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The Art of Healing

Dr. Sasha Rose on her holistic approach to gut health

Article by Becca Abramson

Photography by Courtesy of Wildwood Integrated Health

Originally published in Portland City Lifestyle

Naturopathy is a form of integrative medicine that aims to treat the whole person rather than putting a band-aid on symptoms or simply managing a disease. In addition to using nature as medicine and prioritizing supportive therapies over invasive treatment, the field emphasizes the doctor as a teacher who spends time listening to a patient while digging deep and looking at the whole person. At family-owned Wildwood Integrated Health in Falmouth, Drs. Sasha Rose and Daniel Katz employ this holistic, multidisciplinary approach to health and wellness to help patients live comfortably in our modern world.

“After undergrad, I was trying to figure out what career path to take, and I was pretty interested in healthcare and medicine,” explains Dr. Sasha. “I considered conventional medical school, but I already had a belief in mind-body medicine and treating the whole person, so when a friend told me about naturopathic medicine, I knew it was the right fit: it was medical, it was based in Western medicine with evidence-backed science, and it really acknowledged the emotional and spiritual side of an individual.” 

During her six-year doctorate program in Portland, Oregon, Dr. Sasha met her future husband, Daniel, and upon graduation, the two drove across the country with their two cats and German shepherd to settle in Portland, Maine. “I started as a generalist, but I quickly realized I didn’t want to practice primary care,” says Dr. Sasha. “When I moved to Maine, I realized there were tons of other people with degrees who could offer it, like nurse practitioners and MDs. I had this whole other skillset that those providers didn’t have,” she explains. 

Not long after launching Wildwood, Dr. Sasha was approached by a friend in the health publishing world who encouraged her to write a book on whatever topic she wanted. “I was noticing that the majority of my cases were either a GI concern or mental and emotional struggles, like anxiety and depression. Writing the book gave me an opportunity to study the mind-gut connection before it was a mainstream topic,” she explains. “Most of us have an experience in our life where we’re about to do something that feels big—maybe a first date or public speaking—and you experience butterflies in your stomach, or you might have the runs. It’s different for everyone, but there’s a connection between a stressor and your subconscious.”

Dr. Sasha treats patients of all kinds in her digestive health practice, from those at the beginning of their investigative journey to those with full diagnoses to young children with gastrointestinal upset. After running comprehensive tests and taking into account any diagnostic exams from a patient’s gastroenterologist or PCP, she determines the best plan for treatment. “Sometimes it’s an actual pharmaceutical antibiotic, if that’s what’s indicated, but it can also be an herbal antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory herb, or vitamins, minerals, and nutrition,” she explains. “There’s a thin line between prescriptive diets and disordered eating, so I tend to take a hands-off approach to dieting. I’m not going to tell someone they need to restrict their eating to certain foods, but there are elimination and anti-inflammatory diets that can be helpful in getting digestion back on track.”

To learn more about Dr. Sasha’s digestive health practice and other services, visit wildwoodmedicine.com.

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