Game Changer: Naturopathic Medicine in Recovery

Helping to form the foundation of Sabino Recovery’s therapeutic approach, naturopathic medicine is a pillar – and an important difference – of the Sabino recovery experience. Its founders knew that in order to provide a truly holistic and individualized treatment program, it needed to take into consideration a range of medical philosophies to allow residents to reap maximum benefits.

Enter Sabino’s medical director, Dawn Bantel, ND. As a doctor of naturopathic medicine, Dawn is trained to focus on holistic, proactive prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and brings this unique expertise and broad perspective to integrated recovery. Combining the naturopathic approach with Western (allopathic) resources results in treatment that is uniquely individualized and strives to improve each resident’s overall health and wellbeing.

First, comprehensive lab testing allows Dawn to uncover any underlying physical issues or health struggles that may impede a person’s ability to thrive in treatment and recovery. In many cases, these can be simple things that the person may not have considered. Sabino also looks at subtle yet important factors such as hydration and sleep habits, which can often be severely undermining overall health, and is able to help residents resolve any issues through the use of specialized therapies.

Health issues can range from hormonal to digestive to anxiety, which – like sleep problems – is common in the early stages of recovery. Instead of relying wholly on traditional pharmaceuticals to treat these, which in the case of sleep and anxiety medicines can themselves be addictive, Sabino aims to address issues using neutraceuticals, herbal supplements, vitamins and lifestyle recommendations whenever possible. Sabino doesn’t ask residents to discontinue prescriptive medications nor is it considered a goal in treatment unless the resident sets that goal. Rather, the Sabino Model supports that both allopathic and naturopathic medicine can co-exist and even complement one another, drawing on their combined range of options to deliver the best course of treatment for each person.

The sum of all of this, says Dawn, is getting people to a better state of health, faster. In turn they are more receptive to all treatment and motivated to continue working toward good health.

“People are often so used to feeling awful, they don’t realize how much it’s affecting them – it’s become baseline,” she says. “When we get to the root of their health problems, you can see the improvement right away, even in their appearance.”

Dawn recalls a resident who came in with a degree of liver failure and severe back pain. She developed a course of medical treatment that worked to heal these through a combination of nutrition, acupuncture, massage and a neutraceutical liver formula. Initially, the resident was skeptical, but she observed him become increasingly optimistic and enthusiastic each day as he began to feel better.

“When we can minimize or eliminate the issues that are causing people unnecessary additional suffering, they’re immediately more hopeful that they can feel better”