Healthy by Nature Blog

Guidelines for Medical Advice over the Phone or Internet

You would be surprised what happens when people find out you are a physician! Suddenly everyone wants medical advice….. and when you are a physician, your heart is to share your knowledge for the benefits of others…. so why not?

Well sometimes it takes a while to see the big picture. And after some time I realized my efforts to try to benefit others with casual advice was not creating the same great results I was getting in my practice setting.
Good science is based on the Scientific Method…. and above all I think of myself as a scientist. I am always curious about how things work. So I observed the differences between the impact of care that I provided ‘off the cuff’ versus the care I offered as a professional in the context of a therapeutic relationship. And I concluded that while both had some initial benefit, people that worked with me experienced profound long lasting changes in their health while people who were just looking for cheap convenient acute care generally moved on from one thing to another, never really making much change – often concluding that natural medicine doesn’t work……
Several things struck me. One is that people learn differently and have different expectations of their own health. Secondly is that, for my practice anyway, the philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine and teaching how to think about health makes for a significantly more successful experience….  And lastly, responsible healthcare is based on traditional methods of assessment such as medical and family history, physical examination, and careful evaluation of the whole picture.
It might seem like giving ‘off the cuff’ advice on the bus to a stranger would be an act of compassion. Certainly the heart strains that way. But does it actually help?  And what principles does it promote?  Genuinely skilled professionals have good boundaries and when their skills are utilized according to basic guidelines for safety and practice ‘good science’…offer huge benefit.
So understand up front that decent care or advice from a skilled professional will not happen by posting a question on a blog. There is a reason you want someone to take time to figure out who you are and what is wrong. DIY medicine or health food store medicine may have its place but is very different from what I do.
You can expect answers about Naturopathic Medicine, the philosophy of care, different modalities, etc. I am very proud of what I do, very passionate about my profession. but please don’t ask me for medical advice And under no circumstances ask me: ‘what do you do for…..’?

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Asking Questions

We are switching over from this blog ( Blogger) to a full website. While we make this transition, we have not maintained our features of allowing people to ask questions of or leave comments for a specific post. Sorry for this inconvenience. However we will respond to questions by email ( please review our Guidelines for Medical  Advice over the Phone or Internet BEFORE you send me an email). Include the comment, “I have read the information about asking questions by email on your blog” in the first line so I know you read it!

Thanks, and as soon as we have our full site up, we will resume posted questions on the website.

Contact me by email at karen.healthybynature@gmail.com

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Eventbrite Bio

Healthy by Nature is an innovative Naturopathic Medical Practice located in Boise Idaho.We care for clients all over the globe and offer an array of unique services that you will find no where else.

Dr Karen Erickson has worked in private practice for over 20 years. She is an educator at heart whether teaching in a University setting, speaking at a conference, discussing concerns with a private patient, or mentoring a student.

Dr Erickson Graduated from Bastyr University in 1994 and is a classically trained Naturopathic Physician and Midwife.

She has developed a unique style of healthcare that focuses on problem solving, education, patient responsibility, and self sufficiency. Her goal is to empower, educate and equip her patients to manage their own health concerns and discover their own innate abilities and skills as healers.

Healthy by Nature is a family centered practice. We offer Naturopathic services to people of all ages, but have a special heart for woman and children. Dr Erickson is a ‘last resort’ physician often accepting clients who have exhausted all other resources with rare, unusual, and challenging conditions. Because her clients are often based remotely, her services include remote consultation.

The dedicated focus of her passion is to serve those out of reach of conventional or quality care, including people lacking medical access due to remote conditions, economic hardship, social challenges, etc. Healthy by Nature is a for profit practice to generate funding for our non-profit work.

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The Immunization Decision Class

NOTE: This event has passed and is being retained for reference. 
In a time when the wonders of the Internet are at our fingertips and it seems that information should be easily accessible; how can it possibly be so hard to obtain balanced accurate information about the issues related to immunization? Rather than factual information supporting supporting informed decisions, it seems that the information available is far from balanced. Clearly there are two sides to this issue and each rallies for you to join their side.

I believe that when parents are provided with good information and supported in the decision making process; that they make excellent decisions about their children’s healthcare. After raising 3 children, I recognize that black and white thinking rarely seems to suit the needs of my family as we strive for balance in our lives and recognize the unique characteristics of each family member. We prefer an individualized approach that meets our needs.

And so the issue of vaccinations, wrought with emotional baggage, political agendas, big business considerations, and a dizzying array of issues feels like too much to untangle. Who is right? What should I do? How do you approach this very difficult topic and find your own way, as parents, to the gray area that actually suits most of us?

Well the truth is that there is no ‘right answer’ to vaccines. That is because there are risks regardless of

what choices you make. As parents, the correct decision for your family is based on what set of risk factors you choose to assume and how you prepare to manage them if they develop. The only bad decision is not to make a decision at all. These situations are the most tragic. Parents who make these decisions based on the advice of others without being informed often find themselves alone and scrambling to catch up on basic facts AFTER a problem occurs.

It is inappropriate to turn a decision into as complex as how, when, and if to vaccinate into a black and white decision. Parents need factual information, options, and support making good decisions.

The Immunization Decision, a class on vaccines will be held on May 30 at the Jackson Hole public library between 11 and 1 pm. Seating is extremely limited. The Class is free but preregistration is required ( click here to register).

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February 2015 Office Update

Happy Heart Month. This month we distribute our dispensary sale items, finish our New Years Resolution Cleanse, Kick off the year with a personalized health plan, and focus on LOVE in this Valentine Month.

First of all, this month is about loving ourselves, taking care of ourselves, being ‘selfish’ about making our health a priority because we understand how our ‘disease’ affects those around us. By using Resolutions and the goals we set last month as part of a ‘plan’ to keep us improving, we can make every year better than the one before. If you signed up for the Cleanse make sure to review the YouTUBE video on Setting Goals so you are on track for the upcoming year.

We are distributing Dispensary Items from the sale this week. If you did not yet get your items, please email us. If you missed the Sale don’t panic. We will be planning our Spring Homeopathic Series and use that time to restock individual remedies and expand your home pharmacy.

This is the Month of the Heart.

Determine your resting heart rate, target rate, and max heart rate.
Resolve to improve your Body Composition
Start logging your BP

Make simple changes.
If your heart or cardiovascular system is your weak link, incorporate the above changes into part of your personal health routine. If prevention is your focus, think about exercise and food that support a healthy heart.

Loving yourself means rethinking priorities and making sure you value your health as a reflection of the value you have for yourself! This decreases stress and creates a healthy heart!

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Natural vs Naturopathic

Natural Medicine is a rather vague term that many people use to cover a huge range of practices, modalities and supplements. Because many words relating to this type of care are used interchangeably, it may be difficult to clearly understand what various practitioners, clinics and natural health supply companies actually offer.

Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct system of healthcare that supports restoration of health in body, mind and spirit rather than the suppression of symptoms. Many people think Naturopathic Medicine is the same as ‘natural’ medicine, but Naturopathic Physicians attend Medical School and receive training in prescription medications, surgery and clinical lab diagnostics in addition to more natural modalities such as physical medicine, botanical medicine and homeopathy. What sets Naturopathic Medicine apart is not the tools we use, but the philosophy of care we follow.
As a discipline, Naturopathic Medicine also has a distinct range of treatments, supplements, and lifestyle education that we use to promote health. Many people confuse the type of care and supplements that can be obtained online or at the healthfood store with Naturopathic care. Naturopathic care is to Healthfood Store Medicine as walking into a pharmacy and selecting OTC medication is to an MD. In other words, minor issues that can be managed safely at home such as bug bites, occasional headaches, a mild cold are great choices for either the Healthfood Store OR the Corner Pharmacy. But once a condition crosses that line and requires expert advise; it is wise to seek consultation from whatever system of medical care you follow.
For this reason Naturopathic Physicians utilize specialized supplements, naturopathic pharmaceuticals that are distinctly different from healthful store products. Although these products are often pharmacologically active and similar in effect to many prescription drugs which is why Naturopathic Physicians are considered Primary Care Providers; they generally have their roots in healing traditions such as herbalism and Homeopathy which are certainly more ‘natural’ than most prescription drugs. In the pharmaceutical industry, drugs that are based on natural principals are synthesized so as to be patentable and allow companies to profit from their creation of artificial substances. 
It is important to realize that ‘natural’ does not equate with ‘safe’ for use without medical advice! Most Health food store products and OTC pharmaceuticals are considered safe if taken in the limited quantities noted on packaging labels. Again these differ in strength and specificity from medications that are generally recommended by physicians of any kind.
Educating yourself on the actual meaning of the terminology used to describe people you work with to promote your health and being aware of the scope of their education, their philosophical approach and the nature of their practice is important for all informed consumers. We feel these distinctions are critical to your ability to be informed and have a significant role in your own health. 
While Natural Health describes a wide range of practitioners, philosophies and modalities; Naturopathic Medicine is a distinct method of care with a unique philosophy and effective approach to exceptional health.
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2016 Dispensary Policy Update

January 1 2016 marks the start of our new Dispensary Policy. Everyone who discusses or purchases suppliments with our office agrees to the following guidelines.

We stock a full dispensary and offer periodic opportunities to purchase supplement kits, Naturopathic Pharmaceuticals, and various supplies necessary for clients under our care. We are a clinic providing Naturopathic Care. Supplements are part of the tools of our trade and our skill lies in matching the correct modalities (supplements are one of these) with a patient to promote healing.  This skill that makes Naturopathic Physicians so effective.

Our Dispensary Policy is designed to protect our clients, provide the highest quality care, and honor our own philosophical approach to Healthcare. We can only provide direction and dosing information on the products we supply to you. We ask that you fully disclose what you are taking at your intake; annual reviews; or anytime you make a supplement change including vitamins, digestive aids, natural products, over the counter medication and prescription drugs. We ask that you consider the safety and well being of yourself and others when taking, storing, purchasing, or sharing Naturopathic Pharmaceuticals.

Understanding these issues are part of our philosophy that people need education and resources in order to obtain the highest quality health and fully participate in the process of their own healing. The following links provide some useful information about how this applies to our Dispensary.

Dispensary Policy Article (1/3/15)
Building a Home Pharmacy
Drawing the Line – Treating Non Family

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2015 Classes: Fall

NOTE: This event has passed and is being retained for reference. 


Principles of Naturopathic Medicine – Naturopathic Medicine is a separate and distinct method of healthcare based of a philosophy of healing that is unique. Understanding these guiding principles is of great value. Existing patients are often familiar with specific modalities but may be surprised about how these philosophical principles affect specific application. These principles also apply to anyone who may wonder about what Naturopathic Medicine is all about. All Global Care Clients should take this class. Bring your friends! (1 hr 30 minutes)

Introduction to the Principles of Detoxification – Cleansing and using diet therapeutically to prevent and treat illness is integral to Naturopathic Medicine. This class is an introduction to the range of cleansing programs available, the philosophy and intention behind them, and a discussion of how to choose correct types of cleansing principles to a variety of situations. This will also serve as an Introductory Class to our signature cleansing class, Achieving Perfect Health. (2 hrs)

Setting Up a Home Pharmacy – This is a class specifically designed for our Global Care Clients to discuss how to set up a home pharmacy. This is an integral part of the Global Care System and available ONLY to Global Care Clients. This is a necessary class to participate in our Annual Stock Up Sale. (1hr 30 minutes)

Home Remedies –  This class covers specific remedies and modalities useful for the upcoming cold and flu season. The focus is on the multiple uses of a few key remedies that should cover most of your basic needs. The class utilizes the Principles of Naturopathic Medicine and it is suggested you take the Principles Class as a pre-requisite.  This is a 2 part hands on class and will have a materials fee. This is a necessary class to participate in our Annual Stock Up Sale. (2- two hour classes)

Achieving Perfect Health – Targeted Cleansing for Superior Health. Take Introduction to the Principles of Detoxification as the introduction to the program. As always, this class is free to those who have taken it before. (This is a detoxification program and lasts several weeks)

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Bulk Buying Organic Produce

People ask me how I manage to feed my kids organic food on my budget all the time. Here are some quick tips about how I do it…. hope these help!

I have purchased in Bulk for almost 30 years now! Instead of focusing on the next meal or two and running to the store, I set up an amazing pantry and use it as my personal ‘grocery store’ to prepare meals, snacks, entertain, etc.

The advantages of this are many. To name a few: significant cost savings, natural seasonal rotation of foods, I know where my food comes from, I work co-operatively (good for my spirit because I love working with others), saves personal and global resources (petroleum, packaging, time), and many more advantages (flexibility, the ability to go several months with little or no outlay of cash in times of financial challenge, the ability to accommodate visitors/guests and have food on hand at all times!)

The disadvantage is learning to THINK differently. To think in terms of foods seasons (for quality and cost), manage finances to enable bulk buying, cook with what you have instead of being influenced by advertising and ‘wants’ at the supermarket, and re-arranging your house, schedule, etc to accommodate a new food system.

These are some of my main guiding principles. I teach and elaborate on the specifics of how to implement these changes to suit your own circumstances… but this is a goos start.

1. Simplicity rules. Don’t make elaborate meals or buy lots of odd ingredients or set up some huge intricate system on the computer to manage all this…. dig in where you are and start…. eat as if you were fueling your body, enjoy the simple taste of fresh foods, be open to your own unique nutritional needs.

2. Buy a few cases regularly. Don’t put in sums of money up front, instead focus on freeing up larger sums of money LESS often. for example buy 1 bag of bulk nuts or seeds/grains/beans every month so you gradually start accumulating the foundations of your meals. Then USE your pantry. ( Watch for my Dynamic Food Storage Class. ) And re-invest the short term savings into more bulks. I but several cases of produce/ month…. and although we eat similar foods over the course of a month…. within a year we have had good rotation and a wide variety of organic vegetables at great prices. Many foods (potato/winter squash/onions/celery/romaine/carrots/yams/apples/oranges) keep for long periods of time when correctly stored. Others, mango/banana/avocado can be ripened in your home to control storage length. Other foods like basil/bananas/garlic I process and store in the freezer for later convenience.

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Intact Immunity Class, February 18

NOTE: This event has passed and is being retained for reference. 


Our Winter Class, Intact Immunity, will be held on February 18th. Please Register on Eventbrite for

this class by February 16.

How did you feel this winter? Were you happy with your level of health? The time to improve immunity is not during cold and flu season. Be prepared! Meeting the season with a healthy immune system, a game plan for how to protect yourself, a routine and well stocked ‘toolbox’ helps assure you a successful season.

Intact Immunity is a class presenting the bigger picture of immune function. What is immunity? How does it help or harm us? And how do we decide what our immune systems need to achieve balance and strength.

This is an entry level class. It’s a great introduction to the concept of immunity and the scope of things that support or harm it. Please Register on Eventbrite. As always this class is suitable for Idaho folks to attend and will also be available for our friends farther away with the use of modern technology.

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