Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
The Healing Power of Nature
The healing power of nature is the self-healing vital force of the body that establishes, maintains and restores health. Naturopathic medicine recognizes this healing process to be ordered and intelligent. It is the naturopathic physician’s role to support, facilitate and augment this process by identifying and removing obstacles to health and recovery, and by supporting a healthy internal and external environment.
Identify and Treat the Causes
Illness does not occur without cause. Causes may originate in one or many systems of the body. Underlying causes of disease must be identified and removed before complete recovery can occur. Symptoms can be expressions of the body’s attempt to defend itself, to adapt and recover, to heal itself, or may be results of the causes of disease. These signs and symptoms are addressed so that degenerative disease is avoided. The naturopathic physician seeks to treat the causes of disease, rather than to merely eliminate or suppress symptoms.
As well as, the absence of disease is a limited view of the presence of health. To create optimal wellness is more than just the removal of symptoms, but to create a feeling of well being in all systems of the body.
First Do No Harm
Naturopathic physicians follow three precepts to avoid harming the patient:
The first being, we utilize methods and medicinal substances that minimize the risk of harmful effect. In doing so, we apply the least possible force or intervention necessary to diagnose illness and restore health.
Secondly, whenever possible the suppression of symptoms is avoided. Suppression generally interferes with the healing process.
And thirdly, we respect and work with the healing power of nature in diagnosis, treatment and counseling. We understand that if this self-healing process is not respected the patient may be harmed.
Doctor As Teacher
The original meaning of the word doctor is teacher. A principal objective of naturopathic medicine is to educate the patient and emphasize self-responsibility for health. Naturopathic physicians also recognize and employ the therapeutic potential of the doctor-patient relationship. The development of workshops, classes and lectures in this center is one of the ways we strive to integrate this principle into our practices.
Treat the Whole Person
Health and disease result from a complex of physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, and social factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, naturopathic physicians encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development. This type of medicine recognizes the harmonious functioning of all aspects of the individual as being essential to health. The multi-factorial nature of health and disease requires a personalized and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Karlin’s practice treats the whole person, taking all of these factors into account.
The study of health Is just as important as disease. The prevention of disease and the attainment of optimal health for patients are primary objectives. In practice, these objectives are accomplished through education and the promotion of healthy ways of living. Dr. Karlin assess’s risk factors, heredity and susceptibility to disease, and makes appropriate interventions in partnership with her patients to prevent illness. Naturopathic medicine asserts that one cannot be healthy in an unhealthy environment and is committed to the creation of a world in which humanity may thrive. Lifestyle recommendations (eg. Diet, exercise, sleep, etc..) are one of the most powerful ways to attain and maintain optimal wellness.
Applied Kinesiology (AK)
AK is a system that evaluates the body’s structural, chemical and mental/emotional needs. This practice combines muscle testing with body mapping points (points on the body that are associated with an organ system). In this way, the practitioner can identify and treat the cause of dysfunction and apply the appropriate dietary, supplement, or life-style recommendations. AK is also known as “Muscle Testing” and has been shown to be able to access the limbic area of the brain. As a result, this system can support healing on many levels.
How Can Biotherapeutic Drainage help?
Throughout our lives we are inundated with events, information and substances we use and physical illness, emotional traumas and spiritual challenges. Drainage is about processing and integrating all of these experiences so that patients may recover fully to the original state of optimal health. Utilized in Europe for over 70 years, Biotherapeutic Drainage is a unique philosophy and methodology devised to eliminate toxins without forcing the body into detoxification (which may cause an aggravation) and regulate the proper functioning of the organs, tissues and glands.
How does the body use drainage to eliminate toxins?
The body utilizes emunctories for the elimination of toxins. These emunctories are drainage routes that are separated into two categories. The primary ones include the liver, kidney, intestines, lungs. The secondary routes of elimination include the skin, mucous membranes, nose and genitals. When the primary routes are not functioning adequately, the secondary routes are recruited in order to facilitate elimination of toxic material. When both primary and secondary routes are not functioning efficiently, it may lead to an unnatural accumulation of toxins.
What is the difference between Drainage and Detoxification?
Drainage is a process of detoxifying the body by opening emunctories (a part or organ of the body that functions in carrying off waste products) and then discharging the toxic accumulations. Drainage is very different than detoxification. With detoxification, the body is forced to release its’ toxins into the bloodstream. The body may or may not be able to eliminate these toxins via the primary emunctories. If the emunctories are not working correctly, the body must then store these toxins again. With drainage, the remedies stimulate the body to eliminate toxins and to increase the function of the natural routes of elimination. Therefore, the toxins have an efficient route of elimination. Drainage acts on three levels: at the cell, tissue and organ level.
What happens when the body is overloaded?
In today’s world, an individual is faced with environmental toxins, dietary toxins, chronic stress, pharmaceutical drugs and poor lifestyle choices. When the body gets overloaded, waste begins to build up. The body, in its wisdom, tries to store these toxins first in places that will do less harm such as the fat tissue, connective tissue, muscles, tendons, veins and arteries. The body may develop stones, tumors, skin conditions, ulcers, chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue etc. as the body attempts to deal with the toxins. In a healthy system, the primary routes are working at an optimum level and toxins are effectively eliminated by the primary emunctories.
How does Biotherapeutic Drainage help with toxins?
Biotherapeutic Drainage assists the body in optimizing elimination. It both eliminates toxic accumulation and stimulates the proper function of organs in order to improve the patient’s overall health. Dr. Karlin uses drainage in her practice to help open the primary and secondary emunctories so that the body is able to eliminate the internal and external toxins that are acquired and accumulated in the body.
What is the difference between functional and pathological blood analysis?
Blood chemistry is a very effective tool for any practitioner to screen and identify imbalance in body metabolism. It serves as an inexpensive way to assess major bodily functions. Practitioners who have learned the skills required to analyze blood chemistry panels can provide their clients with sound recommendations, screen for health issues, and monitor changes as necessary.
What is the difference between functional and pathological ranges in lab work?
There are two main types of ranges in the field of blood chemistry analysis: a pathological range and a functional range. The pathological range is used to diagnose disease; the functional range is used to assess risk for disease before disease develops. The references that are provided with laboratory test results are referred to as “the pathological range”, because if the results are out of range, it indicates potential for pathology or disease. Pathological ranges can be co-managed with your medical provider.
How are pathological standards different from functional standards?
The main difference between the functional and pathological range is the degree deviation allowed within their normal ranges. For example the functional range for glucose may be 70-90 mg/dl, but the pathological range may be 70-100 mg/dl. Levels above the pathological range between 100-125 mg/dl may indicate insulin resistance has already occurred. Levels above the functional range, but before they reach the extremes of the pathological range, may indicate future risk for developing diabetes.
Conventional medical training is concerned with the diagnosis of disease and rarely preventative medicine; therefore, patients are usually not consulted regarding the parameters of the functional range. The patient is usually told their numbers are borderline and there is not much that can be done until the numbers reach the pathological range. Healthcare practitioners that practice prevention, like Dr. Karlin, are inclined to incorporate consulting clients when their levels present outside of the functional range. If biomarkers can be managed before they fall within the pathological range, prevention can be implemented.
When lab results fall within the patterns of a functional imbalance, strategies such as lifestyle, diet, nutrition, supplements and other non-invasive therapies may be recommended. This implementation of preventative medicine is the most effective way of avoiding degenerative disease and creating a pathway to optimal wellness.
Healthcare providers who embrace functional ranges define health as being free of disease but also having adequate energy levels, healthy digestion, ideal physiological function, etc. It is more than being symptom free as well. Optimal wellness creates a larger threshold between stress and symptoms. For example, if you view your health as a bucket of water, you want it to be close to empty so that when you experience stressors, there is a lot of room to add water before the bucket overflows, meaning the onset of symptoms. When we strive to just be symptom-free, we have very little room below our threshold and therefore, a drop in the bucket can overflow into symptoms. Once symptoms have been present for a period of time, the manifestation of disease occurs and the reversal of the symptoms and the disease becomes a more involved process. Functional medicine helps to reduce the load on the body and creates more room for stressors to come and go in life without the negative side effects, or symptoms.
Much of the research regarding functional ranges has been established by well-respected organizations such as the American Association of Clinical Chemists (AACC).
If you have a blood work report that is less than 3 months old, we can use that to determine your wellness if appropriate panels have been run. If not, we can order the proper test for you. Your test results will be analyzed and you will be provided with a detailed report of findings. We are trained in Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis and take the time to review your results with you and explain what they mean. We then incorporate the necessary assessment of your nutritional needs in the way of supplements, bio-therapeutic drainage or other relevant interventions necessary and optimal dosage. Dr. Karlin uses only the best organic products such as: Genestra/Seroyal, Thorne and Integrated Therapeutics, to name a few.
Herbal medicine is the most widely used and oldest medicine in the world today. This natural medicine is made almost exclusively from plants. The wisdom of plants is seen in the example of Dandelion, which is a diuretic but also contains potassium. Many pharmaceutical diuretics are given with potassium because of the increased excretion with use and side effects that occur. This is one example that demonstrates the synergistic effects of using the whole plant in herbal remedies vs. the extracts of plants made to use pharmaceuticals.
Herbal medicine is continuing to be researched and proven for its efficacy above and beyond medications modeled on or derived from chemicals found in plants. An example is the heart medication digoxin, derived from foxglove. Using plants as medicine provides significant advantages for treating many conditions. The therapeutic activity of a plant is due to its complex chemical nature.
Homeopathy was first developed by the German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, over 200 years ago. It has since established itself worldwide as an effective complementary medical approach that seeks to stimulate the body’s innate healing ability. Drainage Homeopathy as taught by the well-respected physician, Dr. Gerard Guenoit, is a specific form of homeopathic medicine. More on that topic can be found on the page description of Bio-therapeutic Drainage.
Is Homeopathy safe?
Homeopathy is one of the most widely used systems of medicine in the world. Homeopathy is extremely effective, safe, gentle, non-suppressive and doesn’t interfere with other medications. Homeopathy is holistic and addresses the cause, not the symptoms.
How does Homeopathy work?
Homeopathic medicine views symptoms as signs of the body’s attempt to eliminate toxins in contrast to medications that continue suppression and can worsen the disease state and may ultimately require more medications. Homeopathic remedies can be used to increase the routes of elimination so that the toxins may be released in appropriate ways without aggravation. Homeopathy addresses not only the physical state of the patient but also the mental and emotional symptoms.
The way that homeopathic medicine works is similar to a vaccination in which an attenuated virus or inactive substance is given to stimulate the immune system to prevent a disease process. Homeopathic remedies use a substance that in its normal state would produce the disease condition, but when succussed and diluted, helps to eliminate the disease and its symptoms while increasing elimination of the toxins via the eliminatory organs: kidney, lung, intestines, liver and skin.
Muscle Energy Stretching (MES)
An exceptional therapeutic process which restores free and comfortable motion to a painful muscular tissue or joint space. The process uses a direct, three-dimensional movement approach of timed soft tissue contraction and stretching. This procedure releases restriction within the muscular skeletal system. This technique is utilized for any body area that is experiencing tightness, pain or discomfort and especially effective for neck, upper shoulder, low back and hip areas.
Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling
How we live our life on a daily basis has the biggest impact toward optimal health than any other factor. The most common areas that practitioners focus on concerning lifestyle choices include:
Most of my patients are sleep deprived when they first come in for treatment. Sleep is the time that our body can reset from all of the stressors that we encounter through our day from the external world and our internal processes. Going to sleep by or before 11pm is essential for our body to utilize this reset according to Chinese Medicine. Every 2 hours throughout the 24 hour period of each day, has an organ assigned to that time to accomplish its primary concentrated job. Going to sleep by 11pm helps the liver detoxify and recover from the toxicity that we were exposed to during the day or that was produced by our body.
A minimum of eight hours of sleep is required for our adrenal glands to provide good, stable energy; for our body to maintain a healthy weight; and for our detoxification pathways to do the job they need to do. Helping my patients to attain their optimal sleep schedule is one of the important parts of my practice.
Relaxation techniques to reduce stress:
Stress is the number one factor involved in almost every disease process. Imagine that we all walk around with a backpack. Every day there are certain things that we experience that put a brick in our back pack; a conflict with a loved one, poor lifestyle choices, overwhelm from our responsibilities, worry about others in our lives and their needs, etc. Every day we need to experience enough balancing activities to take out as many bricks as we put in. Typically, my patients come in with an accumulation of bricks in their backpack. Another important part of my work is to help guide my patients to what is their ideal balance of lifestyle choices and what are the best fitting tools to achieve this balance.
Making the best dietary choices can often be quite challenging. There are many factors that influence these decisions including: food allergies and sensitivities, emotional needs that are compensated with food, boredom, loneliness, social pressure or social events, business lunches, etc.There is no diet that is for everyone except moderation and rotation. The balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates is an individualized process as well as the caloric intake per day. I provide the clarity on what food choices are in best service to my patient’s body. Also, I determine how to achieve their dietary goals to help ensure a healthy digestive system, central nervous system, hormonal system, and optimal weight.
There are many opinions on what type of exercise program is the most effective. This is a very individual process (as is true for all treatments!). The main focus of knowing what exercise program is most suitable is to always remember that after exercise, you should always feel better, never depleted. There are many other factors that I look at to help co-create the right exercise program for you including: amount per week, time per session, alternating types of exercise, cardiovascular, weight bearing, etc.
There are other important lifestyle factors that I have observed in my nearly two decades of practice that if they aren’t addressed, my patients are unable to achieve their health and life goals. These include:
We all have a life purpose. Being able to identify and fulfill our life purpose can be one of the greatest factors determining our inner joy and creating a huge effect on our health, well-being and overall life satisfaction. This joy that is attained when we know that our actions are coherent with our life purpose, has not only a great effect on us as individuals but also on every one that crosses our path. I look forward to helping those that request it, to find this purpose and create the path necessary to achieve their goals.
Regardless of whether we are religious, atheist, non-denominational or any other place on the spectrum of spirituality, it is often helpful to have a belief system that recognizes how all living things are connected. This connection is essential for our survival and our growth. We are not meant to live in isolation, we are meant to be part of community. There are many ways that community can look; as our immediate family, the family we created, a few close friends, non-profit work, spiritual communities or religious affiliations. Regardless of what it looks like, having one is extremely rewarding. Helping to support that community life or create it and stay in balance with our individual needs within our community is an important aspect of work I do with patients if they seek it.