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Meet Dr. Sarah Murphy of Zuma Wellness in Malibu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Sarah Murphy.

Dr. Murphy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in San Francisco & LA, California. I loved dance and theatre as an adolescent and was set to pursue a career in it, but the stress and demands of dance and the entertainment industry made it an undesirable path for me to continue. I needed more balance in my own life and so began engaging in holistic health practices and therapies such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage, etc. These healthy practices helped me so much, so I was naturally curious how I could help other people in the same way.

It was obvious that there was a big gap in American culture where people were not getting the information they needed on how to live a healthy, whole and happy life. For example, my sister was overdosed on medications in a hospital and almost died. Observing a few stories like that confirmed for me that the world needed more types of healthcare options. Pharmaceuticals definitely have their place when needed, but are largely overused. There are many healthier, alternative ways to heal that people deserve to know about and access if they so choose.

I loved all sorts of natural therapies and saw how well they worked together synergistically – nutrition, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, massage, and other natural healing modalities. So my college professor suggested that I would make an excellent naturopathic doctor – holistic doctors who are trained to expertly blend a variety of natural therapies as needed.

When I finished my education all signs pointed me back to Los Angeles. It’s a big city with a grueling entertainment industry and as a result, a lot of people who need support here.

The magical canyons and landscape of Malibu is a source of great inspiration for me personally and for my work. My company, Zuma Wellness, is named after Zuma beach and Zuma canyon here. “Zuma” is a word from the native American Chumash tribe of Malibu and it means ‘Abundance.’ And it is my intention to create an abundance of health, harmony, and happiness for people. Everyone deserves this.

Has it been a smooth road?
Getting a naturopathic medical degree and masters in acupuncture was an intensive and extensive training. Not all smooth and easy by any means. Starting a clinic practice was also a big, mountainous endeavor. And being an entrepreneur and running my own business, on top of being a doctor, is an ongoing, yet fun challenge.

Being in the field of “naturopathic medicine” in particular is an extra challenge. It is a small profession that is not fully recognized across the nation yet. We have a lot of public education to do – to get people to understand our background, training, and what we offer. We are also still educating the conventional healthcare system on how they can utilize us. In California, we are currently fighting for insurance companies to stop discriminating against us and to stop unjustly denying our insurance claims. We are also working towards having a more full scope of practice here as we do in other neighboring states. We are primary care doctors and in order to provide appropriate and efficient medical care to patients, these things are important.

I am on the Board of Directors for the California Naturopathic Doctors Association (CNDA) and very active in helping my profession in it’s social and political challenges, and helping us to have a voice in the overall healthcare system. They direly need our help. We treat chronic illnesses in very cost-effective ways, like nutrition and healthy lifestyle measures, which can heal people and prevent the need for costly medications, surgeries and hospitalizations in the long run. They should be interested in this. I hope the general healthcare system will incorporate us more in the upcoming years so we can all help more people.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Zuma Wellness story. Tell us more about the business.
Zuma Wellness is a Malibu-based healthcare clinic, with concierge on-locations services offered to the greater LA area and abroad. We are well known for our expertise in intramuscular vitamin injections and IV vitamin drips. We also offer a wide variety of naturopathic medicine therapies, including:
– Naturopathic Medical Consults
– Physical Exams
– Functional Lab Testing
– Custom IV Vitamin Drips
– Vitamin B Shots
– Bio-identical Hormones
– Acupuncture
– Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling
– Herbal Medicine
– Nutritional Supplements

We’re proud of the time and caring that goes into treating each of our patients. We do not give everyone the same exact thing. The treatments they receive and the IM or IV nutrition vitamin formulas they receive are based on listening to their story, assessing their symptoms, running good labs, a little bit of intuition (after having done so many thousands of shots and IVs), and a whole lot of good science. Medicine is an art and a science.

People really love the way we “bring the medicine to the people” in convenient ways via our on-location services. People can get a vitamin injection at the grocery store, gym, pharmacy, office or house versus having to come to the clinic. Sometimes they say “Only in Malibu” or “Only in LA” can you do something so unconventional like this. But I think this trend will grow and that we’re just at the forefront of providing medicine in this way.

It was an honor to recently receive the “Doctor of the Year 2017” Award, from the California Naturopathic Doctors Association (CNDA), for my leadership, vision, and inspiration in the naturopathic profession as a whole. Beyond the profession, there is growing interest in transforming the world to be a healthier, more sustainable place to live – I aim to be as big a contributor to that as I possibly can.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
1) The healthcare industry could go in two opposite directions in the upcoming years.

Option 1:  There are a lot of forces at work trying to suppress the use of natural medicines. I hope these powerful natural substances and therapies are not made illegal, taken off the market or regulated in such a way that makes them inaccessible. This would be a most devastating scenario. And it is already happening to some degree.

Option 2:  More and more people are getting into natural health. It is a big trend. Hopefully, the demand for it will override the above scenario and the momentum will continue to build. Ideally, naturopathic doctors grow in number across the nation and people can choose to access this medicine if they want it. Ideally, insurance companies get into compliance with current regulations and cover us so that more people can afford to receive natural therapies. Ideally, research on natural medicine will continue to grow to further validate what we are doing. Ideally, the healthcare system will accept us and integrate us into the fold so that we are all working together.

2) Medicine will also continue to evolve in the way many other industries are changing due to technology and the internet. People have an ever-growing, insatiable desire for convenience and they have increased access to information. For example, house calls are making a comeback and telemedicine is growing. For example, people are getting more proactive about their health, researching their condition on the internet, and looking for ways to care for and treat themselves.

So I think medicine will continue along this path. It will be decentralized from hospitals and doctor offices, as patients push for more convenient ways to receive their healthcare. And the doctor-patient relationship will also continue to shift towards one of more empowerment and support for patients as they seek more health information. Many patients no longer just automatically accept what the doctor says as the only way. They want to know about their other options and they want to know about healthy and natural ways to heal.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 21355 Pacific Coast Hwy, Suite 202
    Malibu, CA 90265
  • Website: www.zumawellness.com / www.drsarahmurphy.com
  • Phone: 310-317-4888
  • Email: info@zumawellness.com
  • Instagram: @ZumaWellness
  • Facebook: @ZumaWellnessInternational
  • Twitter: @ZumaWellnessLA
  • Yelp: ZumaWellness
  • Other: @drsarahmurphy (Facebook), @drsarahmurphy (IG), @drsarah (Twitter)

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Marilyn Martin

    July 11, 2017 at 16:30

    Congratulations, Sara! You have worked hard to realize your goal! Wish you were closer!

  2. Marilyn Martin

    July 11, 2017 at 16:32

    Sorry, Sarah! Misspelled your name in the earlier post!

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