My Journey to Naturopathic Medicine
Hello, my name is Dr. Arreola and my journey with naturopathic medicine is not like many others. Most people I know were battling a health condition themselves and the disappointment of western conventional care had driven them into the arms of Naturopathic Medicine. For me however, the journey here was purely soul-driven.
It all began in my early twenties when I had just graduated from college and was looking towards my next step in life. I was pre-med in college and had every intention of applying and attending conventional allopathic medical school and becoming an MD. I had done everything that was necessary to make this goal a reality: I majored in biology, was active in community outreach, a leading advocate for preventive health, consistently placed on the dean’s list, maintained a competitive GPA and had scored well on the MCAT. The only thing left for me to do was to apply. I began doing research on the different schools that I had previously been excited about, when suddenly, everything felt all wrong. I didn’t want to do this anymore and I had no idea why— for many, many years this was my dream and now that it was here I was overcome with the feeling of dissatisfaction. I decided to take a few days to really hone in on these feelings, in hopes of “sorting it all out” before I continued with the application process. (If you’re unaware, the application process to medical school is extensive and VERY costly, so it was not a decision I wanted to take lightly, feeling the way I did.)
During those few days, I reconnected with a friend that I hadn’t spoken with in some time. We were in many classes together in undergrad as we were both pre-med students and by chance, we connected through social media and set a time to catch up. When we spoke, she told me that she was finishing her first year in medical school studying Naturopathic Medicine and planning a medical mission trip to South America over summer break. I had never heard of this field prior to this conversation so it certainly piqued my interest. She gave me a brief explanation of what Naturopathic Medicine was and some resources to look into if I was interested in learning more. Our encounter was brief and she in no way spent time trying to “sell me” on this field of medicine, but intentional or not, she planted the seed.
I spent the remainder of the next couple days researching naturopathic medicine, its history and its presence today. I learned all about the six principles of naturopathic medicine, the therapeutic order and the true tenets of health. I further deepened my own belief about how the mind, body and spirit were intrinsically connected and how this needed to be taken into consideration when treating a person, regardless of their ailment. I grew increasingly inspired the more I learned and that flame of excitement began to burn once again. I knew that THIS was the root of what I wanted to study, the type of medicine I wanted to provide to future patients and the type of doctor I wanted to become. I was excited, inspired and fueled with passion… feeling exactly the way I had expected to feel just days before (when beginning the MD application process). I felt like this was the path I was meant to pursue and quickly switched gears, preparing myself to find and apply to a Naturopathic Medical School.
The requirements for the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program were nearly identical to applying to conventional medical school so the transition was seamless. When researching schools on the west coast, (didn’t want to go too far from home) I found Bastyr University California which was conveniently located in my hometown. The university was just a half an hour away from where I was currently living… Now honestly, could things have felt any more “meant to be”? As soon as I had discovered this field of medicine, everything began to fall into place with ease. The stars aligned, if you will, and I finally felt like my path was aligned with what I truly wanted. I applied, was accepted and the rest is history ♡