Follow Us on Facebook

Naturopaths Offer Patients Alternatives in Health Care

By Linda Prier
Yakima Valley Business Times
Vol. XIX Issue 13,  June 24 - July 8, 2016

More people are turning to alternative forms of medicine to cure what ails them. For some patients, that may mean seeking the help of a naturopath – sometimes as an adjunct provider, sometimes as one’s primary provider.
Yakima has two naturopathic doctors, each with their own practice. Both are also acupuncturists.

Kara LolleyDr. Kara Lolley and Associates, located at 307 S. 12th Ave., Suite 20, has been practicing naturopathic medicine and acupuncture 14 years – the past 10 here in Yakima. She graduated from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University with an emphasis in biology, then received her PhD from Bastyr University and later attended the Colorado Institute of Taoist Education and Acupuncture.

“I was interested in how to work with the body’s own ability to heal itself,” she said.

Her husband works as a fire ecologist for the Nature Conservancy and when his job brought him to Yakima, Lolley started her practice here.

There are currently six accredited schools of naturopathy in the United States, where students must study four to five years before taking and passing standardized tests. Lolley said there are several nonaccredited, on-line schools that don’t stick to these rigorous standards, and that it’s important for patients to ask their naturopath where they attended school and to ascertain that they are state licensed.

Washington state is one of 17 states that licenses naturopaths. In these states, naturopathic doctors are required to graduate from an accredited four-year residential naturopathic medical school and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX).

Lolley said many of her patients are people who have gone the traditional medical route and it hasn’t helped them. She said she also sees patients who are “anti-doctor”.

She prefers that her patients have a primary care physician. And while she doesn’t take Medicaid patients, and Medicare won’t pay for visits to naturopaths, some patients she sees have coverage for out-of-network care. For those patients she prepares a bill for them to send to their insurance carrier.

Between 10 percent and 15 percent of her practice is made up of low-income patients, who receive a discount for Lolley’s services.

An initial visit with Lolley can last from an hour and a half to two hours. She takes a detailed history and asks lifestyle and health questions to help understand what might be going on with each of her patients.

“As a naturopathic physician my goal is to employ therapies that support and promote the body’s natural healing processes, leading to the highest state of wellness,” she said. Some of the therapies she uses are nutritional in nature; she also uses herbal medicine, homeopathy, and classical five-element acupuncture.

Naturopaths may order blood tests, and they may prescribe most of the same medications that doctors prescribe (excluding controlled substances).

Therapy RoomThe most common health problems that lead patients to seek Lolley’s care are chronic pain, depression, anxiety, digestive problems, women’s health issues, insomnia migraines.

When asked whether she could stop a migraine that was already in progress, Lolley said that she has actually done that several times, but that typically, someone in the throes of a migraine should not be out driving, and that curing a migraine in progress doesn’t usually happen.

“One of the fabulous things about naturopathic medicine and acupuncture is that it doesn’t interfere with any medication the patient might be taking,” she said.

When asked if some of her patients were hesitant about trying naturopathic treatment, she said, “I love my skeptical patients. For some people, massage works really well. For others, chiropractic is their choice, but no matter what kind of practitioner you choose, success comes from individualizing the treatment.”

Lolley said that relieving suffering is very fulfilling to her. “It’s such a great thing when you see the light come back on in a patient’s eyes,” she said.

What she likes best about her job is getting to know her patients and giving them the tools they need to get and stay healthy.

Lolley has a number of other providers at her clinic, including exercise therapist Tom Kelleher, who uses the Egoscue Method of posture therapy, which aims to get at the root of chronic pain by returning the body to its proper alignment.
Nick Malmstrom is a massage therapist who specializes in osteopathic massage techniques and structural relief

Therapy and Bowenwork

(Bowenwork is a system of touch that initiates a series of responses through stimulation of the nervous, musculoskeletal, and fascial systems and the energetic pathways. Practitioners perform a sequence of small movements on specific points on the body, interspersed with rest periods.)

Tina Hull is a massage therapist who is also a registered Bowenwork therapist.

Sara Schade is office manager and recently graduated from Central Washington University with a bachelor of science degree in nutrition and dietetics. She offers individual heal counseling and cooking classes. She plans to move soon to Sequim, and when she does, Tammy Archer will take over as office manager and also be offering cooking classes.
Elaina Moon works as a health coach.

Lolley’s practice is open on Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Naturopathic MedicineSkeptics and Believers

While both naturopathic doctors have many patients who have faith in them and who believe them, have been greatly helped by them, many medical professionals take the view that naturopathic medicine is quackery. According to the American Cancer Society’s website, “Scientific evidence does not support claims that naturopathic medicine can cure cancer or any other disease.”

And it may be true that for some clients who find relief through naturopathic means, they recover because they believe they will recover.

But several other things are also true. When you call either of the naturopathic clinics, you will notice, unlike when you make a call to most allopathic clinics (regular MDs), that the first question the receptionist asks is not, “who is your insurance carrier?” This optimistic sign suggests that naturopaths care more about you and your health than about who pays.

And when you arrive at either naturopathic clinic, your blood pressure won’t shoot up, because both places are calming, natural, and inviting. Also different is that you don’t have to wait until 4 to be seen for your 3 o’clock appointment, and once you’re with either of the naturopathic doctors, she is with you until your session is over – not running in and out of other patient rooms during your appointment.

Sherry Jefferson, one of Lolley’s patients, believes Lolley is a gem of a doctor.

“Friends recommended her. She keeps me grounded. I run a café and it’s stressful. Dr. Lolley takes time with you. She gets to know you. She’s a good listener, and her biggest asset is that she is interested in you as a person,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson has seen Lolley regularly for the past eight years because she said Lolley knows how to keep her healthy and keep her energy level high.

“I have recommended her to many of my friends,” she said.