My Journey into becoming Naturopathic Medical Doctor

My Journey into becoming a Naturopathic Medical Doctor…

I’ve always wanted to help people. Yes, I know that is a pretty generic statement, but it’s true. This motivation stemmed from my Christian upbringing and the character of my parents growing up. I’m lucky to have known from a very early age that I wanted to be a doctor to help people. I didn’t know what that meant at such a young age, and my life journey to this point has truly revealed that meaning to me.

Gilbert AZ Naturopathic Medical Doctor
Becoming a Naturopathic Medical Doctor

Luis was a great mentor to me all my life. He was kind, generous, and funny, always making jokes. I saw Luis as an impenetrable, strong family man. But, he also had a drinking problem. His own personal struggle through life lead him to drink 6 cans of beer every night after dinner to cope with his daily stresses. One day, Maria, his wife noticed he was dragging his feet; he wasn’t walking like he once did. Then, at work one day, Luis felt weak and very sick, and decided to go to the ER. The doctors diagnosed him with Parkinson’s disease. Years later Luis was on 10 different medications, and his wife Maria had to start working to help pay the mortgage because he couldn’t work anymore.

I went to visit Luis one day, we were talking and all of sudden he starts to say: “get the birds out of here, they aren’t supposed to be inside.” Luis was hallucinating. His memory had declined and he had unknowingly taken a double dosage of his medications. Over the years, Luis continued to decline, he had a hard time walking, even to the kitchen or the bathroom.

To this day, I still keep in touch with Luis. I called him last week, and said “Dad? How are you?” but all I could hear was stuttering in the background. He’s lost the ability to speak now and he is very difficult to understand.

Gilbert AZ Naturopathic Medical Doctor
Your Compass to Health

Yes, this story is about my dad. And it breaks my heart, because my partner never got to know the funny, charismatic man he once was. And my future children won’t know my father that way either because HE DIDN’T MAKE HIS HEALTH A PRIORITY.

I know that most people here won’t experience Parkinson’s disease in their family. But 75% of people end up in a nursing home, I want you everyone in my community to be part of the 25% that doesn’t end up in the nursing home.  The reason I share this story, is it’s not too late for the people in my community. I want all of my patients to be present with their family and loved ones, so their spouse or family doesn’t have to take care of them.

I’m going to take care of my health, because I have a responsibility to my partner, to my unborn kids and grandkids. 

While medications are necessary in some many cases, what I see is the current medical system is broken. The mindset of where responsibility lies for the personal health is placed in the wrong place and there is so much mis-information about what is health and what is not. I see many patients rely on medications as a crutch, and do not know of other solutions for taking control of their health. After seeing the person I loved so much deteriorate due to a broken medical system, and a laundry list of medications, my purpose as a naturopathic physician is clear.

My daily driving force and motivation is to help others reach a balanced state of health so that they may live out their own purpose in the world. My mission is that all people in my community have a naturopathic medical doctor that is guiding them to health and wellness.

What is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor?

Naturopathic medicine is a type of medicine that uses natural treatments to promote health and wellness by stimulating the body to heal itself. Naturopathic medicine is founded upon the following principles:

  • The healing power of nature: the body has an incredible ability to heal itself when presented with the correct resources and environment to do so. Similar to when you have a paper cut, your body inherently knows how to heal itself.
  • Identify and treat the cause: symptoms a person may be presenting with are merely a sign to alert the body/person that there is an underlying problem. The symptom itself is not the problem, it is the messenger. Treating the root cause behind the symptoms is the only way to reach true health.
  • First do no harm:naturopathic physicians follow the therapeutic order which outlines using the gentlest treatments first to provide relief to symptoms and promote healing.
  • Doctor as teacher: with all the misinformation and information so readily available at our fingertips, health education must be provided. This promotes eventual independence from the physician’s care and allows the patient to understand why changes in diet and lifestyle are important.
  • Treat the whole person: the body works as a whole unit and must be treated as so. All organ systems must be addressed with continuity of care in order to promote true healing. This takes into account: physical, genetic, emotional, mental, environmental, social factors that influence the state of health.
  • Prevention: health starts with daily, conscious actions to foster wellness. Health is defined as “unity and harmony within the mind, body, and spirit which is unique to each person, and is as defined by that person. The level of wellness or health is, in part, determined by the ability to deal with and defend against stress. Health is on a continuum with movements between a state of optimum well-being and illness, which is defined as degrees of disharmony. It is determined by physiological, psychological, socio-cultural, spiritual and developmental stage variables.2” Naturopathic physicians assess for risk factors, family history and disease susceptibility in order to provide necessary interventions to prevent diseases.

    Naturopathic Medicine | Gilbert AZ
    Gilbert, AZ Naturopathic Medical Doctor

Naturopathic practice includes a comprehensive, medical history, diagnostic testing including evaluation of labs, imaging and physical exam findings. Individualized treatments include:

  • Nutritional medicine
  • Lifestyle recommendations
  • Herbal formulations
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Acupuncture
  • Health Mentorship and education
  • Vitamin & mineral supplementation
  • Lymphatic therapy
  • Prescription medications
  • IV therapy
  • Gentle detoxification

Have you ever gone to the doctor with a list of symptoms, research you’ve read, insights into your own health and have left the office in tears because the doctor only gave you 7 minutes of their time and did not hear you? Did they check your labs and decide everything is normal? Did they blame it on you, and say “it’s all in your head”?

Naturopathic Medical Doctor | Gilbert AZ and Chandler AZ
Michelle Barraza, NMD

Our Naturopathic Medical Doctor team in Gilbert, AZ office spend at least 1 hour with you during your first visit and provide their patients with individualized treatment plans. We believe that each person is different, their history, their risk factors, and genetics.

For more information about Our Doctors, or Naturopathic Medicine please call 480-648-1534 or message us below. Start living the life you intended, today!






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1447 W Elliot Rd Suite 103
Gilbert, AZ 85233


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