Now open in Hopkins is Panka Natural Health, where husband and wife team Dr. Jacob and Dr. Haley Panka are making it their mission to offer patients health and healing by getting to the root cause through naturopathic medicine.
As residents of the community, the couple officially opened their practice in June with the goal of providing a holistic approach to health that focuses first on nutrition and lifestyle. Secondary options for health support include dietary supplementation, including plant medicines, musculoskeletal mobilization, hydrotherapy and mindfulness practices..
The naturopathic doctors were both trained as primary care doctors through the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.
The mission of their practice is to create health for their patients by combining the principles of naturopathic medicine with the latest research on complementary and integrative health.
Naturopathic medicine is rooted in six principles, which Jacob pointed are:
1. Do no harm.
2. Cooperate with the healing powers of nature.
3. Address the fundamental causes of disease.
4. Teach the patient vital information about taking health into their own hands.
5. Heal the whole person through an individualized treatment, not just symptoms.
6. Disease prevention through overall health and wellness.
The couple shared what led each of them on the journey of naturopathic medicine.
Haley was working as a patient care nursing assistant at the Cleveland Clinic in her home state of Ohio, where she helped patients who were receiving chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants and radiation. She watched patients enter the clinic as one person and leave three to six weeks later depleted and weak.
“It appeared at though their life force was diminished even if their blood cancer was in remission,” she said.
Any time a patient fell ill after their bone marrow transplant, they would come back to her unit for care, she said. “And those were the toughest cases to witness,” she said, recalling patients who came back with severe side effects sometimes leading to their death.
She also had other patients return with cancer recurrence for a second bone marrow transplant.
“I wanted to know if there was anything that could done in conjunction with conventional therapy to make it more tolerable, to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, and lower their risk of cancer recurrence in the future,” Haley explained.
That’s when she started doing research about natural and alternative cancer therapies, which led her to naturopathic medical school.
Jacob sought alternatives to health issues stemming from his exposure to concussions while playing football.
“There’s not an accepted treatment for the chronic traumatic encephalopathy that comes out of repetitive concussions,” he said, noting it isn’t even a condition that is effectively diagnosed.
“So, it’s frustrating when you know there’s so much we know about fundamental brain chemistry, how to support brain health with diet, lifestyle [and] nutritional supplements that just wasn’t being explored,” he said.
That is why he is passionate about working with people with neurological disorders as well as chronic diseases.
The couple also realize that pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications sometimes mask the symptoms, potentially causing further damage or other side effects.
“We get to the root cause of what’s really going on,” Haley said, adding they also take the time to work through what can potentially be very complicated medical histories in order to find an effective treatment.
Panka Natural Health is located at 901 First St. N. Suite 901A. For more information, visit pankanaturalhealth.com or call 612-568-8382.
Follow the Sun Sailor on Facebook at facebook.com/mnsunsailor.