Vail Valley character: Dr. Nicholas Bitz |

Vail Valley character: Dr. Nicholas Bitz

Taylor L. Roozen
Vail, CO Colorado
Taylor Roozen/Vail DailyDr. Nick Bitz, who practices in Edwards, says naturopathic medicine is becoming more popular in Colorado's Vail Valley because it matches the lifestyle of locals who like to live close to nature.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –The Vail Valley’s Dr. Nicholas Bitz provides his all-natural health care in one of the best smelling doctor’s offices you’ll ever visit.

The scent comes from naturopathic medications and treatments, which range from teas and herbs, to natural hormones and fish oils, Bitz said.

Bitz provides over the counter and prescription medications out of the Riverwalk Natural Health Clinic in Edwards, and he also provides healing through body work.

Most of his treatments primarily focus on basic nutritional balance, he says.

Whereas most modern medicine focuses on relieving immediate symptoms, Bitz gets says he involved with the body to find where the ailment comes from in order to protect and prevent.

Originally from Denver, Bitz attended Bastyr Medical School in Seattle, where he graduated as a physician in naturopathic medicine. Since then he has practiced in Seattle and India. He moved to Avon last fall and began working in the clinic with Dr. Deborah A. Wiancek.

Bitz’s appreciation for the Vail area was sparked as a youngster when his family made skiing and hiking trips here, he said.

The area suits his work as well, as there are so few Naturopathic clinics in the area, so he focuses on his patients, who are eager for his treatment, he said.

Vail Daily: How did you get into Naturopathic medicine?

Nicholas Bitz: Well, I was always on the path to get my conventional medical degree, to get my M.D. When I was applying for medical schools I stumbled upon Bastyr, up in Seattle, and I didn’t even know this kind of medicine was even available.

However, I tend to lead a life that tends to be a little bit more organic. I practice yoga daily, I meditate daily, I eat really well, I use herbs rather than pharmaceuticals. So, finding this medicine was really eye opening in that it really aligned with my personal views, my personal perspectives and the way that I was living.

VD: Who pioneered this genre of treatment?

Bitz: I would say that mostly naturopathic medicine is based in “nature cure,” which is an old, old type of medicine from Europe, using the basics – diet, water, air, sunshine – the very basics of healing.

However, as naturopaths, we do blend a lot of different philosophies. In particular I practice ayurveda, which comes from India, and that medicine is 5,000 years old. There’s a long history of use for a lot of things that I do personally, and to put that in perspective, conventional medicine has only been around for 50 years.

We do some Chinese medicine, we do Indian medicine, we do a lot of Native American healing, Thai medicines, as well as blending in a lot of the recent research in very modern day science into what we’re doing. So it’s kind of an eclectic blend.

VD: How is the Vail Valley an appropriate place to practice this type of medicine?

Bitz: The people here are pretty amenable to this type of medicine. I think they are starting to seek it out, and people are wanting this type of medicine. They want to be proactive in their health care, and do it as naturally as possible.

People live very active lives and they’re very in sync with nature, and they want a medicine that kind of matches that. I think that this medicine is needed everywhere, and the fact that there’s not a lot of it here in Vail really speaks to its need.

VD: What should people know about naturopathic medicine?

Bitz: I think what sets us apart is really our philosophy. One of our main philosophical tenets is to treat the cause, so we’re always trying to really find and root out the cause and remove that obstacle to healing.

I believe that the body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, if given the chance to do so. So, oftentimes what we try to do try to get people out of the way, so that their body can do the work.

We work with herbal medicine, we work with nutrition, we work with physical medicine, and counseling. We work on the mental, emotional and spiritual pieces to help people move in the direction that they naturally need to move, in order to be well.

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