Naturopathic Physicians are primary health care doctors that are trained in diagnosing and treating both acute and chronic health problems. Naturopathic physicians are guided by six fundamental healing principles:
- First, to do no harm, by using methods and medicines that minimize the risk of harmful side effects.
- To treat the causes of disease, by identifying and removing the underlying causes of illness, rather than suppressing symptoms.
- To teach the principles of healthy living and preventative medicine, by sharing knowledge with patients and encouraging individual responsibility for health.
- To heal the whole person through individualized treatment, by understanding the unique physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors that contribute to illness, and customizing treatment protocols to the patient.
- To emphasize prevention, by partnering with the patient to assess risk factors and recommend appropriate naturopathic interventions to maintain health and prevent illness.
- To support the healing power of the body, by recognizing and removing obstacles to the body’s inherent self-healing process.
By focusing on the cause of illness not only are a patient’s symptoms alleviated but long term optimal health is achieved. In B.C., Naturopathic Doctors are educated, trained and examined by the College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia. Naturopathic doctors, like medical doctors, are a regulated health profession. The scope of naturopathic practice includes:
Nutrition and Diet
A good understanding of nutrition and diet is the cornerstone to optimal health. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Today, we have medicines to treat diseases that are caused by poor dietary choices. And yet, if we were to eat the way our ancestors ate, many of the chronic diseases of today would cease to be epidemic. Human beings have been on the planet for 2.5 million years; however, in the last 10000 years, we have completely changed our diet from lean meats, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables to a diet that is largely based on refined grains, is saturated with sugars, chemicals and additives, and is filled with hollow calories and bad fats. Fortunately, this is easily correctable! How? Education. When one learns what is and is not healthy, refutes what the media sells from their corporate sponsors and takes responsibility for what one puts in ones body, food becomes medicine and medicine becomes unnecessary. When a healthy diet is individualized, consisting of the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibers, it becomes the foundation for lifelong health.
“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; when diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
Ancient Ayurvedic Proverb.
The human body was designed for movement, and yet, today more than ever many of us have become sedentary beings that compromise our physical well being. Sitting for long periods of time can lead to ligament laxity which results in aches and pains. Car accidents, whiplash, sprains and strains, scars and poor healing can lead to long term pain and functional loss. Physical Medicine focuses on structure and biomechanics, aiming to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life. Damage to muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves can lead to significant pain and a reduced capacity for activity. Techniques such as Prolotherapy, PRP, Neural Therapy, Acupuncture, Trigger Point Release and Applied Kinesiology work to restore structural functionality, reduce pain and increase overall immunity and well-being. If you’ve had an injury, suffer from chronic pain, or are wanting to get back in shape, Dr. Berghamer’s experience in Physical Medicine can help you return to optimal ability.
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy)
Similar in theory to prolotherapy in terms of creating a healing inflammatory response, PRP therapy involves injecting a patient’s own concentrated platelets to initiate healing in damages tissues and joints.
Although a relatively new therapy, studies are showing excellent results in using platelet rich plasma to heal damaged ligaments, tendons and muscles. Platelets are often thought of as clotting cells, causing blood to thicken and form scabs after injury; however, platelets serve many other important functions. These small cells are responsible for attracting white blood cells into injured areas to “clean up” damaged and dead cells, which often produce non-productive stagnant swelling and lead to chronic inflammation or “tendonitis.” This chronic damage, once thought to be an active inflammatory problem, hence “tendonitis,” has recently been renamed “tendonosis” because of the lack of inflammation found. Thus, the area is prevented from healing because the swelling is non-productive and must be resolved for recovery to proceed. Platelets injected into the area not only draw white blood cells in to “clean up,” they also release growth factors that are directly responsible for tissue regeneration. Read more…
The term “prolotherapy” or “prolo” is derived from “proliferation” because the treatment causes the proliferation (growth, formation) of new ligament or tendon tissue in areas where these structures have become weakened. Ligaments are like tight rubber bands that hold bone to bone, whereas tendons are strong rubber bands that hold muscle to bone. Both tissues, ligaments and tendons, can become weakened with overuse or be injured when exposed to excess stress. Ligaments and tendons only have so much ability to stretch before they tear, and are then slow to heal because of a low blood supply. Resultant pain from the damage to these structures is common because of the high number of nerves that innervate them. Thus, old injuries to ligaments and tendons can still, after many years, be a common source of chronic pain.
Prolotherapy, at the simplest level, uses a solution of dextrose (sugar) and local anaesthetic (procaine, lidocaine), which is injected into the ligament and/or tendon where it attaches to the bone. The sugar in the solution triggers a localized inflammatory response that stimulates blood flow into the area. As new blood flow enters the old injury, nutrients and cells stimulate healing of the tissue. The dextrose is the stimulant but your body has the innate ability to do the healing itself. Read more…
Neural therapy is based on the theory that trauma can produce long-standing disturbances in the electrochemical function of tissues. The technique has been in practice in Europe since the 1940’s. It has been shown to be very effective in treating many conditions, including neck and back pain, whiplash, chronic pain, headaches, migraines, jaw pain, post-surgical pain, scar tissue, athletic injuries, digestive disturbances, PMS associated pain, sinusitis, hypothyroid, organ dysfunction and disturbances due to scar formation.
The disruption of signalling throughout the body can create many seemingly non-related issues or pain syndromes that appear untraceable. Neural therapy involves the injection of a local anaesthetic into traumatized tissue (usually scars, acupuncture points, nerves, ganglia (groups of nerves), or trigger points) to remove any disruption to the body’s electrochemical communication and signalling system. Anaesthetic appears to act as a circuit breaker which removes blocks to normal nerve impulses. Read more…
Acupuncture developed over a 3,000 year period, as practitioners observed the effects of needling different points on the body. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theorizes that there are more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body, and that these connect through 12 main and 8 secondary pathways called meridians. These meridians conduct energy, or chi (pronounced “chee”), throughout the body.
Chi is believed to regulate spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin and yang. According to TCM, when yin and yang are balanced, they work together with the natural flow of chi to help the body achieve and maintain health. Acupuncture balances yin and yang, keeps the normal flow of chi energy unblocked, and restores health to the body and mind.
Traditional Chinese medicine practices including acupuncture, herbs, diet, and physical therapies and exercises, are intended to improve the flow of chi. Western scientists have found meridians hard to identify because meridians do not directly correspond to nerve or blood circulation pathways. Some researchers have found that meridians are located throughout the body’s connective tissue, and can be measured electro-magnetically. The concept of chi energy is difficult for many westerners to appreciate and understand and so differences of opinion have made acupuncture an area of scientific controversy. The clinically observed effects of acupuncture, however, demonstrate its benefit to improving health and resolving pain.
At the clinic we only use only stainless steel disposable needles, so there is no risk of infection. The procedure is relatively painless, with the small, round tipped needles being inserted in various parts of the body at acupuncture point sites.
IV Nutrient Therapy
Healthy nutrition and eating consciously are part of the foundation for excellent health and mental/emotional well-being; however, the old saying, “You are what you eat” should really be changed to “You are what you absorb.” The absorptive capacity of the gastrointestinal system is huge; however, in today’s society there are a number of culprits that impair this system: chronic stress, inflammation, improper diet, pesticides (glyphosate!), petrochemicals, hypochlorhydria or dysbiosis to mention a few. Unfortunately, not only do these influences affect nutrient absorption, they also contribute to “leaky gut” and an increase in toxin production – a double whammy!
Reduced absorption isn’t often considered as a cause for low nutrient status, impaired healing or disease states. It isn’t always symptomatic and the signs can be misleading. And the resulting conditions often further the problem: stress, excess or deficient stomach acid, inflammation (IBS, IBD, Crohn’s, UC), ulcers, H. pylori, allergies, diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating. These conditions are all associated with an increased need for nutrition that may not happen just by increasing food intake.
Increased nutrition is not only necessary in diseased states. Athletes, surgery candidates, pregnancy and world travelers all have an increased nutritional demand.
Chelation / Chezone Therapy
The goal of chelation therapy is to restore the health of arteries. This is accomplished through the removal of pathological heavy metals, dissolving atherosclerotic plaques to restore normal blood flow to the heart and the entire vascular system. Millions of people take high blood pressure and anti-cholesterol medicine, undergo angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery and have persistent cardiovascular problems. Chelation is a safe and effective addition, and in some cases alternative, to the drugs and surgery used
Physicians across the globe have been prescribing and successfully treating coronary artery diseases with EDTA chelation for over fifty years. We find chelation therapy most effective when applied in a preventive approach, recognizing the role diet, exercise, lifestyle, behaviour and the environment play in heart disease. When compared to surgery or long-term drug therapy, chelation therapy is extremely cost effective.
Chelation is also a therapy which targets the removal of potentially toxic heavy metals from the body. These include Mercury, Lead, Arsenic, Thallium, and others. EDTA, DMSA and DMPS are examples of the chelation therapies we administer that use the binding characteristics of certain amino acids to collect and eliminate these toxins from the body. They are proven safe IV administered therapies conducted in our lab by qualified technicians.
What is Chelation (EDTA) Therapy?
EDTA (ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid) is a synthetic amino acid which has the ability to attach itself to metals and minerals, forming a particular kind of bond called a chelate. Heavier metals such as lead have a greater affinity to EDTA and form stronger bonds.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s EDTA was found to be a safe and effective treatment for lead toxicity and was approved for use as a drug for that purpose. In many cases, patients who coincidentally had symptoms of heart disease such as angina, improved while undergoing lead toxicity treatment. Since that time, scientific opinion and evidence that EDTA Chelation therapy is effective in treating blood vessel diseases has been growing to date, FDA has not approved EDTA Chelation therapy for vascular disease, but the status of EDTA as an approved drug for lead toxicity permits physicians to use it for other conditions, including vascular disease. This kind of discretionary use of approved drugs by physicians is common to a number of medical treatments.
Why does Chelation Therapy work?
The exact mechanism of action by which EDTA improves blood flow has not been determined, but one theory is that it reduces “free radicals.” Free radicals are highly active molecular fragments formed during the production of energy in the cells. They have energy, like sparks in a fireplace and this energy can be used by the body when properly handled. But, if free radicals get out of control, they cause damage to surrounding tissues as fireplace sparks can set the carpet on fire. Excess free radicals contribute to obvious signs of aging such as wrinkling and loss of skin elasticity. Internal damage is less visible, but even more serious.
How is Chelation administered?
An IV pole with a plastic bag containing the EDTA stands beside a comfortable chair in our IV Room. A small needle and catheter is inserted into a vein in your hand or arm to deliver the chelation treatment. The treatments are painless and take approximately to 2 to 2½ hours to deliver depending on the treatment prescribed and your comfort level.
Chelation involves the intravenous infusions of EDTA over a course of several treatments in our IV Lab. Chelation therapy patients are also advised to take a comprehensive approach to health including: diet, exercise, stress management and dietary supplements. As with any medical treatment, patients should ensure their treating physicians have the training and credentials for the administration of EDTA.
How does Chelation compare to other treatments?
Chelation therapy has been used safely for over 40 years during which time the development of heart and lung machines has allowed the growth of more invasive medical techniques such as by-pass surgery. As with many medical treatments, scientific studies on chelation therapy and bypass surgery are ongoing and often used in conjunction with one another or other vascular treatments. Because it has a favourable safety and side effect profile and does not preclude the concurrent or subsequent use of other treatments, chelation therapy is worthy of consideration by those suffering from vascular disease
What is Chezone therapy?
CheZone therapy consists of a combination of Chelation Therapy and Ozone Therapy.
CheZone therapy was invented by Dr. Frank Shallenberger, a pioneer in ozone therapy. Adding ozone to chelation has proven to greatly enhance the already well documented efficacy of Chelation Therapy. Chelation Therapy improves circulation, enabling more oxygen to reach the cells. Ozone therapy enables the cells to use the oxygen that is being delivered with a much higher level of efficiency. These two modalities are truly synergistic, and the results of either are greatly increased when they are administered together. For this reason, in most clinical situations, we prefer CheZone treatments over Chelation therapy alone.
You can learn a lot about chelation therapy at www.acam.org.
All people over the age of 60 should have a routine course of Chelation therapy as part of a general revitalization program. It is also used to treat patients who already have coronary artery disease, arteriosclerosis, or hypertension.
Preventive lifestyle programs are proven to reduce an individual’s risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, but many individuals with these diseases go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. An individual can feel fine, but still have a significant health issue which has not been identified. Our assessments include comprehensive testing, screening and analysis to rule out any underlying problems.
The human body is an electric body. All of the tissues, organs and cells function by moving ions and electrons to create ATP molecules. ATP can be thought of as energy units for living systems. Each organ and tissue has a SPECIFIC energy FREQUENCY where it resonates. Despite all of the insults that we throw at and into our bodies, they function pretty well – most of the time. When they don’t, however, sometimes it is useful to support the body by mimicking the energies that normally resonate within.
Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) does just that – boosting the tissues of body back to a healthier state so the tissues can restore and rebuild. FSM, by increasing ATP production, results in better cellular assembly, improved blood circulation and directed collagen production with improved elasticity results. FSM has the capacity to reduce pain and swelling caused by inflammation. Because of these basic effects, the possible injuries and dysfunctions which can be treated include all joint pain, back pain (disc injury, nerve entrapment, and vertebral facet pain), whiplash, concussions, digestive irregularities, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, gout, adrenal and thyroid disorders, cystitis, female reproductive concerns, prostate conditions, lung and bronchial problems, sinusitis and others.
The energy that is added to the system is very low – at a level the body already operates in so you won’t feel an electrical sensation during the treatment. You may feel subtle shifts within your body as the tissues begin to reestablish normal physiological function. Following treatment some patients feel a flare or slight worsening of their symptoms due to the bodies healing activities in the tissue and the removal of the waste that have been released. This process usually recedes within 24 hours of the treatment and then you will begin to feel better.
The FSM treatments are effective because they can be individualized to each patient directly targeting his/her particular situation. The objective is to re-establish a healthy resonance through the affected system. A treatment can last from 30-90 minutes depending on the patient, how many tissue types are affected and how much dysfunctionality (inflammation, pain, spasms scars etc) are present.
FSM can be used alongside any other treatment to increase the rate of healing. Several treatments are usually required to promote the complete spectrum of healing that is possible.
NOTE: Although Dr. Berghamer is trained in FSM he is not currently offering these treatments at his Burnaby office. Patients are recommended to contact the doctors at Ocean Park Natural Therapies for Frequency Specific Microcurrent treatments.