If you have been searching for a way to take your health into your own hands, support your own body’s systems, and eliminate the root cause of your disease, you may have considered taking a more holistic medical approach.
Amanda Chaplin, soon to be a licensed Naturopathic Physician shares more about her wellness journey and naturopathy practices.
You can learn more about Amanda and her journey on Instagram.
Tell me about your professional background.
I attended Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences for my undergraduate education with a focus in health sciences and public health. My premedical education was wrapped into this as well. While at Boston University I worked in the immunology department taking part in biotechnology research on interferons. I also had the opportunity to be assistant program manager at Boston Medical Center in the Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Disparities.
Today, I am halfway through my naturopathic medical education at National University of Health Sciences where I also just began my masters in acupuncture and oriental medicine.
What made you want to get into this field?
So many things! It was a mix of a desire to help others in an actionable way and through my own personal experiences with my own health and the western health care system.
What has been your favorite aspect of this work?
My favorite aspect of this work so far is the way that it truly empowers and teaches patients how to create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and achieve the optimal health they have always dreamed of. As naturopathic physicians we practice with the principle “docere” which means doctor as teacher.
We help our patients in many ways but the primary objective is to teach them about their body and the issues that they are dealing with and how to conquer them long term. We teach them to take their health into their own hands in a personalized and preventative way.
Can you explain what naturopathy is and what a typical session is like from start to finish?
Naturopathy is a medicine that focuses on the body’s innate ability to heal and based on that premise we search for the root cause of the symptoms or “dis-ease” that the patient is experiencing. We support the body systems that are weakened while eliminating the root cause which is propagating disease in the body.
The major difference between naturopathy and traditional medicine is the target of eliminating the root cause of disease rather than just treating the symptoms of the disease.
A session with a naturopathic doctor will vary by the physician that you see, but will always be much longer than a typical doctor’s visit. Typically the very first visit is between 1-3 hours, we will explore everything and anything that has brought the patient to this very moment in time. We explore everything from the materials used to build their childhood home, potential work environment exposures, water and food sources and choices and so much more. This is all part of unraveling the root cause of disease.
The state of health we experience is a picture of our past and present, that which we think and consume, and our genetic makeup altogether. From there various treatment plans will be developed to meet specific personalized patient goals! Such things may include modalities as acupuncture and chiropractics, herbal supplementation, diet and nutrition therapy and much much more!
What sort of health challenges can naturopathy be effective for and why?
Naturopathy can move mountains for any and every health challenge. It is amazing for preventative medicine intervention, as an adjunct therapy to things like cancer treatment, to treat autoimmune conditions or pain, and much more. Just about anything you can think of! Some naturopathic doctors have specific specialties and some treat a wide variety of conditions.
Is there a technique or modality in your practice that you have found to be the most beneficial to the people you work with?
So, not yet because I am still in school! But some of the things that have been amazing for my own health include acupuncture and cupping, diet therapy, infrared sauna, and massage.
What is naturopathy like from the patient’s point of view?
What a great question! I’d say it’s a bit like detective work, and definitely a surprise. Patient’s are not used to having a personal connection with their physician and someone that truly takes the time to listen to them. Doctor’s visits these days are quick and short and not at all personal.
Many physicians do not even do a full physical exam, one of the most important ways to see and understand a patient and what they may be experiencing. I would say the patient feels that with naturopathic medicine they are heard, supported, and in a trusted space where all of their questions will be answered and not dismissed.
What would you say to someone who is skeptical about naturopathy and its effectiveness? How do you approach that?
So, naturopathic doctors receive a 4 year rigorous medical education with 2 licensing exams. Just as traditional medical school. The only major difference is we receive a bit less clinical experience in school, a great deal more of education on nutrition, and many more alternative modalities. The first licensing exam we take is even explained as a combination of both USMLE1 and 2, the board exams that MDs take.
The primary difference is the lack of licensing countrywide. Granted, there are some NDs who give others a bad name, due to their participation in ideas that the traditional medical community would not touch, but the majority of us practice purely evidence based medicine. We are all trained to be legitimate and competent physicians able to diagnose and treat just the same as an MD.
Besides naturopathy do you have any universal health and well-being tips that you’d like to share?
I think focusing on “free medicine” is the best thing you can do to get started on living a long and healthy life. Some examples of free medicine being quality sleep, sunlight exposure, exercise, drinking water and choosing food from the earth, and more!
If there was one piece of advice you could give to someone who is struggling, what would it be?
Hmmmm, I think one of the best things you can do when struggling is find a healing partner. Whether it is a friend, family member, etc., having someone that is on your side to help you get through the hard times is truly one of the most valuable assets. Healing is not linear and having someone to hold you up through it all is worth more than all the medications and interventions in the world.
What resources would you recommend? (books, podcasts, websites that you’ve found helpful)
To learn more about naturopathic medicine visit AANMC.org.
A couple of my favorite podcasts in holistic and functional medicine are Heal Thy Self (Dr. Christian Gonzalez), The Doctor’s Farmacy (Dr. Mark Hymann).
Naturopathic medicine differs from traditional medicine as it’s a way to work together with your physician to find the root cause of your disease and then eliminate it. This will help you become more in tune with your own body and give you the power to heal yourself from the inside out.
If you are interested in learning more about Amanda, you can connect with her on Instagram here.
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