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Dr. Sarah Kashdan On Beating Cancer, Naturopathic Medicine, And Acupuncture

15 days ago

Life throws you interesting twists and turns and you end up somewhere where you're supposed to be that you didn't expect to. True healing takes time and today’s guest proves that with faith, anything is possible. Dr. Kevin Pecca shares powerful insights on healing and the mind and body connection with Dr. Sarah Kashdan, a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at Rocky Mountain Natural Medicine. She discusses how she started her profession as she went through the tough and traumatic times and roadblocks of dealing with ovarian cancer. She gives us an overview of how to get better and claim our lives back. She also shares her hobbies, interests growing up and how we could approach the life we are given, elevate ourselves to a higher level and achieve maximum satisfaction and fulfillment.

###Listen To The Episode Here:

Dr. Sarah Kashdan On Beating Cancer, Naturopathic Medicine, And Acupuncture

Welcome to another episode of the show. If you are enjoying the show, you can subscribe for episodes and leave us a nice review on iTunes to help share our message. Thank you for tuning in. We have a phenomenal doctor on the show, Dr. Sarah Kashdan. She has had quite the journey. What I love most about her is she is passionate about what she does. She lets her intuition guide her to her next steps and next levels in life, and it's very beautiful to see.

She was able to beat ovarian cancer with surgery. She chose not to get the chemotherapy and heal naturally. It was quite the process but she was able to do it. Now, she is helping others get their health back through acupuncture and naturopathic medicine. It's an incredible story. It was such an honor to have her on the show. I enjoyed the conversation and I think you will too. Without further ado, please welcome Dr. Sarah Kashdan.

Dr. Sarah, how are you?

I'm great. How are you?

I am doing well. Thank you so much for coming to the show. Shoutout to Dr. Ben Benulis for putting us together. He's also a prior guest on the show. I'd like to ask all my guests starting out. Where are you from originally?

I'm originally from the Boston area. I always give the caveat that I speak pretty quickly. My best is to slow it down.

I was just telling you before, those are some of my favorite people in the entire world. They don't make them like that.

We are straight shooters.

If you guys aren't being straight with people, then it's almost like you don't like them. If you're not talking a little shit to people, then it's almost like they don't like you.

Talking shit is a love language in the East.

It’s truly a beautiful thing. What were you into growing up?

I was into a bunch of different things. I was that prototypical type-A kid where I did school, class president, dance, swimming and played the violin. I was very busy all the time.

It looks like you're pretty active. Are there any sports that you were interested in particular growing up?

Growing up, I was a swimmer. That was my main sport. Nowadays, I do competitive powerlifting.

Were you always lifting weights when you're younger? Is that something you found later on in life?

That's something I found later on in life in medical school where I didn't know how to deal with my stress anymore. There's not enough yoga in the world, so I had to start lifting.

What led you to all the amazing work you're doing now?

I always wanted to go and tried many times to get into vet school because I love animals and I still love animals more than I love people. I'll be honest about that. All of the schoolings that I had in undergrad was all geared towards going to veterinary school. I ended up doing an additional Master in Environmental Health and Toxicology. Sadly, I could not get into vet school. I tried for a few years and life said, "No, that's not what we're doing." I said, "Universe, what do you have planned next for me?

Getting into vet school, do you apply to medical school and then vet school?

I only applied to vet school because I want to be a veterinarian. I had never intended in my life to become a human doctor. That was never my trajectory. I've always had a healing spirit but I never had the intention of dealing with people. Life throws you interesting twists and turns and you end up somewhere where you're supposed to be. You just didn't know about it yet.

That's the most beautiful part too.

The universe is so much smarter than we are. I did my Master's program and still couldn't get into school. I worked as a veterinary toxicologist for a little while. I was in a lab. I made decent money but it was boring and I was alone with my thoughts most of the time. I made a drastic career change and decided to quit my job and start teaching yoga because I had gotten more into my yoga practice, the connection and community. I loved how I felt. I decided maybe I'll go do that for a while.

Are you still on the East Coast at this point?

No. I'm in Colorado at that point. I moved to Colorado in 2009.

Tell me about that because that's a drastic change from Boston.

It was the least amount of thought I've ever put into any life decision. I working as a vet tech in Boston and decided one day that I wanted to leave the East Coast. There are two types of people from the East Coast. Those who stay on the East Coast for their entire life, and then those of us who decide to venture West. I decided that I wanted a change of pace in my life. I quit my job. I packed up my car and dog at the time. I drove out to Colorado with the semi-logical thought that maybe I would be able to establish residency and to get into vet school but mostly it was I needed a change. I didn't know anyone here. I didn't have a place to live. I didn't have a job. I lived in my car for a few months. My parents still don't know about that. I hiked in the mountains, had no responsibilities and it was amazing. Eventually, I found a job and a place to live and all of that, but that was my be-a-bum phase of life.

I feel like a lot of people want to gravitate towards that. That excites a lot of people too, just being in nature like that. Especially on the East Coast, when you have that 9:00 to 5:00 jobs, things are fast-paced and you're like, "I wish I could just jump back into nature." That's very exciting. That must have been a great period in your life.

It was one of those things in life where it shows you what you're made out of. If you let go of everything that you have, venture out and see what happens, that's important for a lot of people to do. Maybe not to that degree but just to shake off all of these labels and things that you've grown up with and see who you are when you're on your own.

I encourage people to not do all the research because when you do all the research, it psychs you out. It's like, "I got to start thinking about this and buying that." When you go, it almost works out for you.

I feel like the other decisions I've made in my life when I put the least amount of thought into it and go for whatever reason always works out for me. The universe is wiser than we are. Sometimes you have to put aside your own preconceived notions of what you should or should not be doing and just go for it.

You are in Colorado for a couple of months. You are in the mountains.

I moved to Colorado. I moved out here in 2009 and lived in my car. I found a place to live and a job. I worked as a vet tech for a while and then started my journey towards trying to get into vet school, which is when I did my Master's program here at Colorado State University.

Were you just floating around national parks a little bit?

I was. I floated everywhere. I put a lot of miles on my feet. It was good.

Veterinary school was still in the cards. It's still a dream. What happened there? I couldn't get in. I tried so many times to get in. That's why I did my Master's program to make my resume more attractive. Even though I was working at the vet school, it's so competitive. I just could not get in.

Was that heartbreaking?

It was because that was something I loved my whole life, the animals. I'd always had vet tech jobs. It was a hard identity crisis for me because I had built my whole life around that's what I was going to do. I ran into many roadblocks. It was very hard for me.

Not only was that hard but you also faced another huge obstacle in your life. Are we close to that point yet?

Were close to that point. That happened when I started teaching yoga.

Let's hear about that.

I started teaching yoga in 2011. I loved it and I felt like teaching was something I was good at. When you do any particular sport or physical activity all the time, your body composition changes. What I noticed in my body was that I was losing a lot of weight and I was very lean but in the yoga community, that's still the stereotypical prototypical body type. I didn't think a lot about it and nobody else thought anything about it either.

How much weight are we talking about? Is it scary or thinning out or a little bit?

It's thinning out. I'm around 123 to 125 now with all of my muscle mass and I was down to about 90 pounds. It was bad. I attributed it to being active and moving around a lot. There are a few people who thought maybe I had some disordered eating and I was like, "No. That's not a thing for me." I never thought about it but I was very skinny. I was like, "This is just the way it's supposed to be."

I was very skinny for a while and then I started having some weird non-specific symptoms of fatigue and cramping pain around my abdomen. It’s very subtle, not blatant symptoms. I just shrugged it off. As I continued to lose weight and get more fatigued, I decided I should go to the doctor and see what's going on. I went and saw a few doctors. They were all males, no offense. They were like, "It's all in your head. You have anxiety. It's your hormones. You have an eating disorder. Too bad. See you later."

Were any tests run at this point?

No, because I told them, "I don't feel right. Something is wrong with my body. It's not my hormones. It's not in my head." Unfortunately, there's still that dynamic between male practitioners and females about disempowering them about their symptoms. Being an East Coast personality, in those moments when you don't feel well, at least for myself, I didn't have the ability to advocate for myself. Even though I knew a lot of science and veterinary medicine, I didn't know enough to ask for what I needed.

Even if there are guys reading this and be like, "That's not real," I have several female patients that tell me that their doctors weren't listening to them or don't believe in what they're saying. It's a real thing.

I don't mean to say it's just male. There are a lot of female practitioners out there who do that too, but it is still a very commonplace thing that I see as a doctor now, female patients coming in being completely dismissed. In the course of 2011, 2012, as I continued to lose weight and try to figure out what was going on, I wasn't getting the help that I needed. I shrugged it off and thought, “Maybe I am crazy?” When you hear that rhetoric enough, you start to internalize it. You start to feel shame and guilt for your own symptoms because these supposedly experts are the ones who are telling you that there's nothing to be concerned about.

What you said right there is the main thing. I had a similar situation with concussions where I had brain fog, blurred vision, dizziness, headaches for five years. I would tell these brilliant doctors like, "I don't feel good. I know all your tests are coming back negative," and they would say, "No, this is normal. Just give it some time. It's all in your head." It's extremely frustrating. When you see enough and you get enough of those answers, I spiraled into a very dark depression because I was like, "Maybe they're right. Maybe there is no hope."

Unfortunately, that's still commonplace. When lab results come back “normal” within a reference range, there's nothing wrong with a person, even though they don't feel well. Fast forward, this is around towards the end of 2012. There was one night I woke up with severe pain in my abdomen on the right side. I was like, "Maybe my appendix has burst. Maybe I'm having a kidney stone." I didn't know. I drove myself to the emergency room because I'm independent and stubborn. They did all the blood work, a bunch of imaging, and they found a tumor on my ovary. I was like, "Thank you. There has been something wrong with me the whole time."

How long did it take? It sounded like about 1 or 1.5 years.

It’s about 1.5 years of deteriorating, not knowing why, accepting it, and feeling that there was something wrong with me outside of something that was wrong with me. In a weird way, I was grateful that something was wrong. A lot of my patients are also grateful when something is wrong because they have been dismissed for so long.

This is interesting too because we found what was wrong. It's almost like one brief sigh of relief and then it's like, "What are we going to do now?

It was scary. Being the stubborn person I am, I didn't tell anyone and let anyone participate in my journey of healing because I was still reticent to say, “It's not in my head.” I had a lot of difficulty with allowing people in to help me. Most of my healing journey was very solitary.

What were your options at this point?

Options were surgery, which I ended up having. Also, radiation and chemo, which I did not do. Whatever other pharmaceuticals, pain medications they wanted to give me. I was pretty much a pain in the ass patient. I said, "I'm not doing the radiation, chemo or the pharmaceuticals,” just for the fact that because of my toxicology knowledge. I had a fair amount of pharmacology. I was like, "I don't want to put any of that poison in my body." At that time, I didn't have the knowledge or tools to know that there are other ways to heal my body other than removing the ovary, which eventually I had.

That's interesting because I've had a couple of patients that innately didn't want the chemo. You talk around as you speak to people and it's like, "No, that's the only way you're going to get better. You need to do that." It's like they almost go against that feeling of, "I don't want that." It's like, "This is the only way. Let's do it."

I wasn't provided with any alternatives outside of the modern medical paradigm. I had to sign some against medical advice forms because I refuse to take any pharmaceuticals, radiation or chemo.

Where did you look next, because you weren't taking the pharmaceuticals and you had the surgery but there was more work to be done for healing?

The thing that shifted everything for me was I went to acupuncture. I wanted a different way to manage my pain because I had laparoscopic surgery. I had all the gas that floats up, my shoulders hurt and I felt terrible. I didn't want to take any opioids or none of that. I sought out acupuncture as my first foray into alternative health care. What blew my mind more than anything else with the particular acupuncturists that I saw was that she asked me some interesting questions about things that had happened to me in the past that I had never told anyone. Somehow, she felt my pulses and poked around. She had this really interesting question about, "Did this particular thing happened to you before? If so, I wonder if that's why you manifested cancer."

That exploded my brain because I had a traumatic event that happened to me when I was younger. I never told a single soul about it. I just suppressed it and locked it away. Her theory was that my body sequestered it in my ovary. That was the first time I ever understood the mind and the body connection, how our body is wise and protecting us, then manifesting things that we haven't dealt with. That changed my entire world.

You started getting acupuncture. It's interesting too. It sounded like you needed to do some emotional and psychological healing.

There was a lot of it that I had to walk through emotionally. I had never thought about it. I never had the idea that the things that happen to us, our body holds. The issues are in our tissues. Even though I said that during yoga classes, I never internalized that as a truth. Not only did I have to feel heal on a physical level but I had to start healing on a mental and emotional level for things that I never dealt with.

What did that look like for you?

It was ugly and gross.

I know it looks different for everybody but how does one do that?

For me, I don't do well verbalizing how I feel about things. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy doesn't work for me. What I found to be most beneficial were somatic-type therapies. It was almost like a guided meditation where I couldn't use my intellect to decide how I was feeling or what I was processing. I just had to feel it in my body. For me, I found that to be incredibly healing because I never allowed myself to feel certain things. When I started to feel certain things, then I could start to feel the shift in more of my mental state.

That usually doesn't happen overnight.

That was years of that. It still rears its ugly head every once in a while but I feel like where I am now in the tools that I have and the things that I know, I'm much more able to be resilient with things that dip into that darkness.

What was the prognosis of the ovarian cancer? Even when you had it removed, was it still scary for you?

It was scary.

How did it work after that?

It wasn't a high-grade tumor by any means. What was interesting is that it wasn't an abnormal type of tumor for someone my age. It's usually something that's found in women who were older 50 or 60 years old. They were more confused about why did I develop that in the first place. It was scary because I had to have continual ultrasounds and testing to make sure that nothing was spreading or metastasizing. That was something I had to do for a while. They're always like, "There's always radiation, chemo and meds.” I'm like, "I still don't want any of those things."

Your worldview after going through something like that, did it change?

One hundred percent. Anytime that you are faced with mortality, death, anything like that, which is still a taboo subject in our society, it did change my worldview, not only in understanding the body and mind connection but also, “Who I am? What is my purpose in the world? Why am I here? How am I going to approach life now, given this big hit that I've had? Am I going to sweat the small stuff or am I dive into who I am as a person, how I connect in the world and try to elevate myself to a higher level?”

You're not an acupuncturist at this point. You're not a naturopath?

I am not.

There are two types of people. There are people that get healed and the only thing they want to do for the rest of their life is to give that healing experience back to other people. There are other people that get healed and go about their lives, which is great. Maybe they're an advocate for what got them better but it makes such a drastic impact on people's lives. That's what they need to do for the rest of their life.

As much as that experience was horrible, it's the best thing that's ever happened to me because it brought me to a place where I started to find my purpose in life. I started to learn more about what's out there aside from what I've always been told in medicine. After getting some acupuncture, I did seek naturopathic care and did a lot of dietary interventions, supplements and a bunch of stuff like that to heal my body in which has worked for me.

Something that I take into my current practice is the idea of empowering my patients because that's not an experience that I had. I felt that experience of being blamed and shamed for my own condition was so traumatic that I never wanted anybody else to go through that. The huge component of how I practice medicine is giving people their voice to advocate for themselves, to have autonomy over their body, or to feel empowered to say, "This is what I want. This is what I don't want." That in itself is such a healing modality.

I already know your practice is amazing just from the point of when people come in to see you, whether it's cancer or another illness. Maybe all their tests are coming back negative. They see a person like you and it's like, “She beat this. I want to know how she beat this. I want to do whatever it takes. I know it's possible.” I feel like in healing, at least half the battle is mental.

Absolutely, if not more than that. Our bodies are smarter than our minds are. Once we just get our ego out of the way and let our bodies do what they were naturally meant to do, that's when the healing happens. A lot of what I do is allowing people to get out of their own way, which is hard but it does make such a big difference therapeutically.

How did it work with schooling acupuncture and naturopath? Is there one you did first? Did you go to a place that they could combine them?

I went to the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. I did two programs at once. Normally, the naturopathic program is 4 or 5 years, and the acupuncture program is 4 or 5 years. I did them together in six years. It was a lot. It's hard. I can do it now but it took me almost until graduating from school to be able to synthesize both systems in my head at the same time because they are dramatically different in terms of how you understand and perceive. It's a special brain for all of my other dual practitioners out there. We're a little different.

What would you say to people that they have that passion ignited and then they hear, "You have to go to school for another 4 to 6 years,” and they psych themselves out? What was your experience like in school? For me, chiropractic school was one of the best times of my life. It was difficult but I also got to surf every day. I got 2 or 3 weeks off at the end of every quarter to decompress where a lot of my friends had serious jobs. They would never even get two weeks off a year and I was getting nine.

That was not my experience.

Tell me about that.

I had very little time off because I was doing two programs. Not a lot of us do it because it is brutal. There was one quarter where I had 36 credits. It beats out your soul for a while. You're there because there's a reason and a purpose. I look back on all of my schoolings and I’m like, "How did I make it through that?" It was so much. It’s one of those things where it's like, “You have to have a passion for doing that. It's not for the faint of heart.” Especially, when people think about naturopathic medicine or acupuncture, then it's an easy-breezy fly-through type of schooling, and it couldn't be further from the truth. It is intense.

It's almost scary too when you graduate. Maybe for some, because it's like, "I did all this amazing schooling. What do I do now?

Thankfully, even though I was in Oregon, I had lived in Colorado for a while and my community here is phenomenal. I had my practice set up before I even graduated. I was lucky to graduate and waltz right into private practice without skipping a beat. I had put the work in for years to maintain my community and to create things that I knew would be good business models. I've been lucky to have a pretty thriving practice.

How does your practice work now? I was on your website and you guys have a couple of different doctors in there. It seems like you're hitting health on a lot of different aspects with different practitioners. What's your practice look like?

I share a practice with the owner of my practice. He's phenomenal and then they were the medical group. We're all independent contractors. We work together but we are in charge of our own cases and labs. We collaborate but we essentially are separate in terms of what we do. What's nice is that we all have specialties. One of the doctors is great with hormones. I'm great with pain management and GI stuff. It's nice that we have a nice diversity of things that we feel comfortable treating. When patients come to see me, I see them for an hour and fifteen minutes in the initial visit. I ask a lot of questions and try to get to the root cause of what's going on. It's a very different experience than seeing a conventional medical provider.

Do you usually treat on that first visit or do you have to gather all the information and treat on the second?

It depends on the person's health history. If they've seen other providers and they've had lab work, I like to do a lot of initial lab work because I want to see what's going on. If people come to see me just for an acupuncture visit, that's a treatment visit. I have patients who see me for both medical and acupuncture care. It's nice that I can combo things sometimes.

I know you treat a lot of different things on your website. Do you have a certain thing that people go to seek you out for?

I would say primarily, it's gastrointestinal issues, auto-immune disease, hormone dysregulation and some anxiety, depression, insomnia type of thing. If I had to pick one thing, it's mostly gastrointestinal stuff.

It's probably different case by case. Is everything combined with naturopathic and acupuncture? Are there some people who you stick more with acupuncture and some people with naturopathic medicine? How does that work?

It’s pretty case-dependent. For some people who would benefit from both, I offer both modalities. Some people just need the medical aspect of things and they're not into the more energetic type of medicine. I'm lucky because I have a lot of different tools in my toolkit. I meet people where they are in terms of it's not about what I necessarily think is the best for them. It's what will they get the most benefit from based on their own understanding of what medicine is and how their body is functioning.

True healing takes time. How do you explain that to your patients? Especially nowadays, everybody wants that quick fix in and out. It's not the case with healing. There are many layers you have to go through. How do you communicate that with your patients?

I had that conversation with almost all of my patients. I say, "Your entire life and everything that's ever happened in your life has brought you into my office. It's not realistic that I can give you something that will turn back time and fix everything in an instant. It's the long game but it's the better game. The work that we do will bring you long-term sustainable health where you won't need to be on a bunch of medications and don't have to worry about a bunch of things." Part of the empowerment aspect that I try to give my patients is giving them the responsibility and ownership over their own health. What happens a lot of the time in conventional medicine is the doctor is God. The doctor tells you how things will be and what you'll do. I express to my patients, “This is a team approach. I can give you recommendations based on what I see medically but I need you to meet me halfway.” Sometimes that's a little bit of tough love, but I also feel like that gives patients autonomy and agency. It is much more healing but that gives people the responsibility that their health is their choice. I can give you all the things to do in the world but ultimately, it's up to you what you decide to do or not do.

The same thing with me. We're not doing the healing. We're removing the interference that's disrupting the healing.

We're removing obstacles to health. That's all I do.

“You are healing yourself. We are here to help guide you through that.” That's a powerful thing because anytime I hear doctors talking about, "I got this person better. I healed this person," that's very dangerous territory.

That's ego medicine and I don't practice ego medicine.

One thing I forgot to ask you but I wanted to touch on is powerlifting. That happened while I was in medical school because I didn't know how to deal with my stress. I started lifting heavy and found that it was something that brought me a lot of joy. Especially, going through a healing journey where I'm skinny, I have surgery and my body is falling apart. Being able to lift heavyweight and compete and do all of these things was a great way to not only deal with my stress but also to celebrate a journey that my body and my mind have gone through over time. Knowing that you don't have to be weak and frail, you can heal and become stronger than you ever were.

Everybody needs that type of outlet to be healthy. It doesn't have to be powerlifting. It's whatever you're into, but that therapeutic outlet, especially when you do have that a 9:00 to 5:00 job or anything to balance out your life, that's huge.

It’s whatever that phrase, “Exercise is the most underrated antidepressant.” We're a society that doesn't move because we're sitting on our computers. We physically and mentally stagnate. There's research about the benefits of movement. Yet for many people, it's difficult to integrate that into their lives because they can't see the long-term benefit of it. Something I always made time for as I was healing is movement. Whether it's yoga, hiking or lifting. That's a huge reason why I've been able to heal. It’s because I put so much emphasis on the importance of movement. I continue to do it every day.

How do you communicate that with your patients, because you probably have a lot of people who aren’t healthy enough to do some exercise. How do you work that in? I always like to ask people what they like to do and what brings them joy. I find that if I give someone something because I think it's the right thing for them, exercise-wise, it may not be something they want to do. If you like going for a walk, walking is the most underrated form of exercise. Take your dog for a walk. Go join a friend for a walk, "If you can't walk, can you stretch your arms? Can you do anything? Can you lay on the floor and feel your body move underneath your breath and your hands?" It doesn't have to be this large external thing that we do but at least allowing ourselves to feel that we're not stuck makes a huge difference. That's how I approach it. I got some patients who want to go kickboxing. That's their goal. I'm like, "Let's get you there."

There are a lot of people these days who maybe don't like what they do every day if it's work or their relationships. Honestly, you know better than anyone that it can manifest into physical pain. Every day I see this. I look for the root cause of issues and I would say most of the time it's some sort of stress and it's modern-day stress. Whether it's work, relationships or you're trying to renovate your house. That has profound effects on your body and your mind. Stress is such an evil component of modern life but it's hard to break people of that. I always like to at least enlighten people that if you're sick and you’re doing all of these things, but you're not in an environment that's healing for you, for your best chances of long-term sustainable health, you need to get out of that environment. You can't heal in an environment that makes you sick physically or mentally.

You were talking about it at the beginning of the show. Don't fight against the forces of the universe. If it keeps beating you down. It might be trying to tell you something and open up another door that you should probably walk through. Something I learned through my yoga practice is leaning into the path of least resistance. I feel so often in our modern life, we're banging our head against the wall and pushing against things that are telling us, "This is not the right path for you. This is too much resistance." We are resistant to that but it's hard for us to let go and go with the flow. What's so bad about that?

Unfortunately, you can't make people do that. You can tell people all about it but sometimes those life-altering moments like you and I had are the biggest blessing in disguise where you had no other option but to let go and go for it. Illuminating patients to that but also acknowledging the fact that that's scary. Part of the way that I approach medicine is acknowledging that none of this is easy and I don't expect it to be easy. Healing is never linear. You're going to go up and down. As long as you're willing to have a little bit of faith in yourself, then the possibility of achieving what you want down the line is there. You have to get people to have agency over themselves and believe in themselves because for X amount of reasons, they just don't.

I had this one patient who had Meniere's disease, ear ringing, vertigo, digestive issues, and a lot of weird stuff going on. He got under the care and got much better. About one year later, when most of his stuff disappeared, it all came back. He probably hated his job more than anybody I knew. All his symptoms came back. The chiropractic care stopped working. I’m like, “Honestly, I don't know what else I can do for you.” He quit his job and started his own company. I kid you not, his symptoms started to dissipate and he's symptom-free again.

That doesn't surprise me at all. People don't realize how much modern life affects our bodies and our minds. It's constant. Social media, screens and all of these things. People are wearing shoes all the time. People don't put their feet on the Earth. All of these things that make us human connected to the world are slowly slipping away and we're just so disconnected. No wonder our bodies freaked out.

You're in a beautiful place to remind you of that. Sometimes we on the East Coast, don't have that luxury in some locations but if it's speaking with you, I would make a change.

To me, nature is the most healing thing that there is. We are creatures of nature. For whatever reason, our natural instinct is to go against nature. I don't know where and how that developed in our human history but there is so much research. You don't even need research to know that going outside and connecting with nature, feeling the sun on your skin if you're in a sunny place or whatever weather jives with you. That is the ultimate most healing thing that we can do.

Where can people find you online, make appointments, social media, if they were trying to look you up?

For licensing purposes, I can only treat people in the State of Colorado, which is a bummer. If you come to Colorado and you're physically here, I can treat you. You can find me at Rocky Mountain Natural Medicine in Fort Collins, Colorado. My professional Instagram is @coloradonaturedoc. I'm not awesome about updating it because I hate social media. That's the best way to find me. I love speaking about what I do and I'm passionate about the mind-body connection based on my patients’ and my own experience. I love talking about acupuncture, energy medicine, and different ways of understanding and perceiving the world. If anyone's ever interested in having me on another show or hearing me talk, I love to ramble about this stuff. I never get tired of it.

If I wanted to set up an appointment with you via Skype because I know not a lot of naturopathic doctors do that. You wouldn't be able to because I'm in New Jersey?

That is correct.

Is that a Colorado thing?

It's a national license thing. You can only practice in states that you are licensed in. Not all states are licensed for naturopathic medicine. It's very confusing. For people in the State of Colorado, I can certainly do phone or telehealth visits if you're not physically in Fort Collins or somewhere else in the state. Unfortunately, the licensing prohibits me from treating people in other states, which is a bummer, but what are you going to do?

I'm sure a plane ride would be worth it as well if you're interested.

Come see me and then go hike a fourteener.

At the end of every show, I like to ask all my guests, what is one piece of advice that has resonated with you over the years that you would like to give the audience? It could be absolutely anything.

The piece of advice which I touched on already is trusting yourself. We have many external influences telling us who we should be, what we should be doing, what we should be eating, how we should be living. Ultimately, the most important opinion is your own. That's something that I've continually had to learn for myself over and over again in various circumstances. It is to trust yourself and your gut. That's probably why many people have GI issues, it is because we're disconnected from our gut, that inner wisdom and knowledge. The advice that I’ve always taken in and given to others is to trust your gut and your innate self because you know yourself better than anybody else.

You truly have an amazing life story. It was an honor to have you on the show. I'm going to send your information out to a couple of other people that have a show because it's truly an amazing story. It's perfect for the show and I think a lot of people need to know about it.

It's been great being able to talk to you. I appreciate you having me on.

I'd love to have you back at any time.

I would love that too. There are many more things to talk about.

Important Links:

iTunes Dr. Sarah Kashdan Dr. Ben Benulis – past episode Rocky Mountain Natural Medicine in Fort Collins, Colorado @coloradonaturedoc

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