A naturopathic doctor’s perspective on healthcare comes from Debra Muth as she speaks with Rob Oliver on this episode of the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast. In addition to being a naturopathic doctor, she is a women’s health nurse practitioner and antiaging specialist. A member of Generation X, she is from the great state of Wisconsin.
Here are 3 items that stood out to me as Debra Muth shared a naturopathic doctor’s perspective on healthcare:
· A naturopathic doctor is a medical practitioner that treats people as a whole person using herbs, diet and nutrition
· The goal of a naturopathic doctor is to restore you to holistic living
· Only you can fix yourself. It is all about the decisions that you make.
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Here is the transcript of Debra Muth: A Naturopathic Doctor’s Perspective on Healthcare
Rob Oliver: Thank you. And I appreciate you being with me today. I have to correct something that I’ve started a number of these podcast by saying, My perspective today comes from it’s not my perspective. It’s their perspective. So I don’t have a perspective today. However, the perspective that is coming to you today is from Dr. Deborah Muth. She is a naturopathic doctor. She has a specialty in women health. She is from Waukesha, Wisconsin. She is on the the very tail end of the baby Boomer generation, and she joins us today. Dr. Deb, welcome to the show.
Debra Muth: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Rob Oliver: You bet we’ll jump right into it. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your role in health care, please.
Debra Muth: Absolutely. So I am a naturopathic physician naturopathic doctor for those people who don’t know exactly what that is. It’s a health care practitioner that treats people as a whole person using herbs, diet, nutrition, things like that. I’ve been a naturopathic doctor for 20 years. I’ve been a practicing women’s health nurse practitioner for 25 years. I own my own medical practice in Waukesha, where I employ other health care practices, ones that we all work from the same perspective. We have a lot of different diversity nurse practitioners, medical doctors, holistic, coaches, things like that. But we all come from the same viewpoint is that the body is a whole and you can’t just part out one part of it and say, oh, you’ve got a headache without asking other questions. So we really want to see the body as a whole. And that’s how we piece you back together when you’re having complications. So sometimes you might have a headache. And we’re going to ask you about other muscle painter. We’re going to ask you about your gut health, and you may not understand why that connects, but it’s a big connection for us.
Rob Oliver: Okay, so maybe you can help me out with this. A few episodes ago, we had Dr. Lindsay Parks on who is an Osteopathic doctor. Can you help me understand? He talked a little bit about the difference between Osteopathic training and the medical training that we’re used to. Can you talk to me? Maybe about how the naturopathic training is different from the Osteopathic training is different from standard medical training.
Debra Muth: You bet in the naturopathic training, depending on what College you go to. Now, some colleges are going to have a little bit of the traditional allopathic medicine training, primarily Sciences and how the body functions and that kind of thing. But the difference between us is that we are taught to use food as our medicine. We’re taught more stress management. So in the allopathic training, you get one to 4 hours of nutrition training. As a medical doctor. As a naturopathic doctor, we spend to three years in our education learning about how food affects our bodies, what can be good, what cannot be good? What are those symptoms like? We’re also taught in our world how to use herbs as our medicine, plant based medicines instead of the allopathic training where we’re taught how to use drugs. You have this symptom, you use this drug in the naturopathic world, you have this body system. That’s a problem. And these are the plants that we’re going to use. And this is the diet that we’re going to use in order to bring you back to holistic living.
Rob Oliver: Okay. So let me just kind of processes through and reiterate what I’m hearing. In some ways, you are looking at the body and helping it to repair itself by giving it the component, the construction components that it needs in the form of herbs and nutritional products that are going to allow it to to do its own healing. Is that an accurate assessment?
Debra Muth: That is an accurate assessment. So in our belief of naturopathic medicine, allopathic medicine is a bandaid naturopathic or functional or integrative kind. They use those terms interchangeably for practitioners. That is a true healing. If I go to see my allopathic doctor because I have a migraine, they’re going to give me a medication that’s going to stop the migraines. If I see my naturopathic doctor functional integrative doctor and I go to them for migraines, they’re going to ask me, what am I eating? What are my patterns? How do I do this? And we’re going to eliminate foods. We’re going to maybe add some things in we’re going to look at hormonal function. We’re going to look at gut function and try to determine what the cause is for that migraine, and then we’ll repair it from that place.
Rob Oliver: Okay. Thank you. What does quality health care mean to you?
Debra Muth: That is a great question. So to me, quality health care. It should be the leading health care that we have today. It should encompass looking at the body as a whole, physical, spiritual, mental. We should be looking at stress management. We should be looking at sleep. Quality medicine is getting to the root problem of what someone is dealing with and being able to repair it once and for all instead of just saying, well, you’re going to live with these migraines forever, but we’re going to be able to manage them for you. No, quality medicine is we should be able to figure out where these migraines are coming from and we should be able to get rid of them for you.
Rob Oliver: Okay. You we kind of started with this, but can you give me some examples of that quality health care you gave me one? If you don’t mind sharing more, I appreciate it.
Debra Muth: So to me, quality medicine is a taking more than ten minutes with a patient, we can’t get a decent history in ten minutes. I can’t say Hello to somebody in my office in less than ten minutes, let alone take a history, do a physical, create a plan and teach them what I want them to learn on the way out, allopathic medicine has become the medicine of you. Get one visit to talk about one problem. That’s not quality medicine. To me, there’s a reason behind that from a financial aspect. But to me, I want to get to know the person I want to do medicine like we used to do medicine in the Seventies and the Sixties, where one doctor stays with you your lifetime. They know your family, they know your grandparents, they know your grandchildren, they know you. They know everything about that history of you become an ally for you. They’re a partner in your life, not just somebody you only see when you’re sick. It’s somebody that you see on a regular basis to keep you healthy. To look at true prevention, I don’t think that in our traditional allopathic system. I don’t believe prevention is a mammogram and a colonoscopy in your vaccines. I believe prevention is. I’m going to see my doctor once a year, whether I’m okay or not, we’re going to go over my diet. We’re going to look at my sleep schedule. We’re going to look at how I’m managing stress. We’re going to take functional medicine tests to see how my organs are functioning, how my genetics look. You don’t do that on an annual basis, but on an initial basis, I want to know what my genetics are so that I can determine. How do I eat? How much do I sleep? What kind of exercise do I need to do? What supplements do I need to take for the rest of my life to make sure that my genetics are being supported? And more importantly, what medications can I never take? Because I have a genetic mutation that doesn’t allow me to process them. To me, that’s quality medicine. It’s really looking at using all the amazing tools we have to keep people healthy and well.
Rob Oliver: I appreciate you sharing that. It’s definitely a different take on the traditional medicine that we’re used to. And you are so right in the fact that just to say Hi and get your name and find out where you came from takes about ten minutes, which is all a lot of doctors have. What do you wish people understood about your role in health care? As a naturopathic doctor.
Debra Muth: I wish people understood that my role is a naturopathic practitioner and as a nurse practitioner was to walk alongside of you to be your partner in healthcare. But I’m not the person that fixes you. I can’t fix my patients. Only my patients can fix them. I can educate them. I can give them the tools that they need to live a healthy lifestyle and be healthy. But I can’t do that for them. I can’t make meals for them at home. I can’t make them make choices that are healthy or not. But I can partner with them to help them have that lifestyle that they’re looking for. And I think in today’s day and age, we kind of want the one quick fix, right? I want the pill that’s going to be able to take away whatever ailment I have in our functional medicine practice that a pill is not going to do it, but me being your partner and teaching you what I know so that you can implement the lifestyle that you want and have the health that you want can go so much further because that person then gets to teach that to someone else or teach that to their children or their grandchildren. So hopefully they never developed the diseases that they had or their family members had.
Rob Oliver: Okay, you keep using the word lifestyle, and it kind of stands out to me because you’re talking about literal lifestyle change in where a lot of what happens with traditional medicine is someone shows up and as you said, they get a pill, it addresses the symptoms of whatever is happening. It takes that away, and they don’t change anything about their life, except they just add one new medication to it to get them through the day without whatever it was that they were experiencing. And you’re saying, let’s let’s create the change in your lifestyle that’s going to to ameliorate the root cause of this. And what kind of push back do you get from your patients to say? But I don’t want to make that change, or I don’t like eating that thing. Or one of the only things that I enjoy is X activity. And you’re telling me to cut it up? How does that conversation work?
Debra Muth: Believe it or not, it’s not what people think in allopathic medicine. We are all taught, even from a nurse practitioner standpoint that nobody’s going to change their diet. Nobody’s going to change their bad habits. That’s why we need to give them a pill. In my world, I find that to be an untruth. I maybe see one patient a year that gives me a little push back about changing their lifestyle, changing their diet. Most people are willing to do the work to live a healthier lifestyle. At least people who seek out someone like myself, right? It’s also about compromise. In a perfect world. Would you eat all organic exercise for 30 to 40 minutes a day, get 8 hours of sleep, not drink any bad things for us. Don’t put any junk food in our bodies. Yes, in an ideal world, that would happen. The reality is we don’t live in an ideal world and nobody can be 100% of the time myself included. I love my chocolate. I’m never giving it up. I have a piece of chocolate every single day, but I make a healthier choice for it. I do dark organic, 70 to 80 dark chocolate. Instead of grabbing a Snickers bar. There are compromises that we can make for people so that they don’t have to give up everything. And I’m a believer that we all need to have a bad habit, right? But we can control the bad habits. Maybe you don’t want to give up coffee. That’s okay. But it doesn’t mean you need five cups of coffee a day. Could you do one cup and be okay with that? So we look for compromises so people can still have the things that they enjoy in their life, but still get the added benefit of making healthier choices along the way.
Rob Oliver: I understand what you’re talking about from a personal perspective in that I am because I have spinal cord injury injury, quadriplegic, and my weight was climbing, so I needed to figure out what to do about that. And exercise isn’t really something that works for me. It’s got to be a change in diet. So you got to cut out sugar and cut out processed flour, doing kind of a low carb diet, but it’s got to be a lifestyle. It’s got to be something that I change moving forward, and it’s not going to just be. It’s not just going to be for a couple of months or that I’m on a diet until I lose X number of wait. I’ve got to just adopt this as a new lifestyle, a new set of choices, understanding. I can cheat every now and then, but a diet that you cheat on is not actually diet. But I digress. What excites you about the future of healthcare?
Debra Muth: I get really excited about the technologies that we’re going to have available to us in the future. I get really excited about the more we learn about genetics, and we call it nutrigenomics. So we know your genetic history and we know what we can do from a nutritional side or supplement side or an herbal side to correct maybe some of the gene mutations that you have that don’t allow your body to work the way it’s supposed to. I’m very excited about that. We’re learning new things literally every day. That world changes. But I have seen people who have been at a place where they really could not function in the world at all. And once we implement the neutrogenomics, we know their genetics. We set them up on all these things within six months to a year. We’ve given them their lives back. That’s huge for me. So I get excited about the fact that this idea that chronic illness is going to be with you forever doesn’t have to be that way because we are learning more. We have tools. We have things that we can do, some of the quantum physics, information and technology. So that’s coming out in the future. Red light therapy, red light beds, those kinds of things where they actually change our cellular structure of what we call mitochondria. It changes our cellular structure, and it regenerates healthy living cells. That is a cool technology that we’ve never had a way of doing that before. So if you were born with bad genes and your cell structure couldn’t turn over the way it was supposed to, you were destined to have a variety of problems, whether it’s it’s a kind of mental health issue, anxiety, depression, or it’s a genetic problem where you can’t process things. We now have the capability of having things accessible to us to fix that. Quantum physics, red light therapy is really great with people who’ve had Parkinson’s disease and ALS. Those kinds of things can change people’s lives 100% and make them better. And that’s what excites me about medicine today.
Rob Oliver: Technology is a double edged sword. I would imagine that your experiences with some of the technology that’s being applied to food, it’s lessening the nutritional value of the food. You need to get back to the air loom and the organic. But at the same time, the other technologies that are available to, as you said, alter cell structure is phenomenal. We need to just make sure that we’re we’re using the technology and using it wisely. Absolutely. What is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of healthcare?
Debra Muth: One thing that I would like to see all medical practitioners do that would change impact the most is to step outside of the box. Don’t go with just the one thing that you were taught. Start to think outside the box for people, because when we think outside the box and this always treats this or this always does. That is where you find the miracles that happen, where you find the new techniques, the new technology, the new way of talking to someone that would be huge, I think. Can I mention one more thing that I think would be good?
Rob Oliver: Yeah, sure.
Debra Muth: I think the other thing that I would love to see people do is to put down the pen or stop typing and just listen. Because so much of what we do is listening to the patient, they will tell you everything in their story if you listen. But if you’re trying to multitask at the same time, you’re missing the pearls inside. What they’re telling you.
Rob Oliver: You got a nose tap on that. You hit it on the nose. Excellent. Dr. Deb, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your willingness to share, and I appreciate your perspective on healthcare.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by guests on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast are solely the opinion of the guest. They are not to be misconstrued as medical diagnoses or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before attempting any of the treatments suggested.