Until recently Naturopaths have not been receiving the amount of recognition that was deserved. Now people realize that they must truly take care of their bodies, not just trying to cure the symptoms as they arrive. Dr. Amanda Frick is a naturopath based in Santa Monica, CA, who truly cares about her patients and despite her busy schedule, we were lucky enough to sit down with her and ask her a few questions about the Naturopathic approach to medicine.
Q: Please give us some background regarding your credentials. What type of education did you pursue to become a naturopath (naturopathic physician)?
Dr. Amanda Frick: I completed my undergraduate education at Central Michigan University in Psychology and Communication Disorders. After my B.S. I spent 4 years working as a neurophysiologist monitoring brain and spinal cord integrity during surgical procedures.
I was raising a young daughter at the time and finding myself treating her with diet and herbal remedies. I found myself having a discussion with a friend, and stating that I wished you could be a doctor and treat people with those options. My friend sent me information about accredited Naturopathic Medical schools. I gave my notice, and immediately started pursuing the path.
I completed a 4-year Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. I established a practice in Arizona, and 1 year later, relocated my life and practice to Santa Monica, CA, and I have been here since.
I plan to stay “planted” where I am seeded. 🙂
Q: A lot of people are confused about the legitimacy of naturopathic medicine. Can you expand upon your educational pursuits to explain the similarities and differences in training that you received as opposed to an allopathic practitioner?
Dr. Amanda Frick: In many ways, Naturopathic medical training is quite similar to allopathic training. We receive education in biochemistry, anatomy/physiology, pharmacology and basic western sciences in much the same way, the difference is we spend much more time in the classroom in the second 2 years of the program learning alternative therapy methods like herbal medicine, homeopathy and physical medicine.
Naturopathic Doctors are also required to do clinical rotations in the same manner as an allopathic practitioner. The difference is that NDs do most of their training in a family clinic style setting, and have much less exposure to hospital clinical settings than an allopathic doctor may.
Q: Are you a member of any additional professional organizations? Do you have any other credentials or accolades (public speaking, published author, etc.)?
Dr. Amanda Frick: I am a member of the California Naturopathic Doctor’s Association and the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Q: What inspired you to practice naturopathic medicine as opposed to allopathic medicine?
Dr. Amanda Frick: Most importantly, my daughter, and the desire to treat her in the gentlest and most natural way I could. I treat my patients in a manner that I would feel comfortable treating my own child, or mother or friend.
I love the fact that we focus on empowering our patients to be in control of their health and actively participate in their own healing and prevention of disease.
Q: What are your views on the relationship between allopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, ancient healing practices, and modern scientific research?
Dr. Amanda Frick: Every practice has its’ place. There are things that are most definitely best left to allopathic medicine. There are simply things that require stronger or more invasive interventions, and allopathic medicine is integral to the treatment of various conditions.
Naturopathic medicine serves the important function of prevention, treating the cause, and addressing the whole person, which is priceless in the management of various conditions as well.
I feel its very important for a patient to establish a relationship with whatever practitioner they choose, so that they can actively participate in their health and treatment decisions.
Scientific research is important in establishing the viability and validity of treatment modalities of ANY kind. This applies to drug therapies, ancient therapies, herbs, folk medicine etc. Sometimes this helps us to “prove” why a certain modality of substance is effective. I also believe that sometimes we simply do not know. There may be energetic, synergistic effects or other forces that we cannot measure that make a treatment or modality effective. If I feel that it is helpful, effective and safe for the patient, it deserves consideration in their treatment. An example may be acupuncture or homeopathy. We don’t have as many studies on efficacy or “how it works” as we would like, but they are treatments that have endured for literally centuries for a reason, and deserve attention and consideration.
Q: What are your views on allopathic medical practices and medications? How do you view the relationship between allopathic diagnostic procedures and natural healing methods?
Dr. Amanda Frick: I personally tend to avoid allopathic medications for the reason that they often do not treat the cause, and are not the least invasive option. There are some cases where they definitely have a place in the treatment plan.
I often use traditional allopathic diagnostic methods, and see no issue with integrating traditional diagnostic methods and alternative healing methods.
Q: Do you practice naturopathic medicine in general or do you focus your practice on the treatment of certain, specific conditions. Do you feel you are an expert in the treatment of a particular disorder or disease; or, do you prefer to work with specific groups of people (children, women, diabetics, etc)? Please explain.
Dr. Amanda Frick: I practice general naturopathic medicine. My practice tends to focus on digestive and nutritional issues/complaints and hormone balance/stress regulation.
I work mostly with the adolescent and adult population more than pediatric in my practice, and am comfortable working with men and women.
Q: If a new patient with varied medical conditions walked into your office, how would you explain your diagnosis methods? Would you order bloodwork and tests that most patients consider part of allopathic medicine? What procedure would you follow in terms of testing in order to create a diagnosis and treatment plan, and how would you explain it to someone who is unfamiliar with naturopathic medicine?
Dr. Amanda Frick: Every patients’ concerns are individual, and therefore every patients’ diagnostic and treatment options will be different. I always incorporate traditional blood work into diagnostic/treatment plans, if nothing else but to do annual check up and for prevention principals, or identifying underlying imbalance.
For some patients this information, along with the patient’s history gives us enough to develop a treatment plan. Other times, additional “specialty” testing may be utilized such as hormone assessment, food allergy testing, stool culture or functional nutritional testing.
I would explain as a generality that I am looking for a root cause of disease or symptomology so that I can treat the person and not the symptom. Often this helps the patient to also participate more fully in the understanding and treatment of their condition.
Q: What are some of the most common ailments you see that are effectively treated with natural methods? Please give an example.
Dr. Amanda Frick: Symptomology related to hormone imbalance and stressors are very effectively treated with natural methods.
Many conditions related to gut health and inflammation are very successfully resolved with natural treatment methods. An example would be eczema or psoriasis. From a naturopathic perspective, inflammation in the body, and especially the skin is related to gut health. “Treating the gut” is very effective in resolving chronic skin complaints.
Q: What are some of the greatest obstacles you face when practicing naturopathic medicine?
Dr. Amanda Frick: I think the greatest obstacle, especially where I practice, is the relatively new licensing of Naturopathic Doctors, and therefore the lack of public education about the training, validity and presence of Naturopathic Medicine. People simply have never heard of us, or know what we do, so there is a lot of education involved.
Q: What instance, in your mind, stands out as one of your greatest success stories in treating someone via naturopathic methods?
Dr. Amanda Frick: I do have a few favorites! 😀 One, was a case of chronic oral sores that are now completely resolved. I have one patient who had a VERY severe skin condition who had dramatic results within a week and continues to be free of skin complaints, There are also multiple instances of resolution of migraines, which is so rewarding. To see the patients quality of life so dramatically affected when their migraines are resolved is so very rewarding and joyful.
I can’t pick just one!
Q: What type of diet plan do you generally recommend to your patients? A lot of people automatically assume that following a naturopathic plan means eating a vegetarian or vegan diet. What are your views on the importance of having (or avoiding) animal proteins and fats?
Dr. Amanda Frick: Broken record here… but every patients treatment plan is individualized, including dietary recommendations. I am not attached to any dietary plan, including the avoidance of animal protein. I find it more important to have a diet that is manageable for the patient and can most adequately address the underlying condition that is affecting the patient.
Q: What are your views regarding the use of probiotics and digestive enzymes? Do you find that the majority of your patients benefit from these types of therapies?
Dr. Amanda Frick: I do not necessarily use ANY kind of supplement or intervention for EVERY patient. Probiotics may be a very common intervention that I use, because they are applicable to an array of disease and causes of imbalance, and sometimes, digestive enzymes, but neither are necessarily required for the treatment of all patients.
Q: Today’s society sees a lot of people suffering from conditions that lead to chronic pain. From a naturopathic perspective, what are your views on pain management?
Dr. Amanda Frick: The most important aspect of pain management is to find the cause. There is no way to treat pain without knowing WHY the pain exists. There may be methods used as a band-aid in the time it takes to resolve the cause, but purely “pain management” is not treating the cause, from my perspective.
Q: Diabetes and high blood pressure are two very common conditions impacting society today. What is the thought process behind treating these conditions via naturopathic methods?
Dr. Amanda Frick: There is much focus on dietary/lifestyle modification for any patient being treated from a Naturopathic perspective, but it is particularly important for hypertension and diabetes. Naturopathic medicine can really shine here, in the modification and empowerment of patients to prevent and cure their chronic conditions such as these.
Q: If there was one piece of advice regarding naturopathic health care you could give anyone who would listen, what would it be?
Dr. Amanda Frick: There is almost always another option, and there is always a way that you can have more control over your health and wellness. Stand up and participate in your health and wellness, and never let anyone tell you that you don’t have options.
Q: What is best way to contact you to book an appointment, visit your clinic, or ask for a phone consultation?
Dr. Amanda Frick:
Amanda Frick, ND
Licensed Naturopathic Doctor
900 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Appointments can be made via phone at 424-645-7456 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do offer complimentary 15-minute consultations, and encourage patients to interview NDs to find the right fit, and choose a doctor whom they wish to establish a relationship with, so that they are most comfortable taking an active role in their wellness journey.
Thank you, and have a beautiful day!