Naturopathic clinic to open

CARNATION - Despite the growing popularity and awareness of naturopathic medicine, Dr. Alyssa DiRienzo said there are still a number of myths surrounding the field that may dissuade some from giving it a try.

DiRienzo wants those curious to know that despite some people's beliefs, alternative medicine is not about waving crystals and discounting general medicine practitioners. In fact, the naturopathic doctor, who practices in North Bend, said naturopaths work in conjunction with general medicine but adhere to a core of six principals aimed at treating the person as a whole and determining the root of the problem, whether mental or physical, and not just curing the symptoms of that ailment.

Valley residents will receive an up-close look into naturopathic medicine April 9 when a free clinic opens in the Sno-Valley Senior Activity Center in Carnation. Although housed in the center, the clinic will be open to Valley residents of all ages.

The clinic will be part of Kenmore-based Bastyr University's community medicine network. Bastyr is one of the nation's leading naturopathic universities.

Bastyr Director of Media and Community Relations Kathleen Warren said the clinic is the latest addition to the school's growing network, which includes a main clinic in Wallingford. The outreach clinics, such as the one to be located in Carnation, act as a learning annex for students in addition to offering those not normally afforded the opportunity to explore naturopathic medicine.

"Not everybody can come to us so we like to do outreach at other sites," said Warren.

DiRienzo, who also supervises students at the Wallingford clinic, said the Carnation site will feature three teams of students working to treat patients on Fridays from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

First-timers to the clinic can expect a 60-90 minute non-invasive exam and health overview to assist the clinic workers in designing a treatment plan, said DiRienzo. Treatment plans in naturopathic medicine are aimed at finding the root of the symptoms, which could include mind, body and spirit, DiRienzo said.

Despite the different approaches, naturopathic doctors do work in conjunction with popular medicine. In fact, DiRienzo added, in Washington naturopathic doctors are allowed to write prescriptions and often find themselves prescribing medications such as antibiotics.

As far as what the naturopaths at the clinic expect to see, DiRienzo plans on a wide variety of ailments.

"We could see just about anything," said DiRienzo. "What I see [in other clinics] is that more and more people are seeking out treatment for long-term chronic pain and trauma."

If the Carnation clinic follows the general path of the other sites, she said treating osteoporosis and menopause likely will be among the more common cases.

With what is likely the first naturopathic clinic in the Lower Valley, DiRienzo said she's looking forward to breaking new ground.

"We're excited to be a new part of the community and to be able to offer them something they may have not have had access to in the past," said DiRienzo.

* For information, call the Sno-Valley Senior Center at (425) 333-4152.

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