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Using a patient-centered approach, the Alpine Valley Wellness Center provides an extensive range of services to help you achieve and maintain optimal health.Combining conventional and natural medicine, our clinic provides functional, integrative care to address both acute and chronic health care concerns.
Because our services are designed with our patients in mind, the Alpine Valley Wellness Center is the preferred choice for those seeking the foremost in comprehensive, individualized healthcare focused on wellness and the treatment of root causes, rather than simply addressing the superficial symptoms of your illness.
Our compassionate physicians are highly trained, skilled, and experienced in a full range of proven and leading-edge therapies. Whether it is women’s or men’s health, sleep optimization, digestive problems, mental health concerns, bio-identical hormone replacement, or pain management – we stay at the forefront of medicine and research to assure you the best outcomes.
Below is a listing of the main services we provide. Please click on the sign to obtain more information about that topic.
Naturopathic physicians are licensed in the state of Washington as primary care practitioners with the ability to provide a wide range of healthcare options for people of all ages. A naturopathic physician is a highly trained professional with an educational background similar to a MD’s, including course work in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, cardiology, dermatology, urology, gynecology, psychology, geriatrics, rheumatology, clinical/lab diagnosis, and neurology. In addition, our clinicians have specialized training in various natural medicine modalities, which are outlined on our Integrative Therapies page.
Having a naturopathic physician as your primary care doctor offers several benefits. Perhaps the most important is their ability to look at your medical issues in a larger context. Because naturopathic physicians spend more time consulting with you, they are better able to understand the implications of your history, lifestyle choices, and previous medical treatment. This often allows for greater diagnostic insight and more customized, less invasive treatment options.
Another advantage is that naturopathic physicians naturally include wellness and prevention as part of their treatment planning. Rather than simply focusing on symptoms or pathology, naturopathic physicians make time to address and educate you about how to prevent diseases that you may be at risk for.
Finally, naturopathic physicians recognize the importance of a medical team approach in the practice of primary care medicine. When prescription drugs or surgery are the appropriate therapy of choice or when another health care practitioner can better serve the needs of our patients, a timely, well-directed referral will be made. This is particularly true in the case of hospital admission, since naturopathic physicians in the state of Washington do not have hospital privileges as part of their scope of practice.
Dr. Thomas is an expert in women’s health care,with over a decade of successful practice. She provides care for most common medical conditions that affect women, including menopause, osteoporosis, diabetes, PMS, mental health issues, migraines, endometriosis, fibroids, menstrual disorders, fibromyalgia, ovarian cysts, autoimmune disease, eating disorders, and hypothyroidism. Dr. Thomas was one of the first practitioners in the Wenatchee Valley to understand the importance of bioidentical hormones and offer them in her practice. She continues to study this complex area, updating her knowledge through ongoing reviews of the medical literature and attending various professional seminars.
Dr. Thomas also provides all of the relevant diagnostic services of a primary care provider, including blood and chemistry panels, PAP smears, bone density testing, breast exams, and hormone testing.
Dr. Thomas also sees children for a variety of common childhood ailments such as colds and flu, behavioral problems, food allergies and intolerances, and developmental issues. Issues that are not handled in-house, such as specialty care and vaccinations, can be handled through the Alpine Valley Wellness Center’s extensive referral network.
It has been widely reported that women access the medical care system more consistently than men. One study noted that seven of ten Americans who have not visited a doctor in the last five years are men. One outcome of this is that men’s health care services are often less developed than services for women. At the Alpine Valley Wellness Center, men and women’s issues are given equal attention and prominence. Issues that affect men, such as prostate disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, androgen deficiency, depression, insomnia, hormonal therapy, and reproductive concerns are addressed in a professional and supportive manner.
Complex medical problems often require a team of medical professionals, working together, to maximize outcomes. This is commonly the case with issues that involve surgery, major mood disorders, severe autoimmune diseases, and several others. For patients who already have a primary care provider, specialist, or team of providers that they work with, input from a naturopathic physician can often help take a therapeutic program to the next level. Our staff is well trained in co-management and team communication in order to coordinate with your providers. Please feel free to contact us if we can be of service in this way.
Living with pain, especially chronic pain, can be a tremendous drain on the quality of your life. As supported by recent research, the inclusion of natural medicine options can provide a strikingly effective advantage in pain management. When appropriate, we also refer to other medical professionals in our referral network who commonly address pain issues such as neurologists, physical therapists, rheumatologists, chiropractors, and massage therapists. Ample time is also given to provide education and tailored lifestyle interventions.
For more information, please see our Pain Solutions page.
What Is Integrative Health Care?
Integrative health care is based on the philosophy that health is influenced by a variety of interrelated factors such as life choices, environment, genetic makeup, intimate relationships, and the meaning and purpose in life. As a model it is collaborative and multidisciplinary. It is open to and recognizes the importance of conventional medicine, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), mental health care, and mind-body approaches (such as meditation, yoga, hypnotherapy, Reiki, and therapeutic massage). There is a respect for each individual’s journey and for the stories that make up the history of their lives. There is a belief that these “biographies” influence the biology that manifests in illness or in health. Integrative health care supports all of the important aspects of life, including creativity, cultural expression and the celebration of community. To have “health” means that the whole person is in balance – physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Therefore, there is no “health” without “mental health.”
What Is An Integrative Approach To Mental Health Care?
Integrative mental health is an evolving, whole-systems approach to wellness of mind, body, and spirit. It considers that symptoms are associated with multiples causes and that multiple approaches to assessment and treatment may be necessary so that each individual may attain an optimal state of health and well-being.
For more information, please visit our Integrative Mental Health page.
Hormones are not just something that are important for women – men have hormones too. Hormones are important chemical messengers that travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They work slowly and affect many critical processes, including:
- Growth and development
- Sexual function
- Sleep patterns
Hormones are responsible for many functions in our bodies. For example, the thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormone, which has a role in the regulation of body temperature, reproduction, bone health, and glucose metabolism—just to name a few.
Because hormones are powerful, it is important to keep the glands that produce them in optimal shape. Too much or too little of a certain hormone can cause serious health issues and negatively impact your quality of life. Dr Thomas offers multiple services for hormonal optimization for both men and women, based on her extensive experience and familiarity with current medical research.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the most common approaches to the management of menopausal symptoms. HRT helps replace the hormones that a woman’s body no longer produces. There are two primary types of HRT: estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and combination estrogen/progesterone therapy. Other hormones less commonly used in HRT include androgens, specifically testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
There are several benefits to HRT. Estrogen helps to preserve bone mass and prevent fractures, alleviates thinning of the vaginal wall and bladder, and effectively treats hot flashes. Many women also feel better on HRT; they sleep more soundly, have more energy, and feel less fatigue and irritability.
An example of a hormonal issue that affects men is low testosterone (Low T), also known as hypogonadism. This condition is estimated to affect approximately 13 million men in the United States. Low testosteroneis often triggered by the gradual decline of hormone production over time and has been associated with a number of factors, including medication side effects and aging. When this happens, patients often experience symptoms such as reduced sex drive, depressed mood, decreased energy, and erectile dysfunction.
Regulation of testosterone requires an experience medical practitioner. A number of studies linked testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. These studies caught the attention of the FDA, which issued a safety alert stating that it will investigate these findings to determine whether new labeling on products is in order. Additionally, the agency reiterated its official position on these products, reminding consumers and doctors that they should be prescribed only in proven cases of low testosterone and only when patients have symptoms. To date, the connection between TRT and cardiovascular issue remains controversial.
For more information, please visit our Natural Hormonal Solutions page.
Acupuncture is actually part of a larger system of medicine currently known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Just as surgery is one part of conventional medicine, so acupuncture is only one part or modality within TCM. In mainland China and Taiwan, TCM is considered an integral part of the health care system. According to Wikipedia, “Unlike other forms of traditional medicine which have largely become extinct, Traditional Chinese Medicine continues as a distinct branch of modern medical practice, and within China, it is an important part of the public health care system. In recent decades there has been an effort to integrate Traditional Chinese Medicine with scientific medicine. One important component of this work is to use the instrumentation and the methodological tools available via Western medicine to investigate observations and hypotheses made by the Chinese tradition.”
Dr. Piscopo is one of a small number of clinicians in the Northwest who has been trained not only in naturopathic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, but also has extensive experience working with conventional medical hospitals. For more information on acupuncture, please visit the Acupuncture page.
Please note that, due to ongoing concerns about adulteration of health products imported from China, we do not currently use Traditional Chinese patent medicines in our practice. We do use Chinese herbal formulas made by American companies who have met our quality control standards.
Sleep is one of the three “pillars” of physical health, along with diet and movement/exercise. Problems with sleep organization, poor sleep habits, or actual sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea can be the source of significant medical issues. Dr. Piscopo has done extensive research on sleep issues and is the author of a published article on sleep apnea. He works with medical specialists in the field of pulmonology and neurology to provide comprehensive interventions that effectively address sleep issues.
For most of us, life expectancy is less of an issue than health expectancy – the number of healthy years we can expect to live where our quality of life is high. According to Lorna Layward, former research manager at the charity Research into Aging, “What we really want is our health expectancy to be as close as possible to our life expectancy, so that we live long and die quickly. In other words, we [want to] compress the time we are ill at the end of our lives.”
An integrative approach to optimizing the aging process that includes natural medicine options is better positioned to address health expectancy than conventional medicine. Naturopathic physicians are well versed on areas that promote optimal aging such as nutrition, movement, and effectively addressing stress. In addition, they are experts on anti-oxidant therapies, hormone optimization including bio-identical hormone replacement, cancer and chronic disease prevention, detoxification, and lifestyle interventions.
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