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What Type of Holistic Medicine is Right for YOU?

In the past few years, several different methods of practicing medicine have appeared on the horizon. You may have heard of them, and you’re interested in a more comprehensive approach to your healthcare, but maybe you don’t know where to begin or what type of practitioner to see. Functional medicine, integrative medicine, holistic care, naturopathy, homeopathy…are they all the same? If they are different, how do they differ? If you’re confused, you’re definitely NOT alone. Let’s break it down!

Functional medicine is using a biology-based (i.e. rooted in science) approach to look for root causes of illness. In this field, providers search, system by system, for potential triggers of a symptom. For example, if a patient comes in feeling depressed, instead of automatically prescribing an antidepressant, the provider will offer a deeper workup looking for drivers of inflammation that can CAUSE one to feel depressed (like poor diet, food sensitivities, an imbalanced gut, or chronic stress). The goal is to restore balance and functionality to the body as opposed to the band-aid approach of covering symptoms.

Integrative medicine essentially means combining different treatment modalities to support the whole health of the person. Often, this will require multiple practitioners. For example, someone with fibromyalgia would benefit from a functional medicine practitioner to search for a root cause of symptoms, a massage therapist to soothe muscle pain, a physical therapist to learn appropriate exercise for the condition, and a therapist to work through past trauma and cope with having a chronic disease. “Holistic medicine” is essentially the same as integrative medicine and is exactly as it sounds- taking a whole view of a patient to offer the most appropriate treatment.

Naturopathic medicine is a specific type of training that requires a doctoral degree in naturopathy. These practitioners are taught to use natural treatments, like dietary changes, herbal remedies, fasting, saunas, and many more. Some are able to prescribe medications, but most choose not to as the first line of treatment, again opting for more natural solutions.

Finally, homeopathy is a type of natural medicine that uses specific remedies targeted for specific symptoms, using the “like treats like” approach to bring balance to the body with the smallest effective dose possible. For example, the remedy Coffea cruda is used to help with insomnia, which seems counterintuitive- something that sounds like coffee helps with sleep? This is where the “like treats like” principle comes in- very small doses of the poison actually train the body to heal itself.

There is of course quite a bit of overlap in all of these treatment modalities, and there’s no wrong answer when choosing a direction to improve your health because all treatments discussed here will help you on your path to wellness. We at Vibrant Health of Colorado have extensive experience and training in functional medicine specifically and have developed a community of providers that we refer to when further treatments, like acupuncture, are necessary to be able to provide a holistic health plan for our patients. All of our providers here truly enjoy digging for root causes of illness- poor nutrition, food sensitivity, hormone imbalance, gut disruption, adrenal imbalance/chronic fatigue, chronic infections, and more. Though this is what we are passionate about, conventional medicine and pharmaceuticals have their place. We prescribe pharmaceuticals when they make sense and when they would improve quality of life, because the ultimate goal for YOU is to be able to live the most vibrant life possible, and for US to help you achieve it. For example, that patient with depression from earlier may need medication as part of their treatment plan, either temporarily or long term to achieve their best health, and that’s okay!

The bottom line is that personalized medicine is the way of the future, and there are multiple modalities to help you dig deeper to determine why you’re not feeling the way you’d like to feel. We would love to help!

Vibrant Health of Colorado is now offering Primary Care services. Primary care includes all of the following:
-Routine physicals
-Acute illnesses, like upper respiratory infections or urinary tract infections
-Injuries, like a back spasm or knee/ankle twist
-Management of chronic conditions, like hypertension, diabetes, or depression
-Medication management/adjustments/refills

Call us at 303-730-2229 or book your complimentary consultation online today. We look forward to helping you live a more Vibrant Life!

Erynn Kay

A Warm Welcome from Erynn Kay, Primary Care Provider

Hello, Vibrant Health of Colorado Community!

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to you. My name is Erynn Kay, and I’m a Physician Assistant at Vibrant Health of Colorado in Denver, Colorado offering primary care services. I am so excited and happy to have joined the Vibrant Health team! The owners of Vibrant wanted to be able to offer a “one-stop-shop” for patients, and as such, we are proud to provide primary care services, women’s health, hormone health, and functional medicine services to our patients.

A little background on me: I’ve worked as a Physician Assistant since graduating in 2009. My first four years out of school were spent working at a wonderful Internal Medicine and Pediatrics clinic in Goodyear, AZ. Our clientele ranged from newborn babies to centenarians. The clinic was located right across the street from a large retirement village, and my love for the geriatric population was born. I also learned I enjoyed a complex case, which internal medicine often brought. Though I loved this job, I started learning more about nutrition on my own, as I was experiencing some major health challenges.
I became very drawn to the Paleo (or ancestral) diet for myself and started seeing amazing results when recommending this type of dietary change to patients. It made sense to me that humans were built to eat foods provided by nature, not processed food from a box, and that disease would be the end result if we didn’t do better at counseling our patients on diet and lifestyle modifications. I didn’t just want to manage disease anymore, I wanted to help prevent it.

This desire brought me to a nutrition conference in the spring of 2013 which led me to my next job in Littleton, CO, as the conference is where I met my future boss. This office was a family practice with a focus on low-carb nutrition for weight loss and health gain. Over the next 7 years here, I was really able to spread my wings in functional medicine, working with a patient population that was very interested in nutrition. I pursued additional training through the Nutritional Therapy Association, becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner in 2018. I then received further training through Restorative Wellness Solutions which has taught me how to interpret the highest quality functional labs available- definitely not the kind of information we learned in PA school! I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work in this office, as it completely changed the way I practice, but when I heard about a new exciting opportunity in the fall of 2019, I was too excited to pass it up!

Vibrant Health of Colorado was reborn last year under new ownership as a women’s health and hormone specialty office. A good friend of mine, Deanna Woodroffe, happens to be one of the awesome owners of the clinic, and once she and I realized that our philosophies of using nutrition, herbal supplements such as SHAPE REclaimed, and bioidentical hormones over conventional therapies were aligned, it made good sense to pair up to be able to provide expanded primary care and functional medicine services to her existing patients.

The entire team here is devoted to helping our patients find the root cause of their illnesses so that they can live the most healthy, vibrant lives possible, and it’s so exciting to be a part of that! I especially love seeing patients with autoimmune disease, gastrointestinal issues, and metabolic illness, because there are countless alternative options to conventional care that can greatly reduce or even eliminate the chronic and often debilitating symptoms associated with these types of conditions Seeing someone markedly improve after years of suffering makes it fun to come to work every day! And though this is what I’m most passionate about, I realize that medications and conventional medicine have their place. I still very much enjoy the routine aspects of primary care services: treating acute illnesses and injuries, medication management, routine physicals, reviewing test results, and educating and empowering my patients along the way.

I look forward to being able to meet and work with all of you and help in any way I can. Thank you for the warm welcome to Vibrant Health of Colorado! Call us today at 303-730-2229 or visit our website at www.vibranthealthofcolorado.com to learn more about the practice, or click here to schedule a consultation.