The Mind-Body Connection

Integrative Medicine Focuses on Optimal Health Strategies


The providers of Integrative Medicine include, from left: Angela Lim, D.O.; Sandra Skates, D.O.; Karin Grumstrup, N.P.; and Eric Hassid, M.D.

Integrative Medicine in the VacaValley Wellness Center brings Functional Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) together in one setting. The two specialties work closely together with the goal of helping their patients reach optimal health.

Leading Functional Medicine is Dr. Eric Hassid and his colleague Karin Grumstrup, N.P.; while OMM is under the purview of Sandra Skates, D.O., and Angela Lim, D.O.

Both practices offer patients an innovative alternative to restoring their health.

“Functional medicine is a new way of looking at health and disease,” explained Dr. Hassid. “The goal is to restore an individual’s health to the highest level for successful long-term disease prevention and management. This concept stems from the notion that a healthy human body is the best healer of disease.”

Functional Medicine examines a patient on the cellular level, and Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) is a non-invasive, hands-on therapy that addresses mechanical problems of the body. Both specialities offer an innovative alternative to restoring health.

Practitioners of functional medicine believe that all individuals have unique physical and genetic characteristics that make them vulnerable to certain medical ailments. These individual factors, which affect mind, body and spirit, intertwine with one another to create a web-like pattern of cause and effect. The “one disease, one pill” style of medicine does not necessarily hold true with functional medicine.

Functional medicine looks at how the body works at the cellular level. It studies physiological principles such as bioenergetics—how energy flows through living systems; inflammation and oxidative stress; how cells communicate and how they protect and defend from disease. It studies circulation and even waste elimination. Chronic conditions—such as allergies—and digestive, hormonal, metabolic and neurological problems are finding solutions in the field of functional medicine.

Functional medicine examines six areas of a patient’s health that contribute to optimal living. These include nutrition and gastrointestinal health, environmental exposures and detoxification, hormonal optimization, sleep, exercise and the mind-body connection.

“Some patients turn to us as a last resort when they haven’t seen results and want to dig deeper into solving their health issue,” said Karin. “Others come to us wanting to get rid of the multiple medications they’re taking.”

While Functional Medicine examines a patient on the cellular level, Osteopathic Man-ipulative Medicine (OMM) is non-invasive, hands-on therapy that addresses the mechanical problems of the body. The goal of OMM is pain-free movement and overall good health.

Using their hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury, osteopathic physicians move patient’s muscles and joints using techniques including stretching, gentle pressure and resistance. OMM takes a patient’s musculo-skeletal, circulatory, lymphatic and nervous system into account.

OMM is often used to treat muscle pain, but it can also help patients with a number of other health problems such as asthma, sinus disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and menstrual pain.

“OMM is a hands-on approach to pain,” explained Dr. Lim, “and it can help everyone from newborns to the elderly.”

Accupuncture can be used for a variety of illnesses from pain to fatigue to complex internal medicine issues and can help reduce dependence on medication.

Dr. Lim emphasizes that while some patients experience great relief, not everyone reports such dramatic results. “For some patients, the goal is to increase function, acknowledging that there may be only a reduction—not an elimination—in pain,” she said. “OMM is not a miracle, even though it might feel that way to someone who has been in pain. It is rooted in science and based on human anatomy and physiology.”

“I’m not a chiropractor and I don’t do massage,” she explained. “But the treatments I provide for my patients often give them immediate and sometimes long-term relief.”

While OMM is the primary focus of Dr. Skates’ practice, she also offers two other treatment modalities—medical acupuncture and prolotherapy, or regenerative medicine.

“Medical acupuncture uses very small needles inserted into the body,” Dr. Skates said. “I use acupuncture techniques that have been used for centuries and many that have been developed by physicians in the United States. It can be used as primary or additional treatment for a wide variety of illnesses from pain to fatigue to complex internal medicine issues. Patients may find that they are able to reduce their dependence on medication.”

Prolotherapy/regenerative medicine is the injection of substances that promote the growth of normal cells or tissues, Skates added. This can help in the early stages of arthritis or for strengthening connective tissue insufficiency found in chronic pain or sprains and strains.

For further information about Integrative Medicine, call (707) 624-8250.

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