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Living Well Interview Series with Dr. Bethany Tennant on Natural Sports Medicine - Blog Puriya

June 19, 2019

Recorded Live, listen to this interesting interview with Dr. Bethany Tennant, Authority in Natural sports medicine & Member of Puriya’s Science Advisory Board!

Learn about Dr. Tennant’s background from collegiate athlete to leading physician in natural sports medicine. Hear about her innovative and effective techniques for pain management, injury rehabilitation, and prevention. Get insider knowledge on important health practices and how her expertise lead her to work with professional athletes from organizations like the NBA, NFL, and USATF.


Read the transcribed version below…

00:02 Dr. Michele Burklund: Okay, hello everyone, my name’s Dr. Michele Burklund, I’m the Chief Science Officer here at Puriya, and this is our Living Well Series where we interview amazing people in the health foods fields every week. This week we have Dr. Bethany Tennant who is a specialist in Natural Sports Medicine, and also on the board here at Puriya on the Science Advisory Board. So we’re very excited to welcome her to the team and today to our Living Well Series.

00:32 Dr. Bethany Tennant: Thank you so much for having me, I’m excited to be here.

00:34 DB: I’m excited too. So before we get started, I’m gonna read a little bit about your background to our viewers, and feel free to add anything as I go too.

00:45 DB: Okay, so Dr. Tennant is a licensed naturopathic physician and certified nutrition specialist. She graduated with honors in research from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. Following graduation she went on to complete her post-doctoral research fellowship in Parkinson’s disease and nutrition. Natural sports medicine is her specialty, she was trained in New York as a sports massage therapist, and she deals with matters of prevention, performance, recovery, pain management and injury rehabilitation with high school, college and professional athletes, including the USATF, D-League, FIBA, NBA and NFL. As a New York native, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Houghton College as a pre-med student and varsity scholarship basketball player. She has interest… Her interests include sports medicine, pain management, and neurodegenerative conditions.

01:45 DB: She has collaborated with the Brian Grant Foundation as a nutrition expert and executive committee member, Nike N7 as an ambassador, Damen Bell-Holter as a health and wellness advisor to his Blessed to Bless camps, and MaxHoops and Open Gym Premier as a sports nutrition guest speaker. She has also presented at several high school and college programs in the area of sports nutrition training. Dr. Bethany Tennant also has corporate wellness experience, serving as medical director in a New York-based company, to advise in areas of nutrition, exercise, stress management and large scale impact for corporate clients. She’s passionate about health, wellness and fitness.

02:31 DB: As someone who loves to travel, she has had international experience traveling to the Czech Republic as a collegiate basketball player for clinics training and competition, Zambia as a pre-med student, Suriname, South America, as a Peace Corps volunteer community and health educator, Nicaragua, to work in an established clinic, and in Mexico for a basketball community outreach. And you’re also a member of our Science Advisory Board, so you have a lot going on, you’re wanted in many different areas right now too.

03:07 DT: Yeah. Well, thank you for that introduction.

03:09 DB: And you’re… I mean, and that’s kind of how I met you too, you’re always travelling or giving speeches, and we met back in Portland a long time ago, six, seven years? I don’t even know how long.

03:23 DT: Yeah, that was… Yeah, perhaps it was like, yeah, seven years I think now.

03:29 DB: Oh my God, it’s so crazy. So I’ll start kind of infusing your background, tell us more about you as an athlete and how you found this passion, ’cause it’s like you’re living your passion, you have all of this knowledge and you’re able to fuse the two.

03:49 DT: Yes, thanks so much. So I also love the Nike slogan of, “If you have a body you are an athlete.” So it’s not that I’m so exceptional in that capacity, but I just grew up loving sport. I have two older brothers and I have a younger sister, but my two older brothers, really, I would say, influenced the exposure to sport. They… Every single morning I woke up to Sports Center and ESPN, and for Christmas, they were getting Michael Jordan videos and working on drills, and the story I share is theirs. So I used to kinda tag along with them, keeping up with them, especially with basketball. They would go play at these outdoor courts and you know I’d try and tag along, and I’m sure they loved having their little sister tag along. But the story is that they trained and my oldest brother was pretty serious about it, but I was the only one who ended up playing in college. So that was my little… I appreciate them for doing that though and allowing me to participate. But I think it was just something that I’ve always loved.

05:00 DT: So playing soccer, I played softball, I ran track and field one year in high school, and I love team sports more than individual just personally, and I just love how so often that can translate really well into life skills, and character building and those sort of things. So developing youth and high school players and preparing them for life I think is a great sort of opportunity. So that’s just to say once I moved to Portland to start medical school, and I just started connecting to the community once again and reaching out to the ways that I know, being involved in more sport and being connected to a fitness facility, and it just sort of created opportunities to start working with different youth programs, working with different athletes, teams, players. And then I really like to say opportunities create opportunities, and so as I just decided to show up, and made connections and relationships with people that then just created more opportunities to continue working with different individuals or teams or colleges. So it’s a longer spiel, but I would say I’ve always loved sport, and it’s just so fun to be able to now combine both of my my passions, working in medicine and combining that with sport.

06:26 DB: Yeah, I think that’s so great. And I think that there is such a huge need too on all these different areas from injuries to nutrition, especially the new generation. And you get the opportunity to teach them early all this amazing things too, so I love that.

06:42 DT: Yeah. And I do love that. Because I think when I’m talking to third graders, they’re not all gonna be playing professionally, but they are gonna be eating for the rest of their lives, they are gonna be needing to be healthy, and I think creating habits or introducing them to things that they can do now, that can impact the rest of their life is a really exciting space to kinda engage with them.

07:09 DB: Yeah, I think that’s amazing. And this blends in with our next question too. I think kinda about the course since I’ve been the chief science officer, I’ve been trying to teach a lot of our viewers what exactly is a naturopathic physician how is it different? And so I would ask you as a naturopathic physician, you have a very unique medical training to address sports injuries. So what types of modalities would you use with different common sports injuries?

07:36 DT: Yeah, so I think what’s different about naturopathic medical training is really such a holistic approach and being able to treat the whole person. And so I think when I’m working with injuries, lots of times it’s in the aspect of maybe someone’s had a surgery, or they’re rehabilitating. And so I love coming in to talk about really nutrition as a big component. So how can we support a speedy recovery or how can we help prepare a body for that surgery, so you can come out faster, and recover. I think that using botanical medicine is an amazing way to apply, whether it’s for pain management and then… Or whether it’s for inflammation. It’s… I like to just consider the whole person in those kind of ways, and offer all those different tools. I would say that although I do work with some sports injuries, I think most of the time, athletes are looking to work with me to lose weight, to gain weight. Sometimes they’re managing symptoms and sometimes it is to just rehabilitate those injuries. So I like to just use all of those different tools of the botanical medicine, physical medicine, nutrition in those ways to integrate care.

09:02 DB: I think that’s great. We’re gonna go into more detail in that, but it’s great for people to get a picture of how many things you can do too, especially for injuries as well. So at Puriya we have the same philosophy in naturopathic medicine to treat the whole person. And right now we have our Ultra Relief Cream, which is our pain relief cream, and it treats the symptoms. But our goal is to treat the whole person and to give all the tools to help ’em. So not just putting on the cream but the nutrition and the foundations.

09:33 DB: So on this topic, what other ways would you address pain relief? Because from what I was reading too… When I was reading about organizing a supplement is that the majority of people visit their primary care doctor for pain issues, too. It’s a huge, huge issue in sports and in medicine in general too.

09:54 DT: Yeah, absolutely. So I love that you guys are doing that and to be a part of that now myself to be joining you, teaming up.

10:01 DB: I know, I’m so excited.

10:03 DT: I think that… And that’s interesting too, because I think for so long, there’s only a few topicals that people use, and I’ve always thought that’s such a limited window of what could actually be utilized to leverage for pain management. So when I’m working with people in pain with having that background as a massage therapist, I really love physical medicine, so doing soft tissue work is something that I really like to do. I also think a really underestimated tool is using hydro therapy. So the use of water. So doing contrast soaks is something that I often recommend especially for I think the easiest things that you know about, the hands or the wrists or ankles especially. So doing that hot and cold just to bring blood flow. I think it can be really effective and helpful. I do like botanicals to be able to use both topically and then internally. So lots of times it’s helping with inflammation if it’s an acute… So some of those top like the bromelain and quercetin and turmeric of course being a number one anti-inflammatory. And taking out foods that are gonna be pro-inflammatory. So kind of all of those.

11:22 DT: I think that… So that can be a nutrition component as well. And one interesting thing that I started being a little bit more aware of, especially during medical school training was a little bit more mind-body connection to pain. And I really like this idea of, especially when it comes to chronic pain, is this idea of… So for example, if someone’s like, right shoulder’s been bothering them for years. Instead of only paying attention to the shoulder when it’s in pain, it’s just sort of this reminder that when it’s not throbbing and it’s not a nine out of 10 to really just kind of make that connection to that part of your body so you re-integrate it in a way that it’s not just sort of a bad kid… Like a misbehaving child. You’re not just giving attention when it’s acting out. And it’s a way for the brain to also re-integrate how it connects to that part of the body. And I really like that idea and sharing that with patients in chronic pain that’s something that really resonates and seems to be beneficial.

12:28 DT: And that’s different to distinguish too, so from acute pain versus the chronic pain and those other modalities that can be used in that capacity as well. I think chronic regional pain syndrome is one of the most extreme spectrums of having just that chronic pain where it’s… I work with patients that they had maybe a motor vehicle accident 10 years ago. And they’re still just in this exquisite pain but there’s no tissue damage anymore, the pain is real. And so it’s really a matter of how can we recalibrate how the brain is perceiving, how the nerves are in the muscle and the tissue is just being still hyper-sensitive in a way to help mitigate the pain that they’re experiencing. And that’s a field, I think, within the industry of just pain management that’s been sort of re… It hasn’t been redefined, but it’s been the paradigm of pain has been shifted and we’re now understanding the central sensitization of pain, where we’re helping patients with education and mind-body tools and it’s a different spin on it, so it’s been… It’s exciting to be a part of.

13:49 DB: Right, right. Yeah, I came across a lot of research, too, when I was looking at just of how the link between depression and pain and mood and pain, too.

13:58 DT: Sure.

14:00 DB: ‘Cause chronic pain can lead to depression or more depressed people can have pain. It’s definitely mind-body is such a huge thing

14:10 DT: Absolutely. Yeah, in fibromyalgia, that’s very prevalent, that’s also another condition that people are experiencing. A lot of pain, and there’s often a lot of mood, anxiety, depression picture along with that, too. And certainly it can be… Yeah, it’s like…

14:27 DB: Either way.

14:28 DT: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

14:33 DB: Okay, I’ll jump to the next question. Your unique training and world class education has led you to work with professional athletes, as well. When you meet with a professional athlete, what are some of the first things you want to address when you see them? When you look at the picture.

14:54 DT: That’s a great question. It’s interesting because when I’m working… I’ve been mostly working with professional basketball players, and so sometimes, they’re playing professionally overseas and sometimes they’re stateside. I’ve worked with a couple of female players overseas as well, and a couple… The outliers would say, some NFL and USA track and field, but within the basketball world, what I quickly have learned, is that you’re really a part of a team, and I think for any patient, you are a part of the team in some capacity but it’s a little bit more obvious when you’re working with an individual athlete to realize that they typically will already have, if they’re playing professionally, they have a team of… A health and wellness person overseeing everything, but then they have a strength and conditioning, they have… The teams often have a nutritionist. There’s often a chiropractor, a massage therapist, a physical therapist. There can be a team doctor, team surgeon.

16:01 DT: Then the players, individually, will have their agents. And then they also have their parents. A lot of times, it depends on why I’m being brought into the picture. Sometimes an agent is reaching out because they wanna support their player. Sometimes, that’s a trainer, they also have skills and skills trainers, rather. And so I would say I’m mostly helping with nutrition. I think the area that I’m adding more emphasis on in working with these athletes is sleep. It’s so huge for performance and recovery, and I think even more so, it’s becoming actually a priority for a lot of NBA teams. They actually have a sleep specialist that it’s coming now to different franchises to speak and help…

16:56 DB: That’s very neat.

16:57 DT: That’s really great. And the bigger reason why they’re investing in that is because of the studies that show there’s injury prevention, so it’s also prevention as well as recovery. But that’s just to say, when I’m working with them in areas of nutrition, I think what’s fun for me is the dynamic work of meeting people with where they’re at. When I’m talking to youth players, it’s sort of how are we gonna pick the best option from the cafeteria? But when I’m working with professional players, I’m often actually working with their chefs, so whether they already have a personal chef or whether I bring one into the picture. There’s different levels of working with them. I think, surprisingly, just because they’re elite athletes, doesn’t mean they eat in an elite way. I think that was maybe the most surprising thing is really, sharing with them how it can impact performance, and career longevity and injury prevention, because a lot of times, they can almost get away with eating whatever they want, and they’re performing at such an excellent high level that they just get away with it in some ways.

18:10 DT: I think the angle that I meet them at to help support some of those behavior changes that are improving their nutrition, because a lot of times, they’re going right from a college and sometimes they play college for one or two years, to living on their own or with family or whatever. And they’re carrying a lot of those college habits over, so fast food is a common thing I hear, which maybe you’d be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t be. So just, it’s also nutrition is a huge focus. Hydration is a huge focus. Sleep is a huge focus. And I think really, it’s just about finding a balance, making best choices and really navigating with them with where they wanna go, in the sense of some of them I worked with were exploring eating vegan. And what does that look like? Or sometimes, it’s exploring how to eat healthy when they are in a different country, when they’re playing overseas professionally and how to navigate those new foods and healthy food options. That’s a little bit. And then also providing some of the supplementation as needed. But my motto is food for supplements. Supplement, supplement, and food is first. And that’s another area to be really particular about when it comes to supplementation because of the testing, and just the rules and policies around supplementation for athletes.

19:39 DB: Right right, and the quality of supplementation, in general, too.

19:44 DT: Absolutely.

19:45 DB: And it’s in line with that, too. And I think that’s great, just… Of course, all medicine that you do is individualized. But I think getting to the foundation is huge, especially with athletes traveling.

20:02 DT: Yeah.

20:02 DB: It makes it very difficult to keep to a schedule or to find healthy foods, I think.

20:06 DT: Yeah, they’re flying a lot. And so that’s another thing, too, it just… Circadian rhythms are just all over the place. And so, that’s been another… That’s been a more recent area of interest and actually for both myself and it seems to be an interest for different teams and players.

20:25 DB: Yeah I think that’s great. So next question. I asked a lot of my friends who were athletes I said, “What do you want to know from Dr. Bethany about what can you get out of this?” And so, I got back. How do you improve recovery time? So these are some big ones. So how do you improve recovery time, improve endurance and improve strength. How would you go about addressing these? They’re all very interested in that from your perspective.

21:00 DT: Yeah, so I think with… So recovery time, I think hydration is a really big one. I think replenishing electrolytes is a big one. And I love doing either coconut water, or helping people get those nutrients back. So the electrolytes that you wanna focus on are the sodium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and calcium. So there’s a few products out there that are really well known as being an electrolyte replacement, but you can certainly find those in more natural ways. So whether it’s a quick smoothie, using especially dark green leafy vegetables are the best sources for a lot of those or coconut water again, is sort of a great electrolyte replacement. Interestingly, a lot of… So the DOMS is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and so that’s also often a part of the recovery picture is the muscle soreness. And what used to be thought of as lactic acid build up, is now switching into thinking more of an inflammatory response. And so there is value to having some of that inflammatory cascade but I think mitigating the inflammation is a big part of it too. So I really recommend especially eating some anti-inflammatory foods that are also hydrating. So things like pineapple and blueberries are great for recovery right after.

22:25 DT: Again, I think hydro therapy can be a great way to recover. So whether you just end your shower on cold or need to do a contrast soak to help with specific like ankle, or arm, or forearm, or wrist, or something. If they’re doing tennis, so those sort of sports. I think that can be really helpful. I think some more recent research was talking about beta carotene being really helpful for supporting recovery and pain management. So oftentimes just eating foods that have specific nutrients can be really beneficial.

23:01 DT: And then of course, getting that good sleep. So it’s not as… It’s just those pillars and foundations of health. So whether it’s drinking water, getting your rest, and getting healthy nutrition but those are a little bit more specific. When it comes to endurance, I think there’s a few things that are interesting around foods that support that. So it’s probably been popular for about, I don’t know, six or seven, maybe even 10 years, but using beets, beet powder, beet juice. So, that’s because of the nitric oxide, so that helps with oxygen delivery. So that can be supportive, especially for people that are doing running or endurance events.

23:46 DT: And while, beets are the most popular, there’s other foods that also can support that. So, pomegranate, citrus fruits and again, those leafy green vegetables, those are, I call those the MVPs. So they’re the best for all of the replenishment of minerals and vitamins especially when it comes to athletes needing that kind of support. Which going back to recovery time, I think, magnesium is a big one for recovery and most people are deficient in that mineral, and so whether it’s again those dark green leafy vegetables or those Epsom salt baths are a really great way to support. Or there’s even topical magnesium, which I would encourage as well. And then as far as strength, so strength you do have to be doing some resistance training to gain that kind of strength but I do think protein is a big part of making sure that you’re able to support the body as you’re doing that kind of training. And another thing that’s a little bit interesting around improving strength, or body composition is intermittent fasting, which is pretty trendy right now. But that has been shown to help with body composition and increasing muscle mass as well.

25:01 DT: Occasionally, I will recommend creatine, I know a lot of people ask about that, when it comes to youth athletes, there hasn’t been enough research, and studies for anyone under the age of 18, so I would say the high school boys, asked me the most about it, and it’s usually I don’t quite recommend it because we don’t know the long-term implications at this point. So I just kind of stay conservative when it comes to that. So I guess those will be a few quick hits for you there, helping with recovery, helping with endurance, and helping with strength.

25:36 DB: Perfect, I think that’s great. We can talk all day, just on those three topics.

25:43 DB: It gives people a good picture of how you approach it and everything too. So I thought that was great. So now, we’re kinda move on to some of the research you’ve done too.

25:54 DT: Sure.

25:56 DB: Your post-doctoral research focused on nutrition and Parkinson’s disease. So tell us a little bit about that and then how you have been able to incorporate that knowledge too into your practice.

26:06 DT: Sure. So I started… The school that I went to, also has a research institute. So it’s the Helfgott Research Institute, so I started being involved in some of the research, I’d say maybe even my second year of school. And interestingly, we started really diving into if the keto diet would be helpful for Parkinson’s disease. At that time, there was some research that was showing how it could be effective for chemotherapy and cancer patients. And we were looking into how it could be supportive, especially because of how it’s most recommended as a therapeutic diet for epilepsy. And so because of the neuro-degenerative component. And so that was actually my first introduction and experience and really researching a healthy way to do keto as opposed to just bacon.

27:04 DT: And it’s interesting that it’s so popular right now for fat loss. I really felt like it was… I know it’s a trending thing right now, so maybe we can pause on that, but… So that was part of the introduction of it. And then the research I did during my fellowship was around what’s called… We did something called a Delphi Panel and it was a modified Delphi. And so that’s when you… It’s a type of research where you basically bring in experts in an industry or field and then you do a survey of questions and you really are trying to understand the state of science. So you’re trying to come to a consensus on things. And so the goal is to really identify what could be guidelines for Parkinson’s disease as it relates to diet and nutrition.

28:02 DT: And I think that there was a lot of different inputs. So we navigated that, but also just the current research out there. And I think what’s been interesting too when it comes to nutrition is that there are… Although, there’s motor symptoms, there’s also a lot of non-motor symptoms that could be impacted by diet. So constipation is actually one of the biggest most common symptoms, but it’s also part of what’s considered… There’s a triad of symptoms that’s now considered like a pre-early diagnosis sort of… I don’t know, yellow flag perhaps. But that’s the loss of the sense of smell, restless leg syndrome, and constipation. And so those three together, are kind of an interesting combination. But there is a correlation between having those symptoms and then developing Parkinson’s later on. So it’s… And the bigger conversation is there is such a connection between the gut and the brain, and there’s even now consideration and theories around the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s even being… Starting in the gut and starting and connecting with the vagus nerve, and impacting the brain in that way.

29:23 DT: So there’s a lot of nutrition implications for neurodegenerative conditions. And the way that I’m applying that information now is I do work in a clinic here in Portland, Oregon, and I’m able to see patients that have Parkinson’s, but I’m also very involved with the Brian Grant Foundation based here in Portland, Oregon. And so… He was actually a former NBA player who was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s. So he was in his late 30s when he was diagnosed. And instead of being really research-focused, as the Michael J. Fox Foundation is, it’s really about helping people live with Parkinson’s today and using exercise, nutrition, and supporting mindfulness, and stress management, giving tools for everything from fashion to learning about gardening for health, so those capacities. And I’m actually… I’m currently contributing an article monthly to their blog and it’s Cures from the Kitchen and it’s really understanding how to use nutrition to support some of those non-motor symptoms. And interestingly, this month’s is around dermatology and skin conditions.

30:37 DB: That’s perfect.

30:40 DT: Yeah. So a lot of times some of those symptoms are really oily skin, really dry skin, or they can be really… Their perspiration can also be regulating it, whether it’s too much or too little. So those are some impacts as well. So…

31:00 DB: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I’ve always been interested in the neuro side myself. That’s kind of how we met too.

31:06 DT: Yeah, exactly.

31:08 DB: Through that. And diet is so powerful in Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis, and so many conditions. I think it’s a huge force.

31:19 DT: Yeah. Absolutely. Pardon me.

31:34 DB: Okay, well, this is the question I love to ask every doctor when I do this series and it’s about philosophy, just ’cause I think that a physician’s philosophy is incredibly important about how they view medicine and the doctor they are. So I wanna talk to you about philosophy and your philosophy on medicine and what led you specifically to go to NCNM versus other types of medical school too? So, tell us about that.

32:00 DT: I think that’s great. I… This is probably the toughest question you’ve asked me.

32:08 DT: I don’t know as if I have an actual philosophy defined, but I can share my journey, and aspects of what I really value, maybe when I’m done.

32:21 DB: Yeah, definitely, definitely.

32:23 DT: So interestingly, my grandma was actually a big influence on encouraging me in exploring naturopathic medicine, because growing up she was kind of the go-to family doctor when it came to… I remember I was having all these nosebleeds for some reason when I was a kid, and she was like, “Oh you need more vitamin C, because this… ” She was really using food as medicine at that time. And I started getting interested in health and wellness. And I remember in sixth grade, she gifted me the Vitamin Bible and it was just information about all the vitamins and minerals, and what foods they’re found in, and I just kind of loved playing with that and loved that idea. Later on, she gifted me a Prescription for Nutritional Healing book. And so I was already interested in health and wellness in medicine.

33:18 DT: And actually when I was a senior in high school, I was able to participate in this program where for half the day, there was I think five of us seniors, so half the day we would spend the rest of the… Our school day in the hospital setting. And it was really just an opportunity to be exposed to the industry, the field and we would rotate through all the different departments. And at the end of the school year, we were doing a career project. And so it’s kind of really dialing in what you were most interested in and kind of researching it. And I just remember telling my supervisor that I can’t decide. I loved the physical therapy, I loved my time with the nutritionist, I loved the primary care, and she mentioned, “Well have you ever heard of naturopathic medicine?” At the time I hadn’t. So I just remember reading the list of the philosophy of treating the whole person, I loved all the different modalities of doing nutrition and botanical medicine and physical medicine. Because I also loved in my time with a chiropractor, and it was just sort of, “Oh I get to do everything.”

34:27 DT: So I started looking into it at that time, and that’s when I actually knew about the school here in Portland. I went on to study as a pre-med student, and my pre-med advisor when I brought him my folder of research and information that I was so excited about discussing naturopathic medicine, he was a little bit more skeptical and he encouraged me to become… To follow maybe become a DO. So I did a pre-med practicum where I spent 10 days with a DO and I loved it because it was slightly more holistic. He was doing some bone manipulation to support, but it was also prescribing pharmaceuticals all day and I just felt like, “Oh there’s not quite as much of the other stuff that I would be interested, especially the nutrition.” So I started thinking I might be doing more public health or nutrition. So I did the Peace Corps. And when I came back… What led me to the school was actually finding a practicing physician. And so I met with them and I thought, I know this idea, this whole philosophy I’ve researched what the schools teach, and the classes and it looked amazing, but when I had a chance to see what it looked like in practice, it really confirmed this is what I have to do.

35:44 DT: So I just felt like even that interaction with that doctor, it was Dr. Edwards actually, and he had shared… With my patients, I asked them, how is their sleep? I asked them about their bowel movements, and I thought to myself. No doctor has ever asked me those questions and how obviously they are connected and correlated to how people feel, and their health and what other stresses are going on in their lives. And knowing that how much time you’re able to dedicate with really hearing someone’s story versus that 10 minute, “Okay, you have a sinus infection here’s your script, call me if it’s gets worse,” experience. And so that’s what, had been something that… So that’s to say the seed was planted. I would say it was influence from my grandma I think. It was on my radar when I was a senior in high school and it was something that I couldn’t let go of because it just continued to intrigue me. Even when I was in the Peace Corps I had a folder of information, of just sort of, “This is still something that just really resonates and I think I’d like to do this one day.”

36:52 DT: And I think I needed a little bit of break from school. Before I was ready to dive back in, and do it full-time in that way, and it just… Yeah, I absolutely love this field, I love sharing our medicine. I think it’s becoming, it’s almost becoming a preferred medicine. I know for a long time it was sort of alternative and complementary and I think people are really seeking to be heard, to receive individual care and to use other tools although I can prescribe pharmaceuticals here in Oregon, just to know that there’s a therapeutic order that we like to follow and there’s other ways to support the body. So those are… I guess that’s my story, and I’m not sure exactly if that defines my philosophy. I think…

37:44 DB: There’s no right answer. It’s your passion too, it’s your passion for how we… We all have a story. I think of how we found this medicine because there’s not a lot of people compared to the conventional world, how many of us are out there. And I think that when you do become a doctor like this with the financial investment, the time investment and everything you… You have to have a deep philosophy and a real passion.

38:09 DT: Yeah.

38:09 DB: And in medicine too. So I think that’s great.

38:11 DT: Thanks.

38:14 DB: So last question is mainly about what you’re up to now too. Tell me where you’re practicing medicine or what you’re doing. And so people can find you here, and of course you’re part of the board, so they could always find you through us too. But tell me a little bit about your clinical practice and what you’re doing.

38:34 DT: Sure, so I guess where people can find me, I would say that I wear three hats currently. One is as a clinician, so I am a physician here in Portland, Oregon, at 2BWell so that’s based Lake Oswego, where I’m there several days a week. I am a primary care provider, there and I also do accept insurance. We also have cash price points as well. So whatever your need is I can meet you there. Secondly I would say Natural Sports Medicine is actually my business name and so that’s where I’m often speaking, I’m looking at speaking this summer, there’s some opportunities, some big camps in LA and some tournaments in Vegas. And sometimes I’m talking small little travel groups whether… Travel teams rather, and sometimes I’ve taken college boys on a grocery tour. So it’s the whole spectrum. I’m also really excited for some opportunities to do some consulting with a couple NBA franchises and that’s sort of in the works, so more details to come. And I also do work with some individual players, in that way, too. So consulting, and speaking.

39:45 DT: And then the corporate wellness hat that I wear, so there is a company based in New York that I work with and we’re actually spinning into doing some wellness retreats, and so I’ll be in Syracuse, New York. We’ll be launching our first sort of… We call them urban resets. So it’s a chance to whether… You can’t go to the island or the mountain, but it’s a chance to get some tools to help support health and wellness and stress management while you’re in the city. So that’s a few things. I did it for a while and I’m looking at returning to doing, I was doing a podcast myself called, Healthy as a Habit. So I’m looking at bringing that back. And then a few other projects that are just kind of fun to share are having worked with some chefs they… I’ve also… Sometimes they’re looking to bring products to market, and so there’s a couple of foods products that I am doing some consulting work and helping with their nutrition labels. And I’m excited to share that once it’s on the market.

40:50 DB: Very nice. And kind of with us too, we’re gonna consult with you, as we’re developing more of our sports-focused, pain-focused supplements and we’re also developing guides for each condition.

41:04 DT: Oh, fun.

41:05 DB: One of them will probably be arthritis or joint pain or muscle strain. So we’re definitely gonna have to use your expertise in those areas as well.

41:13 DT: Yes. That’s so exciting, I’m very very excited about teaming up with you and it’s been fun to reunite after…

41:21 DB: Yeah. Definitely.

41:23 DT: I don’t know if everyone knows but we competed.

41:28 DT: Dr. Burklund won a speech contest that I participated in. And I’m so glad that we’ve been able to now be at the same team.

41:34 DT: I mean we’re always on the same team. That was true.

41:40 DT: That was a bad competition though. Surprisingly it was fun, but… Yeah. It was a good challenge because that was, I would say the start of my public speaking. It’s something that I look… I do actually enjoy speaking to groups now, and it was a challenge for me to do at that time, for sure.

42:00 DB: Yeah, as I said, it just… It puts us out there and gets us to focus on education too. To bring the knowledge. It’s kind of a love/hate relationship.

42:10 DT: Yes. I agree.

42:12 DB: Okay, well I guess we’ll end this today, but you’re gonna be on our team and we’re always gonna ask you questions here and there and probably have you on this series, but I’m glad our viewers got to meet you. And…

42:23 DT: Yes. Thank you so much for having me.

42:27 DB: And we will I’m sure I talk to you soon. So have an amazing day in Oregon.

42:31 DT: Thank you so much.

42:34 DB: And we’ll speak later. Take care.

42:36 DT: Sounds good. Thanks you too. Bye.

42:38 DB: Bye.

Want to connect with Dr. Bethany Tennant? Click this link

We named our interview series ‘Living Well’ based on the Ancient Greek term “Eudaimonia” translating to doing and living well. The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle uses this term in relation to balance in all areas of life. At Puriya, we believe that living well encompasses much more than health but all aspects of life.


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