---Dr. Erica Steele DNM ND CFMP BCND
A Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
At the time I had no idea that I would be a Naturopathic Doctor. My parents are both scholars, multi-degreed, and both instilled in me the desire to learn as well as think for myself. My mother was a nurse and is now a social worker, so for me, caretaking was considered common practice when helping people. She worked with a variety of patients in a variety of settings and while in school, also brought me with her to learn. As a young girl, I sat in organic chemistry classes and ran around labs learning complex structures prior to my maturity. This really created a deep understanding of how the body works on a cellular level and unknowingly prepared me to be a functional medicine practitioner.
My father is in education and my stepmother was a geneticist. Again, I learned how to question things, think independently, and recognize the science to which the art of healing really took place, which prepared me to answer the clues created in functional medicine practice. Coupled with experiencing natural healthcare practices as well undergoing acupuncture, rebirthing, reiki attunements, and participating in native American spiritual work under the age of 12 all prepared me for my calling and my path to become a naturopathic doctor.
---The Beginning Of My Career---
How I Fell In Love With The Complexity Of The Body
While creating the ability to help facilitate people’s healing.
As I grew up, a rebellious teen, I left my house to start my career in natural healthcare. At 16 years old, I was the youngest student in my class to complete a massage therapy program. I immediately left the program and began working in various facilities in natural healthcare which game me a wide range of experience by working in spas, organic spas, med spas, with chiropractors, in PT clinics, wellness centers, and massage clinics nationwide. I continued my education by going to school for neuromuscular therapy, along with various other manual therapy modalities as my career in massage therapy expanded before becoming a naturopathic doctor.
I then was offered an opportunity to teach in massage therapy schools, as an anatomy & physiology instructor. This experience served me on many levels, by honing my skills to teach people the body as well as gaining an even deeper understanding of anatomy, and physiology.
Working full-time and being a single mother proved to be challenging when in turn balancing college education but I was determined to be a naturopathic doctor. I continued to persevere and not give up on my dreams while also teaching my daughter how to have life and work balance. I continue my education by completing my associate’s degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix all while owning and managing multiple businesses.
To Becoming A Traditional Naturopath
With a focus on deep biochemical and laboratory diagnostic training.
I was at a crossroads in my education as to the direction I would take. I know I wanted to be a doctor, but still unsure of which so I did more research. I studied allopathic doctors, such as MDs, and the like, although I appreciated their philosophies it did not resonate with me and what I felt G-Ds calling was from me. I further explored being a holistic doctor including chiropractic, osteopathy, and naturopathy, especially since I worked with many of them throughout the years.
Although I appreciated chiropractic care, I did not see myself as a chiropractor especially since I had already done manual therapy for so many years. Being an Osteopath disheartened me since they had abandoned much of their holistic practices to merge with the allopathic trends. When I further uncovered being a naturopathic doctor, it really resonated with me, but what made me hesitant was the lack of credibility it had in the medical community.
Functional Medicine quenched my thirst through biochemistry and understanding on a detailed level of how the body works. My deepest desire was to bring forth the science combined with the art of healing. I saw that this was a perfect blend in healthcare. At the time there were so few credible naturopathic doctors and so much overall miseducation and fear around the subject.
I continued my education gaining a Bachelors in Natural Healthcare Sciences, yet still wavered on which direction I would take with my doctoral training. I was passionate and loved the practice of naturopathy, yet still was concerned that it would be an uphill battle politically, and socially. Naturopathic Doctors are not recognized and the ones that are, intended to be considered primary care physicians. Fundamentally, I believe that we are not primary care physicians, nor do I want to be a primary care doctor. I also choose not to prescribe medications or have an interest in performing surgeries. I also believe that we are not adequately trained to diagnose and manage pathologies, nor do I believe that is our place in healthcare. I greatly respect and work integratively with all doctors, by respecting and deeply understanding everyone’s place in medicine, healing, and healthcare.
I believe that our jobs are to motivate, inspire, and empower our patients to live healthier lives and not to diagnose and manage diseases using collections of symptoms. As I saw more and more of this new breed of naturopathic doctors that came into the scene who are wanting to
replace allopathic doctors, merge with, or be considered them, I began to generate more of my urge to pursue traditional naturopathy.
I also saw that a traditional naturopathic doctor became no more than herb or supplement sales people, while not running appropriate labs to understand the human condition with little to no conversation about diets if any, as well as limited scientific education. This truly drove me over the edge and allowed me to finally make my decision to become a traditional naturopath with deep biochemical and laboratory diagnostic training. This is why I added the functional medicine component to my training to help me deeply understand the biochemical component of the person.
---Continued Research & Education---
On A Mission To Help Families Reclaim Their Health
I researched and found a traditional naturopathic school that laid emphasis on laboratory sciences and functional medicine. I completed my Doctorate in Natural Medicine first and then my Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the University of Natural Medicine with an emphasis in laboratory diagnostics. I overlapped my education with a Certification in Functional Medicine from Functional Medicine University; which in all was a total of 12 years of study in natural healthcare sciences.
Falling in love with homeopathy led me to the understanding of how many diseases end in the physical body, not beginning. The disease is really dis-ease generated from mental, emotional, psychosocial, as well as spiritual manifestations, which then led me to study more in human behavior in which I completed a 500 hour Clinical Hypnotherapy training. I even studied handwriting analysis to further understand the subconscious and conscious mind behaviors.
I am currently continuing an additional subspecialty in Integrative Medicine to create more of a bridge between naturopathic and allopathic medicine while looking forward to continuing on to a Ph.D. in Mind Body Medicine. Most recently, I completed a secondary Bachelors in Alternative Medicine from Everglades University and currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health Education with an emphasis in Complementary and Alternative Medicine to further understand the political environment and public healthcare policies already established within our field.
Ultimately, I am a lifelong learner and am on a mission to help others reclaim their health using the healing power of nature by finding the causes of their imbalances in their health instead of just addressing the symptoms. I have committed my life to this practice and I am building a practice that will not only stand the test of time, but also facilitate healing in millions of families across the globe. I am truly passionate about my mission and vision to help families live naturally as your family’s naturopathic doctor.
Are You Ready To Truly Live Your Life?
Learn more about how Dr. Steele can help you and your family by scheduling a complimentary consult today.