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Wellness Blog

Latest wellness news, trends and updates from functional medicine practitioner Dr. Katherine Birchenough at OptimalSelf MD.

Food Sensitivities and the FIT Test

Food Sensitivities and the FIT Test

By Christy Strouse If you are someone like me who has suffered with chronic digestive issues, you have probably found yourself playing detective with your diet. No doubt, this has left you confused, frustrated, and without any clear direction. I understand! You may have considered food sensitivity testing, which can be tricky. Let me share my journey with you. Ironically, I have…

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Tips For Great Heart Health

Tips For Great Heart Health

Valentines Day is a holiday where we give our hearts to that special someone…but what about our heart health? Is it really all about our cholesterol levels? Many factors can determine heart disease risk, including stress, nutrient deficiencies, and other factors such as environmental exposures or genetic susceptibility. The human body has anywhere from 4.5 to 6 liters of blood…

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Hormones: Adrenal, Thyroid And Sex – And How They All Work Together

Hormones: Adrenal, Thyroid And Sex – And How They All Work Together

Featured in ELYSIAN Magazine’s Fall 2018 Issue   There are more than 50 of these potent chemical messengers in the human body, and life would not be the same without them. They control waking, sleep, hunger, thirst, love, sex… You name it, and there’s probably a hormone involved. Over a lifetime, the intricate interplay of hormones controls our physical and emotional growth…

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Optimal Self

Featured in ELYSIAN Magazine’s Winter 2017/2018 Issue Welcome to the inaugural column of Optimal Self, a column designed to offer helpful insights for achieving ideal health. Over the last 12 years, I’ve seen thousands of patients in what I call a “pre-disease state,” where the body sends an alarm signal that comes in the form of vague, unsettling symptoms. Functional medicine…

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Light Therapy

What is LED Light Therapy? LED light therapy is the BEST health and beauty tool you never knew you needed! It has been clinically proven to be effective for a variety of uses such as anti-aging, hair restoration, skin conditions, acne, wound care, and pain relief. Specific wavelengths penetrate the skin helping to naturally jump- start tissue recovery, skin rejuvenation,…

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Snap out of it!

Snap out of it!

Last week presented some personal challenges and I didn’t bounce back as fast as usual.  I had sunk into my own little funk.  This weekend, my husband took me on a 2 hour hike through a nearby forest to help me snap out of it.  And you know what – it worked!  Maybe it was because I took my shoes…

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A lesson in looking deeper

A lesson in looking deeper

I thought I’d share a little story to better illustrate the functional medicine approach.  About 3 months ago my husband (a plastic surgeon, not a mechanic) “fixed” our washing machine by taking it apart and removing an underwire from a bra that had become lodged in the works.  It seemed to be fine for a while.  For about 2 weeks…

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The.Whole.Damn.Fire

The.Whole.Damn.Fire

“We become merciful, she wrote, when we are the concerned reader of a novel, understanding each person’s life as a complex narrative of human effort in a world full of obstacles.”  This is a quote from Martha Nussbaum, a contemporary philosopher.  It sums up how I feel when I get to know a patient and start to understand what challenges…

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