Family Health Center offering alternative medicine in North Beach

Tom Geha and Dr. Jennifer Gaddy

KLIPSAN BEACH - The Family Health Center at North Beach is now offering natural healing alternative medicine on the Peninsula.

Dr. Jennifer Gaddy, a 1994 National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland graduate, and Tom Geha, an Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland 1995 graduate, opened their practices earlier this month.

Gaddy and Geha stressed that they both work in conjunction with conventional medicine.

"Patients don't have to stop taking their regular medications," said Gaddy.

The two physicians operated a naturopathic clinic in Astoria in 1995 and a branch clinic in Ocean Park in 1997 and then both returned to Portland for more training.

"My clinical training in homeopathy focuses on mind/body medicine and integrating counseling into natural health care," said Gaddy, who studied hormone replacement therapy with Tori Hudson, a nationally recognized expert in women's health care and author of the "Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine."

She explains that naturopathy is a modern version of traditional European medicine that migrated to the United States 200 years ago. "The forms of treatment all use natural substances," she said, and include herbs and dietary changes "to increase health and treat illness."

Homeopathy, Gaddy said, "uses natural medications in very small doses to stimulate the body's healing ability - it can be called 'quantum medicine.'"

Gaddy has been leading a monthly series of informal gatherings to discuss health issues. The next group will meet in January at a time and place to be announced to discuss hormone replacement therapy options.

Geha will practice traditional Chinese acupuncture, sometimes supplemented with Chinese herbs and also will do reiki and acupressure. "The rivers of 'chi' or life force in the body flow freely when the body is pain-free, full of vitality, healthy and functioning perfectly," he explained. "But when blockages occur in the energy paths, it decreases vitality and brings forms of disease and pain. Acupuncture frees those blockages and corrects the imbalances of energy using specific points on the body."

Geha says the main reason people come to an acupuncturist is for pain relief in the neck or shoulders, tendinitis or osteoarthritis, but acupuncture is also used to treat a host of ills including back pain, insomnia, headache, digestive disturbance, anxiety, depression and emotional imbalance. "It also speeds recovery of sports injuries and is good for colds and flu," he said.

Both practitioners are looking forward to practicing at Family Health Center. "We're delighted to have the opportunity to be in such a well-designed and comfortable space," Geha said.

Fees are based on a sliding scale based on income, in Geha's case, and for Gaddy, "Fees are based on what the patient feels comfortable giving for the care received."

Hours at the clinic are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. For an appointment with Gaddy or Geha, call 665-3000.

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