This post marks the first in our new Ruthless Perfomer Q&A series. Throughout this series we’ll be talking with various health and fitness influencers regarding their specific niche and how it effects the world of health and wellnessa at-large.
Today we’re joined by Dr. Touchinsky who established Blue Mountain Family Chiropractic in 2005. His early focus was helping people suffering with pain and injuries utilizing hands on chiropractic care. Within the first few years of practice, he realized that many of the cases seen required more than just physical treatment. People were dealing with issues caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, inadequate sleep, and other lifestyle related factors. However, due to a variety of reasons, none of their health care providers were addressing these issues. This lead Dr. Touchinsky to study and become certified in Functional Medicine.
What is Functional Medicine and why is this something you’re so engaged in?
Conventional medicine usually seeks to identify a problem, an injury, or an illness. Diagnosis and treatment of that diagnosis is their forte. They are the doctors of “what”. They want to know what is wrong with you, and then they apply the treatment designed for that problem.
The best way to describe functional medicine practitioners is we are the doctors of “why”. Why are you sick? Why do you have an autoimmune disease? Why do you have chronic fatigue? This “why” can vary… it may be poor gut health due to frequent use of antibiotics in the past, or nutrient deficiencies due to an inadequate diet, or excessive stress from work, overtraining in the gym, or lack of proper sleep and recovery. The “why” can vary from person to person so we look at each individual’s “why” so we can develop a plan for that person and not their disease.
Teach us something… What is something within health that you think many physically active, healthy individuals may be ignorant to (i.e. I am always sure to teach clients about the relationship between the lymphatic and muscular system)?
Gut health is supreme. “You are what you eat” is a common saying. However, it’s not that simple. It’s what we eat, digest, assimilate, and excrete. Our digestive system helps manage what our body takes in to help build muscle, health and repair all sorts of tissues including our vital organs, make neurochemical and hormones, etc. It also helps us get rid of the toxic by products of doing all of that. It’s both the fuel injector system and the exhaust system. If the gut is chronically inflamed it’s going to affect nutrient absorption. If there’s constipation, it’s like plugging up the exhaust pipe in your car or the chimney in your house. This affects health more than most people realize.
If you doubt that or this is a new concept to you, google “gut” and <insert health problem or disease name here> and take a look at what shows up.
What do you think is the easiest thing individuals already engaged in a fitness program can change about their daily routine to further improve their health?
Most people can benefit from eating less meals per day and eating within a 12 hour time period per day, with earlier being better. An example might be at 7am, 11am-1pm, and 5pm-7pm. Eating food disrupts normal equilibrium and places the body under stress. It’s a necessary function, but triggering that stress every few hours is not good. It’s beneficial to give the body plenty of time between our meals and then one long period per day of 12 hrs or more. There even some interesting research showing that more than 12 hours can be even more of an advantage. This is called intermittent fasting or time restricted feeding. This can be taken even a step further by doing full water fasting or a Fasting Mimicking Diet on occasion. For more information on that, search for fasting and Dr. Valter Longo.
As someone within the field, what do you think about the current state of chiropractic care? What are some common myths or concerns that you come across regularly? Are these concerns warranted?
Chiropractors practice methods that are the most effective means of addressing muscle, joint, and many nerve issues in my opinion. We have extensive training and spend our career seeing people with injuries and pain. Not only are we trained in treating these issues, but diagnosing them as well. This makes us a great first option when someone has something wrong. If it turns out it’s a more serious issue that requires a surgeon, or if there’s doubt and more testing needs to be done, we can refer or order testing such as blood tests, MRIs, and CT scans. Most of the time we can start treating immediately and begin providing patients relief on day one.
Some common myths that I see are we only treat the spine. That might be how we got our start over 100 years ago, but we now are trained on evaluating and treating a wide variety of issues. We’re not just “bone setters” either. I work just as much on the muscles as I do the bones and joints. Another common myth is that once you start going, you have to keep on going. There may be some cases of permanent injuries or those that have very demanding jobs where it makes sense to see someone once every few months to keep them in good shape, but in most cases my goal is to get the person out of pain, show them what they can do for themselves to prevent the problem from recurring, and then discharge them from care.
Most forward-thinking individuals working in healthcare admit it’s a rather flawed system. What do you think is the most troubling aspect of modern healthcare in America? What do you think is the easiest problem within healthcare to fix?
It’s a very flawed system. Health insurance dictates care and most providers end up treating to the insurance. Insurance payment to providers is based on what is done to a patient. It’s procedural based. That means that the more “stuff” that we do to patients, the more we bill, and the more we get paid. If you do less “stuff”, you get less payment. This only promotes overutilization of certain services. Additionally, an officer visit where your doctor diagnoses a common cold gets paid the same as a visit where they diagnose and (attempts to) manage diabetes. The latter is way more complicated and requires much more attention and expertise to handle. I could really go on and on, but I’ll leave it at that.
The easiest problem to fix is to take away the middleman. Take away insurance. That sounds horrible because it’s the only way most people can afford to see a doctor, but by taking away the middle man we would lower the costs for everyone. If people had to pay for everything out of pocket (at least up front), then they would help, along with the doctor, if a procedure or test is really necessary. If you doubt this, ask any provider, “do you tend to order more testing on people with or without insurance?” For those that truly can’t afford care, we can take the money we use to subsidize health insurance and set up free and reduced clinics. At least this would put money directly into communities and building facilities and paying providers, vs. sitting in the coffers of insurance companies to selectively dole out as they wish.
**Editor’s Note: John Matulevich of Ruthless Performance will be appearing on Dr. Touchinsky’s Podcast “Healthy Habits with Dr. T” this wednesday night. You can preregister to listen to the podcast at the address here or watch it live on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/doctortouchinsky/ **