wild and untamed as the frontier which was then being settled. Healing took many forms from the herbal medicine and Shaman rituals of the Native Americans to the mercury purges and blood letting of the allopathic practitioners, each giving rise to systems of medicine which would compete with one another over the next century. To this was added the folk medicine traditions the large European immigration of the late 19th and early 20th centuries brought with it. Because of the nature of the American way of life, movements which begin in the population at large often become inherent in the culture and help to provide a medium for future growth. Such was the setting for Naturopathy when the 20th century arrived.

Naturopathy was brought to the United States in 1896 by Dr. Benedict Lust, who set up the first college and sanitarium in New York City. At the urging of his mentor, Father Sebastian Kneipp of Germany, he began teaching the Kneipp Water Cure which was so popular in Europe. Dr. Lust established the Kneipp Water-Cure Institute in New York City, which later began teaching the use of diet, nutrition, light therapy, spinal manipulation, homeopathy and herbal medicine. This was the first of numerous naturopathic medical schools which were to spring up over the next few decades. From this beginning, the ideas, philosophy and medicine spread until naturopathic medicine was on the leading edge of the nature cure movement of the early and middle 20th century.

In the early 1900’s an educator was hired by the Council on Medical Education and the Carnegie Foundation to do an independent report in order to verify the findings of the American Medical Association. The educator was Abraham Flexner who visited each of the existing schools, assigning them an A, B or C rating. In 1910, with the release of the Flexner Report, the emphasis on medical education in America changed significantly. Federal money for medical education went predominantly to schools which emphasized drug therapy and surgery and sources of funding for the eclectic medicine, homeopathic and naturopathic medical schools quickly disappeared. Additionally, intense lobbying by the emerging American Medical Association (AMA) helped to provide a favorable regulatory climate for the “scientifically” based schools and for its own political agenda.

With the reorganization of medical education and the changes in the legislative atmosphere, those schools which found themselves philosophically opposed to the emerging paradigm were under funded and slowly disappeared. The last naturopathic medical school of the late 20th century was closed in 1954. In 1956 the National College of Naturopathic Medicine was founded in Portland, Oregon to serve as the basis for the rebirth of naturopathic medical education.

Following some sparse years, naturopathic medical colleges are presently undergoing a rejuvenation of interest and rising attendance in the modern era. Presently, there are six colleges of naturopathic medicine in North America. Besides National College in Portland, Oregon there is Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, Southwest College of Natural Health Sciences in Phoenix, Arizona, the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Canada, The University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and The Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Additionally, the naturopathic profession, in the modern era, is also comprised of the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) which maintains standards of education and accredits the medical colleges, the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination (NPLEX), which oversees administering a national licensing examination, the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE), as well as the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the national voice of the profession.

Because of its folk tradition and eclectic nature, naturopathy has drawn from many traditions to define itself. There has always been an openness to new therapeutic modalities which aid in the healing process, regardless of their source, as long as they conform to the philosophy of the medicine. Therefore, naturopathic physicians will often utilize new therapies long before conventional medicine “discovers” them, as long as they do no harm to the patient and withstand scientific and clinical scrutiny. Conversely, naturopathic medicine has been quick to call attention to those therapies which are harmful to the human organism and counteract the healing power of nature or the vital force. Because of this, naturopathy has more often than not found itself in conflict with other disciplines of medicine who do not share the same philosophy.

As with any dynamic profession, naturopathy is constantly redefining its role in the health care system while continuing to embrace the traditions of the past. The modern definition of naturopathic medicine was recently modified by a committee of the American Association of Naturopathic Physician’s House of Delegates and ratified by that body in 1990.

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct method of primary health care – an art, science, philosophy and practice of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of illness. Naturopathic physicians seek to restore and maintain optimum health in their patients by emphasizing nature’s inherent self healing process, the vis medicatrix naturae. This is accomplished through education and the rational use of therapeutics. [source: AANP]

Naturopathic medicine is built upon a number of principles. The first is vis medicatrix naturae which means the healing power of nature or the vital force as the driving impetus behind healing disease. This concept is derived from the vitalist tradition of medicine, which traces its roots to Hippocrates as well as folk medicine traditions. Paracelsus, a physician from the 15th century, is often seen as the physician who utilized both the science and art of medicine, similar to what naturopathic doctors do today.

Primum non nocere means first do no harm. Doing no harm to the patient means that naturopathic physicians utilize therapies which act in tandem with the body’s healing powers rather than against them. An example would be administering a substance which would enhance a fever rather than suppress it. This is done so the healing reaction, which the body is attempting by raising the fever, can complete itself.

Tolle Causam means to identify and treat the underlying cause of the disease. An example of this would be the treatment of ear aches which would include the elimination of substances such as dairy and wheat which contribute to inner ear swelling. While herbal and homeopathic medicines are given to reduce the immediate swelling, infection and pain, dairy is often identified as the cause and its elimination will the correct the problem and keep it from returning.

Tolle Totum means to treat the whole person. An example of this would be the person who present with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). While medicines are given to treat the IBS, the underlying cause may be due to excessive stress and worry from a difficult social situation. In order to fully treat the IBS, the mental-emotional component of the disease must also be addressed.

Prevention is the Best Cure. Identifying patients’ predispositions to developing diseases and developing a long term plan to prevent them is part of any naturopathic physician’s treatment plan.

Docere, which means the doctor as teacher. Part of the naturopathic medical education involves how to teach patients to live healthy lifestyles. Lifestyle counseling, a wellness orientation and diet modifications, as well as prevention of disease, are important parts of a visit to a naturopathic physician. Naturopathic doctors are taught how to teach the patient so that they can begin to take control of their health.

Naturopathic physicians consider the art as well as the science of medicine when evaluating the patient and the best treatment. Naturopathic medicine views the signs and symptoms of the disease process to be an attempt by the body to heal itself and in need of enhancement, rather than suppression. Naturopathic philosophy teaches the ideal that the body has the ability to heal itself and, with the proper stimulus, completely correct the imbalance, provided there has been no permanent damage to the organism. In contrast allopathic philosophy stresses containment of symptoms rather than removal of the disease process.

Because of the wellness and preventive medicine approaches to health, naturopathy also offers the individual and community resources for lowering medical costs while providing a better quality of life.

Modern naturopathic medicine has continued the tradition of evaluating therapeutic modalities which aid the vital force and the healing power of nature. There are many therapies which a naturopathic doctor may recommend. Diet, nutrition, herbal medicine, fasting, massage, spinal manipulation, homeopathy, physical medicine, hydrotherapy, light therapy, oxygen therapy, counseling, minor surgery, acupuncture and Chinese medicine may all be incorporated into an individual physician’s practice. Each naturopathic physician is trained as a family practice, primary care physician in order to best serve the patient. Some physicians however may choose to limit their practice to women’s health, pediatrics, cardiology or obstetrics and a number of them have undergone advanced training in various areas such as homeopathy, physical medicine, herbal medicine or natural childbirth.

Benefits of Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathy offers the patient a variety of opportunities for healing rather than treating only the symptoms of the disease. The signs and symptoms of a disease process are seen as an attempt by the body to correct the imbalance and thus must be enhanced rather than suppressed for healing to occur. One of the reasons naturopathy has become so popular is that the human organism has an innate need to restore itself to a balanced state and thus resonates with the naturopathic philosophy. Additionally, naturopathic therapies are generally nontoxic, gentle to the body and very effective for most diseases or phases of the disease process.

Most medical doctors specialize in specific body systems, focusing on disease as it relates to their area of expertise. Often, the patient’s illness becomes segmented into an organ system or specific disease and how the whole person is affected becomes less important. Naturopathic physicians are trained to focus on the whole person first rather than just the disease process. Within any group of patients with the same disease, for example multiple sclerosis, there will be symptoms which they have in common and those which are unique to the individual. It is these individual and unique symptoms, which the vital force is expressing, that allow the practitioner to individualize the treatment to aid the healing process. The treatment plan for each of the 10 people will have some common therapeutic modalities but also ones specific for the individual.

In certain cases stronger drug regimens are needed for a short period of time to give the body a rest. In these cases there is usually considerable pathology present which the body does not presently have the ability to overcome. Naturopathic doctors are thoroughly trained in drug therapy as well and because of such training may prescribe certain prescription drugs themselves or refer to the appropriate practitioner. Naturopathic physicians also are trained to understand the pathophysiology of the disease state and refer for specialized diagnostic testing or surgical procedures if it is warranted. Many naturopathic physicians enjoy referral relationships with practitioners of other medical disciplines.

The benefit to the patient becomes evident when you consider that by utilizing a naturopathic physician as your primary care doctor the patient gains the best of all forms of medicine. They gain the expertise of a physician trained in diagnosis and natural therapeutics who is fully familiar with the other disciplines of medicine. They benefit from being seen by a physician who is trained to view the whole person rather than a disease or organ system. Because of this multifaceted approach, practitioners integrate therapies which are best suited to the patient and their disease, and refer when necessary. Patients are the ultimate beneficiaries by becoming more involved with their health care, learning how to prevent disease, as well as receiving quality health care.