Helping the healing process
Dr. Carlye Luft discusses her journey to medicine
Originally from Watertown, Wisconsin, Dr. Carlye Luft, naturopathic physician is comfortable in small town America. She bounced between Bozeman and Big Sky for a while, due to housing, before she and her husband fully settled in the community in May.
Her path to medicine began in a roundabout way with the military.
“I remember in 7th grade, I wanted to be a Marine. I honestly don’t know how this got in my head. My mom hooked up a meeting with one of her friend’s sons who was a Marine and was on leave who talked to me about it,” she said. “I knew that it would be good for me. I knew that I wanted to serve.”
Higher education was never an option in her family. She struggled with grades and didn’t know much at all about college before she started hanging out with a different crowd. Then, teachers saw her talents and she settled on college as a goal. Luft found her path to education through the military, went to boot camp at 17 years old and served in the Army National Guard as combat military police when she was 19 years old. Deployed in March 2003, she returned from active duty in August 2004, serving in both operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. A Purple Heart recipient, she was wounded in combat.
“When I was struggling with issues after the military – physical and emotional, I had found that conventional care reached its limit for me, personally. That’s when I was introduced to a holistic practitioner. The methods and the treatment modalities that this practitioner had really changed my life and put me on a different path,” she said.
After her military experience, she was suffering from PTSD and using coping mechanisms like alcohol. These challenges led her to the holistic path of healing herself.
In a way, she naturally fell into her career of natural healing.
Longtime Big Sky resident Dr. Andrea Wick and Luft went to college together back in Wisconsin. After Wick moved here, Luft feels like it was part of her master plan to get her here. It was a good move for her career and for the two to continue their 15 year friendship again in the same state.
“This is a really good state to practice, because it has a big scope of practice here,” she said.
She and her husband love to fish, so that is an added perk to being in the Big Sky area.
“I really love living in a place where everyone knows your name,” she said. “It feels nice that there is a tight-knit community here.”
She said she feels that most people are new, want to make friends, want to have a community and want to know how to access all the awesome things and find ways to give back.
“It’s really up to you, as the individual to reach out,” she said. “I love walking down the road, walking in some place, and seeing five people that I know.”
From a health perspective, she said, it’s a different ballgame.
“When I was in Arizona, I had tons of chronic disease – diabetes, heart disease,” she said. “More like lifestyle diseases, where people aren’t moving a lot. Here you don’t have that. Here you have people wanting to know how they can do better, how they can feel better, how they can feel better than they are already feeling.”
Luft encourages a life of balance “and to really embrace and be content with where you are today.”
“It’s really all about gratitude, I guess. You can’t grow, you can’t overcome, you can’t be happy or healthy until you are grateful for what you have,” she said. “So I clearly work with a lot of people about their mental game. I really believe that the source of health is thinking in a certain way. It’s how you think and it’s how you act on those thoughts.”
Limiting thoughts and beliefs should not get in the way of people reaching their full potential, she said. It takes a lot of courage, “I want to challenge you to be really courageous to step through this limiting belief so you can overcome this obstacle that limits you from accessing your potential,” she said.