As a child, I thought my dad was the strongest man in the world, someone who could take anything on. He had incredible strength – throwing me and my siblings up in the air repeatedly – and also so knowledgeable in all subjects from religion, to history, to sports, to nature. He was an amazing teacher and my idea of a Renaissance Man.
As he got older and began to struggle with his health, I watched him become weaker, vulnerable, and dependent on my mother more and more as he struggled with diabetes, kidney failure, and more surgeries and procedures than I can count. This was difficult for him and I witnessed him go through bouts of hopelessness about his health.
Then one day, while hanging curtains in the bedroom, he blacked out and fell face down from a 2-foot height. Initially, he could not feel or move his arms and legs – he was paralyzed from the neck down. It was determined that he broke two vertebrae in his neck and needed to have surgery to stabilize the spinal column. The surgery was a success, but there was a long road ahead for him – some feeling returned to his arms and legs, but he had pretty severe shooting pain and weakness, and was dealing with some bladder control issues as well.
I immediately started him on a regimen of supportive nutrients and acupuncture treatments as soon as possible. Within six months, he regained full use of his arms and legs, the bladder issues resolved, and he was actually in good enough health to be added to the kidney transplant list. Soon after that, he received a new kidney and a new lease on life! The hopelessness that he was feeling before the accident was replaced by excitement for trips he could plan with my mom.
Although caring for my dad was not part of the “plan” for becoming a doctor, it really renewed my belief in the power of a combination approach of acupuncture and naturopathic medicine. I saw first hand how the small improvements my dad made added up to a full recovery from a very traumatic injury. As a doctor, I am inspired every day by my patients and the amazing resiliency of the human body and I am persistent and passionate about helping patients on their road to healing.
Dr. Danika received her training at Bastyr University where she completed a Doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine and a Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She also received additional training in Chinese herbal medicine at Shuguang Hospital in Shanghai, China through the prestigious Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is board certified by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is currently working on obtaining certification as a craniosacral therapist through the Upledger Institute.
Dr. Danika recently moved back to the PNW from Kona, Hawaii to be closer to friends and family. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, friends, cockapoo Yoshi, crocheting amigurumi dolls, staying physically active, and living an enriching life.