I completed my Functional Medicine training through The Kalish Institute in 2013 with an emphasis on stress hormone balancing. My approach focuses on the restoration of normal physiology and normal body “function” rather than the treatment of specific health conditions. In other words, I treat the patient, not the disease.
When a patient presents to my office with a specific health concern my goal is to restore balance and increase resilience so that the body can heal itself. This consists of figuring out what “stressors” are overwhelming the body resulting in symptoms. Stressors may be emotional - relationship issues, family stressors, work related - or they may be physical such as injury, infection, food sensitivities, or exposure to toxins. Once stressors are identified we will work to remove or resolve those that we can and find ways to increase resilience so that your body can better handle those that remain.
There are three primary systems that respond to stressors: stress hormones, autonomic nervous system, and the immune system. The adrenal glands release the stress hormones cortisol and DHEA. The autonomic nervous system kicks into sympathetic or “fight or flight” mode. Your immune system reacts with an inflammatory response. Addressing each of these systems is a key to restoring health and balance.
Stress Hormones: The adrenal glands release stress hormones to ensure that your body has the resources it needs to keep you alive. Our stress response system is very primitive – it does not know the difference between stress from a conversation with your mother-in-law or being chased by a tiger. All stress is perceived as possibly life threatening and the reaction is the same biochemically. That is why being under chronic stress is so exhausting, your body thinks it is being chased by a tiger every single day. This system works beautifully in the short term. However, when chronically activated, it causes premature degeneration and aging resulting in symptoms including weight gain (particularly around the middle), fatigue, anxiety, chronic pain, and digestive issues.
Autonomic nervous system: The autonomic nervous system regulates all of the internal glands, organs, and systems of your body. When the autonomic nervous system is out of balance - symptoms arise. Autonomic dysregulation of the digestive tract can lead to gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation. Dysregulation of the thyroid or adrenal glands can lead to fatigue and anxiety. Dysregulation of blood vessel constriction can lead to headaches. Balancing the autonomic nervous system is a foundational part of all healing protocols.
Immune System: Our bodies respond to stressors (emotional or physical) by mounting an inflammatory response. Unresolved inflammation has been implicated in nearly every disease process from heart disease and autoimmune conditions to cancer and depression. Controlling the inflammation is a key step in any healing protocol for your brain or your body.
Along with balancing these three systems, we may use lab tests to look at hormone levels, GI health, and liver function to give us an accurate picture of how each of these systems are functioning.
Information gathered from your medical history, exam, and any lab tests will be used to create a care plan that includes dietary and lifestyle changes along with targeted supplementation to address the root cause of your health concern.