A fresh approach to health
Dr. Cherie Minette Uses Naturopathy to Treat the Root of Illness
by Lisa Moore
In 1996, Cherie Minette was a pre-med psychology major at Duke University who planned on becoming a psychiatrist. But when she learned that psychiatrists mainly prescribed medications for anxiety and depression, she was dismayed that determining the root cause for anxiety and depression was not at the forefront of mental health care.
"I considered pharmaceutical medication a palliative measure which would elicit no true healing. I had also researched the vast amount of potential side effects associated with the prescribed drugs, which included the risk of suicidal impulses. This simply did not sit right with me," says Minette.
She shifted her attention to the role that nutrition played in health and decided to obtain a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in nutrition. During her studies, she noticed many of the articles she read were by naturopathic physicians. After researching naturopathic medicine, she realized people could be healed with natural therapies without causing harm, and she changed her course once again.
Minette graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2008 and began her practice. At her clinic, Naturopathic Health, she provides compassionate care for all ages and treats a wide range of acute and chronic conditions using herbal medicine, dietary counseling, hydrotherapy and nutritional supplements.
Homeopathy is also a mainstay of naturopathy that has proven effective for a wide range of conditions and typically does not interfere with medications. It uses minute dilutions of natural substances to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms that may have been compromised by poor diet, emotional trauma and ineffective coping mechanisms.
Remedies are prescribed based on a patient’s symptoms as well as observing a client as a whole person. Considered safe, homeopathic remedies unblock the healing processes and allow the body to mend itself.
"A woman came to me with concerns of a cough that had lasted for three months. After talking about her cough and her life for a while, I asked her how everything she had told me made her feel. She burst into tears, stating that she felt sad and worthless. I prescribed her a homeopathic remedy for grief, and three days later she called to report that not only was the cough gone, but her spirits were lifted as well," says Minette.
In assessing a patient, Minette may review blood work and lab results, but she also gets valuable insight from closely examining a patient’s symptoms. For example, if a client has sleep issues, she looks at underlying factors like diet, caffeine consumption, stress level, anxiety, exercise, relationships and satisfaction with current life situation.
"Rather than just giving them a natural sleep supplement which would cause them to be sleepy, I treat what is causing the inability to sleep," says Minette. "For some, it is as simple as reducing or limiting caffeine to morning hours or avoiding the use of electronics at night, which can interfere with sleep. For others, it involves healing the anxiety and fears that are present or the unresolved grief that is waking them up every morning between 3-5 a.m."
A challenge Minette encounters in her practice is helping people understand that being and staying healthy is effortful. Patients may want her to just give them a natural replacement for the medication they are taking, but that approach may not afford true healing. She says education is a key part of her practice.
"I tell patients at the first visit that naturopathic medicine involves time and effort, but it is worth it. Unfortunately, some people do not seek out my services until the medications have caused them much pain. The good news is, however, when a person is in enough pain they are motivated to make the necessary lifestyle changes to regain their health and discontinue the harmful medications."
As a naturopathic physician, Minette says she recognizes that there is a time and place for conventional medicine and that it has saved many lives, especially in emergency situations. Her approach is to try natural solutions first, and she always supports the direction her patient wants to go in. She works closely with other health professionals including acupuncturists, psychotherapists and medical doctors to achieve complete healing.
"Obviously there are some conditions that are greatly helped by conventional medications, thus, I advocate an integrative approach. Focus on prevention of illness first and foremost, employ natural therapies whenever possible and use surgery and pharmaceuticals sparingly or when disease prevails," concludes Minette.Naturopathic Health is located at 218 E. Tremont Ave., Ste. B. For more information, call 704-414-0380 or visit DrMinette.com.