How to Understand Naturopathy vs. Standard Medical Care
Join Wana + Dr. Thalia Farshchian to learn about the differences between Naturopathy and Standard Medical Care
1. Tell us a bit about yourself: What do you do? How did you get into what you do?
I’m a naturopathic doctor, which means I sit between western and eastern medical philosophies. I specialize in digestive and hormone disorders all the way to deeper layers of chronic complex diseases like Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Mold Illness and Lyme and its co-infections.
I grew up in a household where my mom was a scientist who continued to utilize timeless home remedies from our Persian culture. After a series of experiences with our standard medical system, I was disappointed in the lack of depth and understanding of root cause. I was fortunately guided to a naturopathic doctor in college and was so impressed by both the thorough work-up and gentle yet tremendously effective treatment. After my second visit where I was already feeling better, I asked, “what do you do and how do I do it?” The rest was history.
2. What are the differences between an experience with a naturopath and a standard medical doctor? When would you recommend one versus the other?
Our standard medical system has been designed financially to treat symptoms and conditions at a surface level and excels in short-term symptom management and emergency situations. Naturopathic medicine is geared towards prevention of disease and if we are beyond prevention, our goal is to restore balance physiologically and biochemically.
When looking at a building that is deteriorating, standard medicine often offers the scaffolding and support necessary to keep the building standing. In this same situation, naturopathic medicine goes inside to find out what caused the building to deteriorate and fix the core issues. Both are essential to long-term success, but you have to understand what each is able to offer you and set your expectations accordingly.
3. How did you get into treating the complex conditions including Lyme and its co-infections, mold illness and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?
Lyme and its co-infections has been one of those “never say never” lessons in my life. Going through medical school, I made the conscious decision to not go into this area due to the lack of clear diagnostic testing and treatment with long-term antibiotics. I honestly just didn’t feel comfortable to employ long-term antibiotics that can affect gut health without a definitive answer that it was necessary.
When I started my practice, I focused on hormones, digestive issues and autoimmune disease. But as time progressed, my patients’ challenges escalated where they were affected by a multitude of extreme symptoms in various systems of their bodies. As I took on these complex cases, I did a ton of research only to start landing on viruses, Lyme and other tick-borne infections and mold. These infections were likely underneath the array of symptoms including chronic fatigue symptoms, sinus issues, allergies, digestive issues, immune imbalances and hormonal swings.
In this research, I found the testing had progressed forward as well (though there is always room for improvement in this arena) and there were many more herbal options to aid in the immune system’s healing process. As we addressed the layers and incorporated these tools in a particular order, these seemingly “impossible” cases were improving.
Interestingly, I became so passionate about these patients that I transitioned my practice to work with a mentor I admire greatly, Dr. Raj Patel. After shadowing many doctors, I finally found someone who was actually helping this difficult constellation of conditions. Shadowing turned into a partnership and we have been working together now for almost 3 years.
4. What do you think most stands in the way of healing?
I believe it comes down to two things -- the easier pill to swallow is having the right guidance towards resources and the second one is the hardest pill to swallow, as it is ourselves.
“Before you heal someone, ask him if he’s willing to give up the things that made him sick” - Hippocrates
Healing requires letting go of physical objects, people, jobs, belief systems, habits, fears, trauma and more. And for those affected by chronic disease, many do not remember who they were before and do not know what is on the other side of healing. The whole process can be frightening.
5. Why should someone choose a holistic approach as opposed to medication-based?
First off, I actually feel you can be holistic and still use pharmaceuticals. It goes back to my building analogy above as sometimes we need scaffolding to hold ourselves up and see clearly. In my opinion, it is not the defeat of a holistic path; it is what you may need at that moment.
My gravitational pull to naturopathic medicine wasn’t simply the tool box (but don’t get me wrong, I love that tool box to pieces), but it was connecting with a person and treating them as an individual with their own storyline that is nothing like anyone else’s. I am a lover of stories and truly believe everyone has something to offer this planet.
If you are comparing a naturopathic tool box to a conventional medicine tool box specifically, the naturopathic tool box requires the patient to be more involved in their healing process as it requires diet change, habit change, supplements to organize and possibly more.
A conventional tool box may be simpler and more rinse, lather, repeat. This is absolutely fine if that is truly where you are.
About Dr. Thalia Farshchian
Dr. Thalia is a naturopathic doctor who has been trained to work in the middle of both Eastern and Western medicine. Just like our bodies, her approach to healing our bodies requires balance. Not to mention, the expanded tool box can come in handy.
Her job is to take the seemingly unrelated symptoms your body is using to communicate bits of the story and connect them into a full storyline. It truly requires teamwork for dreamwork, but the outcome is a deeper understanding that shines on a path of healing.
Dr. Farshchian's practice specializes in Chronic Complex Diseases like Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Mold Illness, Lyme and its various co-infections and PANS/PANDAS in all ages. Within that umbrella, she has a particular affinity towards hormone balance and digestive health as both are integral in the healing process from these larger conditions.
Check out Dr. Thalia's website for more information her approach and services.
Wana does not directly support any claims made within this content. These are the views of the individual/organization represented.