Treating the cause, not just symptoms
FRISCO – As Summit County grows, so do the choices in health care.
Starting today, two new doctors in Frisco offer an alternative to allopathic medicine. Naturopathic physicians Dr. Kimberly Nearpass and Dr. Justin Pollack integrate conventional medical science with traditional, natural treatments.
“We approach your whole body – body, mind, spirit and emotions, all working as a whole,” Pollack said. “We really work to get to the cause of what’s ailing you.”
Similar to allopathic doctors, naturopathic physicians learn about a person’s medical history, review records, give physical exams and order tests to assess a patient’s condition. But, they tend to spend more time with a person, taking a long history of both ailments and lifestyle.
“Educating people, and having people take charge of their health, is a really important part of treatment,” Nearpass said.
But probably the biggest difference between naturopathic and allopathic doctors is their approach to treatment. Naturopathic physicians use natural treatments to affect healing.
“We work with the body’s physiology a lot of times,” Pollack said. “We work with the immune system and the vital force to overcome disease. We strengthen the body and let the body attack the disease rather than attacking the disease itself.”
They use nutrition (including vitamins, minerals and enzymes), herbs, homeopathy (specially prepared dilutions of substances that match the patient’s ailment in order to stimulate the body’s innate healing force), physical medicine (including hydrotherapy, exercise and massage) and lifestyle counseling (which addresses all aspects of a person’s life, including attitude, diet, exercise habits and stress levels).
“There’s always something we can do to make someone feel better,” Nearpass said.
The doctors use natural treatments for viral illness, including colds, hepatitis and HIV; chronic diseases, such as low immunity, candida, autoimmune disorders and allergies; endocrinology, such as menopause, premenstral syndrome, thyroid disorders and fatigue; digestive problems; and issues related to geriatrics and pediatrics.
Though a person can see a naturopath in lieu of a medical doctor, Nearpass and Pollack believe in working in conjunction with medical doctors. Such collaboration is especially important in the state of Colorado, where naturopaths aren’t recognized as primary care physicians who can prescribe medication.
Pollack and Nearpass are working on a licensure committee with the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Physicians to introduce a bill to regulate naturopaths, but they suspect it will be a year or two before they make any headway. Currently, 11 states recognize naturopathic doctors as primary care physicians, including Oregon, where Pollack grew up and completed licensure with a three-day clinical sciences board exam.
Both Pollack and Nearpass completed a four-year, post-graduate degree. The first two years of naturopath school require the same basic science courses and board examinations as allopathic medical school. The third and fourth years consist of clinical science classes and an internship as a student practitioner.
Pollack earned his naturopathic degree from Bastyr University in Seattle in 1999. Before earning his degree, he worked as an herbalist, environmental educator, kayak instructor and raft guide.
His areas of focus include herbs, clinical nutrition, wellness counseling, hydrotherapy and homeopathy. He specializes in gastroenterology (problems related to the gut), endocrinology (such as thyroid conditions and menopause), immunology (from colds to cancer) and liver problems.
Nearpass grew up in Denver. She always wanted to be a doctor but was concerned about the potential harm allopathic medicine can cause. She graduated from Colorado College in 1993 then served in the Peace Corps in Africa for two years and worked as a naturalist guide in South America for two years. There, she interacted with natives who took care of themselves using natural methods.
“It challenged my thinking about medicine – if modern medicine was more effective or more harmful, and I think it’s both,” she said.
She recently graduated from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Ore. She specializes in women’s health issues and enjoys working with pediatrics and geriatrics.
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