I think it all started with reality TV. Weird right? But it’s true. I actually think the concept of holistic health was first introduced to me through makeover shows on TV that I would watch as a kid and teen. I especially liked the shows that worked on a full inside-out transformation. You know, the ones that gave the lucky person new clothes, new hair and makeup and also a new diet plan, exercise routine, new daily habits and coaching for an improved mindset. I don’t even remember watching a lot of these shows but I guess the ones that I did watch left a lasting impression. They made me passionate about the idea of transformation.

In late elementary school and throughout high school I would create little “wellness” programs for myself. I never called them that at the time. It was just something fun to do for myself. I would write down goals about what healthy foods I would eat, what daily habits I wanted to incorporate, what herbal remedies I’d have and how I would exercise.

In high school and during my undergrad at the University of Toronto, I became fascinated with traditional medicine. I learned about traditional Indian (Ayurvedic) medicine on my own and I took history of medicine courses where I learned about ancient Greek and other traditional European medical systems. There was something that all of these old systems had in common: they were all holistic. They all treated “the whole person”. It wasn’t only about a single pill or formula. Although single remedies played an important role, they were incorporated into a broader plan. Dietary changes were prescribed. Daily habits and routines were organized for patients carefully. Special attention was given to optimizing sleep, improving the surrounding environment and cultivating inner tranquility. Adjustments in diet and routines were even made based on the seasons of the year. It all seemed so comforting, so soothing, healing and restorative.

But for the most part, my interest was just a hobby for me. It was just interesting stuff for me to read about, experiment with and talk about with my parents and sister. My family found these things interesting and were always supportive. My mom would let me make little health programs for her. My dad brewed up herbal concoctions and was always trying new natural remedies (and still is). My sister’s work in public health was a reminder that health and wellness is a multifaceted thing that needs to be addressed at all levels. All of their support and interest kept the passion for this field alive for me.

Then finally, during my undergrad, I was given the key to my profession. An MD with a passion for integrative medicine did a guest lecture and a course on integrative medicine at the university. Integrative medicine involves different types of health care providers working together. He mentioned naturopathic medicine a couple of times. I did some research about naturopathic medicine and quickly came to the realization that my passion wouldn’t have to remain a hobby. There was actually a profession where I could put my passion into practice. And the rest was history.

I guess the qualities of a naturopathic doctor have been wired into me for a long time. There always has been (and I think always will be) controversy surrounding the field of “complementary and alternative medicine.” As someone who loathes conflict and controversy this can make it hard at times for me to stand tall in this field. But when I remind myself of everything that pointed me in this direction, I don’t think there could be any other profession more suited for me than a naturopathic doctor.

Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at info@HLHC.ca



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