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Rooted Medicine – What is Naturopathic Medicine?


Why is it so radical to be radical?  I never find myself fully in a circle, I generally walk between circles, receiving and giving what I need.  Radical is the common denominator of all of the circles I tend.

Radical is root.  Raiz is root.  We come into this world with a radical nature,  to remember it, you must ask yourself where is your soul awakened the most, and where are my feet rooted most?  What is my life’s walk?  In the clinic, I have found a number of obstacles to patients achieving their ideal health.  The greatest obstacle being that the system is designed for sick care, simply using medications and labs that address only symptoms rather than looking at labs in a way to optimize and detect imbalances for health care.  The next obstacles are that our nervous system and trauma is totally ignored when Doctors narrow down their lens to individual organ systems rather than treating the organ systems and person as a unique being with responses that vary to different treatments.  These concepts are expanded below.

Radical Medicine

Naturopathy became “popularized” when colonizers and white Euro (fe)males began to live a more sedentary, indoor lifestyle.  Many of the founding fathers were taken down by the 0.001% that funded the John’s Hopkins Model during an uninformed decision of which model should be the standard of medicine. * And still, we persisted.  And now, we are thriving, more accepted than ever.  The existence of Naturopathic Medicine is due to resilience and tenacity as a profession.

Naturopathic Physicians have been using medical treatments that are being appropriated by internet “experts” around every corner of Google, Facebook, and Instagram.  The Eclectic Physicians and founding Naturopaths primarily practiced Nature Cure.  Their treatments focused on Sanatoriums or retreats that immersed patients into a strict regimen of hydrotherapy, colonics, fasting, exercise, nature cure, sunlight, fresh air, and early morning “dew treading.”  Naturopaths and Eclectics learned medicine from Native bonesetters and medicine people in the States.  Over time, as Euro immigration grew stronger in the States,  Naturopathic Medical Schools /  Eclectic Physician Schools became the place where marginalized populations came to learn medicine.  Many curative medical arts were lost during this period as Eclectic Medicine became scrutinized.

The greatest argument I hear from physicians and practitioners that are engrained into the medical-industrial complex of Standard American Medicine is that Naturopathic Doctors do not practice using scientific data.

The issue is is that the medical-industrial complex is not run by medicine, it is run by insurance and drug companies.  These companies will only invest in a sick-care system and almost always refuse to fund plant and nutritive studies.  It is difficult to profit off of a product that is plentiful in Nature.  Though nutritional and plant medicines are currently gaining experimental traction, clinical trials often take time.  If we have been using this medicine for 300 years successfully, why shift now?

Don’t get me wrong, I geek out the most when modern science catches up with traditional medicine.  I went to Med school for a reason.  Can someone please explain to me why 500 – 1000 years of observation and refining does not count as the true scientific method (phase 4 clinical trials)?  I believe after all those cases, all of the confounding variables could be accounted for and eliminated.

Today, many Naturopaths practice integrative medicine, teaching you your options.  This is because diseases caused by disparities and environmental hazards have become so profoundly terminal, that we must balance the disease expression with palliation to reduce mortality and suffering.  Naturopathic Medicine practices in the medial nature of medicine aka it is an extremely gray area.  Naturopaths often suffer criticism from all ends of health care practitioners.  Also, noteworthy, it is rare to find two Naturopaths that practice the same.  We have a very large toolbox of modalities to choose from.

*Read more about Flexner Report 1910 to understand how the Rockefellers simultaneously destroyed the chance natural medicine and renewable energy to be viewed as an equivalent to it’s brother allopathic medicine & oil.

Docere =  Teach

There is never a single medical option, regardless of what your Doctor says.  The word Doctor means to teach in Latin.  This is a Naturopath’s greatest strength as a Primary Care Doctor.  We have the opportunity to teach you and empower you to choose your own medicine path, whether it is allopathic, naturopathic, or a combination of those options.  It is not knowledge that is power, it is knowledge AND accessibility that is power.   If we can teach people how to heal themselves and their communities AND make natural medicine more accessible, wouldn’t that change the health care system for everyone?  Why do Doctors not teach moms the fever guidelines when it is the #1 reason moms take their children into urgent care?  It is our primary goal to remove the obstacles and teach you how to care for your body so that you do not find yourself in the sick-care system.

The Sixth Sense

I recently read an article by an neuro-immunologist that was proposing that our immune system is the 6th sense.  He was proposing this wild idea based upon recent research that the brain is in direct communication with our microbes via our Vagus nerve and Lymphatic system (immune system).  For years, Naturopaths and wisdom healers have treated illnesses, almost always focusing on gut and immuno-health.  Our microbes in our gut direct most of our immune system.  The Vagus Nerve is the largest nerve in our body connecting our brain, our heart, our breath (lungs n’ diaphragm), and our bellies to keep all our systems in check.

What Happens in Vagus ….

The Polyvagal theory notes that the Vagus has multiple branches, 3 to be exact.  It is directly linked with our autonomic nervous system, the tiger fight, flight, or freeze.  It is responsible for increased heart rate, etc., so we can run away from the tiger.  Now we know that the Vagal-immuno response may be mediated by our microbes.  Wild, yeah?  Not quite so wild to me, considering Naturopaths have been working on gut health and prescribing nutritional therapy, fasting + probiotics since day 1.

If you’re more curious about Interleukins, Autoimmunity, Parkinson’s, and how fasting can help quell inflammation, keep a look out for future posts on Insta @copesthetichealth, Facebook @Copesthetic Community or sign up for the Copesthetic Cleanse for the full meal deal (no pun intended).  All of those resources are smothered with gut health, body health, mind health, soul health, and more.

Radical Being

I differ from many of my colleagues in the fact that I take rest when I need to.  I slow down and I go a wee bit deeper into root cause medicine.  This is what I like to call rooted or radical self-care.  So many of the circles I roll with are intense: From demanding to be heard, to be equitable, to be a source of creativity in an over-accultured world.  In order to harness a sense of deep creativity, I must suffer.  I  feel the weight of the next 8 generations, of the harms from poisoning our rivers, our Original Mother.  And in this, I must practice being absolutely rooted in the ground.  My method of rooted being is with the 5 elements, being with the plants, being with myself, and seeing all from a compassionate lens.  In order to view others from a compassionate lens, I must view myself in this way.  This is the hardest work that takes daily practice!

It is easy to lose myself in the viewpoints of others, especially in circles where common semantics get thrown carelessly thrown around that divide our community.  These times are poignant.  It is time to differentiate from the dried out culture we are asked to exist within.  This takes diving into the depths of dark creativity; in order to identify what you are here to do, you must remember your tools, ask for help along the way, find a fertile community, and recognize what is blocking you.  More importantly, fill yourself with what is feeding you to stay on your path.  May we all live strong, potent, radical lives.  Firstly for ourselves, and more importantly for the generations to come.

They need us to step up into our power so that medicine (of all forms) may once again be spread into our communities.  I will continue working my part as a Naturopathic Physician, following the path of resistance in order to close health disparities and add a mini cog in the wheel of the medical-industrial complex.

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About Dr. Alexana

Dr. Cope deeply enjoys and appreciates working with patients to holistically balance hormones, manage depression and anxiety, and weight management. Dr. Cope also manages diabetes, endocrine conditions such as thyroid, and cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure and cholesterol. Dr. Cope's treatment comprises of a unique combination of nutritional supplementation, body work, custom herbal formulations, flower essences, personalized cooking and shopping plans. Dr. Cope truly believes minor changes in your daily routine is a key factor to health. Alongside treating the current symptoms, Dr. Cope investigates & addresses the root cause of your disease so that you may shift closer to centeredness and health with more ease. She will work with you in order to establish a daily routine that works with your schedule and most efficiently nourishes you so that you may go out in the community a more joyful beautiful you.