Traditional practitioner turns to holistic medicine

Dr. Brenda Marshall treats patients by examining the underlying factors that cause an illness through a combination of traditional and holistic methods.

Marshall, based in Solana Beach, began incorporating holistic treatment in 2004 when she saw that the mainstream medical practices she had been using for the last 10 years were not effective.

“I never felt like I fixed anybody,” Marshall said.

She also said she saw many traditional doctors around who were burned out. She considered giving up medicine, but turned instead to researching holistic methods.

“It’s been an eye-opening experience for me to transition into a different area,” Marshall said.

When patients come to her after being treated by traditional doctors, she said, they are often on multiple medications and experiencing side effects, but making no progress toward recovery.

Sydney Negrete, a patient of Marshall’s for the past year, first started seeing her after she experienced thyroid problems and had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She said compared to other doctors, Marshall asks more questions and wants to know more details about the patient’s ailments.

“She has really helped me feel 100 percent again,” Negrete said. “She really wants to help women with all kinds of issues.”

Marshall’s approach is to look for the root cause of a condition or illness, then treat it.

Marshall said, unlike many other physicians who would prescribe Ambien to treat sleeping problems, she’d try to find out why the patient is having the trouble. She works with patients to get them off traditional medications.

Pharmaceutical representatives try to sell medications to physicians, Marshall said, making it unlikely non-traditional medicine will become mainstream practice any time soon. However, holistic medicine is becoming more widespread because clients are increasingly unsatisfied with traditional medicine, she said.

Using bio-identical hormones, hormones of identical molecular structure to those found in the body, is also a focus of Marshall’s practice. Previously, artificial hormones were commonly used, often leading to increased rates of breast cancer in those who used them.

Also unique to Marshall’s practice is her use of a compound pharmacy, which, instead of churning out brand-name drugs, creates custom medications depending on the patient’s needs.

“It’s tailored to the patient’s exact levels,” Marshall said.

To contact Marshall, call (858) 847-0303 or (858) 350-6290.