A consultation is a bit like an interview. We will sit down together and discuss your health concerns and I may ask specific questions about your diet, lifestyle, history, etc. My goal is to gather as much information as possible about your unique situation and compare it to my experience in working with other clients. Your physical appearance (skin, hair, nails, eyes) and mannerisms will also give me non-verbal cues that will help me in my analysis. I may spend some time explaining what I know about how your body works in health or disease using easy to understand analogies and descriptions. After your appointment is over I will put in several hours of research (if necessary) in formulating a personalized health program for you that may include dietary and lifestyle changes as well as recommendations for specific herbal, nutritional, or other natural supplements. The final recommendations will be emailed to you along with any notes I have from our meeting and informational handouts that are pertinent to your health.
How are you different from other natural health practitioners?
Over a decade of experience in the natural health industry has given me a good idea of what works and what doesn't. I like to back my recommendations in sound scientific reasoning and logic. If I am skeptical of the validity or effectiveness of a supplement or technique: I won't be recommending it - even if it is a standard in the field. I try to use caution in my recommendations knowing that just because it's natural - doesn't mean it can't hurt you. I also try to be aware of the limitations in my scope of practice. I will not hesitate to refer clients to other professionals if I feel they would be better served. Medical doctors, counselors, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, etc. all have important skills and methods of analysis that should be utilized where appropriate. There are many wonderful and talented naturopaths out there (and I know quite a few of them). All naturopaths are different. There is no one way to be a naturopath. Finding the right one for you is what matters.
Are your essential oils (organic, fair trade, therapeutic, etc.)?
The essential oil industry is very complex. Many plants grown for the essential oil industry do not require the use of pesticides and in some cases the distillation process itself removes many of the heavier pesticide molecules. Each oil is as unique as the plant it is distilled from and the region or farm where it is grown. Organic standards vary widely across the globe so even though an oil may not be listed as organic it doesn't mean it is not safe for use. All of our oils are GC/MS analyzed for quality assurance and all oils must meet strict odor and analytical requirements before they are purchased. There are many myths and falsehoods perpetuated by certain marketing companies to make it sound like their oils are the only ones worth buying but I'm not going to do that. I know that my oils are high quality because they have been tested against industry standards and contain the expected molecular constituents with no adulterants. Of course I am a big fan of organic methods and I do try to purchase organic whenever possible but it is important to note that the essential oil industry is not as cut and dry as many will try to lead you to believe. To learn more about the many essential oil myths out there you should visit this site.
Are your essential oils safe to ingest?
That will depend a lot on the individual oil. None of our oils contain any adulterants but regardless of many company claims you can still get hurt by drinking some essential oils. Each of our oils has its own safety warnings printed right on the label that are based on the book Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. You will find some oils are labelled as having GRAS status while others may cause skin sensitization, photosensitization, or should be avoided by pregnant or nursing women. The level of safety depends on the plant itself that the oil comes from and the research into the effects of the plant's molecular constituents. If one of our oils states that it should be for external use only, then that would be true of the same oil from other companies. All essential oils should be kept out of reach of children and kept away from open flames so that will be on every one of our labels and should be considered for every essential oil no matter where it comes from. To find out more about our labeling, see this blog post.
What happened to the shop on Fulton Street?
The Elder & Sage: Herbs and Natural Remedies shop on East Fulton Street in Grand Rapids, MI was open from June 2011 to May of 2015. My parents (Bruce and Jo Doran) ran the retail portion of the business while I worked with clients. After four years, mom and dad decided to retire so the decision was made to close the herb shop and I moved my practice to my home office on the northeast side of Grand Rapids. Elder & Sage is now operated solely by me (Naturopath and Certified GAPS Practitioner Kathryn Doran-Fisher) for natural health consultations by appointment only.