A Medical Clinic That Treats the Whole Person—Mind, Body and Soul (THE STRAM CENTER )04/13/2023 03:42PM ● By MERYL SIEGMAN
We recently caught up with Dr. Kathryn Boulter and Korey DiRoma, both licensed naturopathic doctors at the newly-opened Stram Center for Integrative Medicine in South Burlington to find out more.
They explained that the center is a collaboration among licensed, multidisciplinary practitioners who combine their expertise in service to the well-being of patients, their families, and the community. It offers its own brand of integrative and naturopathic medicine, with a wide range of services to manage chronic illnesses, Lyme disease, pain management, weight and diet problems, women’s health, and adjunctive cancer care.
The doctors believe that one of the reasons they are unique is because they have an integral medical doctor, Dr. Ronald Stram, with over 30 years of experience in addition to the naturopaths on their staff to offer a combination of natural and alternative medical treatments.
An outpost of the original clinic in Delmar, NY, near Albany, its founder, Dr. Ronald Stram, chose Vermont because of the community’s open approach to health and well-being and because of a need for more options for patients suffering from chronic illnesses.
INTEGRATIVE HEALTH EXPLAINED
While integrative medicine has been around for at least 100 years, it was only recently that there has been a distinct trend towards incorporating it into standard medical practices. Integrative medicine uses an evidence-based approach to treat the whole person, employing a combination of therapies.
According to Dr. Boulter, “Integrative medicine is a whole person, whole body approach with the goal to treat the root cause of disease. The Stram Center is a collaboration of medical doctors, practitioners and naturopathic doctors working together. Our patients benefit from the skill and knowledge of our entire team, even if they are seeing just one of us. We try to combine the best of conventional medicine and naturopathic medicine.” An example, she explains, would be using herbal medicine, diet recommendations and medications in combination to treat an illness. “We connect the dots. Many patients bounce around among many different specialists. When they come to us, we put their stories together. That’s because while specialists look at one organ or body part at a time, the Stram Center looks for root causes to treat the body as a whole.”
WHAT IS A NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR?
In addition to a medical doctor, the Stram Center also has two naturopathic doctors on staff. So what is a naturopathic doctor? As Dr. Boulter explains, “We go through a medical school program that covers much the same curriculum that a medical doctor goes through. But we also study physical medicine like a chiropractor would, as well as herbal medicine.
The naturopathic medical philosophy really sets us apart, which means we find and treat root causes instead of symptoms. Our doctoral program is four years, and includes many rotations, but some naturopathic doctors only do a post-doctoral residency.”
Naturopathic doctors’ philosophy about treating patients is a little different than traditional medical doctors. For one thing, they tend to spend more time with each patient. For another, their practice is based on helping people with the belief that the body has an inherent ability to cure itself. When treating a disease, they look beyond the specific body part or organ, investigating nutrients that might be missing, and even the patient’s lifestyle.
The center prides itself in using the best tools for their patients, coming up with a comprehensive and individualized treatment for each one. Dr. Boulter notes that the Stram Center offers specialty testing to investigate the puzzle of complex symptoms.
POPULAR THERAPIES AT THE CENTER
Treating Lyme Disease plays a large role in the Stram Center’s practice —in fact, people come from all over the country after not having gotten the help they need elsewhere. As Dr. Boulter says, “We are literate in Lyme.” Other popular treatments include addressing environmental toxin disease, such as mold toxicity, regenerative injection therapies for joint repair and integrative cancer therapies.
Another specialty is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, used to treat brain injuries and neurological decline caused by strokes and various forms of dementia. “It’s a way of utilizing oxygen to help facilitate healing,” Dr. DiRoma explains. “We use it to treat chronic inflammation and brain injuries.” Patients are placed inside a chamber which uses pressure to saturate all their cells with oxygen. “The highest pressure produces several hundred times more oxygen than normal, allowing organs and cells to start doing their own healing.” During treatments, he says, “the increased oxygen creates new stem cells and raises antioxidant levels. A process called angiogenesis helps create new blood vessels, which increases vascular flow to certain areas.”
Unique to a small practice, the center has two chambers made of metal, allowing them to maximize the amount of pressure possible that is not achievable with soft chambers. The chamber has enough room for the patient to read or meditate, with access to a window and a TV screen. The two-person one has movie theater seats and is even large enough stand in. Some people choose to relax or get some work done during the hour-long process.
If you are curious if the Stram Center is right for you, Dr. Boulter offers a free 15 minute consultation to discuss your needs. We welcome the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine to northern Vermont with its innovative approach to healing.
Stram Center for Integrative Medicine
150 Kennedy Drive Ste 101
South Burlington, VT