We had the lucky opportunity to interview Dr. Judith Boice, a Naturopathic Doctor based in Tulsa, Ok. I would say she’s definitely one of our more experienced doctor’s that we have interviewed. She is the author of 9 published books and is currently int he process of publishing her 10th. She has seen just about every case involving Naturopathic medicine and now helps cancer patients.
Q: Please give us some background regarding your credentials. What type of education did you pursue to become a naturopath (naturopathic physician)?
Dr. Boice: I studied at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (now the National College of Natural Medicine) and graduated in 1994 with a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.) I am licensed in Oregon as a naturopathic physician (license #821), a primary care physician with specialization in natural therapeutics. I also studied at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and earned a Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (M.Ac.O.M.) in 1996. I am certified by the National Council for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) in Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and Chinese Herbs. Since that time I have completed additional trainings in Bowen work, a non-force manipulation method; National Alcohol and Drug Association training (using acupuncture for drug and alcohol detoxification support); clinical hypnosis (board certified by National Board of Hypnosis Education and Certification, N.B.H.E.C.); Gemmotherapy; Soaring Crane Qigong (Level One Teacher Training); Awakening Light Gong (Teacher Training); and Essence Qigong (lineage holder).
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. Boice: Naturopathic physicians complete a four-year medical training that is a separate but parallel track to a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). We complete all of the same basic sciences and clinical sciences any physician would. We differ in that the information is presented to learn to augment the body’s innate tendencies rather than over-ride them. In addition naturopathic physicians are deeply trained in natural therapeutics, e.g. homeopathy, botanical medicine, nutrition, physical therapies, massage, hydrotherapy, and counseling – all of the great stuff that used to be part of a conventional physician’s training before the rise of penicillin and other “miracle drugs” in the 1940’s.
Q: Are you a member of any additional professional organizations? Do you have any other credentials or accolades (public speaking, published author, etc.)?
- American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)
- Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP)
- Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Physicians (FABNO)
- Lineage holder for Essence Qigong
- Nautilus Book Awards Silver Medal for two books (two different book awards)
- Living Now Book Awards Bronze medal for one book
- Phi Beta Kappa, Oberlin College
- Quill and Scroll
- National Honor Society
- Who’s Who in America annually since 2002.
- Author of 10 books (9 published, in the process of publishing the 10th).
- Author of several magazine articles for the general public and for professional publications.
- Have given over 900 talks on bio-identical hormones, menopause, peri-menopause for physicians, pharmacists, retailers and the general public. Have also lectured on wellness and a variety of other health-related topics.
- Created the High Level Wellness Program (copyrighted) to help patients create a vision of health and then make lifestyle changes to fulfill that vision.
Q: What inspired you to practice naturopathic medicine as opposed to allopathic medicine?
Dr. Boice: From the time I was six weeks old until around 14 years old, I was ill every six weeks. I reached the end of what the conventional medical world could offer me. By the time I was 10 years old I was reading everything I could get my hands on about health, nutrition, exercise, supplements, etc. I had reached the end of what the conventional medical world had to offer. In college I studied violin performance and environmental studies. A friend handed me a copy of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine course catalogue, and I knew immediately this training would bring together my love for science, medicine and the Earth. I also wanted to study with indigenous healers, to embrace the older, deeper roots of medicine, which I have been blessed to do alongside my western scientific training. I have spent time with traditional aboriginal people in Australia’s western desert, studied with a Shawandasse (Shawnee) medicine man, and been mentored by a Northeastern woodlands (Mohawk) herbalist.
Q: What are your views on the relationship between allopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, ancient healing practices, and modern scientific research?
Dr. Boice: I think of medicine as a spectrum, like a piano keyboard. I think of drugs and surgery as the bass notes. Food and herbs are the middle range. Energetic therapies like acupuncture, homeopathy, prayer and ceremony populate the upper octaves. Everyone has a home base, a resonant note. Some people’s bodies, for example, respond to drugs and surgeries; other bodies are most at home with acupuncture or homeopathy. When people have a serious illness, though, I encourage them to explore the entire keyboard. Think of a Beethoven piano concerto; Beethoven used the entire range of the keyboard, not just one or two octaves. Often the patient’s “home base” region helps him to better tolerate the effects of other therapies. In sort, I encourage a collaborative approach, not an “us versus them” stance.
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. Boice: I encourage patients to use conventional medicine where it shines: for diagnostic testing and emergency treatment. Conventional testing allows someone to know what is going on inside the body. I compliment these tests (e.g. x-rays, PET scans, blood work, etc.) with more ancient ways of diagnosing, e.g. Chinese pulse taking and tongue diagnosis. In more ancient times, the physician developed him- or herself as a diagnostic tool. He or she became adept at noticing subtle changes in the patient. Now conventional medicine relies on external diagnostic means, e.g. blood work and x-rays. I am biased toward combining these different ways of knowing to develop a more complete picture of the patient.
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)?
Dr. Boice: For 16 years I had a general family practice. Early in my career I spent 2.5 years focused on women’s health and bio-identical hormones. I have worked with food allergy and intolerance testing for over 35 years. For the last two years I have focused exclusively on integrative care of advanced stage, complex cancer patients at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
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. Boice: See above. I would include whatever tests I deemed appropriate for that particular patient. Some of the tests I might include:
- Blood work, e.g. CBC and metabolic profile; food allergy and/or intolerance testing
- Stool analysis
- Salivary testing (primarily for adrenal and reproductive hormones)
- Pulse and tongue diagnosis
Q: 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. Boice: If a patient’s condition is more complex than can be handled by a family physician, I refer to other practitioners. I work in tandem with other conventional physicians for a variety of complex, chronic disease e.g. chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, cancer, multiple chemical exposures, ankylosing spondylitis, etc.
Q: What are some of the most common ailments you see that are effectively treated with natural methods?
Dr. Boice: The opposite ends of the spectrum, e.g. acute and chronic conditions. Acute, home care emergencies respond extremely well to natural medicines, e.g. colds, the flu, minor burns, rashes, headaches, teething, diarrhea, etc. Natural medicines also shine for chronic illnesses, for conditions that require deep restoration of the body. Conventional medicine does not have knowledge of restoration; it only has knowledge of destruction, how to eliminate symptoms, cut out disease, suppress inflammation, etc. That is not a criticism – thank goodness conventional medicine has powerful tools for emergency situations! Restoration of health, though, requires a completely different set of tools which are mostly absent from conventional medicine.
Q: What are some of the greatest obstacles you face when practicing naturopathic medicine?
Dr. Boice: Licensure. Insurance coverage. For many years I worked in a rural community. Some patients paid me what they could; otherwise, they would have had no medical care. Some paid full price. Others paid by gardening, cutting wood, etc.
Q: What instance, in your mind, stands out as one of your greatest success stories in treating someone via naturopathic methods?
Dr. Boice: I’ll attach three patient stories. Take your pick.
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. Boice: Diet is individualized for a patient. I do not make one-size-fits-all recommendations. I use food testing when indicated to figure out the optimal diet for a particular 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. Boice: Probiotics and enzymes are fantastic supports until people can do the deeper healing work for the digestive tract so that they no longer need outside support to maintain good digestion. Constitutional hydrotherapy treatments and acupuncture are two examples of ways of rebuilding the digestive tract.
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. Boice: I have done a tremendous amount of work with chronic pain patients, many of whom had work-related injuries. I can tell you from my experience of working for over a decade with chronic pain patients that most of them truly want to recover from their injuries. They are NOT interested in living on disability; they would much rather work. Therapies used to support chronic pain patients have included diet, acupuncture, Bowen work, Thermetex pads, anti-inflammatory botanicals (western, Chinese and Tibetan), homeopathy, Gemmotherapy and Qigong.
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. Boice: Many patients with diabetes and high blood pressure suffer with a constellation of conditions known as “metabolic syndrome.” Addressing any one of these systemic conditions in isolation is not very effective. Ideally the patient embraces lifestyle choices (as opposed to fistfuls of supplements) that address the underlying causes of the diabetes and hypertension. I may begin with supplements, to support a patient in their restoration process, but I aim to reduce these supplements as soon as possible. I tell patients that supplements are the icing on the cake. The “cake” is their lifestyle choices: diet, movement/exercise, relaxation, sleep. The supplements can’t replace the cake; they only can enhance it.
Q: If there was one piece of advice regarding naturopathic health care you could give anyone who would listen, what would it be?
Dr. Boice: Create your own vision of health! What would you be doing if you had all of the time, energy and resources you wanted? How would you spend your time? What would you do? THAT is your vision of health. If you have a clear vision of what you want, you can begin to make lifestyle choices that move you in the direction of health. You have a “compass” to assess whether those choices are moving you closer or farther away from your vision. Please see my website for more information about creating a vision of health.
Q: What is best way to contact you to book an appointment, visit your clinic, or ask for a phone consultation?
Dr. Boice: Judith Boice, N.D., L.Ac., F.A.B.N.O.
Phone consultations: please visit my website, www.greenmedicinechest.com, to book appointments. I do not offer in-person consultations at this time.
A phone consultation also comes with membership on www.greenmedicinechest.com. In addition to the consultation members receive monthly webinars, home care products, videos, articles, vlogs and other educational tools to help you and your family optimize your health.