Q: What is naturopathic medicine?
A: Naturopathic medicine combines safe and effective traditional therapies with the most current advances in modern medicine. We are primary care and specialty doctors who treat the causes of disease with natural therapies that address the body, mind and spirit. Our goal is not only to help you overcome disease but to maximize your health and vitality.
A licensed naturopathic doctor (N.D.) attends a four-year graduate-level naturopathic medical school and is educated in the same basic sciences as medical doctors. In addition to a standard medical curriculum, the naturopathic doctor is trained in clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, counseling and physical medicine. A naturopathic doctor takes professional board exams in order to be licensed by a state or jurisdiction.
Q: Why naturopathic vs. traditional Western medicine?
A: I chose to study naturopathic medicine rather than allopathic medicine because naturopathic medicine’s aim is to find the underlying cause of the patient’s symptoms and to use supportive, safe, low-force treatments to enable the body’s own healing mechanisms to correct the problem. For instance, I see many children who have received repeated courses of antibiotics to treat recurrent ear or sinus infections. In many of those cases, I have found that the underlying cause of the recurrent infections is an allergy to a specific food, and when that food is eliminated from the diet and some basic nutritional supplements are prescribed to support the child’s immune system, the infections cease and there is no further need for antibiotics.
Q: There seems to be a trend toward more natural, holistic treatments for children. How would you advise a parent who is considering traditional Western medicine versus a holistic approach?
A: Most children have such a strong vital force that very gentle treatments, such as dietary improvements, herbs and homeopathy, work amazingly well. In many cases a child’s system just needs a nudge in the right direction and their own healing abilities will take over. When a child requires allopathic medical intervention, I am trained to recognize it and treat appropriately or refer to another practitioner if needed.
Q: Can parents feel supported by you if they choose to have their children seen by a family practitioner/pediatrician in addition to being under your care?
A: Absolutely! The role that I play in a child’s health may be central or more adjunctive. Some children see me for their well child visits and any acute care that is needed. Some come in to address a specific chronic health problem such as asthma or ADHD while using a pediatrician or family practitioner for the rest of their care.
Q: What services do you offer for newborns through the teenage years?
A: I offer well baby and well child exams in addition to naturopathic care for acute and chronic conditions that may arise during those years.
If vaccinations are offered, do you support a more alternative vaccine schedule?
I do not administer vaccines in my office, however I support parents in whatever decision they make about vaccines for their children and try to provide as much information as I can so that they can make an informed, intelligent decision. Some of the parents I see end up choosing the standard vaccine schedule, some use an alternate vaccine schedule and some do not vaccinate at all.
Q: Do you encourage individuals to come see you even when they are healthy in order to maintain a healthy state of being?
A: I do like to see patients when they are healthy! It is much easier to maintain good health than to build a patient back up from poor health. I encourage patients to see me at least once per year even if they are well so that we can make any necessary adjustments to their health regimen.
Q: What is your favorite thing about treating children?
A: I love the energy and curiosity and zeal for life that most children have! It is so amazing to watch them develop from infants into little people with personalities. Now that I have a child of my own I feel I appreciate this even more. Also, as I stated previously, children respond so beautifully to naturopathic medicine, which makes my job really rewarding.
Q: What is your background?
A: I received my Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, one of only four schools in the country to offer this degree. I completed this accredited program of coursework and over 1,100 hours of supervised clinical practice in Counseling, Botanical, Homeopathic, Nutritional and Physical Medicine in four years. Due to the fact that Colorado does not yet license naturopathic doctors, I hold a license from Washington State.
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Hamilton College in New York and completed two years of Pre-Medicine coursework at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA.
I am a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Physicians (COANP). I have been practicing in Ridgway since 2005.
Dr. Abigail Seaver, N.D. is the mother of a 19-month-old boy. She shares an office with Patricia Ammon, MD, at 160 S. Amelia St. in Ridgway. She may be reached by calling 970/626-3188 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Compiled by Cynthia Sommers. Email your Ask an Expert questions or suggestions to email@example.com.