We have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Anthony Salzarulo, a Doctor of Chiropractic in New York. He has not restricted himself to just Chiropractic, but also studies advanced homeopathy, clinical nutrition, natural detoxification, herbology, and functional blood chemistry analysis.
Q: Please give us some background regarding your credentials. What type of education did you pursue to become a naturopath (naturopathic physician)?
Dr. Salzarulo: I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science and a Physical Therapy degree from Hunter College. From 1988 to 1990 I worked at the Hospital for Special Surgery as a staff physical therapist. In 1995 I graduated Cum Laude from the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic and obtained a degree in Chiropractic. Since 1995, I’ve continued to pursue advanced studies in homeopathy, clinical nutrition, natural detoxification, herbology, and functional blood chemistry analysis.
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. Salzarulo: My doctorate is in Chiropractic, although I do follow the naturopathic principles, which are to treat the body as a whole and to address the underlying causes of symptoms and disease. New York State does not license naturopathic doctors at this time.
Allopathic medicine is the practice of using medical drugs and surgery to resolve specific problems whereas a naturopathic practitioner is trained to treat the person as a whole and understand the root causes of disease. For example, an allopathic practitioner would usually prescribe a patient with low thyroid symptoms a thyroid medication. In contrast, a naturopathic practitioner is trained that resolution requires deep inquiry and willingness of the patient to change their habits. We would ask questions like, “What is causing this? Is it food? Are there antibodies attacking the thyroid causing it to deregulate? Is there a problem with the conversion of the T4 to T3? Is there a problem with the uptake of T3 to the cell? Is this a problem of toxic overload? Could it be lifestyle factors, poor sleep or difficulty dealing with stress?” These are the types of questions naturopathic practitioners ask as a means to help bring the body back in balance and to strengthen the physiology.
Are you a member of any additional professional organizations? Do you have any other credentials or accolades ?
Dr. Salzarulo: I have several articles that I have written that can be found under the resources tab on my website. I am also a certified iridologist. I have guest-lectured at several educational institutions including Mount Sinai Medical Center, Hunter College in Manhattan, the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, the Middle Atlantic Olympic Weight Lifting Camp, and NYU Medical Center. I was also a speaker at the Spine Conference at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York regarding the usefulness of yoga and meditation for spine-related health.
What inspired you to practice naturopathic medicine as opposed to allopathic medicine?
Dr. Salzarulo: While working with clients at the Hospital for Special Surgery and on home care visits, I saw my clients being treated with medical drugs and felt that there were other holistic tools available to them that they weren’t exposed to. I often saw a decline in my patients as they were given more and more medicine to treat their conditions. During my own personal journey through the world of holistic health I have worked with many gifted healers including chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, and holistic medical doctors.
What are your views on the relationship between allopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, ancient healing practices, and modern scientific research?
Dr. Salzarulo: I believe that there is a place for all of it and that it is best when there is powerful communication and an open dialogue between practitioners. I feel that scientific research is definitely needed to validate different techniques. It is important to pay attention to the research design and the group of researchers to ensure there are no ulterior motives. Although the conventional system of medicine has often been closed to the techniques of time-honored systems such as Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, and herbology, I feel that this is changing.
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. Salzarulo: Allopathic medical practices usually determine what medicines a patient may need for a particular symptom. This approach is somewhat myopic because it doesn’t take into account the relationship between the body, mind, and spirit.
Herbert Benson, prolific author, director Emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston discovered a clear connection between the mind and body and how physiology can be changed using meditation. Allopathic medicine doesn’t usually include time-honored techniques of healing in its investigation and treatment recommendations.
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.)?
Dr. Salzarulo: I like to work with people that have chronic health conditions. I have found that chronic conditions respond very well to an approach that includes homeopathy as well as dietary and lifestyle changes. A few of the many conditions I have dealt with are thyroid problems, eczema, chronic fatigue, diabetes, auto-immune disorders, Candida overgrowth, and anxiety.
If a new patient with varied medical conditions walked into your office, how would you explain your diagnosis methods? Would you order blood work 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. Salzarulo: There is enormous value in looking at blood tests; however, there are several ways of interpreting them. I have been trained to look at them from a holistic point of view. There are many clues that our bodies give us that they need more water or more of a certain nutrient to restore balance. Additionally, I feel that the best diagnosis is a working diagnosis. For example, someone with high blood sugar may be labeled as a diabetic. However, with nutritional guidance and lifestyle changes, they often can work their way back to resolution.
In what instances, if any, would you tell a patient that allopathic treatments would be safer or more effective than a natural or alternative treatment? What criteria do you use to decide when a person should be seeking allopathic remedies as opposed to natural?
Dr. Salzarulo: There are times when allopathic medicine is clearly the treatment of choice. In cases of trauma, certain infections, and certain surgical procedures, allopathic practices are clearly necessary to restore health. There are also many times when allopathic and alternative medicine can work side by side to yield the best results.
What are some of the most common ailments you see that are effectively treated with natural methods? Please give an example.
Dr. Salzarulo: Over the years there have been many. Some examples that come to mind are thyroid imbalances, eczema and other skin conditions, chronic urinary tract infections, blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, anxiety, and digestive problems, to name a few. A specific example would be when patients come to me and say their skin has been breaking out for years and they have tried everything. This usually means they have tried many different steroid creams.
Chronic skin conditions are mostly caused by an imbalance in the internal ecology of the body. Until work is done on the inside to get rid of toxins through detoxification and cleansing, it may be impossible to have clear and radiant skin.
What are some of the greatest obstacles you face when practicing naturopathic medicine?
Dr. Salzarulo: One of the greatest obstacles I encounter is working with belief systems. Most of us are conditioned to believe that symptoms are bad and that we should take something to make them go away as soon as possible. The truth is symptoms are the body’s cry for help. They tell us that there are underlying imbalances that need to be addressed. The resolution of the health issue may involve changes in diet and lifestyle. Generally speaking, we have no problem taking pills for a quick fix but are resistant to changing our diets and lifestyles. However, when programs are written out and easy to follow, I have observed that patients are inspired to stick with their programs and powerful results are achieved.
What instance, in your mind, stands out as one of your greatest success stories in treating someone via naturopathic methods?
Dr. Salzarulo: There are so many wonderful success stories; however, one that quickly comes to mind is a woman that I was working with who was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. She was told she had to have her thyroid radiated because there was no cure. I worked with her on balancing her over-stimulated immune system, instructed her about which foods were necessary to maintain balance and which ones to avoid, used homeopathy to balance and strengthen the physiology of the thyroid and other glands, and gave her instructions about inspired lifestyle changes. Her thyroid numbers went back to normal, she no longer needed medical drugs and she knew what to do in order to maintain her health.
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. Salzarulo: There is no one diet that fits all individuals and their conditions. There are certain diets I recommend for certain conditions and certain people. I think it is a mistake to put everyone in the same category of dietary regime and philosophy. Some diets I recommend on a case-by-case basis are an anti-inflammatory diet, paleo diet, blood type diet, and GAPS diet. In my observations, there may be times when animal proteins are important to cure a disease and, of course, modifications can be made to accommodate a vegetarian or vegan diet.
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?
I use probiotics with a vast majority of clients because they are very helpful in maintaining a healthy digestive system. I also use digestive enzymes on a case-by-case basis because different conditions and different age groups require different enzymes. For example, older clients tend to have less hydrochloric acid in their bodies, which could lead to other issues such as B12 absorption; with them, I may use enzymes with hydrochloric acid.
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. Salzarulo: I am always looking to find and address the underlying causes of pain. An increase in pain can be due to several factors such as an overly acidic body, increased toxicity, and dehydration. Other factors that can contribute to chronic pain are improper breathing methods, poor sleep hygiene, and a diet that includes inflammatory foods. For injuries, there are many homeopathic remedies that help to decrease pain and inflammation.
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. Salzarulo: It is very important to look at the underlying causes of these conditions. For example, with diabetes we have to take a look at what may be causing insulin resistance. There are natural ways to help the cells receive the insulin, which will lead to sugar levels moving to a normal range. I find that most people with diabetes and high blood pressure are not educated in holistic methods. They don’t feel confident that these health issues can be resolved. I have observed many patients with diabetes and high blood pressure experience vast improvements in their health when the underlying causes have been addressed. A significant percentage of them have been able to come off of all of their medications.
If there was one piece of advice regarding naturopathic health care you could give anyone who would listen, what would it be?
Dr. Salzarulo: Your body has an amazing ability to heal itself and there is tremendous hope in healing with holistic medicine.
What is best way to contact you to book an appointment, visit your clinic, or ask for a phone consultation?
Dr. Salzarulo: The best way to contact me or book an appointment is by calling my office at 212-475-2222 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. My office is located at 304 Park Avenue South (23rd Street) New York City, NY. For more information you can visit my website at http://drsalzarulo.com. Thank you.