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once I found Dr. Wahls and started following her diet I began feeling better.” Dr. Terry Wahls is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Iowa. She was also struck by MS in 2000, and has successfully put it into remission, and reversed many of her symptoms through severe diet alterations and supplements. Dr. Wahls went from a tilt-reclined wheel chair to being able to bicycle eighteen miles a day. Dr. Wahls and many others have written books about autoimmune disease, and there are many cookbooks, blogs, and Youtube/Ted talks online about various dietary strategies. Karen bought Wahls’ book and started following a strict AIP: Autoimmune Protocol Diet. ‘It took about five months in for it to really start working, but I felt amazing, just amazing. I never felt like that before.” Karen stayed on her new regimen for a full year, before attempting to reintroduce an old favorite, eggs. She had to patiently wait, and carefully monitor how she felt after any new food reintroduction. She systematically weaned herself off of Teclavir over the course of a month. Karen learned about Functional Medicine through Dr. Wahls, and researched online Functional Medicine practitioners in each state. She found a health care provider she routinely visits at Avera in Sioux Falls, and has noticed since that time that they are increasing. Functional Medicine focuses on the underlining cause of disease. Avera’s website states that “Functional Medicine looks beyond traditional treatments to help you be your healthiest self. We take the entire picture into consideration, including medical history, personal risk issues, medications, nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and environmental factors.” For most of her life Karen had regularly used medications to help control her allergies and asthma. She’d had some food testing in the nineties, and found out she was sensitive to wheat, but no recommendations about changing her diet had been made by her health professional at that time. Karen states, “I just figured they would give me allergy shots if something flared up, but I didn’t know that it was attacking my immune system.” The reason some people decide to have allergy testing done, is because scientific studies have shown that undiagnosed food allergies, and a leaky gut can lead to inflammation. Constant inflammation, can in turn, be the source of many diseases. A test used to check for leaky gut is done with a stool sample. In Karen’s case she tested positive for a high bacteria count and required a course of antibiotics right away. The term, Leaky gut, AKA intestinal permeability, is used to describe when harmful byproducts of the digestive system are leaked from the small intestine into the bloodstream and or body cavity. A compromised digestive system can lead to chronic inflammation and other physical symptoms. Years later Karen was retested through a functional medicine clinic in Sioux Falls, and learned she was most sensitive to sunflower seeds and green beans. Karen states that even though these are healthy foods, she feels that she tested that way, because she had eaten so much of them in her life. What she has found is that once she stopped eating these foods long enough for her body to heal and stop thinking they were the enemy. She could eventually have some of them again in limited amounts. She has given up wheat, grains, and refined food for good. She recollects on a past road trip she took to Chicago with her friends, “I ate whatever they ate, and by the time we got back I couldn’t hold a cup again. That’s when I decided to eat healthy for good. I can have a little of the other stuff once in a while, but there’s no way I’m going down that road again. I don’t keep any wheat, grains, or refined sugars in my house” Karen has been symptom free since 2015, and no longer takes any medications. Even though Karen still has checkups with her Functional Medicine doctor in Sioux Falls, she no longer gets MRI’s done. “I choose not to, I just think if you don’t need them, that some things like x-rays are sometimes a little overdone. If I suddenly started having symptoms again, then I’d have it checked.” Her doctor told her that the interesting thing about brain lesions is that some people may have multiple lesions and never show any symptoms or become aware of them, whereas someone else could have only one lesion and show all the symptoms. One source of relief for Karen’s constant neurological pain was found in massage. Karen recalls “I had a friend that was into aromatherapy and when she gave me a massage that was the first time I didn’t feel like an electric fence was going off 24/7, and a relief from the buzzing. The constant electrical-like sensation was soothed. I found that stress causes breakdown in the body and if you can alleviate the stress you can get better.” Karen wanted a platform for employment that allowed her to help others, and share her hard gained nutrition experience too. “A lot of people will roll their eyes when you tell them that what they’re eating is killing them.” In 2016 she enrolled in Globe University’s massage therapy and reflexology program in Sioux Falls. She also received an online Health Coach certification as well, through The Integrative Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is the owner of the Tyndall Massage Clinic located at 1510 Main Street, Tyndall. Karen’s clients come from all demographics. She has a regular, that’s ninety-five years old and is in amazing shape. She’s also helped pregnant women, and high school athletes as well. She is very generous in allowing new customers to try different types of massage during an initial appointment. Besides offering various styles of massage such as deep tissue, Swedish, pregnancy, sport and hot rocks (a personal favorite), she is also licensed in reflexology, and a technique called cupping. People come in for massages for a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s injury, but often vWHOLISTIC continued on page 27 HERVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018v25

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