I’m Dr. Hazel Gois, naturopathic doctor at Valhalla Wellness in Las Vegas, NV. You’ve found this page because you want to know a little more about me, why I became a naturopathic doctor and my treatment philosophy.
You’re probably wondering why I decided to become a naturopathic doctor. For me, it’s a bit of a long winding tale. Unlike a few of my classmates who were lucky enough to grow up seeing an ND as their primary care physician, like most of you, I grew up with conventional medicine and I didn’t know that there was anything else.
In high school by goal was to become a doctor. I honestly can’t remember wanting to be anything else, well maybe a pop singer but obviously that didn’t happen!
Growing up, the only form of medicine I knew existed was conventional Western medicine. My dad was a Corpsman in the Navy, which pretty much means he was medical personnel. He worked as everything from an EMT to a Physician’s Assistant, Navy style! This means I grew up taking over-the-counter medications and antibiotics whenever I got sick. It worked, I didn’t have any weird side-effects that I knew of and everything was hunky-dory. Sure, it took several weeks to get over a cold but, hey, that’s normal, right?
For undergrad, I went to the University of California at Irvine and I was a Biological Sciences major. I was lucky enough to take the first pharmacy class offered at UCI (they were still developing the pharmacy degree at that time). It was a great class and the teacher was really awesome. Because of her I got interested in becoming a pharmaceutical researcher. I wanted to work for a big pharmaceutical company and research new drugs that would help millions of people. I thought it would be amazing to discover a new drug that would help the world. I imagined my name recorded in history books, it was going to be great!
I figured if I wanted to become a pharmaceutical researcher, I should learn more about pharmaceuticals and get first hand experience by learning about the patient end of things. So, I began to work as a pharmacy clerk. It was this decision that would eventually lead me in the opposite direction to where I am today.
After a bit of time working at the pharmacy, I began to see patterns in the customers that bothered me. I noticed the same families returning month after month for antibiotics for their child. I saw that almost all the senior citizens that came to fill prescriptions were on 10 to 13 different medications. I learned about the side effects of prescriptions for chronic disease. There were also the drug addicts going from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to refill prescriptions ahead of schedule.
I was curious about these things and the pharmacists that I worked with explained that these are common themes in the medical field. The pharmacists new all the signs and the effects of pharmaceuticals. They told me that the medical doctors know about this too, they just can’t do anything about it because it was the status quo. They don’t have any other choice than to prescribe medications and surgery. The children get sick and doctors prescribe antibiotics even if it’s a viral infection. For the senior citizens, they may have started on one medication 40 years ago but that led to side effects that needed other prescriptions. Eventually an organ was ruined which lead to other diseases and more medications that ruined other organs in an ever worsening cycle. So now, those senior citizens are on 10 or more different medications to try and control all the side effects and disease processes they have going on. A co-worker of mine in her mid 20’s was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and she complained about the side effects of her medications like weight gain, frequent cold and even though she was on meds, she was still in pain. I can still vividly remember her rubbing and massaging her hands because of the pain from using her hands so much at work. If she hadn’t told me that she was diagnosed w/ RA, I never would have known because her hands still looked normal on the outside. When ever there were drug seekers the pharmacists would call ahead to all the other pharmacies in the area warning about these patients. Doesn’t this just seem like a madhouse?
After these discoveries percolated in the back of my mind, one day it suddenly hit me. I realized that I did not want to contribute to the madness! Pharmaceutical medicine was not the right path for me. After this realization I had a panic attack! I remember sitting in my room at night with the lights off. The light in my room came from the hallway and the window. I was sitting in front of my computer and my mind was panicking and going a mile a minute because my future was suddenly blank. I was close to graduation and I didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my life!
As I was sitting in front of my computer, I asked my guardian angels to help me figure out what I was supposed to do next. Then a thought popped into my head, “What about herbal medicine?” (Thank you angels!) As soon as I got that idea, I thought to myself, “Huh, herbal medicine.” I knew there were people out there who did stuff with herbs; I just didn’t know who they were or how they did it. So, I did a Google search.
I learned that naturopathic doctors are primary care physicians that use natural healing methods to treat disease. I also learned that there were accredited schools and states that licensed naturopathic medicine. After I found out that ND’s are doctors that use natural medicine, I knew instantly that I wanted to become a naturopathic doctor.
California was one of the few licensed states and I was able to contact a local ND and ask her a little about the education process. I also saw for the first time the booths for the naturopathic schools at the career fair. Everything just seemed to fall into place. Then I met a doctor who was a naturopathic physician and an acupuncturist, what a rockstar! Again, I knew instantly that I wanted to do the same thing too!
Now here I am, several years later with dual naturopathic and Chinese medicine degrees. A whole other world opened up for me once I started on this path and I want to share natural medicine with as many people as I can.
My Treatment Philosophy
As a Naturopathic Physician I am trained as a primary care doctor. In a licensed state, like Oregon where I hold licensure, I would be able to utilize all the modalities available to me such as pharmaceuticals, minor surgery, naturopathic manipulation and more to help me treat patients to the best of my ability. However, since Nevada is an unlicensed state I must be a naturopathic doctor that works within those boundaries.
Here in Nevada, I only use natural therapies such as nutrition, lifestyle, botanicals, hydrotherapy, supplements and basic IV therapy to treat patients. Although my scope is limited, these basics are the root, the bread and butter, of the naturopathic medical profession. Even though I consider them basic, many of my patients have never tried or even considered the therapies that I recommend. There is so much healing that can occur with what I think of as “basic” naturopathic treatments. Profound change can happen with small steps.
As a naturopathic doctor, I emphasize functional medicine and prevention utilizing natural treatments. The first step for treatment is to make sure that your body is functioning properly. I assess this through lab work. Lab orders can be as simple as a basic functional profile to more complicated tests like allergy, hormone and stool testing. Labs that I would order for you, depend on your symptom picture and history. If you’re interested in specific testing, just let me know.
As a patient, you are choosing to see me because something is wrong with your health and conventional doctors haven’t been able to help you or you want to prevent diseases that run in your family like heart disease and cancer. If something is “off” with your health, then you may have what we naturopathic doctors call “blocks to cure”. Something in your body, your lifestyle, or your environment is “blocking” your road to health. You haven’t been able to uncover that on your own. Come see me because I’m here to help you figure out what those blocks are and how to overcome them so that you can reach optimal health.
Treatment recommendations can include nutrition & lifestyle changes, supplements, IV therapy, hydrotherapy and botanical medicine. I will utilize all the tools at my disposal to help you achieve your optimal health.
Around town, I like checking out new restaurants or hanging out at health food, book and art stores. If you’re a member of the YMCA you might find me there sweating it up. At home, you’ll find me developing new skills like learning new recipes in the kitchen, learning languages, hula hooping, knitting, etc. More often than not I’m also watching a Korean drama with the occasional Taiwanese and Japanese drama thrown into the mix. ^_^ If you haven’t watched one, you don’t know what you’re missing!
This website is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be a primary source of health care or to substitute for a licensed medical professional. Consult your primary care physician before making any lifestyle changes to ensure that what you’re doing is safe for your health. Contact your primary care physician and/or your naturopathic doctor with questions or concerns about any of the health topics found within this website.