Dr. Tiffany Bloomingdale, Naturopathic Doctor & Classical Homeopathy

Richmond Natural Medicine is excited to introduce Dr. Tiffany Bloomingdale, ND, who is joining our team of practitioners as a uniquely skilled and dedicated Naturopathic Doctor. Dr. Bloomingdale is a graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, and brings her specialized skill set as a practitioner of classical homeopathy to our community here in Richmond. We recently had the opportunity to hear about her experience of becoming a naturopathic doctor and her perspective on homeopathy as a precise and effective tool for holistic medicine at every stage of life.

Describe a bit about your journey in choosing to research and practice naturopathic medicine. How has this impacted the way you take care of your own health?

“The way I learned to take care of my own health with the help of a naturopathic doctor absolutely influenced my choice to become an ND myself. I was excited to see that my first ND’s intake form asked about my top life stressors and coping mechanisms. As a college student, I recall thinking, of course my stress and my health are related! I was relieved and happy to have a doctor’s visit go there.

I found the philosophy of naturopathic medicine— looking for the cause of disease and believing in the ability of the body to heal itself— intriguing and immediately felt like it was a wise and revolutionary way to look at illness. As I progressively discontinued pharmaceutical medications for an inflammatory bowel disease with the help of nutrition therapy, herbal medicine and breath work, I was inspired to share this information and naturopathic approach with other people. I’ve come to appreciate how naturopathic medicine encourages me to tune in to myself for answers about my health, first and foremost. I think that part of my job is inspiring others to do this, too.”

Is there an area of naturopathic medicine that you feel particularly drawn to?

“Regardless of a patient’s symptoms or diagnosis, I am continuously drawn towards the basics— how well is someone eating, drinking, sleeping, handling stress? If someone is not practicing foundational aspects of wellness, I want to know why and then troubleshoot ways to make sure they are. That said, resistance to positive change that comes up is individual and happens for different reasons. To accommodate these differences and help inspire someone to make healthy shifts, I find constitutional homeopathy to be a powerful tool.

For example, a person who needs the homeopathic remedy Sepia constitutionally may be someone who craves stimulants like coffee and chocolate. Asking this person to discontinue drinking their afternoon coffee may not go over well; however, with the remedy Sepia on board, the person may energetically shift away from craving so much coffee in the first place and find relief from their symptoms. In this way, I see homeopathy as an integral part of helping someone maintain their foundational wellness and find more ease in making positive changes.”

Describe what homeopathy is to you and how you can utilize this with individual patients.

“Homeopathic remedies are sourced from the natural world. A small piece of a plant or mineral or a bit of venom from a snake or bee, for example, is collected and diluted. The more dilute a preparation is, the more potent the medicine. For example, a ‘200C’ homeopathic remedy is more dilute and therefore stronger than a ‘30c’ homeopathic remedy. Ultimately, the homeopathic remedy is taken orally, as drops in liquid form or as tiny, white pellets.

When someone has a symptom, the homeopathic remedy selected to help them is based on the idea that the same remedy, given to a healthy person, would cause the symptom. For example, if you have a swollen, hot and red bee sting, a likely homeopathic remedy for you would be Apis. When given to an individual without a bee sting or similar condition, we would expect Apis to cause a transient expression of the symptom. In homeopathy, this is called a proving and it is how we have come to know about how each remedy acts. The mechanism of action of homeopathy is not yet known; however, clinical evidence of it’s effectiveness dates to the early 1800’s. There are no detectable molecules of the original substances used to make homeopathic remedies left on the actual medicine given to patients— it is suspected that an energetic imprint of the original substances remains in the diluted preparation and elicits healing. My goal with each patient is to understand the flow and progression of their unique story around their symptom or disease. Then, I give them a homeopathic remedy that best aligns with their whole health picture.”

How does using homeopathy differ from using other forms of botanical medicines (herbal teas or tinctures) or pharmaceutical drugs?

“Herbal teas and tinctures are derived from plants, like some homeopathic remedies. However, the medicine extracted from a plant for an herbal tea or tincture is not diluted the way a homeopathic remedy is.

Additionally, the indications for using one plant in a tea or tincture may be radically different from using that same plant homeopathically. For example, St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perfortaum) is commonly used to support mild depression in an herbal preparation, yet is often used for nerve pain homeopathically.”

Can you describe a situation or type of person where using homeopathy would be an ideal tool to use?

“I think that every person can benefit from having their constitutional homeopathic remedy on board as part of their treatment plan. As it raises one’s overall level of health— acting deeply and steadily— constitutional homeopathic remedies improve sleep and energy levels and help people get more benefit out of healthy lifestyle choices they’re already making. Homeopathy can enhance a natural medicine protocol someone is already following. This is key because often people are working hard to eat well, stay hydrated, sleep enough, manage stress and follow their supplement and/or herbal medicine regimen— and yet they continue to have some bothersome symptoms. Incorporating an energetic tool like homeopathy can be the missing component to someone achieving profound and lasting positive changes in their health.”

What kinds of things do you see shift when using homeopathy with people? (i.e – what could people expect to see change when starting a homeopathic treatment?)

“With the correct constitutional homeopathic remedy, I would initially expect someone to generally feel more like themselves with positive changes in mood, sleep and energy. Following, I would expect to see their presenting symptoms shift and improve.

By symptoms shifting I mean that someone may go from having a more serious symptom to a less serious symptom— for example, a lung condition like asthma may improve, but the person may develop allergies or a skin rash. This would be a sign that the body is moving in an overall direction of improved health. I would wait and let the homeopathic remedy continue to act, expecting the less serious symptoms to clear up over time as well. When we have a history of illness suppression, the body may need to go through layers or stages of healing to truly resolve it.

Alternatively, with homeopathy I would expect to see a patient’s symptom improve in terms of severity or frequency. For example, if someone always gets a migraine headache prior to a major meeting a work, a couple times a month, I would look for their constitutional homeopathic remedy to make their migraine symptoms less intense and less frequent. The time in which it takes to fully clear a symptom varies between individuals. It is important to remember that the remedy is being selected based on the whole person with the symptom and not just the symptom itself.

Another change that someone may experience with constitutional homeopathic treatment is needing less of some pharmaceutical medications. For example, if someone is taking pain medication on an ‘as needed’ basis, they may find that they are able to take fewer doses or less frequent doses, as the remedy begins to work.

I think it’s also important for people to know that homeopathy is safe and gentle. It can be used at any stage of life and is safe during pregnancy and while breast feeding. It can be used in conjunction with conventional medicine and other types of natural medicine.”

There are many effective ways one can practice natural medicine and holistic care, and homeopathy is one of the most skilled, precise and effective tools we can utilize to influence our own health. In the hands of an experienced naturopathic physician, the use of homeopathy is a powerfully influential tool for achieving positive health outcomes. We are thrilled that Dr. Bloomingdale is here to offer her expertise to our patients at Richmond Natural Medicine, and share her knowledge as a classical homeopathy expert.