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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Naturopathic Medicine: An Alternative Option

Dec 26, 2012 12:04PM ● By Megy Karydes

Dr. Lisa Leonard

“Naturopathic medicine is an option,” says Dr. Lisa Leonard, a naturopathic physician and founder of Chicago-based Naturally Healthy with Dr. Lisa. “Where Western medicine is designed to treat the pain at hand, as a naturopathic physician we are trained to look for symptoms that are causing the issue at hand rather than just taking care of that particular problem.”

Naturopathic doctors instruct their patients on how to use diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and cutting-edge natural therapies to enhance the body’s ability to ward off and combat disease. According to Leonard, they are trained to recognize the whole person as a complex, interrelated system, not simply a collection of symptoms. They develop comprehensive treatment plans that blend the best of modern medical science and traditional natural medical approaches to not only treat disease, but also restore health.

Leonard offers the example of a patient with a sinus infection. A physician trained in traditional methods would prescribe antibiotics. If that didn’t work, he would prescribe a nasal spray. “Your sinus infection clears up,” she admits. “But once you stop using those things, the sinus infection comes back with a vengeance and you’re back to square one. The problem with that scenario is that the treatment is very symptoms-based,” she says. “What isn’t taken into account is why the immune system weak? Is there something in the patient’s lifestyle that is causing those symptoms?”

Her approach would be to consider environmental factors, review the patient’s diet to see if they are eating too many mucous-producing foods, figure out what is taxing the immune system and work to help them boost it, using food or supplements. “Patients come to see a naturopath to enhance their life, to see if we can help them with a condition for which Western medicine hasn’t worked,” says Leonard.

Leonard favors certain tests in her practice, including the SpectraCell, which helps identify nutrient deficiencies. “So many people are having symptoms because their bodies are not in balance, and those things can easily be corrected by making simple adjustments to what we eat,” she says. In other cases, people are taking vitamins when they don’t need to, thinking they are doing the right thing for their health. “The SpectraCell results can direct us to what a patience needs, rather than guessing.”

Leonard enjoys seeing patients that are open to alternative healing approaches. “Each plant has medicinal properties,” she says, reminding us that many prescribed medications have herbs or botanicals rooted in their make-up.

The doctor enjoys spending time with her patients to learn more about their lifestyle and to recommend ways to enhance their overall health and often works in conjunction with primary care physicians, considering her work with patients as an adjunct to their overall well-being.

Dr. Lisa Leonard is founder of Naturally Healthy, located at 112 N. May St., in Chicago. For more information, call 630-841-6946 or visit Readers can obtain the publications 10 Steps to Help you Detox and Naturally Healthy Recipes at our blog, Fresh Awakenings, at