Our Integrated Approach to Healthcare
At Roots and Branches integrated healthcare, we truly strive to practice within the principles of naturopathic medicine (see “what is naturopathic medicine”). Although all of the principles are imperative to facilitate healing and support wellness, the principle that is missed most often when trying to resolve chronic disease is “identify and treat the cause”.
After many years of practice, I realize that many causes, in sum, tip the body into disease process. As I often share with patients, “it is many straws that break the camels back”. For example, just being dehydrated alone may not trigger a headache. However, the sum of being dehydrated, having low blood sugar due to poor food choices, getting in an argument with your partner (raises inflammatory immune molecule IL-6) can quickly manifest as a headache.
Deviating From Conventional Medicine to Identify the Source of Your Symptoms
What often happens in medicine whether natural or conventional, is practitioners move quickly to subdue the symptom. For the previous headache example, you may take Advil or the herb “butterbur” to calm and alleviate the head pain. Although these medicines have their appropriate place for mitigating pain, they still did not solve the reason of WHY you’re getting the headaches. In the words of one of Bastyr University founders Joe Pizzorno, “You do not have an Advil deficiency”.
At Roots and Branches we are always looking to understand and solve the underlying causes for everyone’s symptom experience. I can have three depression patients in one day, all sharing a similar story of their symptomology, but each one of them has the depressive symptoms coming from different biochemical and physiological reasons. Historically, the MD will give them all Prozac and the ND will give them all St. John’s wort, both of which will help alleviate the symptoms. Nevertheless, they won’t address the underlying biochemical causes of that depression and this results in limited, long-term improvements and often unwanted side effects.
In the depression example, the first patient may be depressed because an autoimmune attack on their thyroid which renders their thyroid too dysfunctional to put out enough T4 and T3 thyroid hormone needed by the brain to function at an adequate pace. The second patient, may have Celiac disease, resulting in compromised iron absorption and subsequent low hemoglobin. This patient lacks the adequate hemoglobin “box cars” necessary to carry enough oxygen for the brain leaving them depressed. The third patient may be skipping meals resulting in a low blood sugar or hypoglycemic experience that results in inadequate fuel for the brain cells to run on. Should they get the same care plan??
Discussing Your Diagnosis and Effectively Communicating Recommendations
At Roots and Branches we focus first and foremost on the diagnosis. A diagnosis should not be a greek description of your symptoms, but instead a detailed physiological explanation of why your symptoms are occurring. Although we believe it is important to have descriptors of a patient’s symptom experience for medical communication, a diagnosis is meant to be the explanation of “why” this is occurring and should be paragraphs long. Within that diagnostic explanation, the recommendations should be self-evident.
Far too many healthcare providers today give treatment recommendations before understanding why the symptom is going on. Dr. Dorninger is always in constant pursuit of trying to understand why the symptomology is happening. We use state-of-the-art laboratory analysis straight out of the gate to evaluate each individual person we get to work with.
The laboratory evaluation is often the same from patient to patient (e.g. everyone needs adequate vitamin D, everyone must have a functional thyroid, everyone must have working insulin receptors and stable blood sugar, etc.), but the care plan is never duplicated from patient to patient. Dr. Dorninger has had very limited success with “cookie-cutter” protocol medicine, where every patient experiencing the same symptom gets the same care plan ideas. Rather, we evaluate all the different places a symptom can arise from.
If there is a protocol in our clinic, it’s to identify the underlying causes and set up care plans that resolve these underlying physiological dysfunctions.
When you evaluate what is physiologically and biochemically essential for human function, the care plan will often reveal itself. That is, identifying what that specific individual needs, the disease process will be eradicated. “Tend to the soil and bountiful crops will grow.”
Nutritionists Ready to Help You Cultivate a Healthy Relationship With Food
We have two nutritionists and Roots and Branches Integrative Health Care because food is virtually always part of the underlying cause. Whether it’s modern, adulterated, overeaten, man-made foods or lack of bountiful real foods, there is a clear nutritional aspect to most patient symptomology. This is well evidenced through epidemiological evaluations showing people of all color and geographies having virtually no chronic disease when eating their indigenous diets (no heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, rare infertility, musculoskeletal disorders, etc.). Hence, we rely on our nutritionists to help facilitate a nourishing relationship with food as medicine. Nourishing food choices allow people to live the lives they want.
In addition to our nutritionists, we are constantly working with the established medical and healing community on all levels and feel privileged to live in a well resourced region for healthcare. Nevertheless, Dr. Dorninger always wants to ensure people have intact physiology and biochemistry while embarking on other aspects of their healing journey. He often tells his bachelors of psychology students, it’s ideal for people to have their low thyroid issues corrected before embarking on a counseling journey for there depression (a big part of the depression is the low thyroid). Intact biochemistry and physiology allows us to do our emotional and spiritual processing with grace, kindness and less frustration.
It is our goal to solve underlying physiology that manifests as frustrating, debilitating symptoms.
Apply those solutions and see if they resolve the problem.
Practice the true root of “Doctor” (docere = to teach). To educate our patients on maintaining “the resolve” principle of naturopathic medicine, of these symptoms through diet, exercise and targeted individual treatments so that people can get back to life.