Doctors Kali Simmonds and Lana McMurrer on Eastlink TV
by Heather Denning
While I waited for Dr. Lana McMurrer, ND, and Dr. Kali Simmonds, ND, I was not sure what to expect. The new hosts of the EastLink Television show “Au Natural” have between them an impressive portfolio of post graduate study and experience. I was about to meet with two of only five licensed naturopathic doctors practicing in PEI. I was prepared to be intimidated.
Instead I was charmed. Talking to these delightfully warm best friends I felt more like I was having a social coffee than interviewing the Trinny and Suzannah of naturopathic medicine.
Lana and Kali came up with the idea for the show themselves, and put it to EastLink. They seem to be surprised at the eagerness with which it was snapped up, but after the hour I spent with them it came as no surprise to me. The format for the show is simple, two segments with a guest (for example, a Pilates instructor), and then a segment with Lana and Kali discussing issues emailed into the show by viewers. The doctors themselves provide the energy, and charisma, which they certainly have in spades.
But they are not showboating. They are both passionate believers in their profession, and they want to spread the word around the Island.
Naturopathic medicine is a vastly untapped resource. While medical doctors are straining under the weight of patients in an aging population, Lana and Kali want prevention of illness and diseases to be addressed more fully, with increased collaboration between medical and naturopathic doctors. They want to educate. “We have women coming to see us with menopausal symptoms who don’t even know how the menstrual cycle works,” said Dr Kali. “We want people to understand the body’s messages.”
Naturopathic medicine is not about throwing drugs at symptoms, but rather understanding the cause, often as simple as an allergy or a vitamin deficiency. It can be used in treatment of illness or in maintenance of wellness concurrent with clinical medical treatments—from pain relief to acupuncture, to diagnoses requiring lab and blood work, to such reproductive issues as gender determination in pregnancy. Naturopathic medicine is a valid branch of modern science.
A visit to a naturopathic doctor is covered under most extended health plans, although not by Provincial Health Care. A patient does not need to be referred, and if the other doctors listed on www.peiand.com (Prince Edward Island Association of Naturopathic Doctors) are anywhere near as approachable as these two starlets, the hour spent with them would be a pleasant and informative experience.
Lana and Kali themselves have seen patients ranging from 6 week old babies to 92 year old women, and have used their extensive knowledge and training to treat a vast number of different ailments.
And if you ever get the chance, have a coffee with them, they are lovely.