Interviews

Dr. Chris Chlebowski – Ashland Natural Medicine

Circling back to 8 years ago when we first introduced Dr. Chris Chlebowski of Ashland Natural Medicine, today we talk about the growth and evolution of the practice. We also discuss the partnership and collaboration between Dr. Chlebowski and Dr. Ajana Miki. Finally, we explore the plans for moving into the future. Ashland Natural Medicine’s goal is to help each patient heal rapidly, effectively, and permanently through completely tailored, natural medicine solutions.

Dr. Chris Chlebowski, welcome back to LocalsGuide.

Thank you. Glad to be here.

Dr. Chlebowski, how has the practice grown over the past 8 years?

We began our practice on the north end of town in a small, two room office. In 2016, we moved the clinic to where it is located now, right downtown on Lithia Way, across from the new development near the post office. We have three treatment rooms and an infusion therapy suite that accommodates up to three patients at a time. Our menu of services and the number of conditions we treat has expanded since 2016. We now offer Ozone therapy, Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy, BEMER Vascular therapy and Chelation therapy. We specialize in the treatment of Lyme disease, chronic infections, toxicity and hormone imbalance. We also offer supportive care for cancer. Just this week, because of the Coronavirus, we’ve expanded our capabilities for telemedicine. It’s a constant growth process for us.

What are some examples of these issues?

We treat a lot of people with mold and/or heavy metals toxicity, Lyme, cardiovascular disease, and chronic infections such as Epstein Barr and autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s.

Was it surprising to you see your practice grow this way?

Yeah, it was surprising. I didn’t realize how many sick people were here in Ashland. I didn’t realize how many people are sick with Lyme and mold and heavy metal toxicity. They come out of the woodwork. Every week, there are new people who find us in their search for answers.

Please talk more about Lyme disease. What specifically are you seeing and how is it presenting itself in our community?

Most people come to us with common symptoms such as fatigue, digestive problems, and chronic pain to name a few. The most common story we hear from patients is they’ve had these symptoms for years with no relief. What we often find with lab testing is that someone who has tested positive for Lyme are also are dealing with heavy metals and/or mold toxicity. These toxicities are usually associated with dental fillings and mold exposure in their environment.

Dr. Chlebowski, what are your customers primarily looking for and how are you helping them in their journey?

Most patients have mystery illnesses or they have a illness they have not done well with. We typically begin with in-depth research, combing over all the information we already have. We aim to solve the mystery by identifying what’s presently working and what’s not working. An examination of the patient and thorough notation of current symptoms is our first step. But it goes beyond that. Past medical history, diet, genetics, past lab work; these all contribute a significant amount of information to our investigation. Then we order lab work to help fill in the gaps of the puzzle. It’s an investigative process for sure. Once we’ve established a good picture from our research, we formulate a treatment plan tailored for the patient. All plans are individualized, specific to the patient’s overall health picture.

What are the fears and concerns of your customers and how do you work to alleviate these?

They are concerned of wasting more time and money. People who come to us usually have already seen multiple doctors. They are worried that we will be one more stop along the way before they get any solid answers. They are afraid that they will just stay sick.

A few months ago we interviewed your colleague at Ashland Natural Medicine, Dr. Ajana Miki. How are you two working together offer the most to your clientele?

She is an expert in autoimmunity and hormone imbalance, particularly in women. Lyme disease, chronic infection and cancer is my speciality. We both are really good listeners and we pay a lot of attention to our patients. We have an on-going supply of curiosity that motivates us to find better solutions to our patient’s health concerns. For example, Dr. Miki recently received training and certification to administer Ozone therapy, which we now offer in the clinic. We are super excited about it as it offers a lot of great health benefits. We both are continuously studying and advancing our skills in the latest naturopathic techniques so that we can offer them to our patients.

You are also joined by an amazing team at Ashland Natural Medicine. Please introduce us to them.

Natasha is our amazing clinic administrator and savvy marketing manager. She’s been with us since 2016. Alima is our exceptional medicinary manager, who keeps our apothecary well stocked with the very best in herbal tinctures and supplements. Lisa is our very talented assistant manager who helps keep the front end of the clinic flowing. Ute is our highly valued nurse who handles the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, BEMER mat and infusion suite. Brook and Natalia are the massage therapists of the clinic who are high skilled in what they do. I feel very lucky to work with such an awesome group of people.

Ashland Natural Medicine spends a lot of time with its customers. Will you please talk more about this and how this time spent leads to successful outcomes?

Healing takes time. Most cases can take up to a year to see chronic symptoms improve. Dr. Miki and I spend a lot of time working on and thinking about our cases. Our staff also spends time on cases, making sure the patients are receiving what they need in order to stay current on their treatment plan. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. So when a person becomes a patient at our clinic, we consider it a commitment to their health. We are in it for the long haul. And we expect that commitment to their health journey to be mutual. The patients that we see get well and stay well are the ones who have stuck with their treatment to the end. They are the ones who are successful. It’s a great thing to witness.

Dr. Chlebowski, what do you enjoy most about the work you are doing?

To help people get well so they can do what they do in the world.

How do you see the clinic continuing to evolve as you move into the future?

We are looking towards expanding our clinic infrastructure in the near future. Our present location is great but we are needing more treatments rooms and office space to accommodate our staff. We also hope to make more options available to lower income folks who are seeking alternative healthcare.

Right now what is the key focus of the clinic?

We hold the vision of being very unlike any other doctors office. We are completely outside of the insurance model, because we think that Insurance shouldn’t have any say whatsoever in people’s health. We don’t run people through the typical things… we are mindful of time and money. We only order lab tests that need to be ordered. There is no one-size-fits-all. Everyone gets something different.

Dr. Chris, please talk about the art gallery that is incorporated into your practice and the efforts that your practice makes to connect with the local community.

My wife, Samae, is our gallery curator. She rotates the art every three months to keep the gallery fresh and inspiring for our staff and clients. It gives us an opportunity to connect with the community on a social level. We host First Friday Art Walks and art receptions. Wine, beer, music, artists’ talks, even free chair massages in the spring. People remark about it all the time.

Dr. Chris, how can you make the biggest difference in your patient’s lives?

Once someone comes in and learns that our team is on their side and trusts us to help guide them… That is the single most important thing. We can help them change their health for the better and that changes their lives.

What is the single biggest mistake you see patients making that you wish could be avoided?

Some jump ship. They don’t see their treatment through to the end. I discourage this. Most of our patients have been sick for many years. Again, it takes time to get well. It takes time for things to unravel. The people who stick with their treatment get well and stay well.

How do you encourage people through hard times?

Take one day at a time. Value the small wins. They add up to big victories. Celebrate them.

What are the next steps for our readers who are wanting to learn more?

We have a huge resource of information on our website, AshlandNaturalMedicine.com. Visit our articles blog. You’ll find lots of information there about conditions and techniques. We also have a YouTube channel and Instagram account where we post educational videos. Sign up for our newsletter. We publish a quarterly newsletter that has a wealth of information in it.

Finally, do you have any last words or thoughts you would like to share with our readers?

We are facing interesting times right now. We are here for the community. We are here for you.

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