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Ever Heard Of A Naturopath? Here’s Why You May Want To See One – Nicole Frehsee

An article in Prevention Magazine has come across several of our social media platforms and I wanted to share it with you.

The original article can be found here:



According to conventional wisdom, when you’re sick, you call the doctor. (And maybe your mom.) But your trusty MD may not be the only one who can cure what ails you—especially if you’ve paid him or her a visit already and still aren’t feeling well.

That’s where naturopaths come in. Naturopathic doctors, who are educated in the same basic sciences as medical doctors and attend four-year, naturopathic medical schools, take a holistic approach to healing and use natural approaches, like nutrition, herbs, and acupuncture, in addition to conventional ones, like drugs. Whereas an MD may prescribe medicine as a first line of defense—”take these pills to lower your cholesterol/cure your back pain/ease your anxiety”—an ND focuses on treating a problem’s underlying causes (say, poor diet and exercise or stress) versus just its symptoms. (And they’re just one of the 6 alternative doctors you should consider seeing.)

“We use drugs when necessary, but our goal isn’t to get a patient on right the drug so that they don’t experience symptoms. It’s to get them well,” says Jaclyn Chasse, ND, a New Hampshire-based naturopath and president-elect of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

While naturopaths take on any number of health problems, from colds to cancer, they may not be on the general public’s radar. (They’re currently licensed to practice in 17 states and Washington, DC.) “There’s a healthy skepticism surrounding what naturopaths do,” says Chasse. “But naturopathic medicine is not medicine-lite. In fact, I often see patients who are so sick because they haven’t gotten well in the conventional system.” Here, some reasons you may want to visit a naturopath.

Your blood pressure is creeping up, or you’re type 2 diabetic.

When it comes to chronic conditions, drugs can help initially, but at some point, they may stop working as well, says Jamey Wallace, ND, chief medical officer of Washington’s Bastyr University (one of 5 accredited naturopathic medical schools in the US). “That’s why making lifestyle changes is a focus,” he says. Sufferers of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes typically benefit from weight loss, regular exercise and, of course, a healthy diet, so a naturopath will help patients map out a plan to meet those goals. “I’ll spend time with a patient to identify obstacles to doing those things, and help them set up a schedule so they can practice them,” says Wallace.


Your hormones are out of whack.

Is your period irregular? Your PMS raging? A naturopath may be able to help. “Conventional medicine doesn’t have a lot of tools in this area—there’s nothing to support the body’s own hormone production but birth control,” says Chasse. “But certain herbs are incredibly good at bringing hormones back into balance by improving the connection between the brain and the ovaries, where the hormones are made.” Nutrition also comes into play with hormones, so naturopaths will dissect your diet if an imbalance is found (like MDs, NDs run blood tests to determine your hormone levels). Chasse’s tip: Antioxidants help the brain-ovary connection, so “your best bet is to eat the rainbow”—i.e. lots of colorful fruits and veggies. (For more nutrition advice, check out The Power Nutrient Solution, the first-ever plan that tackles the root cause of virtually every major ailment and health condition today.)

Your stomach is killing you.

If you’re struggling with anything from bloating to IBS to Crohn’s, overhauling your diet could be a better solution than taking meds. “Most digestive disorders respond well to dietary changes,” says Wallace. “I talk about food a lot. Naturopaths aren’t trained as nutritionists but we incorporate food as medicine in our practice.” Naturopaths also dig deep to find the root cause of your pain. “We might do stool tests to see if carbs or fats or proteins aren’t properly broken down, and we’ll want to know what types of probiotics do or don’t live in your gut,” says Chasse. “We tend to do certain testing that conventional doctors don’t really do.”

You’re feeling depressed or anxious.

While seeing your conventional doc for anxiety or depression symptoms might get you a prescription for meds or a psychiatrist referral, naturopaths work with patients to identify the underlying causes of their issues. (Note: They aren’t equipped to manage serious mental-health problems.) “We get a lot of training in counseling, about a Master’s [degree] level,” says Chasse. “We help patients reorganize their lives to limit stress, and we also work with herbs that help the body biochemically manage stress better.” You’ll likely leave your ND’s office with exercise and diet recommendations, too.


Your heartburn is out of control.

Does a slice of pizza for dinner mean reflux for dessert? Conventional antacids aren’t the only remedy. “Antacids are prescribed in inordinate volumes in this country,” says Wallace. Instead, modifying your diet and taking certain herbs may be the first logical steps to feeling relief. “There are a number of herbs that soothe the tissue in the stomach lining and esophagus,” he says. “With the herbs, in addition to some very basic diet changes, many patients come in and say their symptoms are gone.”

You’re suffering from an autoimmune condition.

Autoimmune conditions (everything from Celiac disease to rheumatoid arthritis to lupus), which result when the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells, signal that your body’s immune system is going haywire. As such, conventional doctors commonly prescribe drugs, like steroids, to get some of these conditions in check. Naturopaths, on the other hand, look to lifestyle tweaks. Chasse points to diet as a prime example. “Inflammation is the immune system overreacting, and certain foods cause inflammation,” she says. “We’ll put patients on an anti-inflammatory-diet—plant-heavy, with lots of fish and healthy fats and less red meat and sweets—and prescribe herbs to bring the body back into balance.”

You have cancer.

A disclaimer here: When it comes to battling any disease, we’re certainly not suggesting you ditch your MD in favor of a naturopath (in fact, some states have laws requiring that patients with certain illnesses see an MD before an ND can offer treatment). But in some cases, naturopaths can help optimize conventional treatments. Take cancer, for instance: Naturopaths can help minimize the side effects of chemo (which damages the immune system) so that patients are less likely to run into complications during treatment. “Studies have shown that natural therapies”—think acupuncture or taking certain herbs—”actually help patients do better on chemo,” says Chasse. “When cancer patients are also being treated by a naturopath, they’re more likely to take to the prescribed regimen without a problem.”

Can Cancer Treatments cause Cancer? Understand your risk of acquiring a secondary cancer.

It is not a recurrence, and it is not a metastasis (the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another). A secondary cancer, or second primary cancer, is a new cancer that develops in a person who has had cancer before.

“It’s a different type of cancer,” explains Kamal Patel, MD, Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) in Zion, Illinois. “A secondary cancer develops at least two months after primary diagnosis,” he says. “It’s a separate tumor that’s very different from recurrence or metastasis.”

Pamela Crilley, DO, Chief of Medical Oncology at CTCA® in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, explains that secondary cancers can be caused by treatment for the first cancer, such as radiation therapy or certain chemotherapy drugs. She adds, however, that treatment is not always the cause. “It is also possible for a patient to have a second cancer that is unrelated either to the primary cancer or to the initial treatment,” she says.

Fortunately, due to advances in treatments, secondary cancers are relatively rare today. As a patient or survivor, however, it is still important to be aware of the risk and the value of follow-up and screenings. “Early detection is important to improve outcomes,” explains Dr. Crilley.

The Link Between Treatment and Secondary Cancers
Two big culprits in secondary cancers are radiation and chemotherapy, and they carry different risks. “Radiation is more likely to result in solid tumors that occur 10 to 20 years or more after treatment,” says Dr. Patel. He explains that chemotherapy is more likely to cause nonsolid tumors (such as cancers of the blood), which tend to occur in the first 10 years after treatment.

According to Dr. Crilley, solid tumors occur more frequently as secondary cancers than do blood cancers. “An example of a solid tumor arising from treatment would be breast cancer in a patient who had been treated years earlier for a Hodgkin’s lymphoma with radiation therapy to the chest,” she explains. Lung cancer, she says, is another example and can occur 10 or 15 years or even longer after initial exposure to treatment.

“The biggest concern with secondary cancers is for pediatric patients,” says Dr. Patel. Children exposed to radiation or chemotherapy may have full life expectancies, giving them more opportunity to develop another cancer.

Reducing Risk
Though secondary cancers remain an important consideration for survivors, perhaps the most significant message about risk is that advances in treatment are allowing doctors to limit this threat. The emphasis, says Dr. Patel, is on treating the current cancer while limiting long-term side effects.

Dr. Patel admits, however, that safety cannot be entirely guaranteed when it comes to the affect of cancer treatment. For example, “There is no safe dose of radiation,” he says, “but we’re aware of the risk and try to limit exposure.”

Newer technology that limits radiation exposure includes proton radiation therapy. This approach uses streams of protons (tiny particles with a positive charge) to kill tumor cells. Because radiation is targeted at cancer cells, exposure to surrounding healthy tissues is reduced. The goal is a lower risk of long-term complications, including secondary cancers.

Long-term risks related to chemotherapy have also been reduced as research related to treatment has advanced. “Selection of chemotherapy agents to eliminate or minimize exposure to alkylating agents [shown to increase the risk of secondary cancers] will decrease the risk of long-term second malignancies, such as certain types of leukemia, lymphoma or blood disorders,” Dr. Crilley explains.

As a patient, says Dr. Crilley, you can play a role in making informed decisions about your treatment and the potential long-term risk of a secondary cancer. She encourages patients to ask questions and become well informed. “In-depth discussions with your oncology providers, including your radiation and medical oncologists, will provide insight to help you understand any potential risks, short or long term,” she says.

The considerations you and your doctor will take into account include personal factors and treatment options, says Dr. Crilley. “Your age at the time of the initial treatment of the primary cancer may influence selection of which treatment would be least likely to cause long-term adverse effects,” she explains.

Screening and Prevention
Once you have made an informed decision to move forward with a treatment that carries a risk of secondary cancer, you can take important steps to reduce your risk or detect a secondary cancer early, if one develops.

“Effective screening is available for patients at risk for a secondary cancer,” says Dr. Crilley. “For example,” she explains, “in women at risk for breast cancer after treatment with radiation for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a yearly breast MRI [magnetic resonance imaging scan] may detect an early secondary cancer.” She adds that, similarly, patients at risk for lung cancer after radiation can be screened with a CT [computed tomography] scan. In any case, secondary cancers that are found early can be treated early, which can improve outcomes.

You can also take proactive steps of your own to reduce your risk. “Lifestyle can make a difference,” says Dr. Patel. He recommends avoiding smoking (which can make treatment less effective and increase the risk of side effects, including secondary cancers), avoiding alcohol in excess or altogether, engaging in regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet.

Remain Vigilant
Awareness and close follow-up remain important measures for reducing your risk of secondary cancers. Though the risk of secondary cancers with current treatment is not great, in some cases it remains a long-term, or ongoing, complication. “As a survivor, you’ll want to continue close follow-up with your oncology care team,” says Dr. Patel.

Ultimately, survivors should be encouraged by the fact that advances in treatment to limit long-term complications mean the risk of a secondary cancer is likely very low. And remember, your oncologist’s goal is to choose treatment that effectively treats current cancer with minimal long-term risks.


  • written by Mia James from CTCA

8 Sun Safety Myths BUSTED!



Cancer Treatment Centres of America have written a fantastic article about sunscreen myths. Read it here! Summer wouldn’t be summer without the warmth of the sun’s rays, but too much sun can easily lead to painful burns and, in severe sunburn cases, symptoms like nausea, headache, fever, dizziness and chills.

The secret lies in the dose. A few minutes of sunshine on your bare skin allows your body to produce healthful vitamin D. But after those few minutes are up, getting into the shade or covering up with clothing or a non-chemical sunscreen will protect your skin from unnecessary sun-induced damage. For your protection, and to protect your fun in the sun, be sure you’re aware of these top sun safety myths.

1. Higher SPFs Give Significantly More Protection

Most people think that an SPF 50 sunscreen will give you more than three times more sun protection than an SPF 15. In reality, a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 will block 97 percent of the sun’s rays; higher SPFs, while more expensive, will block only slightly more of the sun’s rays, but not 100%. The SPF also has no impact on length of protection, which is the same for both low- and high-number SPFs.

2. You Can’t Get Burned if it’s Cloudy

It’s important to protect your skin from the sun even if it’s not particularly sunny outside. On cloudy days, up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can still penetrate your skin1, and because many people neglect to cover up on cloudy days, this is when some of the worst sunburns occur.

3. My Makeup Has Sunscreen, That’s All I Need

Many makeup products, such as foundation, now contain sunscreen, and this is great, especially if it contains at least an SPF 30. However, you should think of this as an added protective layer, not your main safeguard against the sun. Most women only apply a small amount of foundation to their face in the morning. Not only is this likely not enough sunscreen for adequate protection (and misses your ears, chest, back of neck, and other sunburn-prone areas), but it will likely wear off after a couple of hours. Even if your makeup has an SPF, you should still take additional steps to protect your delicate facial skin from sun damage.

4. It Doesn’t Matter When You Go Out in the Sun

If you’re seeking to avoid a sunburn, you’ll want to avoid excessive sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm. This is when the sun’s rays are the strongest, so a shorter exposure time may lead to a sunburn faster than other times of day, such as in the late afternoon or early morning. That said, you can still get burned in the morning and early evening hours.

5. You Don’t Need Sunscreen if You Have Dark-Colored Skin

Dark-colored skin will not burn as easily as light-colored skin, but the sun can still lead to skin damage and burns with excessive exposure. You should wear protective clothing, seek shade and consider using a chemical-free sunscreen for sun protection even if you have dark-colored skin.

6. All Sunscreens are Created Equal

Sunscreens typically contain either chemicals, such as oxybenzone, to absorb the sun’s rays or minerals, such as titanium dioxide, that block them. Oxybenzone, present in more than half of sunscreens according to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) report, has been linked to hormone disruptions and cell damage that may lead to cancer.1 Another sunscreen additive, retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A), may speed the development of skin tumors when applied to skin exposed to sunlight. EWG reports:3

“The ideal sunscreen would completely block UV rays that cause sunburn, immune suppression and damaging free radicals. It would remain effective on the skin for several hours. It would not form harmful ingredients when degraded by sunlight. It would smell and feel pleasant so that people would use more of it.

No sunscreen meets these goals. Americans must choose between “chemical” sunscreens, which have inferior stability, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body’s hormone system, and “mineral” sunscreens, made with zinc and titanium, often “micronized” or containing nano-particles.”

7. Sunlight Doesn’t Penetrate Through Windows

While UVB rays, which help your body produce vitamin D, are blocked by glass, UVA rays, which penetrate your skin more deeply and may increase your risk of skin cancer, are not. If you spend a significant amount of time exposed to window-filtered sun, your skin could still be damaged as a result (such as during a long commute or if your desk is next to a window).

8. Any Clothing Will Block the Sun’s Rays

The type of clothing matters when it comes to sun safety. Darker and brighter colors will absorb more UV rays than white or pastel shades, while heavier, denser fabrics with tighter weaves will offer more sun protection than thin, lightweight fabrics with a loose weave. A white t-shirt, for instance, will still let in some UV rays, particularly if it’s wet.4

More Tips for Finding a Safe and Effective Sunscreen

You’re ready to go out in the sun … now which sunscreen product is best? EWG has researched this topic extensively and recommends the following tips for choosing a safe sunscreen:5

  • Avoid Spray Sunscreens: There is some concern that these sprays could cause health concerns when inhaled and they make it difficult to determine if your skin is adequately covered. They’ve even been implicated in fires when sprayed near an open flame. Stick to cream sunscreens instead.
  • Avoid Super-High SPFs: SPFs higher than 50 may offer false reassurance that you can stay in the sun longer than is safe. Some of these high-SPF products protect against UVB radiation, which causes burns, but not UVA, which may lead to accelerated skin aging and skin cancer.
  • Avoid Oxybenzone: This common sunscreen chemical mimics the hormone estrogen and easily penetrates the skin, increasing the amount that enters your bloodstream
  • Avoid Retinyl Palmitate: This form of vitamin A may speed the development of skin tumors when used on sun-exposed skin.
  • Avoid Loose Powder Sunscreens: Because of the potential for inhalation, loose powder sunscreens, which often contain titanium or zinc particles, should also be avoided. Inhaled titanium dioxide is classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

1. American Academy of Dermatology, Sunscreen FAQ

2. EWG’s 2013 Guide to Sunscreens, Nine Surprising Facts About Sunscreens

3. EWG’s 2013 Guide to Sunscreens, Nine Surprising Facts About Sunscreens

4. Skin Cancer Foundation, Clothing: Our First Line of Defense

5. EWG Sunscreens

6. Cancer Treatment Centres of America

8 Tips for Feeling Fantastic no Matter What Your Age!

I often get told that I look much younger than I am and that I can’t be a doctor, I am too young! I admit it, it is flattering.  What is my secret? It’s not good genes because my family has its fair share of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and it’s not make-up because I don’t wear much! So what is it? Read on to find out.

Today’s society is very much bent on outward, superficial beauty, this is our cultural perception of beauty.  I believe there is a true beauty and it doesn’t involve appearance. As we age, women are scrutinized but we need to keep in mind that beauty is not just what is on the surface. As older members of society we need to teach the younger generations that life is not about being stick thin and flawless. Life is about being yourself, being happy, feeling fulfilled, and being kind to others. That is what makes you beautiful. The younger generation needs to learn this, and not be taught by media that thin is in. Lets us show them that wisdom, generosity, and knowledge is beautiful.

There is no magic pill that will make you look younger. You are probably already beautiful. Each and every one of those lines on your face, that you despise, is a lesson learned, a lesson taught, countless exams you have studied for, a child that makes you laugh. Those bags under your eyes are from late nights helping people, or late nights spent with close friends. Your stretch marks are reminders of your bodies amazing ability to grow and birth a child. Each line is a story to tell, not something to wish away.

None the less people are always looking for ways to look young.  So here are 8 pieces of advice for you.

Tip #1: This one is common sense, you know you should already be doing this, but I bet you don’t! Eat lots of fruits and vegetables! I try to eat 1 large fruit smoothie and one large salad every day. Juicing is also a great way to get more fruits and vegetables in to your diet. If you have tried to eat more fruits and vegetables, but just find it too difficult, try a greens powder. You can add a scoop of greens to your yogurt, smoothie, pasta sauce, etc. My personal favourite is Amazing Grass ( Fruits and vegetables are packed full of antioxidants, quenching free radicals within your body that cause pre-emptive aging. The skin and seeds of fruits and vegetables are also full of fibre that keeps you regular and reduces bloating, thus making you look thinner.

Tip #2: If I had $1 for every time I heard that someone skips breakfast or lunch, my student loans would be paid off and I would be one happy woman! Never ever skip a meal. I don’t care how busy you are. As soon as you skip a meal your body goes in to starvation mode and the next time you eat, your brain tells your metabolism to store the food as fat because you are in the midst of a famine. Food gives us energy and the vitamins and minerals essential for body function. That brings us to the next tip.

Tip #3: Processed foods have become a staple in our diets. They are easy to find, quick to eat, and require little to no preparation time. Processed, prepackaged, or microwaveable food has little nutrients in it. Diabetes and heart disease are modern plagues caused by unhealthy diets. So throw out your microwave Peterborough! I threw mine out 6 years ago. When we eat nutritionally empty foods likes chips, white pasta, pop, microwaveable meals, candy, we aren’t feeding our body, we are starving it! An hour after you eat you are hungry again, and that is because your body didn’t receive what it needed to function! So you eat more! By eating a diet full of nutritionally dense foods you satisfy your body at a cellular level! Beauty starts from the inside out, how much more inside can you get than the cells that compose your body!

Tip #4: Sleep! Sleep is usually one of the first things we cut from our lives if we get too busy. Sleep and working out. Sleep is when our bodies heal from a long day. Aim for 7 hours of sleep a night. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep it is important to have your health assessed by your healthcare provider. You should wake feeling rested with energy to last the day. Sleep gives you more energy, which makes you feel younger!

Tip #5: Skip the gym, who likes the gym anyways!? Not me. I have tried the whole gym membership thing, but I just can’t do it. It’s boring! My advice to you is to incorporate enjoyable physical activity in to your life. The physical activity we do at a gym is very artificial, and can injure you if not done correctly. The best form of physical activity is one that also keeps you in touch with nature. Biking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, gardening. Not only are these activities going to keep you fit, they will lower your stress level, help you sleep at night, raise your metabolism, help you lose weight, lower your cortisol, I could go on and on. Most importantly they are FUN!

Tip #6: Everything in moderation isn’t always the case!  Less is more, especially when it comes to cosmetic products. Your skin needs to breathe. Applying topical chemicals only makes your skin age faster. Let your skin breath fresh air, your skin will love it just as much as your lungs love it! Use coconut oil instead of moisturizer, wash your face with water, minimize the amount of make-up you apply.

Tip #7: Be mindful, caring, loving, generous. Smile more. Be kind to those who are not kind because they need it the most. Stop and enjoy your life more often.

Tip #8: Ok, by now I’m sure the majority of you are thinking “Ya, ya I already know this stuff”, here is something you may not know! Cosmetic acupuncture is a fantastic and non-invasive way to reduce lines, wrinkles, and bags under your eyes. It improves your complexion, and evens your skin tone. If doing the above 7 things do not make you look and feel younger, why not try this! Cosmetic acupuncture is safer, less invasive, and less expensive than Botox and facelifts. Acupuncture in general, is incredibly relaxing, reduces stress and your cortisol level.

Give it a try Peterborough!