Naturopath with strong ties to Milwaukie

Dr. Jesse Buttler is looking forward to the new year, when he will open his primary care office in Milwaukie on Jan. 7.

Buttler, who is a naturopathic physician, chose to locate his new practice in Milwaukie, because, he said, 'it's on the rise and it's a great little community.'

He added that his wife grew up in Milwaukie, and both he and his wife are La Salle High School graduates.

Buttler figures that he'll have to educate his patients as to what a naturopathic physician does, but basically he wants people to know he has been to medical school, and has worked with 'all current modern diagnostic and imaging techniques.'

The difference between his practice and that of a conventional doctor comes 'once the diagnosis is established. The difference comes in the treatment,' he explained.

'A naturopathic physician uses holistic techniques to focus on helping people identify and treat the cause. I view health as a process, and we are the products of our environment,' he said.

At the heart of naturopathy is the 'idea of prevention - it is a preventative approach to medicine.'

Lifestyle choices make difference

He added that he works with people on lifestyle choices and how those affect their health, including exercise, sleep, nutrition and stress reduction.

If a patient comes to him with a headache, for example, he will do the same thing a conventional doctor would do on a first visit - he'd discuss the patient's history and do a physical exam. But instead of just prescribing some pain relief medication, he said, 'We'd work to re-create a foundation of health in the body.'

He would give a patient something initially to help with the headache, he noted, but then he and the patient would 'talk about daily routines that lead to the headache.'

If 'you just focus on the signs and symptoms, you are not addressing why they have the headache - is it tension? A food allergy? I need to educate the body as well as the patient to re-create the foundation of health,' Buttler said.

'You have to treat the signs and symptoms, but the work doesn't stop there; you have to dig deeper. The physician and the patient have to understand what is causing the signs and the symptoms.'

He might recommend lifestyle changes, in order to help the body 'create a drive to heal itself and to build up the immune system,' he added.

'As a doctor, I need to educate my patients and help them understand their lifestyle. I don't have the ability to help everyone, but I can plant the seed to begin to make health a priority in their life.'

Education, internships, referrals

Buttler graduated last June and passed his board exams after spending four years in pre-medicine at the University of Oregon and four years at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland.

He did internships at eight different clinics in Portland, including a clinic at Outside In, which was free to the homeless, and one on First Avenue that was a 'full primary care and teaching clinic.'

As a primary care physician in his own office in Milwaukie, Buttler says he expects to work with 'anyone with any health condition who is looking for a different approach to health care.'

Referrals, he noted, 'are an important part of medicine,' and he hopes to 'build relationships with physicians in specialty areas,' like oncology, pediatrics and ob/gyn.

'I will educate my patients about what I have to provide and what else is out there,' he said.

'All health practitioners should be working for the greater health of the patient,' Buttler said, adding that an internist, nurse practitioner, acupuncturist and chiropractor will be available adjacent to his office on Washington Street.

A family history in medicine

Buttler said that his family 'has been involved in the alternative health care field for many years.'

His father, Dr. Brian Buttler, has been a naturopath and chiropractor in Molalla for over 30 years, and his mother ran the clinic.

'I always wanted to be a doctor, and I was going to be an osteopath. But at the U of O I got really involved in alternative medicine, and I began to understand that there are other ways out there. A naturopath is a good fit for me.'

Buttler is emphatic that first and foremost, he is a primary care physician, who wants to work with patients 'from pediatrics to geriatrics and all in between.'

He has 'full prescribing rights,' but that will not be the 'focus of the practice,' he said.

'I want to focus on chronic health conditions - that's where I can do the most good. And I want to work with people who want to work on a preventative health plan. People need to understand that what they do today will affect their health tomorrow.'

Buttler added, 'A lot of health care today focuses on disease management. It is time to educate people, so they will learn how to promote health in their own bodies.

'There was a time when everyone was a naturopath, and then penicillin came along, and germ theory. Natural medicine faded out for awhile, but now there's a balance, and natural medicine is on the rise, and that is for the better of everyone.'

For nore information, visit Northwest Natural Medicine, LLC is located at2305 SE Washington St., Suite 104 in Milwaukie. Call 503-786-2181 for an appointment.

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