Dr. Kayla Luhrs in her business, Moon Cycle Medicine, Inc., located on Seward Street on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Dr. Kayla Luhrs in her business, Moon Cycle Medicine, Inc., located on Seward Street on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Lunar cycle billing and yoga: New downtown Juneau medical office blends family practice with alternative treatments

Not your ordinary medical office.

Patients might leave Moon Cycle Medicine with a prescription for time on a yoga mat or new dinner plans.

Dr. Kayla Luhrs, founder and CEO for the nonprofit with a presence in downtown Juneau and Portland, combines family medicine with traditional and alternative medicines and an unusual business model for an experience that’s designed to be different.

“This is relationship-based medicine,” Luhrs said during an interview. “I really try to get to know my patients, what their goals are, where they’re going, what they really want and what symptoms are bothering them. Then, we try to do symptom reduction in ways that don’t cause harm.”

That means an effort is made to limit prescriptions to Western medicines, said Luhrs, who attended the University of Wyoming for her undergraduate degree. She earned her medical degree from the University of Washington through the WWAMI Program, the regional medical education partnership that includes Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

[Star power: Planetarium fund raises for new projector]

She said the aversion to pharmaceuticals is because there are often not long-term data for how they affect people. Instead of drugs, Luhrs said she might try to lead patients toward the “power of the mind to heal the body.”

“The latest data on the West on yoga, they don’t call it yoga,” Luhrs said. “They call it neuromuscular integration, which I kind of like because it kind of gives a more clear picture for people who speak English of what it is — integrating your mind and body. We know that has profound healing effects. So I give people yoga prescriptions, and then I teach classes at Rainforest Yoga and Yoga Path that patients that can come to.”

However, if a family with an asthmatic child were to start seeing Luhrs for primary care, she said she would write them a script for asthma medication if that’s what the parents wanted.

“Of course, of course, but we can also talk about other ways to strengthen the lungs, and I do food allergy testing,” Luhrs said. “I lead a group elimination diet for allergies twice a year.”

An elimination diet is a way to identify food sensitivities or allergies by removing possibly problematic foods from a diet and paying attention to the results.

“I say mood and food are my specialties,” Luhrs said.

She said she is also open to being a supplementary services in addition to primary care people receive.

“I’m happy to work with your doctor,” Luhrs said.

She said some people may have conditions that require a specialist, and their medical needs could be best met by another doctor.

“That may be another family physician in the community,” Luhrs said. “If you’re on chemotherapy, some family physicians can do that independently.”

Another distinction that sets Moon Cycle Medicine apart from other health care providers is its structure and billing cycle. People can opt to become members and be billed monthly — like the moon cycle, hence the name — and be able to book one appointment per month and 50 percent off other Moon Cycle services.

Moon Cycle is outside all insurance networks, Luhrs said.

[New signage program wants to show Juneau is more than just a Gold Rush town]

She said she’s found the one-visit-per-moon-cycle appointments to be a good way to stay in touch with patients.

That practice started in Portland, where Moon Cycle Medicine started, and persisted in the capital city when the Juneau location opened in June 2018.

“I found that was really effective,” Luhrs said. “If you only see your doctor once a year, it’s going to be kind of hard to make changes in your health.”

And she wants patients to have agency.

”I want my patients to really feel that they have a hand in their care,” Luhrs said.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 14

Here’s what to expect this week.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wait for an opportunity to talk to her at her newly Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Murkowski opens up at Juneau HQ debut

Senator chats with supporters about U.S. vs. Belgium voting, moose chili and Project Veritas

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different last name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Senate candidate sheds more light on background

Shoshana Gungurstein responds at length to recent report on past film career.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Drug arrest made in Skagway

Police say a suspicious package was intercepted.

This late-April photo shows a damaged sticker on a door at Thunder Mountain High School reminding people to social distance and wear masks inside the building. Masks will not be required in school buildings this year. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday Aug. 12, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

From left, Kelsey Dean, watershed scientist with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, and Kaagwaan Eesh Manuel Rose-Bell of Keex’ Kwáan watch as crew members set up tools to drag a log into place. Healthy salmon habitat requires woody debris, typically provided by falling branches and trees, which helps create deep salmon pools and varied stream structure. (Courtesy Photos / Mary Catharine Martin)
 
The SalmonState: Bringing the sockeye home

Klawock Indigenous Stewards and partners are working to a once prolific sockeye salmon run.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read