Derek Leiss, NDInviting you to the healing power within

Hello, I’m Dr. Derek (he/him)! I believe the purpose of all medicine is to help you heal yourself. I believe in vitalism, which means there is a life force beyond the physical, and there are natural rhythms to nature and the body. I also believe that a person is a multidimensional being. We are more than human doings – we are human beings, with thoughts, feelings, emotions, desires, dreams, fears, spirits, souls, you name it! I have found that medicine isn’t healing without touching these places. I incorporate this philosophy in my practice using energy-based body work, manual therapy, trauma-informed mental, emotional, and spiritual counseling, life coaching, diet and lifestyle advice, plant medicine, vibrational/homeopathic medicine, and pharmaceuticals, if appropriate. As a Naturopathic Doctor, there are many modalities I can utilize to provide a path to health and wellness. We’re jack-of-all-trades when it comes to medicine, though we each have our specific niches. Here are a few of mine:

A candle in the dark: healing from depression, anxiety, grief, addiction, and sadness

Anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, addiction, just being a human in our modern world can be extremely debilitating. Though Portland and the greater Pacific Northwest is filled with beauty, creativity, weirdness and joy, it is also often dark and dreary, and the crisis on our streets and post-COVID life can make living here harrowing, threatening, sad, lonely, among many other things. Living in this world is challenging – these are both the most exciting and more terrifying times to be alive in human history, and sometimes it seems that the terrifying part is much more real. The spectrum of human experience is vast, and there are many places and energies where we may get stuck, lost, or completely consumed in our fears, anger, pain, trauma. Yet, there is always a way. The fact that you are here, now, reading this, means there’s a part of you that wants to heal, and knows you can.

I can help you find ways to cope, to release stress, to find balance, and live a life that fulfills you. You are a unique and multi-dimensional person, and I approach mental health and well-being from a holistic perspective that honors that. The mind influences everything – our emotions, our physicality, our spiritual connection – and all of these things in turn influence our mind. We’ll discuss sleep, self-care, connecting to nature and the self, relationships, food, water, movement, mindfulness, and many more things that contribute to your well-being. We’ll do it at your pace, on your terms, and I’ll be there to help guide you.

I practice from a trauma-informed, person-centered approach to assure you feel safe, cared for, and appreciated. I recognize that all people have experienced medical, societal, relational, emotional, and /or physical trauma in some form. I value consent and will strive to treat you with respect as a sovereign being, to listen to you, and to offer treatments that are stylized to you as a person. Well-being for me is not just being free of disease, it’s finding purpose, meaning, happiness, joy, beauty, and growth.

Release old stories holding you back and causing you pain

Have you ever heard the term, “The issues are in the tissues?” Our bodies store information: traumatic experiences, stress, holding patterns reflecting how we interact with the world, etc. These are the stories our bodies hold onto. They can be soft and loving stories, painful and sad, neutral and boring, nightmarish. The body relives these stories through pain, muscle tension, fatigue, upset stomach, heart problems, recurring illness, even auto-immunite disorders, cancer, and other chronic diseases. The good news is that the body can release information, as well. Like the water we are made of, we flow on through life, and life flows on through us. Sometimes that flow gets stuck, yes, but it can get un-stuck as well.

I incorporate bodywork on a spectrum between the energetic and deeply physical to help support that flow through your body, to help it tell the stories that it needs to tell to move on, to heal, and to feel well again. Sometimes that means some gentle relaxation, sometimes a powerful emotional release, sometimes it’s just a tune-up, or getting cleaned off from all the lingering attachments of the day – it’s all about your intention and what your body needs and is ready for in the moment.

My modalities include: polarity therapy, craniosacral therapy, reiki, naturopathic manipulative technique including high-velocity low-amplitude manipulations, myofascial release, trigger point release, reflexology, soft tissue and deep tissue, and Munay-ki.

Relief from chronic fatigue and mystery illnesses

Do you suffer from chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and haven’t found any answers? Do you suffer from fibromyalgia, mystery illnesses, rare diseases with no western medical cure, or other debilitating conditions? Don’t despair! Herbal medicine, homeopathy, flower essences, at-home hydrotherapy, bodywork, diet and lifestyle counseling, and other natural methods can go a long way to not just maintain health, but restore it. Naturopathic medicine shines in nurturing a person, using the least invasive treatments necessary. Instead of focusing on your disease, I’ll focus on supporting YOU, as a whole and worthy person. We’ll co-create individualized treatment plans together that can be helpful in integrating new habits into your routine that will bring you growth, joy, and relief. I aim to not only provide relief from suffering, but to help you truly enjoy life!

Other Services

  • Western Herbal Medicine with a focus on individualized formulations based on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects
  • Primary care
  • LGTBQ+ Sexual health and wellness, including gender affirming care
  • Homeopathy (classical and clinical), flower essences, and UNDA therapeutic drainage
  • Nutraceuticals and Pharmacology
  • At-home hydrotherapy recommendations
  • Elder care
  • Post-concussion syndrome and TBI’s
  • Neurodivergent friendly and inclusive

Education and Background

I grew up in Connecticut, where I felt disconnected from nature and my purpose. After several health crises and extensive medical trauma in my family, I left out west in 2005 to discover myself and calling, knowing that there was more to healing than western medicine. I eagerly devoured material involving dreams, mysticism, shamanic traditions, and the occult. I attended undergraduate school with a major in cultural anthropology, and was fascinated by the different healing arts disciplines around the world. Ultimately, I found that path did not resonate with me – I wanted to learn those healing techniques, not just study them.

My healing path truly began in 2007, when I attended Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ until 2011. The programs I completed include: AOS: holistic health care, herbalism, Reiki master teacher, Polarity therapy, and Craniosacral therapy. Additionally, I attended courses in hypnotherapy, life coaching, medicine wheel (ancestor healing), and energy anatomy. I spent time with Shipibo curenderas in 2009, and was initiated in Munay-Ki in 2012, which is an Andean shamanic practice. After collecting all of these modalities and practicing on my own for a year, I felt that I needed more credentialing for legitimacy’s sake. Thus, I decided to become a Naturopathic Doctor, and began the long haul through academia to get there.

I graduated from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ in 2015 with a bachelor of science in biology and a minor in chemistry. My main focus was human biology, with additional coursework in environmental microbiology, bioremediation, creative writing, mythology, and world religions and spirituality. I then spent a year reflecting and working with adults with developmental disabilities, and another year taking care of my father who was struggling with cancer and myriad other health problems. I then attended National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM), and graduated in July, 2022.

Contact and Scheduling

To schedule an appointment, please call (503) 956-9396 or email [email protected].

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