Before deciding on a career in naturopathic medicine, Crystalin Montgomery, ND, LAc, had her sights set on becoming a collegiate soccer coach.

“I came to medicine through my journey as an athlete and a coach,” Dr. Montgomery said.

During her time as a coach, she began to take more prerequisite coursework for a medical degree.

“At that point, I realized that I had reached the end of what I wanted to do with coaching,” Dr. Montgomery said. “And then, when I learned about naturopathic medicine, I knew it was a perfect fit for me.”

She felt that with naturopathic medicine, she could serve the community as a doctor with tools in her belt that went beyond the pharmacological or surgical options that patients were typically offered.

“I wanted the best of both worlds, and that’s what naturopathic medicine offered me,” Dr. Montgomery said.

Once she started her naturopathic studies, she very quickly started turning to acupuncture to help manage stress and chronic pain.

“That’s when I made the decision to add acupuncture to my repertoire,” Dr. Montgomery said. “I enrolled in a master’s program in acupuncture to complement the naturopathic doctoral program I was already working on and completed the two simultaneously.”

Once she completed her education, she joined M Physicians as an acupuncturist at the Behavioral Health Clinic for Families.

“My goal is to build teams for my patients,” Dr. Montgomery said. “No one person is going to do it all for an individual patient, so I always try to help my patients find the right people within our system to meet their needs.”

In addition, she stresses the importance of really getting to know a patient in order to provide them with the best care possible.

“You can get a really true sense of how a patient has come to be where they’re at by listening to their story,” Dr. Montgomery said. “Sometimes listening to their story is therapeutic in and of itself for the patient, but it can also help us understand any underlying factors that are playing into the health concerns that they’re dealing with today.”

She also loves to teach––people today crave an understanding of what is going on, especially when it comes to their health, and oftentimes, there is so much information that it can be hard to sift through and determine what’s most important.

“I think what conventional care lacks because of time constraints, etc., is that patients aren’t able to sit down and ask questions,” Dr. Montgomery said. “To me, that’s the most fun part of my job. It helps patients better understand how to prevent or treat their symptoms, why they are happening and maybe even make them more comfortable with treatment.”