Dr. McKenzie Steiner, a recent transplant from Jackson to Victor, was surprised to find that more people knew what naturopathic medicine is in Teton Valley than over the pass.
Naturopathic medicine, she explained, is a brand of alternative medicine in which the primary care provider seeks to find the root causes of a patient’s symptoms. It combines modern and traditional methods and emphasizes prevention and whole-body wellness.
“The goal is getting back to functional health and helping a patient remember those things we forget in our busy lives like good breathing, mindfulness, nutrition,” Steiner said. “It’s about physically existing in a certain way.”
She opened the Driggs branch of Indian Paintbrush Family Care on S Main a month ago, but has practiced medicine in Jackson for six years and continues to hold clinic hours there as well.
With two young kids, Steiner has naturally gravitated toward serving children and women, although she never knows who will walk in the door; she helps people coping with inflammation, infertility, digestive disorders, fatigue, stress, autoimmune disorder, and offers homeopathy, supplements, disease prevention, and environmental medicine
One of her frequently used techniques is biofeedback, in which she observes a patient’s physiological responses such as muscle tension, heart rate, and posture, then works with him or her to readjust to a better status quo.
Steiner grew up a competitive Nordic skier in Wilson and spent years as a massage therapist with a medical and sports focus. But she eventually realized that there are many practitioners doing physical medicine in the area, and decided to offer something different. She earned her doctorate of naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, one of less than ten accredited naturopathic medical colleges in the country. She is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and of the Naturopathic Academy of Primary Care Physicians.
Earlier this year, the Idaho state legislature passed a bill that will go into effect next summer that provides licensure for naturopathic doctors in Idaho. Steiner is already licensed in Montana, but once she gets her license in Idaho, she will be able to prescribe some medicine, order a wider suite of tests, insert IVs, and perform other tasks that are the purview of medical professionals. She’s excited to see that change happen in Idaho and thinks it will comfort some patients who question the legitimacy of naturopathic medicine. She hopes insurance companies will follow suit and consider coverage for patients.
Indian Paintbrush Family Care is located in the newly named Diamond Bar Professional Building on the southeast block downtown Driggs, next to Hummingbird Yoga. Steiner enjoys sharing space with healers who practice biofield tuning, acupuncture, and chiropractic care.
She often works in conjunction with a primary care doctor, especially if a patient has a more serious or acute condition.
“I love integrative medicine, it’s the way to go,” said Steiner, who is already working to establish relationships with Teton Valley Health practitioners. “There’s a time and a place for everything. It’s teamwork with different providers.”