Below is an excerpt from my conversation with Meg Haskell of Bangor Daily News. Read the full story here.

 

Naturopathic doctor Sarah Kotzur, who practices in Portland, also manages patients with chronic pain. Many of her older patients suffer from wear-and-tear osteoarthritis and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

“Their pain can be really debilitating,” she said.

Naturopaths, like MDs, attend at least four years of medical school after earning a bachelor’s degree and are well-versed in current medical science, Kotzur said.

“The main difference is that naturopaths believe in the healing power of the body to right itself,” she said.

She uses dietary changes, herbal supplements and homeopathic remedies to reduce the inflammation associated with joint pain and injury, along with physical manipulation and counseling.

Adjunct therapies such as massage and reiki also may be helpful, she said, but can make it hard to tell when naturopathic treatments are really helping.

Kotzur acknowledged the approach she uses takes time to work. But, she said, “we see some pretty incredible results.” Her patients are generally characterized by a willingness to experiment and a mistrust of mainstream medicine. Even so, sometimes they become impatient with slow progress and the continued presence of pain in their lives.

“I remind them, ‘It took you a while to get to this point; you can’t expect overnight relief,’” she said.

Read the full story here.