Monday, December 13, 2010

Internship Experience: Reflections from Julia Strickler, ND

Our current intern, Julia Strickler ND, will be leaving in December. She reveals a little about her experience here with us.

I seized the opportunity to intern at the Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat Center for three months after graduation. I was eager for warmth, sunshine, and clinical experience as a new doctor from Seattle. I looked forward to seeing the power of naturopathic medicine working in a retreat setting after extensive work in out-patient clinical settings. I was also looking forward to working in a place that combined a spiritual retreat experience with healing via detoxification.

In October, I arrived on the Big Island not really sure what to expect, but excited for whatever may lay ahead. I visited Hawaii once twenty years ago and have limited memories about the experience. People told me that this part of the island was fairly rural, it could rain a lot, and that I needed to adapt to local living and pace of life as soon as possible. All of this has proven to be true! Before arriving, I understood the basic layout of the internship. I would divide my time between two locations. Initially I would shadow Dr. Baylac and learn how the retreat center functioned. Then I would develop more independence and we would alternate visiting with patients and have more separate responsibilities.

My first day was a whirlwind. After a brief tour of where the office is located, I went with Dr. Baylac to where the center was operating at full force – 2 patients doing Gerson Therapy, 4 patients doing various detox or addiction programs. It was exciting and offered the challenge and opportunity that I was looking for after graduation. After being shown how things operate here – from visiting with patients to folding laundry to online marketing – I began to gradually take on more responsibilities, offering my own skills as a doctor and healer. Dr. Baylac worked with my strengths and helped to develop a flexible schedule that worked for both of us. While here, I have had the opportunity to work with nature cure and nutrient therapy, enemas and meditation, exercise therapy and hydrotherapy, incorporating regular swims in the ocean with sea turtles, and much much more!

Everyday I wake up in disbelief at the abundance of natural beauty and deep healing power of nature that flourishes in Hawaii. As a doctor, it is a gift to work with patients who are committed to their healing process. Each of the patients that came to Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat Center demonstrated the inherent healing power and wisdom of the body. When a person is given the right physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual tools and the time to heal, amazing results are achieved! I am leaving Hawaii with a deeper awareness of how to support people through intensive times of healing, a greater knowledge of raw foods, an enhanced sensitivity to nature….and a great tan!

(Above I am preparing to teach a patient how to do a coffee enema. This is how to truly experience Kona coffee!!)

Dr. Julia Strickler graduated from Bastyr University. After completing her internship at Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat Center, she will return to Austin, Texas to practice naturopathic medicine, focusing on developing healthy lifestyle habits and choices for people with chronic disease. You can contact her at or read about her time in Hawaii at