By Doug Hare EBS STAFF
BIG SKY –Dr. Kaley Burns has already started treating patients but the official Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony for Big Sky Natural Health will take place on Thursday, Dec. 12 from 5–7 p.m. The office is located next to Engel & Völkers in the same building occupied by The Cave Spirits and Gifts.
Naturopathic medicine is part of the quickly growing natural health industry, as an increasing number of patients seek a more non-invasive approach to their healthcare than offered by traditional hospitals. “There is this trend of finding a more natural way to manage your health than just with pharmaceuticals. I take a more supportive, underlying-cause standpoint that offers patients a different perspective,” Dr. Burns said. “Educated patients are empowered patients. I can make recommendations all day, but it’s really us working together that will best support their health.”
Burns received her Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from the National University of Health Sciences in Chicago, Illinois, one of only five naturopathic medical schools in the U.S. She specializes in regenerative injection therapies including Prolotherapy (Prolo), Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), and Stem Cell Therapy as well as IV nutrient therapy.
The Minnesota-native previously practiced as a licensed Naturopathic Physician in an integrative family practice in Manchester, Connecticut. Having spent time working at Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic in Billings, Montana she was eager to return to the Treasure State as an associate. While continuing to obtain advanced training and application of regenerative and intravenous injection therapy at YNC, Dr. Burns was drawn to the natural splendor of the Big Sky area, where she hopes to offer a unique clinical experience to the community.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison intent on pursuing a career in physical therapy, Burns’ own battles with health issues would change the trajectory of her career path and later inform how she approaches life as a health professional. “I was in the process of training for Ironman and had gotten pretty sick and nobody could figure out why. I was seeing my primary care physician, a gastroenterologist, a neurologist and a bunch of different people,” Burns said. “Everyone seemed to want to give me another medication, and medication for that medication. My mom suggested that I see a naturopath and I gave her this look like I had no idea what she was talking about.”
Fortunately, Burns did see a naturopathic doctor, and within a few weeks of various therapies and diet changes, her health returned. That experience is what she credits as having opened her eyes to the possibility of studying the burgeoning field of naturopathy and helping others in similar situations. Burns has since been able to return to doing the things she enjoys most: endurance events, cross-country skiing, paddle boarding and exploring new hiking trails with her dog. Big Sky’s newest small business owner looks forward to testing herself in The Rut, an annual, grueling endurance race on Lone Mountain.
“I’m looking forward to joining the community here. People have been very welcoming and excited about what we’re going to be doing up here,” Burns said. “It’s great to be in a place where people really value their health. There’s a lot of active people around here who enjoy being outside. They seem to not only care about existing conditions but also prevention and staying healthy and trying to perform at their peak level.”
Burns knows a thing or two about performing at a high level and recovering from injury. Not only has she shaved over an hour off of her Ironman race times, she has also climbed a mountain—Mt Kilmanjaro to be exact. Almost 40 years to the day that her mom summited the highest peak in Africa, Burns also made it to the top of the iconic dormant volcano only a few weeks after breaking her ankle while hiking deep in the Beartooth Mountains.
Dr. Burns is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, American Medical Women’s Association and the secretary of the Montana Association of Naturopathic Physicians.