This message to you may be a little long, but it’s been formed as a result of my experiences over more than a decade of clinically practicing natural medicine and nutrition combined with the inescapable impact of recent changes in the laws governing our industry, so I have a lot to hope to communicate to you. I have recently had to do a lot of soul searching and make some very tough decisions that I want to try to have all of you fully appreciate, so thank you in advance for listening.
November of 2013 marked my completion of twelve years of clinical practice as a traditional Naturopath at my Assertive Wellness Center in Durango, CO, and with 2014 it has now come time for a needed transition and new focus for my life’s work. After March 22, 2014, I will no longer be providing consultation to clients and it’s very important to me that you know and understand why, because the entire landscape of healthcare in our Nation is being threatened.
When I first started out in Durango, I guess I was thinking that I’d become some sort of a local naturopathic “Marcus Welby”, but it sure didn’t end up that way. My biggest goal was to try to be of help and guidance to people within the limited region surrounding Durango, but that quickly and unexpectedly escalated over the years into seeing clients who have traveled from all 50 States and several other countries. Virtually all of these people have come to see us based upon the strength of referrals from other happy clients as well as other medical practitioners of all types.
This has all come as both a blessing to me and solid testament to the power and effectiveness of natural medicine when correctly and capably applied…but also as very disappointing evidence of the obvious void in skilled and, more importantly, locatable natural practitioners out there that contributes to the circumstance where people feel the need to travel across the country and beyond just to reach the type of consultation and help we deliver. Many people consider it to be “natural medicine” if you take something natural to relieve a symptom as opposed to a prescription drug, but as any of you know who have come to me, it goes far beyond that. In my mind, the foundation of natural medicine is to find the “root causes” of symptoms and relieve them, as opposed to attempting to simply apply some alternative natural “band-aid”. This is why I believe we’ve been so uniquely successful here.
Quite honestly, this was never my anticipation or expectation when deciding to take on this educational path and join this profession. Through initial research I looked to move to and practice in a State like Colorado that was well-known and hailed for its public and legal receptiveness to so-called “alternative” medical arts, and I fully expected that the growing public thirst for a broad array of choices in healthcare for themselves and their families would enable me to do my part in forwarding the reputation and availability of the natural arts.
Well, here we find ourselves entering 2014 with so many preventable and fixable conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders progressing along even more unprecedented rises, and yet the trend in healthcare is irresponsibly and unconscionably moving in the completely wrong direction – Away, I fear, from nutritional appreciation and the search for the actual “causes” of symptoms, and full speed toward the conveyor belt “symptom management” of fully avoidable “dis-ease”.
My friends, the health answers that we desperately need in this world will never come from our food-producing giants, the AMA, the FDA, ObamaCare or any other faction or level of government. The only true answers for your health and wellness lie with you, but unfortunately, despite quantum leaps in understanding of the true sources of health and sustainable wellness, your access to the information, education, nutritious & unadulterated foods and other tools are being diminished, ignored, discounted and further squelched with time.
If the public at large surrenders to believing, as the controlling system would have them buy into, that the best and brightest future for health will spring from nothing more than new prescription pill bottles, then we will continue to forfeit our options and freedoms to those who expect nothing more than to strap you to a conveyor-belted, symptom-masking, disease-perpetuating medical model. In the current system now ramping up to go into effect, the emphasis will be placed on more invasive tests and treating more “pre” conditions (meaning not even there yet!) with drugs that carry their own laundry lists of side-effects that then require even more drugs to counteract those effects. As we rapidly approach a higher level of socialized medicine, my biggest concern is that this scenario may be the best and possibly only one you’re going to be offered. This is not acceptable to me.
There is absolutely nothing wrong and everything noble about trying to provide better health and wellness for the most needing, least fortunate or least able among us, but supplying people and families with healthier foods and the information as to why that’s so important would be of far more humanitarian benefit to those individuals than simply fast-tracking both adults and children into the shortsighted and perpetuating world of reliance on one-size-fits-all care and arrays of prescription vaccines and medications. This approach just creates more need and more customers. Knowledge is what sets you free.
So back to our State of Colorado: Effective August 1st of 2013, our ever-so-wise and esteemed legislators in Denver finally caved to the pressures and lobbyists of various medical factions that would have all of us believe that a primary concern for the citizenry of this State is under-regulated packs of certain marauding natural (“alternative”) practitioners who are threats to the very fabric of public health safety. Don’t even get me started on this one, but understand that we’ve been successfully fighting this off over many past years. Unfortunately our newest State congress doesn’t seem to feel that Coloradans are capable of making their own informed decisions, and accordingly have taken that right and choice away from them.
The bottom line is that Colorado has now sold out the public and joined the minority of “licensed” U.S. States with regard to practicing natural medicine. They made it sound very appealing by saying that they were “for” natural medicine, but unfortunately that only applies to a very small minority of existing practitioners who also still advise the use some prescription drugs, unlike the “traditionalists” like me. Among other aspects, this now means that Colorado residents will have less choice in the options available to them. The public certainly won’t see all of these changes happen overnight, as history has demonstrated in other States that have fallen into this same regulatory path, but we certainly have seen enough examples to be confident where it progresses from here.
This is not to discount in the slightest the fairly unprecedented legislative victory achieved by our trade association the Colorado Coalition for Natural Health assisted by the national American Naturopathic Medical Association whereby existing “alternative” practitioners, such as me, were secured narrow exemptions that grandfather their continuing ability to see their clients. But very unfortunately this was done in concession of a number of serious but highly ambiguous prohibitions that were of utmost importance to the allopathic medical and prescription drug establishment, which oddly and unfortunately target and affect the focuses of my particular practice and research, as many of you are aware.
With vague and ambiguous legal language comes the pre-calculated potential for legal ensnarement. Among the clauses in the new law are directives that practitioners like me will not “…directly administer medical protocols to a pregnant woman or to a client who has cancer”, or to …“treat a child who is under two years of age”. It furthermore limits my ability to work with children between ages 2 and 8 unless I counsel the parents that they and the kids should be taking all the available vaccines without doing any of their own research; something that I am not only personally opposed to but that goes against the very tenants of natural medicine! I have been safely and effectively helping children this age for nearly 13 years now, so why are they suddenly making laws to hamstring my ability to do so?
As a Naturopath, it is my perspective that I neither “administer medical protocols to”, or “treat”, anyone. However, as many of you know, my main passion over the last nine years has been both preventing and working with occurrences of Autism and other Autism Spectrum Disorders. How can I effectively do this when Colorado had decided that I can’t see young children or pregnant women? Both pregnant women and children less than two years of age are very important client types for me, because that’s precisely when they need the guidance!
And exactly “who” is the client who “…has cancer”? Someone who is unaware of the condition, or only one who has received an official diagnosis? One who has undergone or is currently undergoing treatment? Someone who has made a conscious and thoughtful decision to decline conventional medical treatment for their cancer? And what about “pre-cancer” conditions, do those count? How about the many who are told by their Oncologist to just go home and get their affairs in order??
And just “who” will be in charge of defining and acting on such ambiguous and subjective terms as these?…My attorney?…A client’s attorney?…A Judge in Denver?… A State naturopathic medicine advisory committee that is made up of the most passionate advocates for the strictest application of this very legislation who can arbitrarily change rules and definitions at will and have made it well known that they would like nothing more than for all Traditional Naturopaths like me to disappear or be in prison?? Your guesses are as good as mine, or of any of us in the practice of natural medicine in this State. And ever worse, the definitions and restrictions can change at any time at the whim of the coming “advisory committee”. Super…
While I readily acknowledge the obvious disagreements that Traditional Naturopathy has regarding the origins, preventions and remedies of cancer, one might ask themself why it’s so incredibly important to forbid us from giving advice to expectant or new mothers? Do they anticipate the likelihood for great harm being done by me in suggesting a superior diet for both mom and infant? Ask yourself: Just what are they so afraid of?
Do they fear that a Traditional Naturopath, whose primary tool is proper nutrition, might suggest that the parents consider optimizing an infant’s nutrition beyond reaching for a box of cheap packaged formula on the grocery shelves? Or possibly encouraging them to do a little of their own research to fully consider the wisdom of allowing their infant to receive a smorgasbord of vaccines at the most crucial formational point in their brain and immune system development without also reviewing the mounting scientific evidence that both incorrect early nutrition and vaccine overload may be contributing to the skyrocketing incidences of Autism Spectrum Disorders, childhood allergies, eczema, asthma, etc., etc.??
Do they fear that a Traditional Naturopath may encourage people to question why despite all the new “medical advances” in drugs, child nutrition, and vaccines, the statistics just continue to get worse and worse? Are they afraid of having you think for yourselves? I guess you’ll have to answer these questions for yourself. I know my answers.
This is very much one of the many concerning factors for me with regards to an increasingly socialized medical environment. The vaccine debate goes round and round without any absolute consensus, but please ponder this: Do you think that it will be more likely or less likely that parental rights to choice and exemptions for children’s vaccine schedules will be preserved, once the government is paying for and managing our healthcare? Even at this moment Colorado is considering a new law that would not allow any exemptions to vaccines for either you or your children. NO exemptions – Not for medical, religious or philosophical reasons. Is that right? Is this freedom??
Apply the old cliché about when a kid is in disagreement with his or her parent and the parent’s response is, “Well as long as you’re living under my roof and I’m paying the bills, you’re going to have to live by my rules!” So much is heralded about the aspects of social healthcare that one might be entitled to, but far less attention and concern is given to both the options and freedom of choice that you would no longer be entitled to. Oh sure, both menopausal women and 20 year old men will have maternity and pediatric eye care available to them, but don’t be messing around with those scary naturopaths that might educate you on how to eat better! They might harm you with their organic meat and vegetables.
There are many wonderful parts to my work, but the absolute worst part and the hardest to bear, is that over the years I have seen people coming in progressively sicker and sicker, taking more and more drugs, and my legal ability to help clients to the extent of my experience and ability is only diminishing. Little bits of it kept leaking away over the years with “new regulations” but the decline we saw in Colorado in 2013 has been exponential. And I don’t think they’re done with us yet. The complete disconnect here, escalating disregard and absolute obstruction of the truth… well, they’re driving me crazy.
It would be hard for you to appreciate the many nights that I have gone home from the office torn between wanting to cry and wanting to scream due to the fact that I’ve seen a client who is suffering from a list of symptoms that just about reads in order off the warnings from a Physician’s Desk Reference listing for the drug or drugs they’re taking, yet I am forbidden by law from informing them of that. Those of you who have read my book “If Naturopaths are Quacks, Then I Guess I’m a Duck” are already familiar with my frustrations with the gag in my mouth that I have felt in these circumstances, but now things are getting progressively, unsustainably and rapidly worse.
Well folks, now is the time for me to draw my proverbial line in the sand.
Although it’s been coming for a long time, battle lines are being drawn, and drawn quickly, in the fight for our health freedoms. I’ve realized that in order for me to be as effective as I possibly can, I have to get out from behind my desk. Natural medicine is not just what I do; it is who I am. So after a very long and thoughtful deliberation, I have made the decision to join the front lines.
I have come to the opinion and revelation that I will be most effective in positively affecting the dialogue, public education and legislation around the subjects of natural medicine and nutrition by committing my time toward efforts, projects and alliances that have the best potential of influencing and helping the greatest number of people.
This will allow me to strive to positively impact many more people simultaneously as compared to the limited number of people I can continue to try to help one by one as they progressively struggle both to make the trip to see me here in Durango and to afford the associated costs, no matter how justified. Our services have never qualified for insurance coverage or other subsidy and are even less likely in the future as the poor economy persists and the medical environment moves toward a one-size-fits-all, we-know-what-is-best-for-you, socialized model.
As long as I remain in active practice, if I even infer that I can treat, cure or even help anyone, it currently constitutes a “medical claim” that I can be prosecuted and imprisoned for, so my hands are tied in what information I can give out. Either I can fully and frankly share with the public what I know and what I have seen with my own eyes through education, the Internet, books and other writings, or I can try to continue to watch and bite my tongue as my legal ability to frankly consult and help individual clients rapidly and inevitably erodes. It is no longer legally wise or even possible for me to do both. And you deserve to know the whole truth.
For the many of you who have been clients of mine for months, years or even a decade, please don’t worry about this transition. Stay well by always remembering and returning if necessary to the lessons I have already taught you. Remember, you don’t need me; you need you. You’ve got this! After the many thousands of people that I have seen over the years for about every negative condition you can imagine and then some, it’s truly amazing how my advice to most of them has continued to be more and more simplified as opposed to more complex:
Avoid eating processed foods and artificial ingredients, avoid grains and legumes that cause inflammation and dysfunction, try to find grass-fed, free-range and humanely-raised foods, drink plenty of pure water, maintain the few core supplements we recommend that provide nutrients in amounts that our foods just no longer can, always ask plenty of good questions of your physicians before assuming that prescription medications will supply more upside than downside for your long-term wellness, and always do your own research.
You have no idea the incredible number of people I see who could avoid or eliminate the vast majority of their health issues if they would just have a higher understanding of these simple principles and more respect for what they put into their highly complicated and miraculous bodies. Remember what I’ve told you; your engine won’t run without the right fuel!
In the meantime I’m looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible up to and until my professional transition is complete. The Assertive Wellness Center will remain open indefinitely to assist our clients with the quality supplements and other products they are accustomed to from us, and Doris, Rae and Doug will continue to help as always to the best of their ability with questions regarding your ongoing program maintenance and the use of all products. Our anti-aging and weight management services with Lori will likewise continue to be available to you by appointment.
Additionally, many of our most popular products will continue to be available through our online stores at Amazon.com and Assertivewellness.com for your 24/7 ordering convenience, and we also encourage you to follow the latest on Shauna at facebook.com/assertivewellness and youtube.com/assertivewellness. Continuing to let us keep you informed and serve your product needs will greatly help enable and perpetuate our work.
This has been a monumentally tough decision for me to make. Over the last twelve years and more, I have been immensely honored to witness so many “miracles”, and I will miss those conversations. “My 9-year-old has started to talk”! “My doctor says I’m cleared”! “I’m finally off my 10 prescriptions and feel wonderful”! They have shaped my life in a way that not even I could have ever imagined.
You have trusted me with the lives and wellbeing of yourselves, your friends, and your children and other loved ones, and I will never forget you. Just know that I will not go quietly or gently into this good night… of course anyone who knows me already knows that! I will continue to fight for health freedom and choice for you, for me, and for all of us, so stay tuned! Please remain behind us and in touch with us as we will be with you. I’ll be out there educating, but it will be more impactful if you all help us spread the word. One way or the other I plan to continue to be there for you.
Bless you all… and be well,