Naturopathy is the remerging natural approach to medicine that is slowly taking over and redefining the way we think and apply medical remedies. For a long time, traditional medicine was considered superior to more natural approaches, but in the recent revolution for a healthier lifestyle many individuals and families are looking for safer and friendlier alternatives.
With its growing popularity, Naturopathic medicine comes with its own fair share of questions and concerns. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Doctor Kim D. Kelly; a Natural Doctor who specializes in hormone balance for men and women, IV nutrition, and sports injuries; to help give us insight on the naturopathic approach to medicine.
Kim D. Kelly, ND MPH
121 West E St.
Encinitas, CA 92024
Specialties: Hormone balance for men and women (Menopause, Andropause, PMS, Low Thyroid, Adrenal fatigue), IV Nutritional (IV Vitamin C w/minerals, Myers cocktail, Glutathione, Amino Acids, Alpha Lipoic Acid), Sports Injuries (Biopuncture and Prolozone).
Q: Please give us some background regarding your credentials. What type of education did you pursue to become a naturopath (naturopathic physician)? Please be specific regarding the schools you attended, your major, and any additional certification programs you attended that led you to this point.
Dr. Kim D. Kelly: I graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Bethel University in 1990 in St. Paul, MN and worked for five years in research & development at two different companies. When I was a Public Health student in Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota from 1995-1997, I ran into various research articles on use of alternative therapies. This started to spark my interest in Alternative Therapies. At that same time, it was fortuitous that I also happened to hear a lecture given by a Naturopathic Doctor to a group of medical students. After hearing her lecture, I instantly knew my new calling in life – to become a Naturopathic Doctor! Luckily, with my major in Biology and my Master’s of Public Health in Epidemiology, I had met all the science pre-requisites to be enrolled at Bastyr University (Naturopathic School of Medicine located in Seattle, WA)
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. Kim D. Kelly: There are currently six licensed Naturopathic Schools in the United States and students must have completed a Bachelor’s degree and have met all the science pre-requisites to enroll in the Naturopathic Medicine program (N.D.). The first two years of the naturopathic medical school are very similar to medical school. The last two years is where many of the alternative therapies are discussed, e.g. nutrition, counseling, physical medicine, herbal medicine, homeopathy. Like the medical students, ND students must also take Board Exams at year two and at the end of the four year ND program.
Q: Are you a member of any additional professional organizations? Do you have any other credentials or accolades (public speaking, published author, etc.)?
Dr. Kim D. Kelly: I have spoken at seminars through the company I was consulting for and have taught at a local nutrition school as well as occasionally at Bastyr University. NOTE: It was at the one located in San Diego (Bastyr’s main campus is in Seattle and recently built a satellite school in San Diego).
Listed below are the professional organizations I am a member of:
- American Public Health Association 2004 – present
- California Naturopathic Doctor’s Association 2007 – present
- American College for Advanced Medicine (ACAM) 2009 – present
- American Associations of Naturopathic Physicians 2011 – present
- American Academy of Oxidative Therapies (AAOT) 2012 – present
Q: What inspired you to practice naturopathic medicine as opposed to allopathic medicine?
Dr. Kim D. Kelly: I’ve always had an interest in the sciences, particularly the health sciences. It was my original intention to get into allopathic medicine but it was not meant to be after trying to get in after graduating from Bethel University. That’s when I worked in research for five years and but later felt this calling to go into Public Health (Epidemiology). However, in my 2nd year of the Epidemiology program, that’s where the perfect scenario was placed before me: I started reading numerous research articles on alternative therapies and then just happened to be at the right place at the right time to hear a Naturopathic Doctor lecture to a group of medical students. That is where I felt my big calling to become a naturopathic doctor!
Q: What are your views on the relationship between allopathic medicine, naturopathic medicine, ancient healing practices, and modern scientific research?
Dr. Kim D. Kelly: As Dr. Andrew Weil stated, we need every type of medicine to help the patients. He called it Integrative medicine. We do need to integrate Eastern and Western medicine, Old and New healing practices, good old home remedies with evidenced-based medicine to help each patient. I call it a team of health practitioners to help the patient where we can all collaborate in the health and care of each patient.
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. Kim D. Kelly: There is a place for all medical practices, diagnostic procedures and treatments. Many times a patient will need an MRI or a CT scan to help diagnose a problem or to re-evaulate a treatment plan. Once this diagnosis is confirmed, then it would be ideal to use the natural healing methods as first choice for the main or adjunctive treatment.
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. Kim D. Kelly: My main areas of practice are sports injuries, acute/chronic pain, hormone balance for men and women and IV Nutritional for treatment and prevention of colds/flu’s and for those wanting a IV nutritional boost. For sports injuries I use what’s called Biopuncture which are sub-cutaneous local injections where the pain is using homeopathic remedies. For hormone balance, I use Bio-identical hormones (natural hormones) and/or herbs whether it be for menopause symptoms, adrenal fatigue or low thyroid function. The main IV’s I do is called a Myers cocktail which has a combination of Vitamins C, B-vitamins and Minerals (calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, trace minerals).
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. Kim D. Kelly: Many times diagnosis can be determine by just taking a careful history of the patients health issues. It is treating the person and not just the symptoms one can get the bigger picture of what’s happening. To confirm the diagnosis or to help rule out other possibilities, that is where I regularly order blood work and if needed other diagnostic tests, e.g. ultrasound, CT scan, etc. At times I may also need to refer out to a specialist to help with diagnosis and treatment. Once diagnosis is confirmed, this is where I may work as a team with other health practitioners who are involved in the case.
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. Kim D. Kelly: There are cases when a patient comes in and I realize their medical history is beyond my scope of knowledge or expertise or they require supervision of a medical doctor to monitor their treatment. However, I tell the patients that I can offer them adjunctive treatment once they are being managed by a medical doctor. Some cases might include cancer patients, patients with severe arthritic joint damage, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
Q: What are some of the most common ailments you see that are effectively treated with natural methods? Please give an example.
Dr. Kim D. Kelly: Some common ailments that have been successively treated using natural methods are:
- Common cold using herbs, IV nutritional therapy, supplements
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome using Biopuncture, supplements
- Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms using bio-identical hormones, herbs
- Chronic Knee pain or hip pain using Prolozone / Biopuncture
- Gut issues e.g IBS, gas/bloating using food allergy testing and food elimination, digestive enzymes, supplements/herbs
Q: What are some of the greatest obstacles you face when practicing naturopathic medicine?
Dr. Kim D. Kelly: Managing my time so I don’t run over and make patients wait too long. Also managing the business aspect of my practice is a challenge as I love being a naturopathic doctor but It’s a challenge managing the invoices, receipts, costs for marketing. It’s always an ongoing challenge.
Q: What instance, in your mind, stands out as one of your greatest success stories in treating someone via naturopathic methods?
Dr. Kim D. Kelly: I have a few success stories. One patient came to me and the doctors wanted to put her on anti-depressants for her depression. After a thorough history intake, it was realized she needed to be on B-vitamins (especially B12 and B6) as she was recently put on anti-depressants. The depression lifted in a matter of days being on the supplements. Another success story was a patient who needed knee surgery but he wanted to try Biopuncture/Prolozone first to see if this would help. After two treatments, he canceled his surgery date and he continues to be pain free in his knee. Several other patients have been able to manage their cholesterol or their blood pressure using herbs/supplements and are off their medications.
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. Kim D. Kelly: Basically, I like to recommend a Whole Foods diet. Also, many times the patient will need to eliminate dairy and wheat as these foods contribute to many of their gut issues or even their recent colds/flu’s. As part of the Whole Foods diet, this does include meat so long as it is in moderation, especially the red meats as it is acidifying to the body and takes more work to digest. Some people’s constitution are not meant to be strictly vegetarian and there are other people where they do not do well eating any kind of animal protein. It is an individual case-by-case basis on diet.
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. Kim D. Kelly: The Lancet (a peer reviewed medical journal) has published numerous studies on use of probiotics and gut health/immune health. Matter of fact, in one of their studies, long-term use of probiotics helped with cold/flu prevention as more than 70% of the immune system is in the gut. I recommend everyone takes probiotics daily. Digestive enzymes are also helpful as many people with gas/bloating are often helped with digestive enzymes. Many people are often low in Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) needed for digestion and absorption of the B-vitamins and minerals.
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. Kim D. Kelly: This is where I find Biopuncture and Prolozone helpful in treatment of acute and chronic pain. However, there are times not even these treatments help so that is when I refer out to one of the specialists who can help with their pain. I’ve also found certain supplements, e.g. digestive enzymes, fish oils help with pain and inflammation.
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. Kim D. Kelly: Naturopathic treatments are definitely my first choice in treating diabetes and high blood pressure. It starts with right diet and lifestyle followed by use of supplements and herbs to manage the diabetes and/or high blood pressure. For those where the levels are extremely elevated, I do work with medical doctors in their case management.
Q: If there was one piece of advice regarding naturopathic health care you could give anyone who would listen, what would it be?
Dr. Kim D. Kelly: It’s never too early to start, it’s never too late to start. Today is the first day of your life in what you decide to do with your health. We are what we eat, we are what we think!
Q: What is best way to contact you to book an appointment, visit your clinic, or ask for a phone consultation?
Dr. Kim D. Kelly: The best way to contact me is through my website under “CONTACT” and fill out the information on that page. On that page they can ask for a phone call and also describe their health issues.