I’m going to be very honest for a moment. I’m not your typical doctor. I may not even be your typical naturopathic doctor. Most people expect someone older (I’m 32), male, and maybe a little more professional looking. Sometimes I think they expect me to walk out in a lab coat. But I don’t do laboratory tests and you don’t sit on an examination table. Instead we sit at a desk together and talk. The people who come to see me are called clients, not patients. I don’t prescribe; I make suggestions. I don’t tell you what to do; we decide what to do together.
So this is what it is like when you come to see me for an appointment. We sit down together and we talk about you. If you have immediate health concerns we talk about that. I’ll ask how long it has been occurring, when it started, and what was going on in your life at that time. We’ll talk about long term health issues, about things that you have tried in the past, what surgeries or prescriptions you may have had. We may even talk about your family, your relationships, your emotions, or your spirituality. Anything goes in a holistic consultation.
My job is to be a detective. I have a certain amount of background education and knowledge that gets me started in the right direction. From there I might do some assessments. I’ll look in your eyes, look at your tongue, and utilize a few different “tools” I have to determine which body systems might be out of balance. Ultimately I’m trying to put the pieces together, find the cause, address the imbalances, and develop a plan.
I’m also a researcher. If it’s not familiar to me, or it’s an unusual symptom, case, or disease… I’m going to look it up. I’ve got all kinds of reference books and resources at my disposal and I’m not afraid to use them. I’m going to research the heck out of your individual case to figure out what works. There is a lot out there in the world of natural health. You probably don’t have time to pour over medical journals, blogs, newsletters and books. You’ve got a career, a family, or other interests. You just want to be well so you can get on with your life. So leave the research to me because that’s my job.
Then when I’ve found something I become a teacher and I help you to understand too. Sometimes our bodies seem so foreign, so against us. It is incredibly empowering to understand what is going on and why. The word doctor in Latin means “teacher”.
Then when we decide on a plan of action I become a coach, helping you stick to the plan, sharing in the pain of disappointment, celebrating with you on the success. It’s a personalized approach to healthcare that has been around for thousands of years but has fallen out of favor in the last century or so. I think it’s time to bring it back.
Come and see me. Let me be your detective, researcher, teacher, coach... and friend. Let me be your doctor.
This is my first video and the sound quality isn't real great so I apologize for that. You can read the text version below.
Hi, this is Dr. Kathryn. As a parent, I know it can be really difficult to watch your child suffer from fever and illness. Many parents turn to over-the-counter medication to bring a child's fever back into a normal range. But a fever is the best defense your child has against a viral or bacterial infection. Bringing the fever down through artificial means keeps the immune system from doing its job. A fever that is produced by the body in response to a bacterial or viral infection is not dangerous to your child. Even a high fever up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit will not cause lasting physical damage to your child. Febrile seizures can occur sometimes in children under the age of five but these are rarely serious and are caused by a rapid change in body temperature not by how high the temperature is.
If your child is sick with a fever, your most important concern is keeping them hydrated. If the fever lasts longer than 3 days or your child seems listless, irritable, confused, or has difficulty breathing - see a doctor right away. A temperature over 100 degrees in children under the age of 3 months may be caused by obstetrical interventions during birth, hereditary conditions, circumcision infections, or an adverse reaction to vaccinations and you should see a doctor right away. If your child has a fever due to heatstroke or accidental poisoning this is very serious and they need immediate medical attention.
But for most children, even a high fever associated with cold or flu-like symptoms is not a cause for concern. Let your child rest if they need to, eat if they want, and give them plenty of fluids to drink. Herbs, homeopathics, and probiotics can be used to support the body's immune system if needed. Check with your local naturopath for suggestions.
It seems like a lot of people today are dealing with lactose intolerance, gluten sensitivity and other food allergies. In fact, I can't recall a time in history when food sensitivities were so prevalent.
We are fortunate to live in a big city like Grand Rapids where alternative food products are so readily available in grocery stores and restaurants. I've often heard my dad, Bruce, talk about how difficult it was to find gluten-free products up north where they lived. But, it seems unfair that we should have to resort to imitation foods for the rest of our lives. What is going on with food sensitivities and can they be reversed?
With 21 feet of tubing and the surface area of a tennis court, your small intestine does more than just pass food from your mouth to the toilet. It also harbors literally billions of micro-organisms. These yeasts and bacteria perform an important function of pre-digesting foods to make it easier for your body to absorb, creating nutrients like B-vitamins and vitamin K, and supporting the body's immune system by crowding out pathogenic forms of bacteria like E. Coli and Salmonella. A micro-organism population out-of-balance however can wreak havoc with your intestinal system.
The cells lining your intestinal tract are called enterocytes. They produce digestive enzymes to break down food particles into amino acids, monosaccharides, and fatty acids before allowing them to go through the brush border and into the bloodstream. Enterocytes also secrete mucus to keep bacteria from entering the bloodstream. When the gut flora is out of balance excess waste material is produced and the enterocytes increase mucus production to protect the intestinal wall. This thick layer of mucus inhibits food particles from reaching the digestive enzymes and so digestion slows down. Any food that is not absorbed by the body becomes food for the bacteria, which increases their numbers even more. So a vicious cycle is created with decreasing digestive capabilities and increasing bacterial populations. One of the first enzymes to be lost is lactase, which digests lactose or milk sugar. The individual would experience this as gas, bloating, and possibly even diarrhea as the body tries to get rid of the excess bacteria.
As the waste material from the bacteria accumulates the enterocytes are damaged by the toxicity and mucus production slows down exposing the intestinal lining. Gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains can cause further damage when in direct contact with intestinal cells. This is why many people start with one food sensitivity and then begin to develop others. Holes may appear in the wall of the intestine allowing larger, undigested food particles into the bloodstream where they will trigger an auto-immune response.
Microbial populations out of balance or "gut dysbiosis"may be the underlying factor for most intestinal disorders including Celiac's, IBS, Crohn's, acid reflux and even certain types of Cancer. It also plays a large role in seasonal and food allergies, acne, poor circulation, migraines, and more.
So how does the microbial population get out-of-balance to begin with? Antibiotic therapy greatly reduces beneficial bacteria and allows more virulent forms to take hold. It also allows Candida Albicans, a competing form of yeast, to overgrow and set roots deep into the intestinal wall. Bacterial populations can also be affected by stress, illness, bouts of diarrhea or vomiting and by high amounts of sugary or refined carbohydrate products - the preferred food of bacteria and yeast!
Is there any hope? Can gut dysbiosis be corrected? Absolutely! By following a carefully planned dietary regimen that goes beyond gluten or lactose free, using specific herbs and other natural remedies to repair the damage to the intestinal lining, and using probiotics to re-introduce beneficial bacteria - you can reverse the damage and go back to eating normally without discomfort.
For more information on how to get on your gut healing plan call us at 616-242-1355 to set up an appointment.
Here's to YOUR HEALTH!
Kathryn Doran-Fisher is a Traditional Naturopath, Certified GAPS Practitioner and owner of Elder & Sage.