This is my first blog so let me introduce myself if you don’t know me already. I am Dr. Michelle Thatcher. I am a family practice Naturopathic Physician in Tucson, Arizona.
“You’re a Naturo-what?” I get that a lot.
A Naturopathic doctor (ND or NMD in some states like AZ) is a licensed physician that functions as a family primary care doctor. I am a specialist in natural medicines such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, acupuncture, & nutrition to name a few. I treat primarily with natural medicines that are less toxic and, in many cases, more effective than pharmaceutical medications. Whenever we can use food as medicine, even better!
One of my favorite quotes from Hippocrates, “Let thy medicine be thy food & thy food be thy medicine”. Proof that Hippocrates was Naturopathically minded more than 2000 years ago!
I can write prescriptions for those times when they are necessary but they are typically not my first option. I can also order lab work that is another piece of information I use when considering how I am going to treat you as a whole person and not just your symptoms.
Another question I get a lot, “So, what inspired you to go into Naturopathic Medicine?”
My interest in natural medicine started in my early 20s when I worked at a store called Body & Soul. It was there I was first exposed to aromatherapy & I became increasingly aware of natural, alternative treatments. I was, for a short time, a pre-pharmacy student and I used to joke that I would probably not be a good Pharmacist because I would be telling people about natural alternatives to consider instead! I ended up as a research scientist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. People were always encouraging me to apply to the medical school but I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me. After 10 years in the research lab, I began to think about my future & what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. A good friend of mine asked me one day, “What would you do with your life if nothing else mattered?” I don’t know where the thought came from but my first answer was a Naturopathic doctor. I went home that day & began researching Naturopaths on the Internet. I came across a school located in Tempe, Arizona (about 100 miles from me here in Tucson). It is one of 4 schools in the U.S. & 2 in Canada that are an accredited, rigorous, 4 year, Naturopathic medical program. One thing led to the next and after 4 years of traveling back & forth as well as living away from my family for most of every week, I graduated from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) in the summer of 2009. I took my board exams that summer & became licensed in the fall of 2009. I had a home-visit based practice for the first year and finally found the office location of my dreams and opened up my private practice in Sept 2010. I wake up every morning & go to bed every night with an incredible sense of happiness knowing I have chosen (or it chose me!) a truly rewarding profession. I love what I do every day!
Our Naturopathic tenants guide me with every patient and in many other areas of my life, actually.
Primum non nocere – First Do No Harm –
Naturopathic medicine uses therapies that are safe and effective.
Vis medicatrix naturae -The Healing Power of Nature –
The human body possesses the inherent ability to restore health. The physician’s role is to facilitate this process with the aid of natural, nontoxic therapies.
Tolle causam – Discover and Treat the Cause, Not Just the Effect
Physicians seek and treat the underlying cause of a disease. Symptoms are viewed as expressions of the body’s natural attempt to heal. The origin of disease is removed or treated so the patient can recover.
Tolle totum – Treat the Whole Person
The multiple factors in health and disease are considered while treating the whole person. Physicians provide flexible treatment programs to meet individual health care needs.
Docere – The Physician is a Teacher
The physician’s major role is to educate, empower, and motivate patients to take responsibility for their own health. Creating a healthy, cooperative relationship with the patient has a strong therapeutic value.
Praevenire – Prevention is the best “cure”
Naturopathic physicians are preventive medicine specialists. Physicians assess patient risk factors and heredity susceptibility and intervene appropriately to reduce risk and prevent illness. Prevention of disease is best accomplished through education and a lifestyle that supports health.
Add a dose of humor and many problems are solved!
I was recently inspired by a friend to start a blog as a way to educate people, talk about relevant topics, share food/recipe ideas, environmental issues, and whatever else pops in my head. I intend to make this a weekly blog so be on the lookout for them. Share whatever resonates with you and leave the rest.
Besides having the best profession, I have been married to my best friend and biggest supporter for 20 years. There are 3 pretty awesome kids that call me mom. None of them will likely follow in my footsteps & do anything science or health profession related. Wah! I would have loved a partner in crime. I just hope at least that all of my babbling about natural medicine and eating healthy rubbed off on them. I have 3 adopted children of the fur variety who have no choice in following the natural path.