Her determination with her own health issues inspires her to help others and helps her better understand her patients. She works to constantly improve her own skills as a doctor to help her patients enjoy better health. She is also a licensed massage therapist with a certificate from Bastyr University and Cortiva Institute.
In addition to the required coursework, Dr. Richter also did elective study in: Craniosacral therapy, Homeopathy,
Ayurvedic Medicine, Aromatherapy, Pain management, IV Therapy.
Dr. Richter's clinical rotations included primary care, physical medicine, homeopathy, IV therapy, Counseling, HIV/Immune Wellness, Women's Health and off-site at the Carolyn Downs Clinic providing care to under-served populations.
I guide those seeking optimal health and holistic approaches to health concerns through patient centered care, treating the whole person, not just a set a symptoms. With empathy, unconditional positive regard, innovative personalized treatment plans and cutting edge Naturopathic methods, I partner with you to look and feel your best.
My treatments give you the best of integrative medicine. Naturopathic doctors are functional medicine specialists. I utilize Naturopathic treatment modalities such as Botanical Medicine, Supplements, Craniosacral Therapy, Homeopathic Remedies, Hydrotherapy, and pharmaceutical prescribing when appropriate.
- Vice President and Chair of Education Committee for Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians (WANP): Currently on the Board of Directors https://wanp.org/, Former Treasurer for WANP (2017-2019)
- Affiliate Clinical Faculty of the School of Naturopathic Medicine. Bastyr University. Bastyr Preceptor: ND students gain valuable time in a clinical setting shadowing Dr. Richter.
- Volunteer Doctor for Girl Scouts of America
- Alternative Healthcare Access Campaign (AHAC): Frye Apartments in Seattle https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/alternative-healthcare-access-campaign#/
Dr. Richter's Story
Health is a journey. Everyone’s journey with health is different. Some have easy to travel paths with straight lines and clear endpoints. For others, their journeys are fraught with twists and turns, one road leading down another making it hard to reach their goals. I am writing this because I wanted to share my story with you.
I was adopted as a baby to wonderful, loving, supportive parents. They were always very open with me about it, and I never felt it to be a bad thing. I was always very grateful for the sacrifice that my biological mother made to give me a better life. I always knew that I was lucky to be chosen by my parents and was given a fantastic life.
As a child, I was sick all of the time. I had terrible hay fever and terrible seasonal allergies. Usually around late August when school would start the hay fever would kick in and I would be sneezing up to 30 times in a row, nasally congested and runny at the same time, itchy watery eyes, sore throat, itchy throat and ears. It was so miserable. Then my parents would give me allergy medicine and even with the prescription allergy medicine at that time; there were no non-drowsy options. I would be falling asleep on my desk at school. I never knew what was worse, the allergies or the medication. They both were terrible.
I struggled with night-time enuresis (bed-wetting) until I was about 10 years old. It was incredibly embarrassing for me. When going to sleep overs, I would stay up all night so that I wouldn’t have an “accident." My parents tried everything they could think of to help me grow out of it and luckily, finally I did.
I used to get strep throat and tonsillitis multiple times per year throughout childhood. Even when I wasn’t sick my tonsils were so enlarged all of the time that they actually touched each other all the time. It wasn’t until I was 15 that it was decided to take them out. With my adenoids and tonsils removed there was now so much space in my throat and pharynx that I had to learn to drink again. Everything I would drink after the surgery would come out of my nose. Water fountains were the worst!
Throughout childhood and into adulthood I struggled with Irritable bowel syndrome. I didn’t know that is what it was at the time, but I would get terrible bouts of cramping and alternating constipation and diarrhea. Sometimes the cramping would be so bad; I would turn red and start sweating from the pain. I also suffered from gastritis in my stomach in my junior high and high school years. My stomach would be painfully burning quite often; nothing would seem to make it feel better. It was very painful.
When I was a Junior in High School, we moved from Cincinnati, OH, where I had lived all of my life, to Seattle, WA. This was a very tough time in my life to move and was disappointed that I didn’t make friends as easily in Washington as I did in Ohio. This caused my naturally out going and friendly personality to become introverted, shy, self-conscious. I struggled with this throughout my 20’s and started to come back out of my shell in my 30’s.
I always had a genetic tendency to gain weight easily, but it wasn't a problem until my 20’s. My metabolism seemed to drop off early (like you would expect around age 30.) I started gaining weight. Not until I was in college and working full time that it started to accelerate more. Looking back on it, the lack of sleep, increased cortisol, and some poor food choices due to lack of time and not much education on nutrition were a terrible combination.
Due to my childhood experiences, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to help people as well as help myself. I had aspirations to be a successful, professional woman. However, when I would look into different types of doctors, none of the options resonated with me. I had settled on becoming a psychologist because I found the brain and behavior fascinating but wasn't confident this was what I wanted to do. While I was in high school, I started learning about herbs and essential oils. I used to go to the herb shop and buy herbs, grind them up and put them in capsules and give them to my family and friends to take for health and ailments. I also would use essential oils. Similar to my childhood dispensing of medications and recommendations to help my friends and family as best as I could but more naturally. Then I learned about Bastyr. When I learned about Bastyr University, It was a light went on inside me. I knew this is what I was meant to do. So after a break from high school, I began my journey to become a Naturopathic Doctor.
I suffered from terrible ear pain, pressure and ear infections my entire life until one specific day while in class at Bastyr University. As a child, I struggled with ear infections constantly. Doctors tried tubes which didn't work. Sometimes my ears were so infected that pus would stream out of my ears down my neck. I would have to put cotton balls in my ears to keep it under control. During the moments I didn't have an infection, my ears would hurt still hurt. When I was 13, my ear drum perforated so badly that I had to have surgery to repair it. As I became an adult, I noticed that on nice days when the barometric pressure was high, I would have increased pain and pressure in my ears. It would mimic the sensation of being on an airplane when your ear needs to pop. I found that I couldn’t fly on an airplane without my eardrum bursting. Talk about pain! Around age 25, I had to have surgery to fix the second eardrum because it was so worn out from all of the infections and perforations. It was just a limp piece of tissue, barely functioning. My ears would pop and crackle all the time. The surgery left me with a lot of scar tissue on my eardrum, and now my hearing isn't as good as I would like it to be. While I was at Bastyr, I was in a class learning about ear infections in children. I decided to stay after to talk to the professor due to my personal experience with them. After I told him my story, he looked at me matter of factly and said, “Well, it is usually a problem with dairy. You shouldn't be eating any.” He said it as if it was something very obvious and I should have known. Growing up in Ohio, dairy is quite an important staple of diet. Not to mention, in the midwest, I don't think they even believe in food allergies. To this day it can be a struggle when I got back to visit my family. Well after my teacher told me this, I immediately stopped eating all dairy products. I had never restricted my diet before and it was not easy since everything was better with cheese on it. Within a few weeks, not only did my ears feel better, my sinuses felt better, and my bowels felt better. I could not believe it. Even though I longed for cheese, it was not worth eating because I was feeling so much better!
Now I knew the power of diet! Had someone understood food allergies and was able to tell me as a child to not eat dairy, I would have avoided a lifetime of pain, allergies, surgeries on my ears, hearing damage, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammation. I had taken so many drugs, nasal steroids, treatments to try and deal with all of these conditions and all I needed to do was avoid dairy. The pain I went through with my ears, stomach, bowels was excruciating. When I had gastritis, it would flare up and burn, I would drink milk because I thought that would soothe it and it would feel worse, but I never made the connection that it was actually making it worse! I was so happy to be rid of all my ailments, but couldn’t believe I suffered for so long for something so simple.
Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor has been the best thing I have done with my life, but it wasn’t without a toll. Due to the stress of such an intense program getting the Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and working, coming out of 6 years of already working full time and taking a full-time course load for my Associates and Bachelor’s degrees my health was at its worst. From so many years of lack of sleep, intense stress, barely making ends meet, almost ending up homeless, sometimes having to starve, I was in bad shape. I had made it! I had made it my dream, my ultimate goal. I was too exhausted to revel in my triumph. When I graduated with my ND degree, I ended up having Epstein-Barr/Reactivated Mono/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Severely fatigued adrenal glands, and some nutritional deficiencies like low Vitamin D. It took me about five years to feel like a human being again. I never knew that the level of fatigue could even exist. I thought, oh, I was tired and worn out from being in school and working and only getting 3-4 hours of sleep on average for the past ten years. One day, I went to get my eyebrows waxed and the gal that had been doing my eyebrows for a little while now let me know that the hair in the arch of my eyebrows was missing. I knew right away what that meant and went to get some testing. My Naturopathic Doctor also wanted to test me for Epstein Barr. I told her to go ahead, but to my knowledge, I never had mono. I used to wish to have mono in high school so I could get out of going to school, and testing never showed positive. I was shocked when it came out positive and not shocked when my thyroid turned out to be under-functioning. It took years of following the Epstein-Barr protocol, resting as much as possible, and making sure I was getting adequate sleep, but I was able to overcome the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Sometimes I feel that deep, deep fatigue try to overtake me, especially after a stressful time, and I get back on the anti-virals and make sure my vitamin D levels are good. I have never gotten that bad since. I still struggle with the thyroid, but I do the best I can. It certainly doesn't help my weight issue. Towards the end of my study at Bastyr, I started to develop Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). I didn't realize what was happening at first, but as it progressed it became obvious. So, now hormones are an issue, among other systems that can be impacted by PCOS. Luckily, I have normal blood sugar and cholesterol numbers. Between that and the thyroid, I was struggling even more with my weight. It is something that I am always working toward. I eat a mostly healthy diet and am reasonably active. Working with a health coach has changed my life. Even though I have all this wonderful knowledge, you know what they say “Doctors make the worst patients”. It helps me be accountable to myself and helps to remind me of what I need to be doing.
In May 2017, I had to have an emergency cholecystectomy (Gall Bladder removal). It was in bad shape and my health had been in bad shape, getting sick often the previous year. The winter previous, I spent about 3-4 months being constantly sick. This again was a wake-up call. The push I needed to get more strict and completely back on track. Since my surgery in 2017, I have been following a vegan, gluten-free diet that is in congruence with me being a blood type A. I have never felt better. My daily pain is now non-existent, I haven't been sick since, and I feel terrific with a lot of energy. The high fiber and vegetable content of my vegan diet has also helped me with balancing my hormones and is helping with weight loss, although I still have to work hard at it to make it happen. Not eating dairy, eggs, gluten, and meat is not easy. I have to plan what I am going to eat, or where I am going to eat and am very limited. While it is not easy, it is so worth it because I feel so good! .
I have been able to heal myself from so many of my ailments and conditions that I fully understood the power of Naturopathic Medicine and Diet. It completely reinforces that I made the right decision, even though being a Naturopathic Doctor in itself is a struggle due to lack of awareness, and disapproval from the American Medical Association. I love what I do and I love helping people. Day after day I get to see the miracle of Naturopathic medicine. I get to help people get back to real health instead of just masking their problems with drugs. It is an exciting and truly humbling experience. Having lived it and experienced it myself first hand, I have an even deep understanding and appreciation of what my patients are going through. I am able to listen to my patients and take them seriously on a deeper level than others that haven't had similar experiences. Frequently, by the time people get to me they have been suffering for a long time, being told by conventional medicine there is nothing wrong with them, or they can't help them. They are told they are just going to have to live with it, or maybe it is all in your head. I know first hand how it feels not to feel good and not have “anything wrong with me." I also understand what is like to have health challenges. I also know first hand that you can get better, your health can improve and you don't have to feel that way. It is not always easy and can take a lot of discipline. I do not ask my patients to do anything I am not willing to do myself regarding treatments.
We all have a story. Most of us have had challenges of many different types in our past. I hope that you can appreciate and identify with mine. I am human; I am a person. I have challenges that I have to work on. I may not be perfect. I try to do what’s right and I work hard. I hope from this you have gotten a better sense of who I am, where I came from, and why I became a doctor. Thank you for reading my story.