Steamboat’s newest naturopathic doctor mixes conventional, alternative medicine
Steamboat Springs — When naturopathic doctor Grace Calihan meets a patient suffering from a particular condition or ailment, she weighs the options of conventional and alternative medicine.
For a woman with symptoms of menopause, Calihan might suggest diet changes to reduce inflammation or herbs to balance hormones, or she might recommend a prescription medication.
For a patient with anxiety, she might try acupuncture or recommend Xanex — but as a practitioner of naturopathy, she’ll consider both avenues of medicine.
Last year, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill allowing qualified naturopathic doctors to register with the state and practice legally, and after graduating from Seattle’s Bastyr University and passing national examinations, Calihan became the second registered naturopathic doctor in Steamboat Springs.
Naturopathic doctor Michelle Linet of Sacred Spiral Healing Arts also is registered with the state and has been practicing naturopathic medicine for more than 10 years.
“Naturopathy is a really unique approach to health care,” said Calihan. “It sort of walks the line between conventional medicine and alternative medicine.”
Generally speaking, a naturopathic doctor will spend more one-on-one time with a patient than a physician in a traditional doctor’s office, Calihan said.
Naturopathic doctors will consider altering a person’s diet and using homeopathic remedies instead of just writing a prescription, although Calihan said sometimes pharmaceuticals are the best option.
“Some people are going natural when they need conventional,” she said.
Calihan said naturopathy is guided by a set of tenants about the body and health.
“We have a strong belief that the body wants to cure itself,” she said. “Everyone knows there are more options out there.”
Calihan can provide primary physician care and treatment for specific ailments. She also can serve as a health care advocate, working with patients and attending their appointments with other physicians.
She opened Steamboat Naturopathic in a new medical office building at 942 Oak St. earlier this month and is eager to start accepting new patients.
“I think the community is really receptive to this type of medicine,” she said. “I want Steamboat to have options in their health care.”
Linet said since starting to practice in Steamboat 11 years ago, she’s also found that local residents are appreciative of having options in alternative health.
“This community is so open, and we have a mecca of alternative healers here,” Linet said.
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