PRP Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy
To become a Naturopathic Doctor, I did four years of pre-medical university studies at the University of Saskatchewan, and then was accepted into the only school in Canada (at that time) that trains Naturopathic Physicians in Toronto, Ontario (CCNM - grad 2002). I was so fortunate this path opened up for me as I had started university initially intending to become a Veterinarian. Starting while I was in high school, I was employed for four years at the local veterinary clinic in downtown Terrace, BC. I loved caring for animals that were in such need of lovingly empathetic and wise hands. Cleaning up after their sickness, helping the vet to do check ups, minor and major surgeries, I worked in this field, experiencing life and death around me in a very intimate way.
I have always loved the intricate precision of surgical needle work. Learning acupuncture during my naturopathic training was something that I felt I could specialize in for the rest of my life. My acupuncture sessions are performed with intention. I move circulation and the body's energy around in a way where I have the intention to help ground distress and to heal imbalances.
I am so so excited to start using the body's platelet rich plasma (PRP) to congregate healing in specific areas of the body. I have done acupuncture pretty much every day for the past 17 years. For the past 11 years, I have used IV therapy for my patients to deliver nutrients directly to the blood stream. I honor and respect the warrior balance of welcoming medicine into the body for healing. When you can inject something into the body, the effect is immediate and systemic. For this reason, I use this power with only positive intentions. The polarity to this is my consistent view upon the destruction of illicit drugs in the work of early recovery from addiction that I also specialize in. All of my intentions are to bring honour and release to what is stuck in another's body and life through healing change.
In Chinese Medicine there is a teaching that in the essence of pain there is stagnation. Stagnation of either blood or energy and emotion.
And so I focus on healing by intending to create movement and change of these very things.
The use of the blood's plasma concentrates multitudes of growth factors, stem cells and other healing cells. It can be used on any single part of the body to help those cells do what they are already doing in a much more healed, stronger state. It can make hair thicker and stronger. For skin, it can repair collagen cells sitting just under the skin's surface. For bones, cartilage, soft tissue, it increases repair and growth. What a wonderful medicine from your body back to your body !
When you look at blood that has been spun in a centrifuge, you will see that the plasma is dark yellow in color. It is the substance left over when you extract the red blood cells that are moving around carrying nutrients and oxygen. You can see in this picture, plasma is sitting at the top of the test tube, below that is the gel separator that is unique to the Eclipse PRP system that I use, and at the bottom are the accumulated red blood cells. Pretty cool !
What is the experience like, to receive PRP treatment ?
I order to determine if a patient is a good candidate for PRP, I offer a free 30 minute appointment to discuss the details of what exactly will happen during the appointment, what to expect immediately after and moving forward. Knowing that they are prepared for this and have signed health history forms and a consent form, I then provide them a laboratory requisition to get routine blood work to screen for conditions that exclude a person from being an appropriate candidate.It is my goal to be sure my patient is in an appropriate state of health to receive the full positive effects of PRP therapy.
To receive the true benefits of this treatment, you will need to receive one treatment each month for 3 months. From there, maintenance can vary on condition (hair growth can be a bit higher maintenance at first) but most can expect to receive a treatment then every 6-12 months.
Such conditions that exclude a person based on the science of how the PRP works include immunocompromised conditions (HIV, lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, colitis, being on immune suppressants such as prednisone), under-controlled conditions including diabetes and blood disorders that involve having low numbers of platelets in your blood stream.
Your commitment is to be willing to be a part of a process. To allow room for trust and choice, healing and growth. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I am most likely going to send you home with a bit of a healthy routine to take care of your immune system, diet and body. Being sure that you are contributing to your body's full capacity to get the most out of the PRP effects and helping you achieve the goals that you have for your life.
The treatment begins by me withdrawing a blood sample, similar to the amount taken during routine blood testing. I then spin the blood in my Eclipse centrifuge and extract your blood's plasma that is rich with these wonderful platelets, growth factors, stem cells and other healing cells. The injection of the PRP stimulates a strong healing response to this minor amount of damage created by the needle wound.
By concentrating this healing stimulation to a specific area, I am able to improve on your skin's natural vitality by increasing blood flow and healing, filling in areas with collagen and new skin cells. This therapy also works on increasing hair growth density when injected into the vascular level of the scalp. Growth factors and stem cells work together to reverse the miniaturization of the hair follicle and jump start dormant hair back into the growth stage.
Certain medications are a concern when they increase the risk of bleeding, such as aspirin, coumadin, plavix, vitamin E, various herbal products, ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS). There is a need to be able to stop these medications for a period before and after, for best healing effects. The small wounds that the PRP injections create must be able to heal effectively and consistently over the first week at least. The healing continues for a period of 4-6 weeks after the treatment, and in that time you get to see the repair that is happening. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding will have to wait until after these experiences for the full benefits of this therapy.
As an alternative to the individual needle approach, I also offer the option of microneedling as a way to push the PRP into the dermal layer of the skin.
All natural things on earth are affected by our environment - in particular, sunshine, heat, oxygen and gravity. We revel in each of these blessings which also increase the natural stress on our capacities to heal and adapt.
I am offering this natural alternative for those who wish to enhance the healing of aging, sun damage, acne scars and hair loss. Because I am concentrating and using your own blood product (called an autologous procedure), there are few risks of allergies or rejection side effects.