“ PEOPLE WITH PASSION CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!”
– STEVE JOBS
SOME PASSIONS ARE IMMEDIATE AND BURN HOT. OTHERS GROW SLOWLY AND WARM US FOR MANY YEARS.
My love for naturopathic medicine is of the second type.
In my youth, I wanted to become a medical doctor. The plan was to graduate from high school, do my undergrad work in psychology and biology, and, in medical school, specialize in pediatrics. But life intervened, as it so often does. Through my studies I became aware of what you might call my “practice preferences.”
My desire was to treat people holistically, using preventative methods and to spend the time necessary to build real relationships with the people I would be advising and treating. Unfortunately, the type of medicine I was to enroll in was nothing like that, as it was all based on business terms such as “volume” and “efficiency,” and very much a “reactive type of medicine.”
In other words, it wasn’t right for me, and I knew deep in my soul that it would never be right for my patients. So, my hot-burning passion for medical school underwent a quick cooling. I finished my undergrad work and took a break.
For a year I pondered and struggled, wondering what was next for me. Never did I doubt how much I loved medicine. Never did I lose my commitment to serve others and try to make a difference in their lives. But how could I do work that was truly meaningful, if this factory model of medicine was all that was available to me?
Dr. Marita has a successful practice at Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre in Victoria, British Columbia
One day, my mom came to me, excitedly, saying, “I think I may have found what you’ve been looking for!” She handed me an article she found in the newspaper. It outlined the profession of naturopathic medicine. My mother was exactly right. That day, I found what came to be my lifelong passion. As soon as I could, I applied for admission to a naturopathic medical school.
Lucky are those who love their jobs, and I’m one of them. Each Monday I look forward to the start of a new work week, savoring the challenges it will bring. A large part of what engages me is the opportunity to work with women and their individual, yet shared health concerns. Women are multitaskers, nurturers, overachievers, mothers, caregivers, sisters, friends, and listeners. But these many roles come with a price: burnout. Not a day goes by that I don’t see women whose health concerns trace back to one central truth: they are absolutely exhausted by the demands of their everyday lives.
The costs of “doing it all” are countless: sleepless nights, unrelenting stress, bouts of anxiety, hormonal ups and downs, and a malaise-like feeling of having lost the vibrancy of living. My patients talk of having lost track of themselves and who they really are, simply by giving everything to everyone except themselves. They yearn to feel better, yes, but they also dream of feeling whole and privileged again.
Now, you might think the continual parade of hurting and frustrated women I see would get me down, but it doesn’t, and here’s why: I know there are things that can be done to help! During visits, I dig deep into each woman’s lifestyle – her family history, habits, current situation, stressors, diet, and her sleep quality. I also gather information on her medical history, including hospitalizations, injuries, and accidents that have occurred along the way. I take my time with each woman because I know that the more information I receive, the greater understanding I will have of my patients’ problems and how to solve them.
For many of my patients, the road to healthier, happier living begins with starting (or re-starting) an exercise routine. It continues with cooking healthier food, reclaiming control over stress and re-establishing a pattern of satisfying sleep. These, I’ve seen, are often the biggest steps one can take toward feeling better and managing chronic health issues for the long term. The results can be sudden and striking. I’ve seen women reduce chronic pain, reverse pre-diabetic conditions, and see substantial improvement in stress-related maladies such as low mood, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and low thyroid symptoms.
As a practitioner, I’m also concerned about the impact our environment has on our hormones. Every day, within an hour of waking, millions of women put 168 different chemicals on their bodies – body care products, cosmetics, and household chemicals, to be specific. Then they begin to ingest pesticides from food and GMOs, any of which can chemically alter hormone production. I have seen firsthand the effects that toxins have on women.
Infertility, anxiety, depression, exacerbated menopausal symptoms, hypothyroidism, and horrible periods are just some of the major trends in women’s health that I’m seeing. As research continues to show the connection between environmental toxins and women’s health issues, my hope is that empowerment and encouragement will help women make more educated purchasing decisions to improve the environment, balance their hormones, and stay healthy.
I TAKE MY TIME WITH EACH WOMAN BECAUSE I KNOW THAT THE MORE INFORMATION I RECEIVE, THE GREATER UNDERSTANDING I WILL HAVE OF MY PATIENTS’ PROBLEMS AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM.
FINDING THE PATH TO HEALTH AND PASSIONATE LIVING
In my clinic, I’m not always the one with the answers! Early in my practice a patient was describing horrible hot flashes that were depriving her of sleep – that is, until she tried a herbal formula she found in her local health store. Not long thereafter I heard from another patient who used another herbal formula to guide her through a period of great stress, helping her sleep better, feel calmer, and cope better. Not content to take their word for it, I researched the products my patients used and found they both came from the WomenSense® line from Natural Factors. Since then, these products have been my go-to when I’m seeking nutritional and herbal support for my patients. Indeed, I began using it in my clinical practice and saw huge positive results for low energy, difficulty sleeping, reduction of belly fat, and other menopausal symptoms.
FOR MANY OF MY PATIENTS, THE ROAD TO HEALTHIER, HAPPIER LIVING BEGINS WITH STARTING (OR RE-STARTING) AN EXERCISE ROUTINE. IT CONTINUES WITH COOKING HEALTHIER FOOD, RECLAIMING CONTROL OVER STRESS AND RE-ESTABLISHING A PATTERN OF SATISFYING SLEEP.
DR. MARITA has a successful practice at Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre in Victoria, British Columbia where she specializes in women’s health. Before completing her doctorate at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, she graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor’s of Science, with Distinction in Biology. In addition to her thriving practice, she actively lectures all over North American spreading the message of holistic and preventative medicine to empower as many as she can.