If you’ve ever wondered why we choose to practice Integrative Medicine here at Cannizzaro Integrative Pediatric Center, this case study should make it very clear why we believe it to be the only way to diagnose and treat kids (or anybody else).
A three-year-old came to our center because of severe, uncontrolled, recurrent eczema. The child had already been treated with topical steroids, oral steroids and anti-cancer drugs in cream form. The child got temporary relief from the treatments, but the eczema always returned, severely, when treatment stopped. The child was miserable during flares—always scratching, never sleeping, and always tired.
We looked at everything that could affect the child—physical and environmental. We checked on the child’s thyroid, possible allergies, the level of histamine in the body, the health of the gut, diet, vitamin levels, the home environment, toxin exposure, and more. We uncovered hypothyroid disease, multiple food and environmental allergies, over 8 vitamin and nutrient deficiencies and toxic exposure to arsenic, pesticide, xeno-estrogens in plastics, and mold.
We treated the child’s gut with a clean diet, replacing the needed nutrients. We supported the child’s thyroid with iodine and removed foods that attacked the thyroid. After this treatment, we slowly saw the child’s gut heal, histamine levels decrease, allergies improve and yes, the eczema clearing.
The poor soul whose sleep was interrupted nightly with itching and abdominal pain transformed into a child with a grin. The whole family sleeps soundly now, and is empowered with information about healthy diets and toxin awareness. Without intervention with integrative medicine, inflammation in the child’s body would have led to more allergies, possibly asthma, ADHD, anxiety, and more. Integrative medicine produces healthy lives filled with pleasure instead of pain.
Why the World Needs Integrative Medicine
Evidence-based integrative medicine produces better results. The process described above took hours and hours of work, but revealed multiple root causes. This is due to two reason: 1) the exhaustive investigation on behalf of the patient and 2) a trust created with the family—a doctor-family bond—a cooperation that not only reveals possible causes of disease, but also strengthens the healing journey for the patient.
I wish I could say this case study was rare. Unfortunately, there is a chronic complex disease epidemic in children. We now see many diseases in children that were previously considered adult diseases. Diagnoses that we see at astronomically high levels in children, and becoming more common, include: colic, reflux, eczema, food intolerance, abdominal pain, malabsorption, vitamin and nutritional deficiencies, food and environmental allergies, asthma, thyroid disease, joint disease, autoimmune illness, recurrent illness due to weak immune systems, ADHD, autism, sensory processing disorders, learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, cutting, eating disorders, panic attacks, fatigue, myalgias, and others.
Why? Many reasons other than our family history or genetic makeup decide if we will develop an illness. Conventional medicine is based on a diagnosis and treatment model. It looks to find the disease and treat it with medication. Children live with these symptoms and diagnoses and become dependent on medicine unless they are lucky enough to “outgrow” the disease.
Integrative medicine is a new approach (or is it an old approach made new again?) and looks outside the box for the root cause in all aspects of life: food as medicine, metabolism, genomics, environmental toxin exposure, radiation and electronic exposure, social and home life, well-being, mental health, stress levels, abnormal muscle and nerve function, and more.
Why Integrative Medicine and Our Membership Model Must Co-Exist
In many of our patient cases, the first visit takes 1.5 hours and the follow-up visits average 45 minutes to an hour. Insurance typically reimburses for about one-tenth of the time it takes. Integrative physicians need more time with patients than the amount that insurance companies reimburse to keep their doors open. This is why we developed our Membership Model at Cannizzaro Integrative Pediatric Center. It’s a rare model, combining integrative medicine services with a concierge service, but it is the best way to heal patients. Here are a few of the benefits and strengths of our model.
- Establishes a doctor-patient-family bond that uncovers all aspects contributing to symptoms.
- Attacks small symptoms before they get large.
- Educates about truly healthy diets and life style as opposed to media and propaganda.
- Allows time to do the right tests, even for complex cases.
- Integrative medicine doctors look at every cell of the body and the body as a whole (functional medicine).
- We use holistic healers to address the body in places it needs.
- We use only pure, safe and effective supplements and try to avoid using strong pharmaceutical medication for the long-term, which can have many side effects.
- We don’t give up until we find the root cause and reach out to all our amazing partners for help when needed to solve puzzles.
- Stops inflammation at the beginning of a cascade that can lead to chronic illness.
- A family atmosphere between staff and patients.
- Same-day sick visits.
- 24/7 communication with your integrative pediatrician.
- Convenient appointment scheduling through our electronic medical portal with choice of a video, phone or face-to-face visit.
- A belief in healing and the ability of each individual child’s ability to use each cell of the body to optimize healing.
- A belief in prevention through “turning off” the DNA that makes you genetically prone to illnesses (called epigenetics).
- Education for healthy families to prevent chronic illness and lead a healthy lifestyle.
- Attempt to lessen extra expenses for medical care outside the office.
- We love what we do and it shows!
Without the advantages that integrative medicine provides, many studies have shown that we will all start dying younger. As Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard-trained MD and integrative medicine prodigy, says: “This is the only medicine of the future.”
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