Wednesday, August 29, 2007

AANP 2007 Palm Springs, CA

I just returned from the AANP conference in Palm Springs, California. It is the annual conference for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians ( Naturopathic Doctors, Students, and supporters from all over the country come together to share the latest in research, product development, treatment methodologies, and general passion and love for Naturopathic medicine. It is an outstanding time.

I would like to thank all of the excellent speakers that put in vast amounts of time preparing for the various talks that help keep those in the naturopathic profession up to date. Research and continuing education is crucial so that we as physicians can provide the best possible care for our patients.

I also want to thank my colleagues and all of the Naturopathic students that attend the conference each year. It is inspiring to be surrounded by so many like minded individuals with a passion for the body's own innate ability to heal. To be surrounded by a cohort with such energy is rejuvenating for the spirit. My words can never fully convey the depth or breadth of my love for those with the hearts and courage to pursue this healing profession.

I want to send a heart felt congratulations to Dr. Paul Mittman, ND, DHANP, president of the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine ( for his award of Naturopathic Doctor of the Year. It is truly an honor and only slightly begins to recognize all of the hard work he has contributed to the profession as both a healer and diplomat in support of licensure and standards of education. I was blessed to spend time with Dr. Mittman on shifts at the SCNM teaching clinic.

I feel lucky every day to work with amazing patients. And it is so important to remember how fortunate I am to be part of this much larger healing community. The AANP conference is the perfect reminder.

See you next year in Phoenix!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Just look at us

Last week I spent two days at the National Conference for State Legislatures, here in Boston. I was there representing the AANP, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians , often confused with the American Academy of Nurse Practioners
This national conference is an opportunity for different interest groups to meet with state representatives and senators from all 50 states, talk briefly with them and give away free pens and pins. (my favorite pin is from the AANR... just visit the site, even though head or arm bands would have been a more appropriate give away.)
I heard something that seemed profound to me at the time from a 4th year naturopathic medical student. We were standing there discussing our lobbying efforts and the fact that most of the opposition for Naturopathic licensure is initiated by the American Medical Association It just doesn't seem to make sense. Both groups want to help patients. Both groups want standards of practice within their professions to ensure patient safety. I just kept saying, "It is no brainer". And then here is where the brilliance came through. My soon to be fellow naturopathic physician said, "There is licensure for everything, from plumbing, hair cutting, to spraying for bugs. That is easy. The problem for the AMA is that once we are licensed, we can no longer be ignored. It will force conventional doctors to recognize us, and most of them aren't willing to do that... yet."
The environment is shifting and more and more conventional practitioners are becoming open to a more traditional, patient centered approach to health. I have a dream, that one day we will all heal together.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The eye of the storm

Life can often swirl around us like a hurricane. Stress from work, home, and family creating havoc all around. These forces are very real and significant, yet we need not be carried away with the storm. There is a area of refuge in the center of the storm, a place of safety and perspective where we can stand quietly in the midst of chaos and observe as a participant of our lives; yet slightly removed from the turmoil. This is a vastly different approach than fleeing from our problems. It often requires patience and mindfulness to be still while life unfolds around you and eventually opens to leave you in this center.

Our dis-ease can also can also come flying at us from all directions, creating a fear that our health will be swept away. Like the hurricane, there is a space of clarity and peace in the middle, when we are part of our illness, yet quiet enough to evaluate our options. This is where and when we should make decisions about our health and treatments to move us further back to that lofty goal of wellness. Too often, when significant health decisions must be made there is an urgency that creeps in. When "there is no time to think", we literally make choices for ourselves and our families without thought.

My hope is that during the next life catastrophe we can take one extra breath, close our eyes, and open them during the clarity that comes from giving ourselves just enough leeway to move free of all the flying debris.