The first thing you notice entering A Natural Path is the serene and friendly atmosphere. Dr. Kathleen Flewelling or “Dr. Kat” as her clients call her, did her residency in family medicine and has indeed created an environment that is warm and inviting. There is a child-friendly waiting area, a pitcher of Britta-filtered water, and a great selection of magazines, all of them current. Offering a combination of alternative and conventional care, Flewelling is a graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland. She says, “True healing and disease prevention comes from a healthy lifestyle. ”
She opened this office in July after being in practice in Seaside since 1998. She is a specialist in the management of menopausal issues, and most recently, genomic medicine. “I do annual gynecological exams, and treat hormone and thyroid issues as well as general health problems. I have hormone kits you can do in the privacy of your own home.” In Oregon, naturopathic physicians can order diagnostic and screening labs, specialty labs, and prescribe many prescription medications. Naturopathic physicians counsel patients on health, lifestyle, nutrition, medications and supplements. Physician brand supplements are available in her office. She is not able to prescribe medical marijuana. She accepts the Oregon Health Plan. Questions about other insurances accepted and payment policies are referred to Wendy Stafford, her office manager of 10 years.
Since moving to her new location, Flewelling hopes to bring in a lab for diagnostic testing and screening blood work.
“Many people do not like to go to the hospital lab and there is no independent lab in south Clatsop County,” she said. “I’m also hoping to bring in more physicians and an acupuncturist.”
Flewelling is originally from Iowa. She married an Oregon guy. A year into traditional med school, she had an epiphany, deciding naturopathic medicine was more to her liking.
Her most basic advice to patients seems very sane. On the subject of diet, she recommends chewing food well and eating meals in a relaxed state and around the same time every day. A good diet includes at least three servings of vegetables a day, and high quality protein such as fish and nuts and seeds, as well as fresh fruit and whole grains. She is an advocate of drinking loads of water; “Try drinking half your body weight in ounces per day,” she suggested. “Add an additional 2 cups of water for every cup of alcohol or coffee you drink.”
Getting enough sleep is important, she said, a hot topic since so many people claim to sleep poorly. Flewelling advises going to bed before 11 p.m. and getting out of bed immediately upon awakening. “Having trouble sleeping? Turn off your screens at least 30 minutes before going to bed.” She is a practitioner of intentional breathing, which she says is an excellent way to stay calm and relieve stress.
“Focus on breathing down in your belly; let it expand on the inhale, and relax on the exhale,” she said. “Inhale deeply and exhale slowly until all the air is gone. Do this several times a day for a total of at least 100 deep and intentional breaths.”
A reporter asked Flewelling what she thought about the popular fad of drinking a tablespoon every day of unfiltered apple cider (the most popular choice is Bragg’s) as an internal cleanser and possible diet aid. She seemed reluctant to endorse it as a technique for weight loss.
“What it does do is acidify the stomach so that it produces its own hydrochloric acid,” she said. From a naturopathic standpoint, that is enough of a benefit to warrant the practice. Fair warning, the taste is very strong and it can feel like it’s burning going down.
“It’s fine to dilute it in a glass of water,” Flewelling counseled.
Flewelling is a smiling person, which also sums up a lot of her philosophy how to live a happy, healthy life.
“Have fun and laugh every day,” she said. It looks like she’s taking her own advice.
Flewelling is located at 620 Holladay Dr., #6, Seaside, 503-738-5859.