Considering the alternative

There isn’t any incense burning in the office of Aurora Naturopathic Center, nor are there voodoo dolls or anything else that might cross the imagination when seeing the words “naturopathic medicine.” There is, however, a patient-centered approach that addresses the health and functional state of the whole person.

Aurora Naturopathic Center, located at 1050-31st Ave. SW, Suite D, inside Back to Back Chiropractic Clinic, is a relatively new place in Minot offering naturopathic medicine combined with individualized, conservative and scientifically based health and wellness strategies. The center opened on July 1 and is welcoming new patients.

There is a full range of services offered at Aurora Naturopathic Center including acute illnesses (like colds, flus or coughs); adolescent and pediatric considerations; allergies and sensitivities; annual wellness exams and physicals; anxiety and depression; detoxification and chemical sensitivity; diabetes; digestive disorders; eczema or other skin issues; fatigue; female hormone imbalance; headaches and migraines; high blood pressure; male hormone imbalance; nutrition and lifestyle education; thyroid disorders; and weight issues.

Stephanie Nishek, a licensed naturopathic doctor at Aurora Naturopathic Center, said she doesn’t offer any treatment that’s weird or hokey.

“I work with people who are ill and want to gain health or people who are healthy and want to maintain, but don’t want pharmaceuticals,” she said. “I’m here to help improve or maintain their health.”

Nishek said she works with the person’s diet or helps him or her make lifestyle changes. She also uses nutritional supplements and homeopathy.

So far, business at the center has been overwhelmingly good, Nishek said, and she has been pleasantly shocked at the positive response.

“People have been excited and some travel to come here,” she said. “I’m pleased and excited to be here and like what I have to offer is needed.”

Nishek is the only licensed naturopathic doctor in Minot and one of five in the state. She is a native of Minot and Valley City and graduated from the University of North Dakota. Prior to returning to Minot, Nishek practiced naturopathic medicine in Arizona.

While a student at UND, Nishek said she has always been naturally minded and had a professor who was holistic-minded. She bounced around a little with a few career choices. Then her professor suggested she try the naturopathy route and she was hooked.

A naturopathic medical education provides knowledge of several disciplines including homeopathy, nutritional supplementation, traditional and unique laboratory analysis, botanical medicine, detoxification, nutritional counseling, pharmacology, and other aspects of individualized care. However, while Nishek is educated in the safe and appropriate use of pharmaceuticals, current state law does not allow her or other naturopathic doctors to prescribe any pharmaceutical medications.

A lot of people in North Dakota are naturally minded, Nishek said, but don’t know that’s what it is called. Nishek said she typically sees three groups of people: those who are ill but don’t want to take medication, people who have exhausted their efforts with treatment and who are slowly losing hope, and people wanting to stay healthy.

“No two days are the same,” she added.

Fatigue is probably the main reason for why people have come to Aurora Naturopathic Center, Nishek said.

“Fatigue is a huge problem,” she said. Also, difficulties with sleeping, digestion problems, diseases of lifestyle (like stress-related headaches) or functional problems are other reasons for people’s visits.

People seem to appreciate being their own advocate and being part of the decision making process in their treatment, Nishek said.

“I’m a detective and a cheerleader,” she added. She discovers the problem and suggests solutions, then offers a lot of support. “I make a habit out of not telling people what to do,” Nishek said. People like to feel responsible, like their voice matters and to be involved, she continued.

One thing Nishek wanted to emphasize is that she doesn’t use machines or wives’ tales. Instead, she puts a significant amount of time and effort into studying cases and most of what she does is scientifically based.

“I don’t have all the answers, but I have a good network of other (professionals) to fill in the gaps,” Nishek said. “So with a team approach, we have more of an ability to get things done.”

Aurora Naturopathic Center is currently open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but Nishek said the hours may have to be extended since business has been steady. People interested in visiting the center can call 818-9449, visit the website at (AuroraNaturopathic.com) or visit their page on Facebook.