Tropical Leaves

Costa Rica Naturopathy

Naturopathic Medicine & Nutrition

Meet Dr. Melissa Van Buren

Naturopathic Physician & Nutritionist

Dr. Van Buren's background is well-rounded in integrative medicine. Through her passion for nutrition & detoxification, she found her way to naturopathic (ND) medical school, after attending allopathic (MD) medical school for 2 years & completing her master's degree in nutrition. She is passionate about naturopathic medicine (& all of the modalities it entails), as it has helped to bring about optimal health in her own life. 


Bachelor of Science (BS): Exercise Physiology, Biology, Pre-Medicine 

Master of Science (MSN): Nutrition

Doctorate (ND): Naturopathic Medicine, Primary Care

Additional Certifications:

Homeopathy (NESH & CEDH); Massage Therapy, including Shiatsu, Thai, Swedish, Deep Tissue; Craniosacral Therapy; Holistic Counseling


Areas of specialty: Mental Health, Fertility & Prenatal Support, Pediatrics, 'Vaccine Friendly' Altered-Scheduling Education, Weight-loss Assistance, Autoimmune Support, Integrative Oncology


Global Health Work: Chiang Mai, Thailand 2015; Amazon (Manu NP), Peru 2017; Port au Prince, Haiti 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2018;  Accra, Ghana 2018; Hills Tribe refugee villages, Northern Thailand, 2019. 

 * Dr. Van Buren loves to travel & volunteer in her time "off," as she finds this work meaningful & rewarding. Feel free to ask about any of these experiences!

Personal life: Dr. Van Buren & her family currently reside in Playa Junquillal, Costa Rica, just south of Tamarindo. She & her husband have a one-year-old son who is the light of their lives. The family's move here was unplanned, as the couple was visiting in March 2020 when flights were shutdown. They chose to stay & have a home birth in Costa Rica rather than to be repatriated by the US government. Dr. Van Buren's husband put his passion to work in building the home in which they now reside. Landyn, their son, enjoys calling to the howler monkeys in their backyard & playing with his kitty, "Penelope." Dr. Van Buren enjoys running, reading, & connecting w/ friends in her downtime.


Why Naturopathy?

It can help with

Mental Health

A cornerstone in our lives.My extensive training in this area is considered "integrative," & thus I will work w/ patients who are on medications & need some additional support  as well as those who would like to get off their medications & rely on lifestyle changes, diet changes, & supplements (when appropriate).


Fatigue is one of the first signs things aren't quite right with your body. Let's explore why you're feeling unusually tired.

Women's Health

My specific areas of advanced training include fertility & prenatal support. My advanced study research was in Advanced-Age Fertility (>35 years old). Per personal experience, I also support moms-to-be who are looking to relocate to Costa Rica while pregnant!

Weight Loss

I would love to help you get started on a healthy-lifestyle weight loss protocol. I studied exercise physiology in undergrad, & my masters degree is in nutrition... yet, from my experience w/ patients, there's A LOT more to weight loss than just diet & exercise!


This is an area I am passionate about - because detoxifying the body often alleviates SO many unwelcome symptoms!


This day & age can be stressful, no matter where you live or what you do for a living. It's rampant & at times even seems contagious. Let's review the symptoms in your life that are most likely due to stress & move forward with a treatment care plan to reduce your stress level, as well as combating its harmful effects on your body.


Huge heart. Love that about this doc. She has a lot of degrees & certifications, but she is so down-to-earth & personable. I can tell she truly cares about her patients.

— JH, 65 yrs, MN, USA