Shannon Brown

A new doctor has joined Dragonheart Herbs and Natural Medicine in Cannon Beach.

With the addition of Dr. Shannon Brown, a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist, patients can be treated on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the clinic, 1355 S. Hemlock St.

Brown, who worked in Portland for several years and taught in Clark College’s medical department in Vancouver, Washington, is working with the clinic’s founders, Margaret Hammitt-McDonald, a naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist, and Seth Goldstein, a chiropractic physician and licensed medical examiner.

Regular office hours for Hammitt-McDonald and Goldstein are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but the schedule expanded with the addition of Brown, who works from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 9 a.m. to noon Friday.

“We’re delighted to have Shannon working with us,” Hammitt-McDonald said. “He brings a unique acupuncture style, Dr. Tan’s Balance Method, which has already helped a number of patients with a variety of conditions, from musculoskeletal injuries to digestive difficulties.

“He also brings an in-depth, well-informed perspective on nutrition and nutritional supplements for various chronic problems. His compassionate presence and integrity are a gift to us and to patients.”

Brown, 53, took a circuitous route to becoming a naturopathic doctor. His bachelor’s degree is in economics, and he earned a master’s degree in business administration. But, he said, “I realized I wasn’t interested in the corporate world.”

Brown decided he wanted to become a doctor because his parents were affected by chronic diseases. But he decided to become a naturopathic doctor when he saw how conventional medicine “both helped and ravished them.”

Naturopathic medicine focuses on a person’s innate ability to heal after the underlying cause is removed. A naturopathic doctor helps a patient identify and treat those causes, rather than the symptoms. The underlying causes could involve a combination of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual roots.

The difference between conventional medicine and naturopathic medicine is this, Brown said: “Conventional medicine is focused on getting people back to where they can walk around. The focus of naturopathic medicine is getting the person to be the healthiest person they can be — when they’re in a state that’s beyond just functioning, where they can do the things they want to do and make the most out of life.”

He attended the National University of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland full time for four years. After passing a national exam, Brown was licensed as a primary care provider. He can perform minor surgery and prescribe conventional medication; however, the Cannon Beach clinic focuses on naturopathic and chiropractic care, using acupuncture and emphasizing Chinese herbal medicine.

Dragonheart Herbs and Natural Medicine offers naturopathic family primary care, acupuncture, classical Chinese medicine and low-force chiropractic care. Well child exams and physicals for sports, school and Head Start also are offered. The clinic’s website is cannonbeachacupuncture.com

Brown uses acupuncture to address a patient’s pain, anxiety or restlessness. “People find it a very relaxing experience,” he said.

Through what he calls an “emotional freedom technique,” Brown helps patients who are experiencing something in their lives that they are afraid of or who have suffered traumatic events that may be preventing them from moving forward.

Brown also works with chakra energies to help people who are “stuck mentally, emotionally or physically” to deal with their anxiety or anger.

Together with Hammitt-McDonald and Goldstein, Brown treats the whole person, not just an isolated ailment.

“Often people come in here to get body work from Seth and acupuncture from me,” Brown said.

The clinic’s team works to help patients heal quickly. It may take only a minor adjustment for someone to resume normal activities. Chronic conditions, however, may take a little longer.

“I have an attitude that Seth and Margaret share: We don’t want you to come back a thousand times. We want you to get better and refer your friends,” Brown said.

But the sooner an injury is treated, the better the outcome, he added. Muscles tend to seize up around an injured area, but if they are relaxed, the healing can begin.

“I don’t wish to imply that we can cure everybody,” Brown said. “But I have been so happy since I’ve been here in the number of people we can help.”

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