Due to increasing requests for Bastyr Natural Medicine Clinic services offered once a week on Wednesdays at the Edmonds Senior Center, as of this Wednesday, July 2, hours will be extended for a full day, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Since the clinic opened at the Edmonds Senior Center in January 2012, morning appointments have remained at capacity, so the additional afternoon hours will help to fill the growing need. The administrative fee for each visit is $15.
Seniors and all ages from Edmonds and nearby communities receive a range of services that include dietary and lifestyle counseling and education, hands-on physical therapies, and herbal and nutritional supplements — with product samples offered free of charge by Bastyr University. This is a student teaching clinic with Dr. Laurie Cullen, N.D., Bastyr faculty member, overseeing the four senior students who are required to complete clinic hours as part of their training. Cullen will supervise the afternoon hours, and Dr. Joshua Rubenstein, N.D. will oversee the morning shift.
According to Cullen, who has been overseeing the ESC Bastyr site for the past year, their program does fulfill the role of primary care provider, but helps to “facilitate around the edges,” perhaps with counseling on lifestyle and life changes, diet and other conditions. Cullen reports that about 50 percent of participants are in their 60s through their 80s (with some younger) are from Edmonds, while the remaining 50 percent are from nearby communities, with 95 percent from Snohomish County. New patients receive an hour and a half initial appointment, with one-hour appointment follow-ups.
Some treatment modalities include gentle stretching, massage and visceral manipulation, as well as diet change, herbs and vitamins. Should additional counseling be requested, patients are referred to social worker Michelle Reitan at the Edmonds Senior Center.
“We meet the patients where they are at their own agenda and chip away at problems a little at a time,” Cullen said. “Patients tell me they love coming in and appreciate someone to talk to and listen to them, as well as the hands-on techniques. We get to know them and find the crux of their disease. Our goal is to help patients be happy on a day-to-day basis. They are relieved and improve.”
Among common treated conditions at ESC include fatigue, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stress-related complaints, depression, anxiety, hypertension, life changes, gastro-intestinal issues, osteo pain and allergies. Bastyr University, based in Kenmore, is internationally recognized as a pioneer in natural medicine. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes prevention and wellness designed to fit each individual and focusing on the whole person, physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. Practitioners can work with each patient’s medical doctors and help patients become partners in their own health care.
Jane Guiltinan, ND, Dean of the School of Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University, emphasizes the concepts of treating the cause of a problem, supporting the body’s own healing process and encouraging patients to create their own wellness even in the face of serious illness. Guiltinan uses nutrition, plant medicine and homeopathy in her practice and believes that air, water, food, touch, love and laughter are some of the most powerful healing agents.
The Edmonds Senior Center is investing $55,000 of its own money over three years to help the program continue successfully. Additional funding includes $20,000 from the Peg and Rick Young Foundation, $6,000 from the McCaw Foundation and $500 from the Washington Federal Bank Foundation.
Prospective participants of all ages from Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Everett, Shoreline, Mill Creek, Lake Forest Park, Seattle and other nearby communities are welcome at Bastyr’s Natural Medicine Clinic at the senior center. For more information and to make an appointment, call 425-774-5555, Ext. 108. The Edmonds Senior Center is located at 220 Railroad Ave., Edmonds. Parking is available in the Senior Center lot and at the fishing pier (first parking lot on Railroad Avenue after you turn off Dayton Street).
By Joan Nilon, for the Edmonds Senior Center