Personal Message from Dr. Juntaphant:
Hello! This is Dr. Purita Juntaphant, a naturopathic physician at Care Integrative. I am originally from Thailand. However, I have been living in Seattle since I was 13 years old. I graduated with a pre-med/biochemistry degree from the University of Washington in 2008. After graduating from college, I worked three years while volunteering at different organizations in Seattle such as Multifaith Works, Swedish Hospital, and Elder and Adult Day Services.
At Multifaith Works, I had the opportunity to work with those who were living with HIV/AIDS. I also had the opportunity to work with immigrants similar to myself at Multifaith Works. At Elder and Adult Day Services, I had the opportunity to work with autistic adults and adults with Angleman syndrome, a complex genetic disorder that primarily affects the nervous system. At Swedish Hospital in Edmonds which was called Stevens Hospital back then, I had the opportunity to help care for terminally ill patients.
I, myself, also have a personal story of chronic pain and illness. I was rear-ended the first time during my junior year in college. After my injury was healed from the first car accident, I was rear-ended two more times while waiting for the red light after college. About a year and a half after the third car accident, many healthcare professionals told me that I would have to accept that physically I would never be 100% normal again. I had a difficult time sitting for more than an hour without experiencing neck and back pain. I experienced numbness and tingling in my arms for a couple of years. After hearing that news that I would never feel normal again physically from doctors at such as young age, I felt defeated.
My personal turning point: After I consulted with my primary care doctor at the time about this issue of having chronic physical pains that led me to struggle emotionally as changes were hard to deal with (I felt I was not ready to have physical disabilities in my early 20's), she suggested antidepressant so that I would be able to deal with my physical pains better. While deciding whether I should start taking an antidepressant as my doctor suggested since one of its side effects includes suicidal ideation, one of my best friends' mother committed a suicide. She had been taking antidepressant that her doctor prescribed for many years. That was the first time in my life, I realized that while pharmaceutical drugs may be imperative to many health conditions, pharmaceutical medicine may not be the real solution for certain type of chronic pains and illnesses.
I started to enroll myself to exercise classes that emphasize on the importance of strengthening postural muscles and exercise regularly. I started to see the connection between emotional health and physical health. From a girl who did not know how to develop core muscles even after several sessions with physical therapists, my health as a whole person has continued to change in a positive way from learning to let go of what I thought life was supposed to be and from healing myself emotionally and physically slowly at my own pace, one day at a time. This was the first time that I realized that exercise does NOT have to be an all or none activity. Walking, even just for 15-30 min. per day, has been shown in researches to help improve mood and decrease inflammatory cytokines.
Through my own journey of healing, I slowly realized that REAL HEALING TAKES TIME. The journey of healing my own physical and emotional pains led me to an amazing medical school (Bastyr University) where both new, updated scientific medical researches and holistic medicine interwined.
Because of my own journey of pain and healing, I realized that Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen M.D., was right when she taught medical students across the U.S. that "Wounding and healing are not opposites. They're part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to find other people or to even know they're alone with an illness. I think I have served people perfectly with parts of myself I used to be ashamed of. ” This has been my philosophy of medicine for many years. I now feel that medicine is not just about science. It's also an art of healing. I choose the field to become a naturopathic physician to help both myself and others. Because of my own journey of pain and healing, now I truly believe that “Perhaps in receiving we heal others. In giving we heal ourselves.”