I am a Board Certified Internal Medicine Physician who practiced traditional Internal Medicine (adult primary care) for a decade as a hard core skeptic of non-traditional healthcare. About 4 years ago as a result of a personal health crisis, I realized that the approach of “one size fits all” ( which usually meant giving drugs for everything!), taught to me in Medical School and Internal Medicine residency and which I was expected to follow and was following in my medical practice surely was not the way to achieve “health”. I felt more and more convinced that only a small part of the problem was being addressed with this Modern Medicine/Allopathic approach which taught us to use only “proven” therapeutic modalities and drugs as the solution. This very same system of treatment was being applied on me by my own treating physicians and needless to say with no improvement in my condition. One of my teachers at IFM once said to me and I quote, ” the truth is that all therapies at first must start out as non-proven before they can be proven and all pioneers were made fun of until the truth was realized”. I have recognized over the past many years that real “health and vitality” are impossible to achieve unless the mind, body and soul are targeted and the “whole” patient is treated, along with respect for the Divinity that resides at the core of each of our being!
During my intensive review and research of medical and integrative medicine literature, in my quest to heal myself, I fortunately came across Dr. Mark Hyman (Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine [IFM], a four-time New York Times bestselling author, an internationally recognized leader in the field of FM and awarded the 2009 Linus Pauling Award for Leadership in Functional Medicine) and was fascinated by what I learnt from him about the relatively new groundbreaking field of whole-systems medicine known as Functional Medicine (FM). His simple but powerful message that I have never forgotten—in his own words– “All medicine comes down to this: Find out what’s bugging you; get rid of it. Find out what you need; get it. The body does the rest”. My life and thinking about ways of treating patients had changed for ever! I realized that Depression was not a Zoloft deficiency, high cholesterol was not a statin deficiency, but that I needed to find out the underlying biochemical cause of the problem and leave the “name it ( give a diagnosis), blame it and tame it ( with drugs)” mentality of modern medicine. I subsequently completed hundreds of hours of training from the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) and first applied that training to healing my own self with phenomenal success. I subsequently followed my passion in Functional Medicine and became one of the first 123 practitioners from all over the world to be an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP).
Functional Medicine bases its treatment approach on basic framework of time tested sciences of human biochemistry and physiology in relation to genetics, nutrition and environmental influences. Its underlying fundamental concept is that certain core clinical imbalances (which underlie different diseases) arise when environmental factors like diet, nutrients ( including air, water), exercise, trauma (mental, physical) and toxins( insecticides, pesticides, household cleaning chemicals, drugs)are processed by a person’s mind, body & spirit through a unique set of genetic predispositions, attitudes and beliefs. Those core imbalances then influence multiple organ systems through an intricate web of interconnections. Consequently different diseases of multiple organ systems in a single person ( for example the diagnosis of IBS, Eczema, Depression, Joint pains, Chronic fatigue, Peripheral Neuropathy in a single person) are usually related in their underlying cause(s) and do not need to be treated separate from each other, ie. do not need to be treated by immediate refferal to “specialists ” in each of those areas without first looking at the patient as a whole(in our example above that would mean referral to a Gastroenterologist, Dermatologist, Psychiatrist, Rheumatologist, Neurologist for one patient!). A similar picture was what was happening to me before I decided to take charge of my own health!
The study and practice of Integrative Medicine which uniquely combines conventional modern medicine with ancient medical wisdoms, complementary treatments, Holistic Nutrition and Functional Medicine, is my mission and “calling in life”. I took 3 years off from active medical practice and they were the most transformational for me. My aim was first and foremost to heal myself. While doing that I simultaneously did extensive voracious reading and intensive training in the fields of Integrative and Holistic Medicine, Functional Medicine, Yoga, Meditation, Ayurvedic Lifestyle and Nutrition, while keeping up with latest research and developments in Internal Medicine ( I have recently Board re-certified in Internal Medicine untill Dec, 2021). I am also a pioneer in the field of Functional Medicine and am in the first batch of only 123 practitioners from all over the world who have completed the Institute for Functional Medicine’s esteemed certification program. I did all of this training under the guidance of some of the most enlightened and knowledgeable teachers and they are the mentors to whom I am forever indebted. My aspiration and goal is to be able to transform my clinical practice of medicine and actually do what I really became a doctor for….to bring health and holistic healing to others, and not just give out drugs and be dependent on insurance companies to tell me how I can treat my patients! And, this is exactly what I am doing!
Choosing a healthcare consultant is one of the most important decisions you can make. You want someone who is knowledgeable, but at the same time gives you personalized and individualized care and is interested in finding the underlying causes for your “dis-ease” instead of implementing the band-aid philosophy of giving drugs and suppressing symptoms which in any case are usually just the tip of the iceberg! In other words you want patient-centered care rather than disease-centered care.
Needless to say that I constantly strive to apply all of the principles of Functional Medicine and Holistic Health in my own life and hope to be a role model for the patients who are consulting me for their chronic health problems. I have gained my health back and continue to see the positive changes my family (husband and 3 children) have made for their own well-being while watching me go through the process. I have both the knowledge and the personal experience to share. Integrative and Functional medicine is 21st century medicine and I am excited to share with you this concept that Health is a Positive Vitality and not merely an absence of Disease! You will be a partner to me in this journey together and really be in charge of transforming your own health and totally altering the ‘expected’ outcome of disease!
Wishing you a wholesome blessed life,
Manisha Ghei, MD, ABIHM