Village hosts naturopathic practice

A naturopathic medicine practitioner who moved to southeastern Sask. three years ago says fatigue is a common ailment she treats

WINDTHORST, Sask. — Experienced naturopathic doctor Wendy Davis is providing southeastern Saskatchewan residents with a greater range of health-care options.

The Ontario woman began practising in Carlyle, Sask., in 2017 and recently opened a new office in the small community of Windthorst. Her holistic approach is focused on finding the root cause of illness and disease, rather than honing in on symptoms.

“I start everyone out with a one-hour appointment so I really get to know them, their stories and what’s been going on with their health,” said Davis, explaining that her four years of study at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in North York, Ont., focused more on overall health and well-being than acute care.

“If you get hit by a bus, I’m not the person, but if you have a longer-term condition like hormone imbalance or mental-health issues, naturopathic medicine can really help.”

One of the most common ailments Davis sees in her practice, which she takes on the road to Estevan, Sask., one day a month, is fatigue. She says diet plays a huge roll in the condition, as do environmental factors.

“There’s so much toxicity from pesticides, sprays and coal and oil in this area that I see a lot more fatigue in people than I did in Ontario,” she said.

Davis practised naturopathic medicine in Ontario for 13 years before relocating her practice to rural Saskatchewan following one fateful flight. On a trip from Toronto to Regina, Davis was seated next to Windthorst buffalo rancher and trucking company owner Dean Andres. A conversation led to long-distance visits and eventually to a move to rural Saskatchewan.

“I find there is a different mindset here that is just slower,” said Davis of her new province. “In Ontario everything is just busy, busy, busy so it leads to this collective busyness and frantic energy.”

A slower pace of life has not slowed Davis down, however, as she seeks to spread the word about the benefits of good nutrition and a mindful lifestyle on whole-body wellness. Her new store called Made opened this summer and features made-in-Saskatchewan products like all-natural foods, jewelry and artwork, as well as Davis’s signature Harmony Tea Co. medicinal teas.

The Harmony Health Clinic, where Davis sees patients four days a week, is located in the Made building along with the Windthorst Post Office.

Davis believes that most health concerns she sees could be avoided if healthier diets were the norm. Davis often prescribes a whole-food diet, as well as supplements to help her patients.

Mental health issues are near the top of the list for ailments she sees in her practice and she points to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the North American diet as one of the culprits.

“When you look at what we’re eating on a day-to-day basis, no wonder there’s anxiety,” said Davis of the typical high-sugar and processed diet in Canada.

She adds that COVID-19 fears have also led people to experience a greater number of mental health issues in recent months. Her strategy for dealing with anxiety and depression during the pandemic is often to help her clients focus on what they can control, rather than what they can’t.

“The whole COVID situation has made us feel like victims, so I encourage people to take their power back and I help them see how they can make themselves stronger by boosting their immunity and staying active,” said Davis.

She said a lot of what she does is educating people about the benefits of being proactive about their health.

Davis’s sister is a conventional medical doctor, so Davis sees the necessity for both kinds of practices. However, she also sees the differences in approaches as well.

“My sister gets lots of her information from pharmaceutical reps,” says Davis, and she believes that this can lead to conventional medical doctors relying on drug therapy rather than natural therapeutics.

The Harmony Health Clinic features a dispensary with professional-grade supplements that Davis said have fewer side effects than conventional drug therapies.

“With naturopathic medicine, it empowers the patient to take their health into their own hands and I just help them along,” said Davis.

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