121 South Madison St.
Denver, CO 80209
Office Hours (by appt only):
Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Holistic Mental Health
After all the spectacular human accomplishments from landing on the moon to exploring ocean depths, mapping the human genome to transplanting human organs, the mind still stands as one of the most intriguing and largely unknown regions of modern medicine. Certainly, theories abound and some progress has been made regarding the role of the mind in all forms of illness, psychiatric or other. The mental-physical overlap is well known: physical disease such as a malfunctioning thyroid can present to clinicians as psychosis, and psychiatric diseases such as anxiety often have physical expression in fluttering hearts and tense muscles. But, frustrating to patients and doctors alike, many of our current treatments impart side effects that make it difficult for patients to initiate or continue treatment. Thus, the need for more options, conventional and holistic alike, is almost palpable.
Homeopathy is a gentle, safe system of medicine that utilizes natural substances in a holistic, individualized way. Homeopathic medicines, often referred to as "remedies," are prescribed with the underlying philosophy called the law of similars, or put simply, "like cures like." The basic idea is that a substance causing a particular set of symptoms in a person can cure the underlying illness manifesting those same symptoms. A couple of examples of this in the natural world include drinking a little coffee in order to address a coffee induced withdrawal headache, or the pharmaceutical prescription of Digoxin for cardiac arrhythmias (Digoxin can cause arrhythmias). The idea of prescribing medicines in a similar way is the single most important principle of homeopathy. A secondary principal of homeopathy espouses that remedies are diluted in order to make them safe to use in many contexts, including usage in infants, children, pregnant women, and elderly patients.
Of the many different natural treatments available within naturopathic medicine, homeopathy stands as quite possibly the most effective tool to address all manner of mental health conditions. Anxiety, depression, coping with the loss of a loved one, bipolar disorder, ADHD, behavioral problems, and stress are some of the mental health conditions that homeopathy can address. Within naturopathic circles, homeopathy's reputation and strong affinity for addressing mental-emotional conditions has meant that some practitioners do not utilize this therapy unless the patient carries a psychiatric diagnosis. While understandable that this reputation has developed, homeopathy also treats many physical concerns remarkably well. In fact, historically, homeopathic physicians from the early 1900's effectively treated mental illness including psychosis alongside ravaging influenza epidemics prior to the introduction of conventional drugs or antibiotics.
Nonetheless, conditions do exist where homeopathy will not be or at least is less likely to be an appropriate form of treatment. For more information on the appropriateness of homeopathy for your particular illness, please call our office to schedule your free 15 minute consultation. If Dr. Botham thinks that you are not likely to benefit from our services, you will be notified and given the contact information of a physician offering other forms of treatment for your condition.
A wholesome diet is foundational for all health. Nutrition can powerfully influence every organ system in the body, including the nervous system. Brain cells are predominantly made up of fats. A diet adequate in Omega 3 fats contributes to membrane stability and is important for brain health. Omega 3s are found in foods like salmon, walnuts, flax seed oils, and other fatty fish oils.
Additionally, Dr. Schuppe Botham has found that most individuals do not consume nearly enough plants in the form of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. The common western diet is inflammatory and conducive to the destabilization of mental emotional health, often undermining other treatments and exacerbating side effects such as weight gain, gastrointestinal concerns, cardiovascular issues, and Type II Diabetes.
Further, sometimes excesses and deficiencies of particular nutrients can cause symptoms of mental illness. For example, low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with symptoms of depression in addition to many other symptoms. Both deficiencies and excesses of Iodine can cause problems in the Thyroid gland. When it seems warranted, Dr. Schuppe Botham tests for nutrient deficiencies and recommends treatments to address particular findings.
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Exercise is critical to all health, both physical and mental. The benefits of regular exercise historically have been tragically underestimated most especially when applied as regards mental health. As such Dr. Schuppe Botham has found that both cardiovascular exercise and the routine of resistance exercise (weight training) has tremendous influence on neuronal health. In the past couple of decades, new studies have emerged that demonstrate that exercise in particular induces the secretion of a powerful brain protein (BDNF) that fosters neural cell growth and repair. Additionally, many conventional pharmaceuticals cause obesity and cardiovascular disease that exercise helps address.
Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)
BDNF is a protein that is secreted to varying degrees in the brain to turn on cellular repair and regrowth (neurogenesis). Historically, it was thought that neurons had little (if any) ability to repair, regenerate, and regrow. In the past two decades research has undermined this error in thinking. Quite the contrary, nervous tissue has tremendous ability to not only repair but even rewire. Indeed, BDNF has much to do with this process termed Neuroplasticity. This is a fascinating, ever changing subject of much research in the field and many natural disciplines and foods encourage the increased production of this brain protein. Fasting, meditation, exercise, practicing silence, music, learning, and the culinary spice Turmeric increase BDNF. Dr. Schuppe Botham enjoys meddling in this topic. As a community service she compiles short educational videos on topics related to BDNF on the Miles Naturopathics YouTube Channel. For further information check it out and follow us.
Unfortunately, too many of us live in such a way that we are cut off from the natural world of plants, trees, animals, and all living things. We drive on concrete freeways, work in boxed cubicles, sometimes do not even see out the window during the course of our day. Many children, plugged into portable electronic technologies no longer play or interact in the ways of old. Increasingly, running around in the woods, building forts, or climbing trees, and inhabiting the wonder of nature has become foreign to children and more generations of human beings. While we may not consciously realize the effects of being disconnected from the natural world and the increasing dependence and connection on and to man-made technologies, the soul of humanity carries this deep grief. The more sensitive humans in a given culture often carry this grief, sometimes unknowingly. Often holistic healing involves rebuilding and developing new ways to reconnect with the whole of nature.