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Natural treatments replace antibiotics at new Brannick Clinic
By Alicia Fabbre | Daily Herald Columnist

Michelle Brannick checks Stephanie Coney of Glendale Heights at Brannick Clinic of Natural Medicine in St. Charles

 

George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

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Published: 12/7/2007 12:15 AM

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Michelle Brannick relies on less traditional means to heal her patients.

Instead of writing a prescription, Brannick uses natural cures and lifestyle changes to help her patients with what ails them.

A constant complaint of an earache, for example, might spur a review of the diet to ensure that isn't the cause. To help cure the more immediate problem -- the ear pain -- she'll suggest vitamins and other natural remedies.

"We're going to go in and support the body to heal itself," said Brannick, who has a degree in naturopathic medicine.

Brannick, who is also a chiropractor, recently opened her second office, Brannick Clinic of Natural Medicine, at 1650 E. Main Street in St. Charles. She opened her first clinic in Riverside 4½ years ago.

"We have grown very fast," said Brannick, who partnered with her husband to open the clinics.

Brannick said she got interested in natural medicine while studying to get into medical school.

"I originally was looking to become a physician and wanted to do natural medicine," she said. "I knew antibiotics weren't the answer."

While researching schools, she came across Bastyr University in Washington, which had a five-year naturopathic medical program. Brannick and her husband, who is a psychologist, moved to Washington so she could complete the program.

Though naturopaths are not licensed in most states, including Illinois, Brannick notes her first two years of training at Bastyr included the same basic science traditional doctors study. The remainder of her studies focused on clinical diagnosis.

And though her treatment methods may not be the usual, for her patients it's exactly what they want.

"Our body has the ability to fight these diseases," said Amy Moran, a Berwyn woman who met Brannick three years ago. "Dr. Brannick is really knowledgeable about the body and what makes it work and not work."

On a patient's first visit, Brannick spends about 90 minutes with them talking about their ailments, their medical history and lifestyle. From there, she comes up with a treatment plan that may include natural remedies, massage therapy, acupuncture or chiropractic treatments -- all of which are available at her clinic.

Brannick, who also is the clinic's medical director, and her husband have 10 other people on staff, including a medical doctor, massage therapists, colonic hydrotherapists, acupuncturist and an addictions counselor.

Because naturopathic medicine is not licensed in Illinois, it also may not be covered by insurance. Brannick requires patients to pay for their medical fees up front -- the first visit costs $375, while return visits are $85 -- and then gives them the proper forms to submit to insurance. She noted that in many cases, insurance has covered much of the costs.

To reach the Brannick Clinic, call (630) 444-0066 or visit www.bcnaturalmedicine.com.

The St. Charles location is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays. Starting in January, the clinic will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.