Over the past several decades, there’s been a shift in the way Westerners view healthcare. As our society has come to recognize the numerous benefits of naturopathic medicine, many of us now crave a holistic approach to our health.

This means that in addition to seeking medical treatment from our primary care physicians, we also want professional guidance with the critical task of maintaining the health of our lifestyles, diet and nutrition regimens, and stress management techniques. We’ve come to reap the incredible rewards of integrating various holistic approaches – from yoga to acupuncture to hydrotherapy to herbal medicine – into our lives.

As a result, people across the globe have turned to Bastyr University — the world’s leading academic center for advancing and integrating knowledge in the natural health arts and sciences — for naturopathic instruction and advice.

Founded in Seattle in 1978, Bastyr has transformed the health and well-being of the human community for nearly 40 years by serving as the premier naturopathic university, research institution, and health clinic open to the public.  And the University’s goal is to continue to lead the movement in advancing education, research, and clinical services in the natural health arts and sciences in this country and throughout the world.

In 2012, Bastyr University expanded, opening a campus in Sorrento Valley and becoming California’s only fully accredited naturopathic medical school. There, the Bastyr University Clinic offers comprehensive family health care to the San Diego community.

Students who wish to become global leaders in naturopathic health would be hard pressed to find a more reputable university than Bastyr. The University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees, as well as certifications, in holistic areas of study including acupuncture, herbal sciences, naturopathic medicine, nutrition, integrated human biology, and public health.


Bastyr University Clinic offers comprehensive health care for every age group.

The Naturopathic Healing Approach

“When people hear the term ‘naturopathic,’ they’re not always quite sure what it’s referring to,” said Dr. Lisa Portera-Perry, DC, an expert in Functional Medicine and adjunct clinical faculty member at Bastyr University California.

A loose, popular interpretation of the term conjures up ideas like going vegan or steering clear of pharmaceuticals. But in clinical terms, “naturopathic” simply means using the healing power of nature to treat the whole person.

“This means we look at each patient as an individual,” Portera-Perry explained. “We offer natural treatment and treatment techniques – such as herbal medicine, chiropractic and acupuncture services, hydrotherapy, and even meditation – based on that person’s specific genetic disposition, lifestyle, diet, and all the little details that are putting their health out of balance.” In other words, Bastyr’s patients don’t receive a pamphlet with a standard set of recommendations to manage their health issues. Instead, Bastyr’s naturopathic doctors (NDs) carefully tailor a holistic support program that best suits each individual’s needs.

“Everyone’s life circumstance is completely different, from their access to food to their physical abilities,” Portera-Perry said. “NDs work hard to identify what exactly each patient requires on the nutritional level, as well as the mind/body/spirit level, to manage their illness.”

Donna Jacobson-Grateful Pt

Tailored Healthcare For Each Individual

This level of attention to detail with each patient at Bastyr begins with a thorough 60-to-90 minute intake appointment conducted by a naturopathic care team consisting of doctors and their medical students. Many patients come to Bastyr for help with managing chronic health issues and autoimmune diseases that haven’t been fully relieved by traditional medical treatment. Bastyr’s staff works to address the underlying causes of these diseases.

Photo: Donna Jacobson credits her treatment at Bastyr University Clinic with the success in her fight against breast cancer.

NDs effectively blend modern, science-based diagnostic and therapeutic procedures with ancient, natural methods. This might come as a surprise to some, as there’s still a lingering, erroneous belief that a person must choose either natural medicine or traditional medicine to manage their health. But that’s far from the truth.

“The two inform, and greatly assist, one another,” Portera-Perry said. “Traditional medicine and pharmaceuticals are obviously an essential part of our healthcare. The idea here isn’t to be in one corner or the other, but to look at how the two can collaborate to maximize a patient’s entire course of healing.”


The doctors at Bastyr University Clinic spend time with individuals to ensure that they feel heard, respected and understood.

Uniting Traditional and Natural Medicine For Ultimate Healing

One primary example of how traditional and natural medicine can collaborate to bring about extraordinary results is the story of Bastyr patient Donna Jacobson. After struggling for years with her autoimmune difficulties, Jacobson decided to try the naturopathic route at Bastyr Clinic in Sorrento Valley, where she was introduced to Portera-Perry.

“I learned more about my health and my autoimmune disorder in my first visit than I had from other medical sources in the last 40 years,” Jacobson said. “I was so impressed and was met with such kindness and care.”

Just one month after her initial Bastyr visit for her autoimmune illness, Jacobson discovered she had breast cancer. She felt blessed that Portera-Perry and Bastyr would play a central role in her cancer treatment plan. Portera-Perry quickly assembled a team to offer Jacobson comprehensive nutritional, lifestyle, and mind-body support that successfully worked in conjunction with her oncologist’s course of treatment.

“I am not going to be a cancer survivor; I am going to be victorious in this fight against cancer,” Jacobson said. “I know that my chemotherapy side effects would be much worse if it were not for my treatment from Bastyr clinicians. I have felt no fear with Dr. Portera-Perry and her team at the helm, guiding me along the most challenging journey of my life. No matter the circumstances that lie ahead, I know that with them, I will be taken care of and poised for victory.”

Explore Natural Medicine for Yourself

There are many opportunities to learn more about naturopathic medicine and other services available at the Bastyr Clinic.

  • Sign up for a free Welcome to Wellness This is a 20-minute appointment with a naturopathic health care team to learn about the services offered and how they can address your personal health needs.
  • Come to one of the free Healthy Living These events include monthly talks on topics such as brain health, the importance of detox, and nutrition. The clinic also offers Open Houses that offer free health screenings along with cooking demonstrations and tours.

You can also support the vital research that Bastyr University is doing to identify treatments that  increase survival and decrease recurrence of cancer.  Click here to learn more.

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