Our Natural Medicine Roots: Spring 2012
A sure sign of spring for me is my inaugural long roller blade on the bike path near my home. From lengths of this bike path I have witnessed a pileated woodpecker nesting, great blue herons gliding over still water, piles of water snakes breeding and curious young beavers exploring pond-side thickets. I have also seen young families out for an adventure, riding toys, bicylists pulling toddlers along and older folks out for a slow stroll in the setting sun.
It is an imperfect bike path, the materials laid for the pavement included recycled glass which over the years has begun to poke through, anathema to rubber wheels; the trees that line mile after mile have their needs too, and seeking water & nourishment, have sent roots out far and wide causing dangerous bumps along the way. But I love this path and on it I have done some of my best thinking, dreaming, reflecting & planning.
A few weeks back when I was about half way through my maiden voyage, I was taken aback by the great oak tree I have admired since my own children were small, laying down across the path, its massive root system exposed for all to admire. Standing perhaps 20 feet in the air, the root circumference was a testament to the hard work that tree had done over the course of its life. We had a freak storm this past autumn, many trees were in full leafed out form when a foot or so of wet snow fell on Halloween day. The weight such precipitation landed on every leave and branch was simply too much to bear; an enormous number of otherwise healthy limbs and in cases like this, whole trees were forced to surrender. This particular specimen with its generous canopy and seemingly perfectly placed branches had been a particular favorite of mine.
One year I had been standing nearby, changing songs on my Walkman (that's how long ago it was!) when I saw a pair indigo buntings darting in & out of those branches. But this root ball! How intricate, delicate and broad the root structure was; how essential to the many years of life this tree had.
Our own roots in natural medicine may not go back as far, but they do go wide and deep and they do inform all that we do in work with patients, and in our writing and teaching. Briefly here's what we believe:
- Supporting the healing power of nature; we believe in the body's innate ability to heal & the healing energy of foods, plants, light, & other natural substances.
- Identify and treat the root cause of illness whenever possible.
- Like all physicians, we aim for the classic tenet: First, do no harm. We look for low risk methods that have few to no side effects.
- Educate patients. We believe that knowledge is power; we work to educate patients about healthy eating habits, other healthy lifestyle changes as well as on how to decrease and manage stress. Whenever we can, we try to involve our patients and the parents of our patients in preventive measures & the use of at-home treatments.
- We believe that our health is determined by physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and spiritual elements; we strive to treat the whole person.
- We strongly believe in the axiom "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." We work with patients to create specific healthy lifestyle plans that take into account personal risk factors, heredity and particular vulnerabilities to future illness.
Dr. Amy Rothenberg, ND
Naturopathic Health Care