Our practice guidelines are based upon the principles of Environmental Medicine–the first of which is the concept of the ‘Total Body Stress Load.’
The body’s total stress load is derived from multiple sources including allergies, exposure to toxins, infections, and emotional stresses. It is important to evaluate and manage all factors of the total stress load if we are to regain and maintain our health. The old saying “the straw that broke the camel’s back” appropriately illustrates this concept, as we envision the camel as the body and the straw as the stresses.
The Center begins every patient evaluation by obtaining a comprehensive life history, looking specifically for information that can give us clues to all of the body stresses. Allergy–often thought of as provoking symptoms of hay fever, asthma, or skin disorders–actually can affect every organ system and surprisingly most often affects the brain, resulting in alterations in thinking, perception, mood, and behavior. Likewise, many symptoms affecting our muscular/skeletal, gastrointestinal, and urologic systems may actually be allergic in origin. A detailed life history can often reveal the cause, uncovering clues such as seasonal patterns, mold exposures, and/or food sensitivity.
Toxic chemicals can also be a source of a patient’s illness. Laboratory tests can identify a body burden of toxic chemicals, but equally important is a careful history of a person’s occupational and environmental exposures. A physician who is experienced in identifying and evaluating toxicity, based upon the length and type of exposures, can be critical to diagnosing toxic injury.
Infectious disease must not be overlooked as a source of stress. One especially important source today is yeast and fungal disease. The prevalent use of antibiotics, steroids, and highly refined carbohydrate diets increases the body’s susceptibility to yeast infection. Viral infections, parasitic infestations, and bacterial infections such as Lyme Disease must also be identified and treated to allow chronically ill patients to return to health.
Last but not least, everyone’s life is impacted by social and emotional factors. These personal stresses contribute to the Total Body Load. Emotional strain affects digestion, assimilation, hormonal balance, and subtle aspects of thinking and perception. For some patients, identifying emotional stresses and understanding how to overcome them can play a large role in allowing the body to replenish and rebuild.
While we work on reducing all areas of stress for a patient, we also concentrate on increasing the body’s ability to handle stress by providing appropriate nutrients. An optimally nourished body and brain provide the best foundation for healing to occur.
We have found that utilizing this important principle of the Total Body Stress Load helps to overcome many patients’ very complex problems with excellent results.
For more information, see Comprehensive Diagnostic Work-up