When trying to get pregnant, we can focus only on nutrition or what’s wrong with our body. And often, Western Medicine’s fertility metrics — whether discouraging or “normal”— aren’t the whole picture we need to pay attention to.
Dr. Joy, a naturopathic physician who helped Ali overcome her infertility diagnosis, shares with us:
- The difference between functional medicine and naturopathy when it comes to fertility and overall health (including a mindset shift to improve your fertility and the health of you and your baby).
- Common root causes that make conceiving and staying pregnant difficult even with normal fertility numbers because Western Medicine doesn’t know to test for these issues
- How you can incorporate natural medicine and fertility assistance like IUI and IVF to maximize your fertility and the health of your baby
More About Dr. Joy Sturgill
Dr. Joy received her undergraduate degree in international business, French and piano from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, PA, and then worked for a few years in project management, first for The Carnegie and then for a language management firm.
Through her mother’s experience with ovarian cancer, Dr. Joy realized th‹e limitations of a purely conventional medical model and was introduced to alternatives. Unfortunately, it was difficult to find a qualified ‘alternative’ healthcare practitioner at the time.
Over time, Dr. Joy’s job became unfulfilling and her desire to learn more about natural medicine continued to grow. She quit her job and pursued her passion to provide alternative care to those seeking it. Dr. Joy completed massage school and through that process discovered Naturopathic Medicine. This was what she had been looking for!
After two years of required pre-med courses, Dr. Joy was accepted into Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Four challenging yet rewarding years later, in 2004, she received her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. Since then, Dr. Joy has also received certificates in BioEnergetic Medicine, Reiki, Reconnective Healing, Matrix Energetics, and Quantum Reflex Integration.
Dr. Joy honors the uniqueness of each individual and provides support to each patient’s innate healing abilities. She is passionate about uncovering and addressing the root causes of dis-ease and helping people to understand all of the factors that contribute to our experience of health and well-being. Patients come away not only feeling better, but empowered, with greater vitality and freedom, to enjoy life more fully.
When she’s not providing compassionate care and holistic solutions, Dr. Joy loves spending time with her 4 children, the best partner she could ask for, an Australian Shepherd, and 3 cats!
She loves connecting with friends and family, traveling, gardening, homemaking, Tracy Anderson workouts :), biking, running, meditation and the pursuit of personal growth.
[0:00:47.4] AS: Welcome everybody to Season 9 of Insatiable. Our season theme is fertility. This topic often gets reduced to periods, or pregnancy without regard to the physical, emotional and soul process involved with our hormones, menstrual cycles, bodies and identities, regardless if we choose to have children or not.
In this season, we will take a holistic and integrated look at fertility to reveal you have more choices than most of us have been led to believe. Begin my eighth month of pregnancy at the time of this recording, I’m now surprised I thought Western medicine would be authoritative on fertility. It is just as fraught with fear tactics, outdated science and siloed thinking as nutrition, weight loss and wellness.
My hope is we fill in the gaps you might not know or missing, have better questions to ask and are able to get the results you want on your terms for your period, hormonal health, conception, pregnancy birth and the fourth trimester.
This fertility theme is also the theme of our Insatiable membership community. We will spend fall, September, October and November, taking a deep dive into the physical, emotional and soul aspects of fertility for your current life stage, whether you’re menstruating, perimenopause or menopause, or even post-menopause and have a sync our nutrition, lifestyle, including exercise and creativity to be in sync with our fertility, to reduce and prevent cravings and optimize our health. For more details on how to join, visit alishapiro.com/ic2019.
All right, everyone. Welcome to episode 3, how to optimize your body for fertility with Dr. Joy Sturgill. Dr. Joy is super special guest. She’s the naturopath that I worked with to help me overcome my own fertility diagnosis and she has a very similar philosophy to me, in the same way that I show my clients weight loss is a side effect of physical, emotional and psychosomatic balance. Dr. Joy uses fertility as a side effect of us getting healthy. Thank you so much for – Oh, I got to say your bio. I was so excited, Dr. Joy. I forgot your bio.
Okay. Dr. Joy received her undergraduate degree in an International Business French and piano from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, PA and then worked for a few years in project management. Then through her mother’s experience with ovarian cancer, Dr. Joy realized the limitations of a purely conventional medical model and was introduced to alternatives. Unfortunately, it was a difficult time to find a qualified alternative healthcare provider at the time. I know that struggle.
Over time, Dr. Joy followed her passion and completed massage school and through that process, discovered naturopathic medicine, which is exactly what she had been looking for. So glad she followed her curiosity. Dr. Joy graduated from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, where she received her doctorate in naturopathic medicine. Since then, she’s also received certificates in bioenergetic medicine, Reiki, reconnected healing, matric energetics and quantum reflux integration. We’re going to talk a lot about some of that stuff today.
Dr. Joy honors the uniqueness of each individual and provides support to each patient’s innate healing abilities. She is passionate about uncovering and addressing the root causes of disease and helping people to understand all the factors that contribute to our experience of health and well-being. When she’s not providing compassionate care and holistic solution, Dr. Joy loves spending time with her four children, the best partner she could ask for, an Australian Shepherd and three cats. Thank you so much for being here. There’s your official introduction.
[0:04:30.7] JS: Hey, thank you. Thank you, Ali.
[0:04:33.8] AS: Yeah, thanks for being here. Before we get into some of your philosophy, I would love if you can help people understand the difference between first of all, functional medicine and naturopathy, because I think a lot of people are turning to functional medicine now and yet, when I worked with you, you uncovered stuff that functional medicine didn’t address for me.
[0:04:55.5] JS: Correct. Yes. Well, some of my good friends are in functional medicine. One of those good friends is a very strong proponent of functional medicine. I remember saying in a post the definition of functional medicine. I thought, “You know what? That is the original naturopathic medicine.” I think functional medicine is a good bridge for people who are coming from conventional medicine and don’t really know about natural medicine, or how natural medicine works. I mean, functional medicine largely, or medical doctors who’ve gone back and gotten their certificate in functional medicine.
I do feel it’s a lot of standard of care, meaning protocol-driven and there are limitations for that. It can miss things. For instance, I had a patient that came to me ultimately, she had been seeing a functional medicine doctor for SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, for a month and had undergone thousands of dollars’ worth of testing and supplementation, only to still have the SIBO.
The testing involved can be time intensive and cost intensive and you have to do it repeatedly to check the progress. That can be the same with not regular naturopathic medicine. I mean, naturopathic use the same type of testing and similar protocols. That’s really why I do what I do, which is the bioenergetic medicine. That involves more so using, testing devices in the office to communicate with a patient’s body, getting the feedback, getting the information possessed by the body, because the person’s body, she knows exactly what’s going on in it.
A medical doctor back in the 40s discovered a way to access that information. We use that type of testing and it cuts out all of that more scientific testing, then we can get the same information in more all at once with the bioenergetic testing. With the bioenergetic medicine via the testing, we go to the wisdom of the body to ask the body what exactly it needs, instead of putting in place protocols that may or may not work. That’s the difference between functional medicine, which is similar to naturopathic medicine and how it differs from bioenergetic medicine.
[0:07:29.1] AS: Yeah, I love that. For people listening, when Dr. Joy is saying a protocol, it basically means they’re giving you a standard treatment plan. Based on emerging research, which is great and the research is 30, 40 years, which is new in the scientific community, right? It’s like, “Oh, we just discovered there’s this huge microbiome. It’s so complex. We’re learning as we’re going,” and what Dr. Joy is saying.
That’s one of the things I wanted to ask you is what she uses specifically as almost a sub-branch of naturopathic medicine, is this bioenergetics, so it’s going right to the body and the body is telling you what you need. I love that you said it’s a bridge, because I mentioned this on another podcast about our work together. If I had not understood functional medicine, or learned new so deeply myself that I could be my own healing agent and how powerful natural medicine is, I don’t know if I would have stuck with her work, because I was like, I believe in it obviously. I’m having you on and it’s work and I’ve sent my mom to you, my sister, but it’s just you have to really believe, I think in the body’s healing abilities, which I think some of us are still functional medicine helps us do that. Then if we want to – we still have other issues.
[0:08:43.3] JS: Correct.
[0:08:45.5] AS: Yeah. Will you explain your bioenergetic medicine? Because once I shared my – a couple of people had contacted me and I said, here’s my naturopath’s information, or if you go to a naturopath, make sure that they’re looking at root causes. One woman was like, “I went and she tested my thyroid, but she only did the conventional panel.” I was like, “Not all naturopaths they’re trained the same, just like not all functional medicine.” Why do you use bio – I mean, I know you said that it gives the body direct feedback. What made you pick this one and why do you find it so powerful?
[0:09:19.6] JS: Okay. I was introduced to it. I mean, I just received a cold call from somebody working for a company that produces bioenergetic remedies. They also did training for practitioners in bioenergetic medicine. I had never heard of it before. Well, that’s not true. There was a doctor that I preceptored with in naturopathic school, who did similar testing, specifically just looking at food allergy. I had had some exposure to it. This is a much more comprehensive model that I was introduced to.
At the time, I remember I was fainting accounts. I had one patient who had rheumatoid arthritis. We were using a standard of care protocol, everything that we were supposed to be doing, the anti-inflammatory diet, all of the right supplements and nothing was working. That’s when I – I was really thinking, the reason why this person has rheumatoid arthritis is it could be very different from the reason another person has rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is really just a diagnosis. It’s a way to describe the symptom, but it doesn’t really tell us why those symptoms are happening.
Bioenergetics medicine is a means and there are different testing modalities. When I went to the bioenergetic training, there were practitioners in there, I mean, of all sorts. There were medical doctors, nurses, dentists, acupuncturist, nutritionists learning this testing. Some practitioners did not have testing equipment from this muscle testing, or applied kinesiology. Trained professionals learn to access information directly from the body. Many of you might be familiar with that, or heard a lot of chiropractors will do muscle testing, muscle response testing, where you can ask the body a question and you check the muscle response, usually with a limb. A person holds out their arm and you can ask them a question. If there is a strong response, meaning the person is able to resist the practitioner’s pressure downward on the arm, that is a strong response of the body.
We can test like, if they were to hold on to, say a piece of bread and the practitioner’s checking food sensitivity, the person will not be able to maintain their arm resistance, meaning their arm will drop no matter how hard they’re trying to hold that arm up in response to the practitioner pressing down on it, okay? That signifies a weakness in the person’s body to that bread. It can be really fun testing this out.
I was just showing somebody about muscle testing who’d never been exposed to it this morning, actually at a house call. It was the same type of thing. I had her hold her arm out and I made her say what her name was, “My name is so-and-so,” and it was her name. We tested her arm strength and she maintained her arms. She had no idea what I was going to be doing. She maintained her strong arm in response to my pressure downward on it, okay? Then I asked her to say my name is Joy, which was not her name. She said that. No matter how hard she tried, she could not keep her arm strong, because it was a false statement. It was not something that her body identified with, okay.
We can achieve that same effect with what is now a computer-based testing. Back in the 40s when this was created by a German medical doctor, Dr. Voll it was obviously not computer-based. It was more a glorified ohmmeter basically, and where you can apply electrical impulses to the body and the body sends back electrical impulses and you can get a reading of those impulses, okay?
What modern-day bioenergetics medicine looks like, or it’s also called EAV, electro acupuncture according to Voll. It is a computer-based software connected to a machine, testing machine. There is a point probe attached to the machine, which is attached to the computer and a hand mass. Somebody holds onto hand mass, which is just a copper mat. Not a copper mat, a brass mat, which is basically like a grounding agent. With the point probe, we apply a little bit of electricity to the acupuncture points on the hand, which are associated with all of the organ systems in the body. Meaning, via acupuncture points, those points are along organ meridians. This has been proved by science, by CT scan and other image. They have identified the patterns of meridians, which are just patterns of energy channels that run through our organs and systems.
By testing points that are associated with acupuncture points, and it doesn’t hurt, it’s just like touching a pen to a point, we get feedback on the energy of organ systems in the body. The responses that we get come on to a graph in a software. It’s a numerical graph ranging from 0 to 100. There’s a normal range of 45 to 55. If somebody has stressed in an organ system, we get a higher reading. We can tell if an organ system is stressed. If somebody’s organ system is fatigued, we get a lower reading.
We can really test anything we want to in the body. We go through a specific pattern of points, but we get in so much information about how the body is functioning. Is the thyroid tired? Is the thyroid stressed? Is the endocrine system tired? Is the gut inflamed? Is the liver stressed? If the readings that we get completely matched with the patient’s presentation, meaning their symptoms, how their body’s functioning. It’s so interesting. I’ve had so many times where a patient got normal thyroid reading on blood tests, but really they have every indication in terms of how their body’s functioning that their thyroid is not functioning properly. Lo and behold, that’s what we see with the bioenergetics testing, okay? We look at that. That’s the first part of the testing.
Then secondly, we ask the body about the sources of causal factor, contributing factors to imbalance in the body. We look at categories like, are there excess bacteria, or fungus’s, parasites, viruses, heavy metals, chemicals, sensitivity to electromagnetic frequencies, like with cellphones? Are there food allergies? Is there emotional trauma stored in the body and so on and so forth?
We get strong responses, just like we can with that arm muscle testing I was telling you about. We get strong responses that show up on our graph, okay? Actually, the difference in the way we hear and see the reading, because there’s a sound to the readings also. We get strong responses when the patient’s body identifies with a causal factor, like Lyme bacteria, or Candida, or those sources that I mentioned, okay? That’s the second part of the testing.
The third part of the testing that applies that same concept, but we’re looking at what solutions are appropriate for this patient, not somebody else with the same concern, okay? It considers the person’s whole being, their biochemistry, how their organs are functioning, their combination of causal factors, everything. Their body responds strongly, or weakly to remedies, or other treatment modalities that we are looking into. Does their body want this probiotic versus that probiotic? Does their body want L-glutamine, because of leaky gut? Does their body want cat’s claw, because they’ve got a bacterial infection? Or does it not?
It helps us to even determine the order to treat, because sometimes just because somebody has a particular, let’s say overgrowth of some microbes, doesn’t mean we should actually just go in and detox those microbes. We might need to prepare the body first. Each person’s body is different in that sense. At any time with this testing, we’re giving a patient’s body exactly what it needs. In so doing, we’re really making the treatment process as efficient as possible. We’re not like, “Well, let’s try this.” Zigzagging this way and that way and this way and that way and wondering, “Okay, are they not reacting well to this, or that, or let’s try this, or that.” That is why I use bioenergetic medicine in a nutshell.
[0:18:29.0] AS: I love that. Just for everyone listening, I want people to really understand that science is a process, not a destination. Meaning, every future thinkers predicting that energy medicine is the next frontier, right? I think sometimes you’d be like, “Well, the science or this.” What we often learn at one stage of like, you look back at 200 years where people were believing, we would laugh at a lot of it. Now granted some of it has stayed the same. I just love that you’re already doing bioenergetic medicine. Super gold.
[0:18:59.7] JS: I know. I mean, sometimes I think, well and it’s because it’s not for everybody. We were talking about the bridge. That’s why my friend who is really a major promoter of functional medicine and you and I have talked about this, when I – he was visiting me and I was like, “Well, what’s up?” Because he came from bioenergetic medicine. I was like, “Well, what’s with the functional medicine?” He’s like, “Well, we’re still 30 years away from people really embracing bioenergetic medicine. What they need now is the bridge. They need this to help them get there.” I thought that made such a lot of sense.
The patients that come to me are very specific population. It does require, but once you experience this as you well know, you really do see that this is your body communicating, because it makes sense. You can see the readings on the computer screen. They match with what your experience is. We put the remedies in place and you see how well they work. Really, the proof is in the pudding thing. Just sometimes, people aren’t – they’re just not there yet.
[0:20:08.7] AS: Yeah, yeah. I mean, this could be a whole other podcast of often, what you believe will work has the best shot of working. It doesn’t mean it will work, but the placebo effect. Yeah, people feel more comfortable with that. Okay, so now that we know what we’re doing is, you have said that a lot of people come to you for fertility and you – we’ve talked about this. You get the rest of whatever their systems are weak back in balance.
I’m wondering just as a general theme, obviously everyone’s different, but what are some of the common root causes that you see that make getting pregnant and staying pregnant, right? It’s not just about getting pregnant, but staying pregnant really difficult? Because I was shocked at – I mean, you used the thyroid example. I knew my thyroid had always been sluggish. According to Western medicine, my TSH levels we’re 3.5, which is in the healthy range. I knew intuitively we had to get them down, but I’ve never got them as healthy as working with you. You were like, “Oh, it was Lyme bacteria.” What are some of the, I think unsuspecting root causes that people might be surprised of why they’re struggling to get and stay pregnant?
[0:21:17.3] JS: It’s usually a layered process, but I’m going to say in my observation, really it is about microbes, microbial balance. That’s not to say that that’s all we should look at, because again, it’s a layered process. Usually, there’s a hierarchy of toxic load from what I see. Usually, heavy metals are a first thing to go. If there’s heavy metals, we don’t even necessarily have to go in and detoxify specifically the heavy metals, we just improve the body’s ability to process toxins, okay? That’s usually what we do.
There’s this flow chart from my one bioenergetic company training that I like to use that got six steps in it. It’s really the way the body wants to heal. Now, does everybody that comes in do we follow this cookie-cutter process? No, because everybody is coming in with their organ systems functioning a little differently.
Anyways, if the neuro-endocrine system is out of balance, we’ve got to balance that. If digestive system is out of balance, we have to balance that. If the detox pathways are congested, we’ve got to open those up. Those are the first three considerations. By just even looking at that, boy, do we really improve the functioning of the overall body and the ability to process toxins. Moving along that, then we can detoxify what is burdening the body and causing the body’s not function as optimally as it should be, okay?
With the common contributing factors, I mean, yes, there’s some degree of heavy metals, but really from what I see, it’s about microbial balance. I remember my very first patient that I helped to get pregnant, she was wasn’t even coming in for fertility. This was years ago. I mean, this was within on my first couple years of practice, when I knew a fraction of what I know now. She was 40 and she hadn’t had kids yet. She came in for digestive issues.
By correcting her digestive issues, which didn’t take very long, I have to tell you. She had some IBS type symptoms, wow, she got pregnant. She had not one, but then two children into her 40s, basically; healthy pregnancies, healthy birth, healthy children. We just helped to balance out the gut. The gut is where – right? That’s our immune system. That is where a lot of times microbial and by microbial, I mean, yeast, or fungus, or bacteria, or parasites, or viruses, that’s where we have overgrowth of those, okay.
By repairing the gut function, we strengthen the immune system, we approved the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, we calm the nervous system, because the digestive system has also been called the second brain. There’s so much nervous system tissue in there. 95% of serotonin is produced in the intestinal tract. We detoxify better when the gut is functioning. We can do a lot just by focusing on that one system. That’s the primary thing.
I’m going to say that, Candida, which is just an overgrowth of yeast that is present in the gut, but people are predisposed to Candida if they have other microbial imbalances, like Lyme or mold toxicity, which is another common issue I see; one that people just – they would never have a way of knowing that mold toxins are in their body, because we’re just not used to thinking that way. Those are some primary underlying causal factors that once we clear those up, once we create a pathway for those eggs at the body, the body responds by functioning better, including the hormonal system, the thyroid system.
In those conditions, the thyroid is always impacted. The thyroid is always impacted. That is because when we have any microbial imbalance, it causes inflammation. Usually that inflammation is experienced in the gut, whether the patient has symptoms or not. That triggers a response in the liver. The liver becomes stressed in response to inflammation. The liver is where most of T4 thyroid hormone is converted to T3, which is active thyroid hormone. We end up with decreased production of T3 very commonly. Somebody can present with what we call subclinical low thyroid. Very often doctors won’t even free T3 on lab tests. Then when we have low thyroid, that can cause an imbalance in our hormones. It causes a relative increase in estrogen and progesterone.
[0:26:18.7] AS: There’s so many things I would like highlight that you said. People that listen to me goes –
[0:26:23.5] JS: Sorry, that was a lot of –
[0:26:24.7] AS: No, no. I love it, because on the episode before this with not I that you said listen I’m sorry I love it because on the episode before this with Alisa Vitti, we were talking about the dangers of just detoxing right off the pill, or whatever. I mean, that was a different conversation. What you’re saying is – and she was saying to is, and I think so many people get this wrong and like first, you need to support your body before you do all that stuff. You’re going to need different supports based on who you are.
I think that’s so – it’s such an interesting, but subtle mindset shift. I think even away from functional medicine, obviously Western medicine, you are always trusting that the body can do what it does if it gets what it needs, instead of saying you need these outside supplements to detox. It doesn’t mean you might not get support, right, if you’re in acute phase. However, the underlying strategy is just to free the body to do what the body can do.
[0:27:14.8] JS: That is it exactly. That’s exactly it.
[0:27:18.1] AS: That’s such more of a long-term solution, I think, than thinking you need to be fixed, right? Again, it’s believing that you can self-heal in a way. Obviously there’s more. Then something –
[0:27:29.1] JS: I have to tell you, it’s not a hard process. It really is not. I mean, if you’re saying a new practitioner that knows what they’re doing, that’s what I love about bioenergetic medicine too is because I have a tool. It helps me understand the body, like each person’s body. I see the patterns and I see the – because I’ve taken so many people through a complete healing process, I have an overview of the whole process and what’s entailed in it.
It’s not difficult. I mean, it takes time like you said. Once you’re done, you’re done. I mean, yes, you can always run into new sources of toxins and what-have-you, but by the time people come to see me, let’s say they’re 30, or they’ve had 35 years on the planet with all those toxins, so we have a lifetime to detoxify. Then they’re moving forward with a clean slate. When things come up in the future from that point, they’re able to handle future toxins much, much better.
[0:28:33.6] AS: Yeah. I mean, of all the healing I’ve done, I just showed up at your office. I mean, my diet was already pretty solid, so we didn’t be going with that, but it was just order the supplements and weight. That was the hardest part. I think one of the things that people need to realize especially, because I obviously, I’ve been talking to a lot of people who have struggled with fertility, haven’t, whatever, is people think they’re going to go into IVF and it’s going to happen right away. People need to understand that that’s not an immediate fix either.
I’m not saying which way to go, I’m just saying let’s be realistic. It’s like when people tell me, “Well, I did a cleanse and I lost 10 pounds. It worked,” but then they gained 15 back throughout the winter. What timeframe are we measuring the total effects of this, right? I had to work with you for a year and also an acupuncturist. I know some of my friends who did IVF for three to four years. Well, I just wish we had a more accurate – if we understood that each modality is going to take – there’s no guarantees with any modality of the timeline.
[0:29:41.2] JS: Right. Yes, with the timeline. Exactly.
[0:29:44.0] AS: Another thing that you said that I think is really important, because again, talking to a lot of people who are struggling with infertility, they’ll go to Western medicine and their numbers will be fine. Yet, they’re still not getting pregnant. Then I remember coming to you with my – all my Western medicine numbers of I’m in menopause and my egg count isn’t – It should be at 9 and it is .02. You didn’t really seem dazed by that. You’re still looking at metrics, but different ones. You’re looking at microbes and is that your lens –
[0:30:21.2] JS: Yeah. I am just looking at, like you said, the body is meant to function, I mean unless obviously there’s some significant genetic issue at first that a person is having to deal with. The body is meant to function. It knows how to function and it’s not functioning, because something is interfering with the functioning. Since that matter, a simple matter of removing what is causing it not to function really. That’s just it, plain and simple. That’s too and I have to look at. If there’s something – like when you came and you were – you just were like, you wanted your body to function. That was your goal. You wanted your body to function, and because you knew it could, right?
For women trying to get pregnant, I think and say they’re having challenges with fertility. I think that’s just a device way of saying, “Hey, something is off and we need to take a look at that.” I mean, I do work with women who – I actually love to work with women who are pursuing IVF, because IVF can be very hard on the body. Natural medicine can help the body to process those medicines better. I think that natural medicine improves the efficacy of the IVF. That’s what I’ve seen.
[0:31:37.7] AS: I’m so glad you brought that up, because it’s not – I’m not trying to say either/or. In fact, I think that’s a brilliant point that you brought up and I was hoping people would walk away with is you can do both.
[0:31:49.3] JS: Yeah. I mean, I highly recommend anybody who’s doing IVF use natural medicine, because with IVF, you really pump a lot into the body in an artificial way. That can cause a lot of stress in the body. Natural medicine can really help the body to process everything it’s getting and it can help to balance out. From what I’ve seen, my patients that have come in already using IVF, things happen very quickly when you introduce natural medicine.
I want to say too, we have to think about this; we’re creating another human here ultimately, right? We want to pass on the least amount of toxic load we can to that human. Here, we can just look, like break it down. When we are having trouble getting pregnant, that’s our sign that something’s off in the body, okay? When we correct those imbalances in the body and meaning, detoxify toxins, reduce inflammation, maybe he’ll traumas, okay, we then optimize conception, we are then passing on, because a mother passes on, not to freak anybody out, because I certainly passed on plenty of toxins to my children, because I knew less at the time. A mother passes on 60% of her toxic load to her baby.
If we can detoxify prior to conception, we’re passing on less toxins, we have a healthier baby. We have a healthier pregnancy, we have a healthier baby. That’s really what I love so much is that we can help to create a huge, a healthier future for our planet.
[0:33:32.3] AS: Yeah. I love that you said that. I mean, I feel like – this is a side note, an acupuncturist, a naturopath I know in another country had posted about the increase of breast cancer rates for people who do IVF. Everyone attacked her online being like, “You’re shaming women, who have already had a hard time.” I’m like, I’m sure, I know I starting my own company is taking years off my life, right? Everything we probably do has taken years off of our life.
I’m like, when have we gone into such this polarization that we can’t. This is what informed consent is about. It’s okay if you do it and then know the consequences and then to your point, then use natural medicine to help you make the choices that you’ve made. I think that’s the one thing that working with you and has just reminded me of how the body always gives you second chances. How it only –
[0:34:21.8] JS: Oh, yeah. It’s so true.
[0:34:23.8] AS: Always circle back. It’s always on your side, if you know how to decode it.
[0:34:30.3] JS: That is a beautiful point.
[0:34:34.2] AS: I’m thinking about, because obviously I had heavy metals and I’m like, “Oh, my God.” I detoxed them with you but I’m like, “My body was carrying those around for 40 years and doing the best they could with them.” Then they were like, all right. You’re fortified enough now. You can let them go.
[0:34:51.1] JS: Right.
[0:34:52.5] AS: Yeah. That brings up a point I think too of using naturopathic medicine, or natural medicine, meaning food, sunlight and whether it’s bioenergetic medicine or whatnot, through conception and later on in life, because right? It’s not just about getting pregnant and staying pregnant, but it’s the health of us. What do you see is important, especially postpartum and into a new journey for baby and child? I know that’s not what we plan on talking about, but if you don’t mind just commenting on that.
[0:35:22.0] JS: No, no, no. It’s fine. Yes. Women do come to me postpartum, well, I mean, both established patients, patients that we’ve seen through pregnancy. The thing is when you take this approach, let’s say prior to getting pregnant then there tend to be less issues after pregnancy, right? That’s one thought there. Certainly, I mean, we can address a woman at any stage, like what’s basically just the same approach.
Is hormone imbalance, or which I guess is the most common thing after delivery, then we just use the same concepts to balance those out. Also too, with babies, I mean, we can see newborns. Many people bring their newborns in, which I love and we can test the baby. Now we don’t test on the baby. We do then what is called surrogate testing. I would either test on the mom, or the dad, or on my staff as a surrogate. It works just the same. It’s because it’s all based in energy and quantum physics, which the guiding principle is thought as energy is matter.
We can get a feel for the health of the baby after birth. Are there any issues? Generally, babies are pretty clean, but sometimes babies are born with genetic mutations in the genes that regulate the methylation pathway for instance, which is an indication that they’re not going to process toxins as well. That’s a consideration when we think about introducing various toxins into their bodies. We can even, or say if a baby comes in, or if they’re just having colic, we can determine the cause. Is there a food that the mom is eating? Is there an imbalance in the baby’s gut flora, these kinds of things. I love to do that to just get things off on the right foot for the whole family really.
[0:37:28.0] AS: Yeah. I think that’s so important, because I mean, part of the work I do with clients is to help them see that health and wellness is more complex than diet and exercise, right? Because we often confuse weight loss with health and then we think health is move more, eat less. A lot of times, because we struggle with that, we can’t move on to the other things. I think it’s so important as our world – I mean, I’ve read statistics of you could be the “cleanest person” and babies are still coming in the cord blood toxin. It’s just because it’s public health policy. It’s not an individual issue. It’s the lack of protections that we have here.
[0:38:09.9] JS: Exactly. Yeah. I do have patients that ask me that, like new patients, they’re coming in when we come up with a plan. They’re like, “Well, is there any way I can cover this with diet?” I am a firm believer in the power of diet and obviously, that needs to be our foundation, right? Because then it makes everything – it makes a healing process easier. There’s no food on earth that’s going to detox Lyme microbes out of your body. Those require medicine. It’s just what we’re exposed to. Yeah, like you said, it’s just a fact of life.
[0:38:54.4] AS: I know this is we’re circling back, but one of the things that I think is interesting, because you’re also homeopath and that’s part of what I think work basically when you detox, it’s just such a different – I know everyone’s different, but I didn’t really feel anything myself when I was doing it. Can you talk about the way that you view medicine? When we get an antibiotic or something, or wiping the thing out, versus you’re trying to make the body stronger. Can you talk a little bit about, I think that’s important for people, because it’s part of this mindset shift.
It’s also, one of the themes I’m really seeing throughout all these interviews and I should know this, because I help people develop emotional psychological safety, but how important it is for the body to feel safe? Part of that means becoming resilient over the things that we’ve been exposed to, so which is part of – I’m circling two things, but I see that almost as the philosophical background of homeopathy in a way.
[0:39:50.1] JS: Right, right. Well, I’m glad you mentioned homeopathy. That is really my favorite medicine. I mean, I use different kinds of homeopathy. Homeopathy first of all, that’s how people come in and they think what I do is homeopathy, but it’s just one branch of medicine, but it is my favorite. I just specialize not in naturopathic school, but classically. There’s classical homeopathy, which is the administration of one particular remedy with the idea that it’s going to fix everything kind of thing. That’s old-school homeopathy.
Homeopathy, we say in the way that I use homeopathy, homeopathy reminds the body to do what it already knows how to do. Homeopathy is frequency medicine and why that is is because we can take a substance in nature, let’s say a flower, let’s say arnica is made from a plant and we take a tincture out of that and we take one drop of that tincture and we take nine drops of water and we succuss that mixture, meaning we shake it, we hit it, and that’s what we call potentizes it. It charges it. We take one drop of that and nine drops water and we succuss it again, and one drop of that – We can do that process hundreds of times.
The more, so we’re diluting it, the more dilute the remedy is, the more potent it is. It’s just a signal. Frequency is the language of the cells. Homeopathy is cellular medicine. It is a signal to the cells to do what they need to do basically. That’s why I feel on the topic of say, detoxing things like Lyme microbes or mold toxins or Candida or what-have-you, I don’t think you could do it without homeopathy. Homeopathy, we do homeopathic detoxification, which is cellular detoxification.
In my mind, I don’t know that we could really just do with herbs, to do herbal anti-microbials let’s say. I don’t know that you could actually eradicate the bacteria, the fungus from the body entirely. With homeopathy you can, and you can do it fairly quickly, okay. I think homeopathy is essential and it is so – it’s so safe. Actually, you can use homeopathy with anybody, regardless of medications. You can do it with pregnant women. You can do it with babies, nursing, anything. It’s the safest medicine. You have to know how to use it, but it’s just so effective. That’s my favorite. What else? What else can I –
[0:42:20.0] AS: Oh, yeah. No, no. I just love that again, because also for everyone listening, pharmaceuticals are based on similar to what homeopathy does, except they strengthen it by 10,000 and they use the whole plant effectiveness in a way. I mean, and I’m totally over generalizing here, but it’s interesting to think that homeopathy is about diluting it. Whereas, what big pharma is doing is almost putting it on steroids, right? If we’re going to –
[0:42:49.6] JS: Well, yeah. I’m going to talk – I get to observe this too. I get to observe in how medications impact the body. I want to tell you, at least from what I see, the number one place they go is the mitochondria. The mitochondria in the body, which is the powerhouse of every cell become stressed. That mitochondria produces ATP. It helps ourselves rip hair. When you compromise that function, that is just – then it’s a slippery slope really. I mean, yeah, the liver has to metabolize. I mean, so the liver becomes stressed as well.
I remember, I had a patient come in to me and it was such a good example of. She was in her 50s and she had led a life of excellent health. Just one of those really resilient women, okay? She had a recent diagnosis of breast cancer and nothing else. Her whole life, no health issues, no health history. There was nothing. When we looked at what had happened prior to this, let’s see, and she’d even have a mammogram. She had a mammogram a few months prior and it was clear. Then she went into her doctor and he determined that she had high cholesterol, which I think her cholesterol was barely over 200, if that. She was put on a Statin drug. Statin inhibits the, do I want to say, the production of CoQ10 in the body. CoQ10 is food for the mitochondria.
Three months later, she found a lump in her breast. Now are the two related? I certainly thought so. That’s just an example. Your body is not lacking a medication. It doesn’t have a medication deficiency, right? When something is off in the body, it’s just a signal to us that something is interfering in the proper functioning, and that we can go after that with natural medicines, which support the body’s functioning. One of my teachers in genetic medicine, I’m not remembering this, but they medications deplete the enzyme in our cell somehow. There’s a deficiency. There’s a destruction that takes place.
[0:44:57.4] AS: Yeah. I’m thinking that’s such a shame she even had to go on it, because the definition of high cholesterol used to be 220, until big pharma lobbied to have it lowered to 200. Yeah, I know. It’s like, you start to realize so much of these health protocols, or I mean, it’s nuanced and complex. It’s not all big pharma influence, but it’s –
[0:45:18.1] JS: Largely. Yeah.
[0:45:20.0] AS: Largely.
[0:45:21.6] JS: Yeah. I know.
[0:45:23.4] AS: This has been so helpful. I think what people need to understand is that the body when it feels safe, right? It’s almost like infertility, or even if you want to optimize your body for fertility, which is ultimately what everyone’s goal should be, even if you’re struggling with infertility, is about getting to these underlying root causes. Especially the energetic medicine you look at, you can help us take a layered approach. We need to take a layered approach and really look at some of the unsuspecting factors that are – what is inhibiting our body, rather than what’s wrong with our body, what’s inhibiting –
[0:45:56.7] JS: Yeah. Right. Exactly. That’s exactly right.
[0:46:00.4] AS: This normal type of function. That utility is a side effect of looking at, especially you said, I think a great place to start is your microbiome and what’s going on in there. Because I know, you told me. You’re like, most people in Pennsylvania have some Lym bacteria and it makes me think about why do some of us get Lyme disease, versus some of us – it may affect us differently, right? It was affecting fertility, but I know one of my friends has chronic Lyme and has caused heart issues. It’s just –
[0:46:29.3] JS: Exactly.
[0:46:31.2] AS: To your point, every root cause is going to vent differently for people. We need to be clear on that and focus on that. I think it’s especially, I just want to reiterate for people who feel they’ve gotten a normal fertility panel, but to Dr. Joy’s point, if your body isn’t getting pregnant, it’s if you feel really tired, but your doctor tells you that was normal, trust your body as a better data point and a better metric, I think. It’s what I’ve heard you – that’s one of the takeaways I’m taking for.
[0:47:02.6] JS: Right. Absolutely. Yeah your buddy knows.
[0:47:06.6] AS: Yeah. Also, just for people listening, obviously we have a global audience. You can work with people remotely. I mean, I think that is so interesting about energy medicine.
[0:47:17.9] JS: Yeah. Thank you for mentioning that. Yeah, we can – it’s the same, because of the way energy works of the founding principle of quantum physics is two subatomic particles can communicate spontaneously, irregardless of the distance. In that sense, my testing your energy is the same thing as testing your physical body, basically. I just use myself as a surrogate test. We do that over Zoom, and so you’re very present and seeing the testing as it’s going on. I see you and you see me and it’s great. Yeah, I’ve got patients all over the world.
[0:47:55.7] AS: I love that. I love that. Any parting words about optimizing your body for fertility that I didn’t ask you about?
[0:48:03.0] JS: Goodness, I think we’ve really covered everything, but this is just – I really do. I love getting women pregnant.
[0:48:11.0] AS: Do we really need more people? That’s what I ask myself when I’m – as someone carrying a child. I’m kidding, and I did it anyway.
[0:48:19.9] JS: Yeah. Yeah. No, no, no, no, no. It’s great, it’s great, because again, I love helping to create healthy pregnant – healthy conception, healthy pregnancy, healthy children, because again, they are our future. Your body can do it. Your body can do it, it’s just like you said, unlocking the code. It’s just a matter of putting the key and unlocking it and it just things fall into place. You can 100% have hope that it is possible, probable. Yes, absolutely.
[0:48:47.6] AS: Yeah. You really don’t think 40 is an age limit either, right? You’re like, as long as the body’s healthy, let’s do this.
[0:48:54.9] JS: Absolutely. I think the 40s – especially, women are worried about oh, well, what about the chance for genetic malformations, what have you? If you clean your body up, you’re definitely greatly reducing the risk of that. I’ve had numerous patients have babies into their 40s. Yeah, no problem.
[0:49:10.6] AS: Yeah I love hearing that. We need more evidence-based medicine versus belief-based medicine, right? That’s shrouded in ageism around women.
[0:49:20.2] JS: Yes. Yes. Absolutely.
[0:49:22.9] AS: Well, wonderful. Where can people find you Dr. Joy? We’ll obviously have links to your website and everything on in our show notes, but if people want to go right away.
[0:49:30.4] JS: Yeah. It’s just a website. It’s Dr. Joy Sturgill. D-R-J-O-Y-S-T-U-R-G-I-L-L.com There are links on there to make an appointment. The phone number is there. The office phone is 412-321-3231. The e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Those are all the ways. We have a Facebook page, admittedly I’m not incredibly active on – excuse me. It’s Dr. Joy Sturgill and I do have an Instagram page too, @drjoysturgill. Those are the various place.
[0:50:09.9] AS: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for your time and taking us 30 years into the future. Those are the results now.
[0:50:17.3] JS: Thank you, Ali so much. This is such a pleasure. I really appreciate speaking with you and everybody.
[0:50:22.8] AS: Wonderful.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:50:27.2] AS: Thank you, health rebels for tuning in today. Have a reaction, question, or want the transcript from today’s episode? Find me at alishapiro.com. I’d love if you leave a review on Apple Podcast and tell your friends and family about Insatiable. It helps us grow our community and share a new way of approaching health and our bodies.
Thanks for engaging in a different conversation. Remember always, your body truths are unique, profound, real and liberating.