PTSD and the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

PTSD and the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Join Radley Ramdhan, ND, MsAc, former Specialist in the United States Army Corp of Engineers, New York Army National Guard for an informative session on naturopathic approaches to PTSD. Hear about his firsthand journey as a doctor and veteran in navigating traumatic issues with patients.

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PTSD and the Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine

Join Radley Ramdhan, ND, MsAc, former Specialist in the United States Army Corp of Engineers, New York Army National Guard for an informative session on naturopathic approaches to PTSD. Hear about his firsthand journey as a doctor and veteran in navigating traumatic issues with patients.

*Webinar does not qualify for CE

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To view the archive of past webinar recordings, please click here.


About the Presenter

Radley Ramdhan, ND, MsAc completed his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Barry University in Miami, Florida. He earned his Master of Science in Acupuncture and Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine (UBSNM) in Bridgeport, Connecticut. While pursuing his studies, he served as a Specialist in the United States Army Corp of Engineers, New York Army National Guard for six years. It was through his military experience that he developed a special interest in working with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients, and as a result completed his thesis on understanding and treating PTSD using a naturopathic approach. Dr. Radley served one deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait and Iraq.

He has co-authored two articles published by Naturopathic Doctor News and Review :

PTSD: Using a Naturopathic Approach to Understand & Treat the Disorder
Traumatic Brain Injury: Clinical Applications & Plausible Interventions

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Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 06/12/19

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss naturopathic approaches to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • PTSD statistics
  • No “statute of limitations” on trauma
  • Different ways symptoms may be presented
  • Coping mechanisms
  • Resiliency
  • Creating your safe space
  • And more…

Erin Brinker: Welcome back. I’m Erin Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA AM 1050, FM 106.5 and FM 102.3. I’m so pleased to welcome back to the show Dr. JoAnn Yanez. She is the Executive Director for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges and the Chair of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. She also serves on the Integrative Health Policy Consortium Education Committee. Weaving a passion for illness prevention into her professional life, Dr. Yanez’s career has spanned advocacy, academia, patient care and public health. As AANMC’s Executive Director, Dr. Yanez oversees research, advocacy efforts and the joint academic endeavors of the Accredited Colleges of Naturopathic Medicine. Additionally, she helps spread awareness of naturopathic medicine as a viable and satisfying career path. Dr. Yanez, welcome back to the show.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Good morning. Hi. How are you?

Erin Brinker: I’m good. Are you surviving this heat?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: In the pool.

Erin Brinker: Yeah, because that’s really the only place where you can be comfortable.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is, it is. California problems. I can’t complain too much.

Erin Brinker: No. You know, anywhere you live, there’s going to be a season that’s uncomfortable. It’ll be too cold or too hot or too sticky or too whatever. This is our uncomfortable season. But for nine months out of the year or eight months out of the year, it’s pretty awesome here, so we can’t complain.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes. Agreed.

Erin Brinker: So, one of the challenges that we’ve been talking about, the 9/11 responders and some of these diseases of despair that we’re seeing, so, depression and suicide and drug addiction and alcoholism. For many people, PTSD is the driver. So, some sort of trauma is the driver behind this. From a naturopathic standpoint, how do you treat PTSD?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It is so complex and comprehensive, Erin. It’s estimated that about 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some sort of traumatic event at least once in their lives, which… Just swallow that for a moment. 70% of adults.

Erin Brinker: 70%.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Yes, and when you look at the military, PTSD is a huge issue. And one, actually, that unequally impacts, women over men. 17% of the combat troops are women. However, 71% of female military personnel develop PTSD, commonly including because of the sexual assault as well as combat. And so, when you look at those numbers overall, it’s a military issue, it’s a civilian issue. And from the naturopathic approach, like we’ve talked about before, we take a whole-person approach. And oftentimes these traumatic events… Sometimes people will register that something as traumatic and sometimes they won’t even necessarily have processed fully, the event until much later.

Many, many times I’ve heard from people while we’re getting a history and we’re developing a relationship in that process of the naturopathic interview, which is extremely comprehensive, we will hear that folks may not have fully put the pieces together on a traumatic event. “Oh, man. You know, I had this teacher in college 30 years ago who was touching my thigh inappropriately. And ever since I’ve felt X,” and they may not have fully, in the moment, realized what was happening, but later on it starts to come to them. So, there’s no statute of limitations on trauma.

Erin Brinker: No.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so, I think that what happens is… And that event, in and of itself, can become traumatizing and re-living things and thinking about it and processing it and what could I have done differently or what do I do about this? And so, with the ND approach, we take a very whole-person approach. We look to address the root cause.

I remember a patient I had had many years ago. She had chronic insomnia, she was in her 60s and had tried everything. Acupuncture, medication, counselors. You name it. And we did an approach, kind of modified cognitive behavioral therapy, that addressed the root of the issue, which for her, involved her parents… Her dad was in a cult and she had to not only watch things, but she would also stay hyper-alert at night to make sure her younger sister didn’t get taken. And so-

Erin Brinker: Oh my gosh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Awful. Absolutely awful. And she had been to counselors and she’d worked through things, but the cognitive behavioral therapy helps people reframe and take the emotion and the fear out of the actual event. And she followed up the following week and shared that she had slept for the first time through the night. And this is a woman in her 60s who experienced this in childhood. And so, some of the mind-body approaches can be very helpful.

The other thing about PTSD, like you were alluding to earlier, is that the symptoms can manifest in a lot of different ways. There can be cardiac symptoms like heart palpitations. There can be anxiety and depression. Folks may self-medicate with pharmaceuticals or prescription-

Erin Brinker: Or food.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: … or nonprescription drugs or food or sex. And so, they will use, sometimes we call maladaptive coping mechanisms, to deal with the stressors and ultimately suicide as that last-ditch maladaptive coping mechanism, if you want to even call it that.

At the end of the day we really look to the whole-person approach and care. So, there may be supplementation and maybe addressing some of the other things that are manifesting while we’re getting to the root cause of the post-traumatic stress and working on some of the issues that way.

Erin Brinker: So, one of the challenges in low-income communities, communities of poverty, is that there very often are traumatic events, one on top of the other. You have incarceration, you have people who frequently have to move around because they have unstable housing. There may have been homelessness, there may have been addiction. And so, the kids who grow up in that environment-

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Food insecurity.

Erin Brinker: Oh yeah, food instability, lack of healthcare. Very often, unstable family situations. There may be parental figures that move in and out of the child’s life or not there at all. There could be kids going into foster care. And so, how is a child who grows up in that environment? That’s got to impact them forever. And how do you overcome that from a naturopathic standpoint?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Again, it is so complex and it’s so individual. There are people… Some of this, and I hate to… Nobody is at fault here. I don’t want for one minute for any of this to be construed that, you know, a child who’s being bounced in and out of foster care or someone who has been placed in circumstances that they have no control over is at any way at fault. There is a resiliency. And I had a mentor years ago. There are a lot of euphemisms in this, but when you lose, “don’t lose the lesson” or when you fall, “it’s not about the fall, it’s about the get-up.” And so, the resiliency piece and fostering a spirit of resiliency is not… We’ve talked about positivity before, and not that any of those types of things are positive, but folks who are able to find their personal happiness and who are able to create some sort of a positive out of the situation are more resilient and less able to see the negative impact.

Resiliency has been studied quite a bit, and the types of personalities and traits that foster resiliency. And in and of itself, if a person is coming to see a naturopathic doctor for conditions like this, they’re obviously exhibiting that they want help.

Erin Brinker: Right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Or any other practitioner for that matter. They’re saying that they want help. So, the first step is acknowledgement. The first step is saying, “Something not so great happened and I want to get help for this. I’m worth the help. I want to get better.” And so, that is the first step, is just identifying it and recognizing the need for care and committing to that. So, with naturopathic medicine, we will focus on mind-body medicine, there may be botanical medicine. Other types of therapies like acupuncture have been used.

I remember seeing a patient. You want to talk multiple traumas? He was a military vet who fell on homelessness, he got involved in some illegal activities, he was incarcerated. During his incarceration, he contracted hepatitis and HIV.

Erin Brinker: Oh, my gosh.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so, he was homeless and he was surviving. And when he first came in, there was a huge bravado about him. He was talking about all the people he’d killed and how tough he was. And he was homeless, dirty. I laid him down. I said, “This is a safe place for you.” I was, honestly, a little scared myself.

Erin Brinker:  I bet.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I kept the door open, just a crack. But I sat with him and I listened and I did some acupuncture and I left. And came back to check on him, took the needles out. Didn’t see him again. And I figured, with his housing situation, maybe he’s moved or not able to get to the clinic or what have you. And I really didn’t give it too much more thought.

And then a few months later, my front desk person says, “Hey, Dr. Yanez, there’s somebody here to see you. They don’t have an appointment.” And I said, “Hold on a minute. I’m running in between, checking on patients.” And so, I went to the front and I didn’t recognize anybody in the waiting room.

And my front desk person said, “No, no, no. Come over here. This gentleman wants to talk to you.” And it turns out this was the homeless man. He was clean-shaven, he got into a halfway house and he had started counseling boys at risk and he wanted to come back and tell me thank you.

Erin Brinker: Oh, my goodness.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so, it’s the type of thing that you never know. Sometimes you could see a patient for years and not get that kind of reaction or maybe all somebody needed was someone caring and showing that they cared. Very often in these types of situations when you’re dealing with homelessness or abuse, people feel un-cared for. They don’t feel safe. Creating a safe space is a very important.

I’ve learned a lot of different guided imagery/hypnosis therapies over the year. And one of the first things that I used to do with folks was to create a mental image of a safe place. Because as you’re going to ask them to go to those places that were not safe, you want to give them a tool to be able to feel safe when they start to feel scared.

Erin Brinker: Right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: And so, we would create this mental safe place. Some people would bring in Jesus, some people would bring in their teddy bear or some people will bring in their dog. It varied and there was no judgment. Your safe place is your safe place. And whatever it was that made you feel safe and secure.

And so, I think that there are so many different ways to approach it. Each patient’s going to be different. Each patient’s going to need something different. And the great thing about a naturopathic doctor’s education is that we learned so many tools and we can pull from those to find the appropriate ones for the patient at that moment in time.

Erin Brinker: Wow. Wow. So, we are just about out of time. How do people find and follow you and learn more about the AANMC?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Oh boy, we’re all over the interwebs! You can find AANMC all over social media. Just Google AANMC and we will pop up. We have a webinar next week led by a veteran, Dr. Radley Ramdhan, who’s going to be talking about his work with PTSD and veterans, and his own journey with PTSD. And so, he’s a naturopathic doctor. He’s a recent grad and wonderful guy, and is going to be leading our webinar next week on PTSD.

Erin Brinker: Well, Dr. Yanez, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, it’s always a treat to have you on the show. Thank you so much for joining us today. For those of you all who are interested in being a naturopathic doctor, maybe you’re kind of thinking, “Huh, that might be interesting,” you can go to AANMC.org for the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges to get more information. Dr. Yanez, thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you for having me. Have a great day.

Erin Brinker: Thank you. You too. All right, so with that, it’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: And I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: And we are On the Brink, the morning show on KCAA. We will be right back.

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Naturopathic Approaches to PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a growing concern in America. Experiencing trauma can be a life changing event, one that can impact an individual’s ability to experience a joyful life and participate in normal daily activities. Experiencing a traumatic event is not rare. Approximately 70% of American adults have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.1 It is perfectly natural to feel fear during a traumatic event and nearly everyone will experience some degree of reaction afterwards. Of course, not everyone who experiences a traumatic event has lasting challenges as a result of it. Approximately 20% of those who experience a traumatic event will go on to develop PTSD.1

Many people associate PTSD with military personnel who have been in combat situations. Although PTSD is common in this population, it certainly does not discriminate. PTSD can impact children and adults, old and young, male and female (though women are twice as likely as men to develop the condition).1 Those who develop PTSD may feel frightened, anxious, or stressed even when there is no inherent danger. People who develop PTSD may feel very “on-edge” and may react strongly to noises, sights, and situations. They may have trouble sleeping, have unsettling memories, and avoid anything that reminds them of the event (even if that thing was something they once enjoyed.)2

PTSD is an extremely complex condition which requires an equally comprehensive treatment plan in order to offer the best chance of permanent recovery. 39%  of people diagnosed with PTSD seek out complementary and integrative health approaches.3 Naturopathic physicians are uniquely trained to offer PTSD treatment options that span a variety of therapeutic options. A naturopathic approach to managing and treating PTSD may include:

Mind-Body Medicine

Mind-body medicine contains among the most well-researched means of managing PTSD. There are a number of therapies that could fall in this category, however not all have been proven empirically effective. Some techniques, proven to help PTSD, include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), both of which are utilized by the US Department of Veterans Affairs as treatment options for service members with PTSD.4

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is, at its core, a combination of the fields of cognitive and behavioral psychology. It is based on the idea that psychological concerns are often manifested and maintained through distorted thoughts and maladaptive behavior. Sessions are focused on current problems and encourages the development of solutions to those problems. the goal of the therapy is to support the client in developing and implementing effective strategies to reduce psychological distress. Research has shown that CBT has the ability to significantly reduce the symptoms of PTSD.5

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was developed as a means of helping people deal with the emotional distress that often accompanies a traumatic event.6 The goal of EMDR therapy is to impact the negative feelings about the event by focusing less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event.7 The Research on EMDR is plentiful. Scientific evaluation has shown that after just three 90-minute EMDR sessions, 84-90% of single trauma PTSD sufferers no longer had the condition.6 Further research reported that 100% of single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple-trauma victims no longer had PTSD after a mean of six 50-minute EMDR therapy sessions.8

Botanical Medicine

The current understanding of the development of PTSD involves dysregulation among a branch of the nervous system known as the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS has a direct role in how the body responds to stress.9 There are a number of botanical medicines that can impact the stress response (adaptogens) and the balance of the nervous system (nervines). Though certainly not an exhaustive list, herbal formulas containing herbs such as eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis), oats (Avena sativa), Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum), and Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) may be particularly useful.

Energy Alignment Therapies

Therapies that utilize and seek to align and balance the energetic pathways of the body can also be useful in the naturopathic management of PTSD. Among the most common are craniosacral therapy, homeopathy, and acupuncture.

Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on treatment that is focused upon the removal of restrictive forces within the meningeal membrane system and all of the bones of the skull and vertebral column, including the sacrum and coccyx to which these membranes attach.10 This technique is essentially risk-free in terms of potential hazards or negative side effects. Studies have been conducted specifically evaluating the effectiveness of craniosacral therapy in the treatment of PTSD. Research shows that craniosacral therapy has the ability to make a positive impact on PTSD symptoms.11

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is actually a discrete system of medicine that was developed by German physician, Samuel Hahnemann over 200 years ago. Homeopathic medicine has its own diagnostic methods and prescriptive methods. The homeopathic approach takes into account every available indication related to the possible troubles in the whole person.12 There are hundreds of potential remedies that could benefit someone with PTSD. Prescription of a homeopathic remedy is very individualistic and relies on the totality of the individual and not just specific symptoms related to the condition being treated.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture as a medical treatment is thousands of years old. It involves inserting very fine needles into specific points in the body for therapeutic or preventive purposes. Acupuncture has been widely used for a number of psychiatric conditions.13 Preliminary results for the use of acupuncture in the management and treatment of PTSD are encouraging. Clinical trials in combat veterans with PTSD are currently underway.14

Naturopathic physicians are uniquely trained to use a multitude of techniques and therapies to manage conditions like PTSD and work with patients to address the root of the issue. Click here to find an ND near you in the US and Canada.

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Therapeutic Benefits of Pets

We all know that eating fruits and vegetables, exercising, controlling stress, and getting enough sleep each night are vital components to overall health and longevity. But what if you found out you could further reduce your risk of heart disease and death without limiting carbs or taking another supplement? What if the same thing could reduce the risk of your kids developing environmental allergies, and improve mental health and well-being? Interested? Then it may be time to check out a local pet adoption event because these benefits (and more) are all associated with pet ownership!

“I can’t imagine life without pets. Animals provide unconditional love and acceptance. There is no way to describe all that these wonderful companions give to us.”

Gaia Mather, ND

Graduate and Assistant Professor, National University of Natural Medicine

According to a 2018 national survey, 68% of US households own a pet.1 Pet ownership comes with more than just unconditional love and endless entertainment. Additional health and wellness benefits of pet ownership include:

Improved cardiovascular risk and lower mortality

Pets are often responsible for filling their owner’s heart with love, but studies have also demonstrated that owning a pet can have added cardiovascular benefits and may even reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease (as well as other causes). A 12-year long Swedish study involving 3.4 million people aged 40-80 showed that dog owners had a lower risk of death over the course of the study.1 Pet ownership has also been associated in a number of studies with reductions in cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, improved cholesterol patterns, as well as increased heart rate variability and autonomic function.2

Reduced risk of allergies and stronger overall immune system

The term “immunity” refers to not one specific thing, but a collection of mechanisms employed by the body in an effort to guard against agents in the environment. This includes microorganisms, foods, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, environmental allergens such as pollen and animal hair/dander. Pets can be a great source of a number of these, and interacting with a pet may affect immunity levels. Researchers have hypothesized that pets increase exposure to a greater number of allergens and other microbes. Published research has shown that growing up with a cat or dog can lead to fewer allergies later in life.3 Further research demonstrates that having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33%.4 The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology revealed that children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.4

Enhanced stress management capabilities

Pet therapy is becoming increasingly popular and is used in a variety of ways. Many people rely on animals for support, whether in an official capacity as a trained service animal, or in the role of a house pet or registered emotional support animal.

“I know plenty of people whose lives would be significantly different if they didn’t have their companion animals helping them through life: a woman whose dog would alert her when she was about to have a seizure, and people whose assistance dogs help modulate their anxiety levels to function more fully in the world.”

Gaia Mather, ND

Graduate and Assistant Professor, National University of Natural Medicine

Veterans, children and students are just a few groups who have shown that people can experience less stress when a pet is around. A 12-month study of veterans with PTSD symptoms who were involved in a therapeutic dog ownership program revealed that participants experienced significant reductions in symptoms of post-traumatic stress, perceived stress, isolation, and self-judgment accompanied by significant increases in self-compassion.5

“As someone living with PTSD, animals have been a great source of comfort and truly a gift on my healing journey. I started riding at the age of five and cannot imagine my life without a horse. Just being in the presence of my horses, I feel a sense of peace and tranquility that heals my body, mind and soul. Horseback riding and being in nature allows me to re-balance and reconnect with myself and reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.”

Holly Wurtz, ND

Graduate, National University of Health Sciences

Children often have less developed emotional and physiological responses to stress, as well as reduced cognitive coping mechanisms to self-regulate their stress response.6 In a study of typically developing children between the ages of 7 and 12, it was found that perceived stress during a novel stressor is buffered in the presence of a dog.6 University students are another group who experience a good deal of stress. In a study of pet therapy, students experienced a statistically significant reduction in stress markers, including stress as measured on the state trait anxiety inventory and blood pressure when interacting with therapeutic animals.7

Pet therapy may also benefit the workplace. Stress is a major contributor to employee absenteeism, poor morale and burnout, and results in significant loss of productivity and resources.8 Researchers examined how the presence of dogs impacted worker stress throughout the course of a work day. They found that dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress and make the job more satisfying for those with whom they come into contact.9

For some, time with pets is the ultimate stress reliever. “As a practitioner, business owner and mom, my stress levels are inherently high. Cats make a huge difference in helping me recover from stress, giving me a chance to take a break and be in the present moment.”

Doni Wilson, ND, CNS, CPM

Graduate, Bastyr University

NDs share how they incorporate the therapeutic benefits of animals in patient care

“One of my patients was a depressed mother of two small children. Myself along with her other therapists, suggested that she get a dog.  She rescued a boxer and within a few months, her outlook on life and connection with her children improved significantly.”

Marizelle Arce, ND

Graduate, University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine

“A 60-year-old woman who complained of stress and anxiety, especially related to her health, got a cat. In taking care of her cat, her anxiety levels decreased, and she felt a sense of companionship. Many people feel isolated and alone, which actually becomes a stressor and causes further health issues. Having a pet can make a huge difference for these patients.”

Doni Wilson, ND, CNS, CPM

Graduate, Bastyr University

“I ask patients about pet ownership and find that pets often have a significant role in people’s lives.  Many pet owners view their pets as family members.  For example, I saw a patient who was experiencing a high level of stress due to work and a recent divorce. As part of his wellness plan, I suggested that he make time to take his beloved golden retriever to a dog park.  He started going to the dog park on a daily basis and felt more relaxed and better able to cope with life’s circumstances.”

Holly Wurtz, ND

Graduate, National University of Health Sciences

Decreased risk of obesity and augmented activity level

Despite intensive campaigns to promote awareness and lifestyle interventions for obesity, obesity and physical inactivity continue to climb, reaching epidemic proportions. In the US, over 60% of adults are overweight or obese, and fewer than 50% achieve recommended amount of physical activity.2 Studies have found that people who walk dogs tend to have lower incidence of obesity and are 53% more likely to meet recommendations for moderate to vigorous physical activity.2 The benefits are not limited to adults. The US has seen a threefold increase in childhood obesity since 1970 with around 20% of children aged 6-19 being considered obese.10 However, research has shown that for younger children, the odds of being overweight or obese were cut in half for those whose family owned a dog versus those who did not.2

Fosters social interaction

Creating, developing, and maintaining social connections with others is an important part of maintaining our long-term health. However, for many people, this is no easy feat. Social anxiety, communication difficulties, and lack of opportunity can all be challenges in forming social bonds. Pets can be great social networkers, helping to facilitate new connections, building support and rapport with others. A 2015 study found that people who were pet owners were over 60% more likely to meet and get to know the people in their neighborhood.11 Although dog owners were the most likely to make new friends while spending time walking their dogs, other types of pets such as cats, rabbits, and even snakes can support a sense of connection as well.2

NDs share how they’ve become involved in the community because of their love for animals

Dr. Mather has volunteered at the Oregon Humane Society with her niece.  She adopted one of her two cats while volunteering.

Gaia Mather, ND

Graduate ad Assistant Professor, National University of Natural Medicine

Dr. Arce and her husband donate toys and blankets to the Yonkers animal shelter. They also volunteer their time to the Mount Vernon animal shelter and Wildlife SOS in an effort to help people realize the importance of rescuing animals. Dr. Arce and her husband are pictured below with their two dogs, both rescued from North Shore Animal League. They also have two cats which were also rescued.

Marizelle Arce, ND

Graduate, University of Bridgeport School of Naturopathic Medicine

“I have five cats, three dogs and two fabulous horses. My furry companions add to the richness of my life. I have volunteered with pet rescues for over 20 years and currently work with two rescues, FurKeeps Cat Rescue and Adopt a River Cat Rescue. I foster cats and kittens until they can find their forever homes and am very privileged to work with a remarkable group of people in rescue who are dedicated to helping both animals and people. We encounter many situations when working in pet rescue in which people need temporary homes for their animals due to unfortunate circumstances such as illness, job loss, domestic violence or homelessness, for example.  We also connect people with resources in the community to help provide support.  It is very rewarding to be able to help my community and be of service to both animals and people in need.”

Holly Wurtz, ND

Graduate, National University of Health Sciences

“I run a not-for-profit organization called Cat Care. Our mission is to care for feral cats in Port Jefferson on Long Island. We also care for a colony of 25 cats on my property. We also have a dachshund and a snake.”

Doni Wilson, ND, CNS, CPM

Graduate, Bastyr University

In summary, pets can serve a multitude of therapeutic functions in addition to being a loving member of our family. The decision to bring a pet into a home should not be taken lightly, however. Pets are a lifelong commitment – so make sure you research care, temperament and lifespans of the animals you are considering, and adopt from reputable locations or rescue organizations. By picking the right pet for your family, you will not only improve your health, but the health of your pet as well!

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