If you missed it, be sure to check out my last post about the 8 Steps I Took to Heal My Heartburn and Acid Reflux Naturally after being on medication for almost ten years to suppress my symptoms.
Aligning myself with functional medicine practitioners has been the key to getting well and turning my health around. I truly believe that everyone can benefit from a more natual way of living that works alongside modern medicine. Finding natural ways to get rid of headaches, using big bongs and marijuana to help with stress and anxiety instead of pharmacutical medication, having a healthier diet and so much more can be done to help improve your lifestyle.
I have written about that aspect of my journey and functional medicine (including an awesome TED Talk!) in the past and offered this reflection in closing:
I truly believe that because of what I’ve experienced in my own life.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about how I healed a decade of reflux, I wanted to share with you some excellent books, websites, and healthcare practitioners that have helped me and can help you move to the next phase of your healing journey.
1) Read a Book to Learn More
These are two of my favorite books on the topic of digestive health:
Think of Digestion Connection as more of a reference book than light Saturday morning reading material. Having said that, whether you’re dealing with reflux, diabetes or migraines, Digestion Connection is a great resource to have on hand to help you make sense of what’s really going on in your body and begin the healing process.
Dr. Lipski is one of the international experts on digestive health, and she is located right here in Maryland. Although she doesn’t take new patients anymore, she has a list of recommended nutritionists on her website that are spread out across the U.S. I’ve listed my favorite local (Baltimore-based) nutritionist below.
In Clean Gut, Dr. Junger explains digestive health, dysfunction and disease in a way that the average person can understand. He outlines how the digestive system works and how our digestive health is at the root of most illness and disease, even seemingly unrelated conditions like depression and asthma.
He offers guidelines for how to put yourself on an elimination diet and includes quite a few delicious recipes – several of which my husband Bill and I have tried and enjoyed.
Another book that has influenced my thinking about disease and why we get sick in the first place is The Disease Delusion by Dr. Jeffrey Bland.
Every medical school should have this book as required reading. One of the underlying themes is a fundamentally different way of thinking about disease in the first place:
Our genetic inheritance tells us more about how we should live than about the chronic disease we are doomed to suffer. We are not doomed at all.
Dr. Bland’s approach focuses on taking away the things that are the problem (removing the tacks we’re sitting on!) and providing the things that are missing (giving our body what it needs to repair and heal).
2) Look Online
Here are some websites that contain great information about how to heal the “gut” naturally and address conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as well as other chronic health concerns.
I’ve shared these links with dozens of other people who have come to me with questions about how I healed myself:
- Why You Have Reflux, Bloating, Gas and Burping and What To Do by Josh Gitalis
- 7 Steps to Reverse Acid Reflux by Dr. Mark Hyman
- 3 Simple Steps to Eliminate Heartburn & Acid Reflux by Dr. Mark Hyman
- 15 Natural Remedies for the Treatment of Acid Reflux and Ulcers by Dr. Joseph Mercola
- What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About GERD by Dr. Amy Myers
- Get Rid of Heartburn and GERD Forever with 3 Simple Steps by Chris Kresser
3) Find a Doctor…& My Trusted Health Professionals!
If you want to find a healthcare provider who can help you consider ALL of the options for addressing reflux or whatever disease is troubling you and who can help you get to the ROOT of what’s going on in your body, search for a functional medicine practitioner near you using this link. Search by zip code vs. city. I find it works better.
Keep these things in mind:
- Functional medicine practitioners may often recommend that you keep a Primary Care Physician (PCP) relationship for addressing other health needs, but they will be a fantastic complement to that doctor. Keeping your PCP within your health plan’s network can also help you order lab tests that may be covered through insurance but would otherwise cost more through an out-of-network provider.
- Some participate with health insurance plans but some don’t, which means you will often have to do more than pay a $20 copay. Obviously, every health insurance plan is different – some of you may have a family plan, others may be in self funded health plans, the list goes on – so you will have to research what your policy covers and if your health provider participates or not. In other words, these practitioners are often “out of network.” I’ve found it to be cheaper to partner with them long-term, since I actually got answers and got better and, as a result, was able to stop seeing 5 other specialists who were very well-meaning but just helped me suppress symptoms. Call their office and ask if they participate with your insurance.
- Ask what packages they offer. They may offer a certain number of sessions for a set fee, which often means not having to deal with insurance and have predictable payments. That can provide relief in and of itself.
- Even if they are out of network, you can usually use FSA, HRA, HSA funds to pay for their services. You’ll just need to submit paperwork as you would for any other FSA/HRA claim.
Here’s my list of trusted professionals in the Baltimore area (pictured above in the order listed below):
- Dr. Mary Jo Fishburn (The first doctor I saw who did my nutrient testing and helped me on my healing journey. She is also an acupuncturist.)
- Dr. Janene Martin, Sunlight Natural Health (Naturopathic doctor who runs the clinic where my nutritionist, Kasia, works)
- Kasia Kines, Holistic Nutrition Naturally (My amazing nutritionist)
- Dr. Bill Rollow, University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine (My parents’ doctor)
- Dr. Gerard Mullin, AKA “The Food MD” (I’ve not yet met him but checked out his website and see that we align in our thinking about gut health.). He has written several books on digestive health that I want to check out, including The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health and has a new book coming out in June titled The Gut Balance Revolution.
- Nava Health & Vitality Center. Nava Centers are currently open in Columbia and Chevy Chase, Maryland and are opening soon in Rockville and downtown DC. Their approach combines the best of Eastern and Western medicine to help patients heal and optimize their health. Their leadership team and practitioners understand that the body is an interconnected system and take into account the WHOLE person, not just their overt symptoms. I’ve also been a guest blogger for them since last summer.
There you have it! Those are the ways I’ve naturally healed my body and the additional resources I’d recommend you check out if you are tired of feeling frustrated about your health and about seemingly “normal” yet bothersome symptoms like reflux and want to start feeling better. Ultimately, having an excellent health insurance policy is a necessity as you never know when your health might take a bad turn. For this reason if you’re looking to compare insurance rates, it pays to shop around – visit Insurdinary.ca for details.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, and this information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition. Rather it’s a reflection of what I have learned on my journey to heal my body. Never stop taking medication without consulting your doctor, as there can be negative side effects to doing so. If you have concerns about a particular health concern, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), I highly recommend seeing a health care provider who understands that there are and is open to trying alternative approaches to treating (and even reversing) reflux.