The O behind the O institute
People often ask me what the O stands for in the O Institute...
Korean- it means five, as in 1,2,3,4,5
Back in 2010 when I left my previous practice to my partner, I wanted a completely different model of health.
I was frustrated trying to work within the confines of the standard medical model- patient complaints, chasing symptoms, un-necessary testing, arguing with doctors and insurance companies.
After practicing for over a decade at that time, I realized that our "health" care model was actually sick and disease management, NOT healthcare. Today, that doesn't sound like such a bold statement but back then, people were still struggling to find a healthcare provider that believed in a preventative model of healthcare; especially one that was wholistic in nature. So, I decided to take a leap and break the model.
The paradigm shift
The first thing that had to happen was to change the model.
When you are a chiropractor trying to do functional medicine WITHIN the medical model, it's exhausting and it has limited success, therefore limited value.
So, the first crazy thing was to change the model.
What if we could create a system where patients came to see you, with or without symptoms, and got to assess how their overall health was based on a different series of metrics?
NOT the annual blood test that told you that you were "healthy" because you were "within the range" and didn't have a disease, but something that give you a more functional set of data?
Now that would be a totally different model.
And what if the treatment plans were based around supporting the systems of you body and areas of your life that contributed to optimal function of your mind and body? Not just symptom relief.
Now that would paradigm shifting.
So we got to work looking at what that could look like.
We discover STRESS
The start of our research was backtracking the most common complaints experienced by patients in the last 10 years. Besides PAIN of a mechanical nature, the most common issues were the same then as they are now:
immune challenges, allergies, food sensitivities
mood related issues
infant/childhood issues- e.g. ear infections, sensory processing, etc.
When we tracked these issues back, the biochemistry and the neurology kept leading us to one thing- STRESS. Whether the stress was of a physical, chemical or emotional nature was not as relevant as the bodies response to those stressors.
There are well documented pathways of what your body and brain does, when stress is experienced; especially chronic, low grade stress.
It's not the acute BIG stressors in your life that have the most negative impact, it's actually the small things that you deal with daily, weekly, yearly that degrades your overall health and wellbeing.
physical activity stress (too much or too little activity)
All these stressors led to a series of responses from your body that gradually create dysfunction and eventually lead to symptoms and decrease in overall quality of life.
We start to think wholistically
Holistic health seems to be a buzz word in healthcare nowadays. And I am glad that things are moving in this direction because we humans are very complex. We have lots of factors that contribute to our lives and health so looking at our wellbeing through a microscope or via tunnel vision is just not going to work.
What does wholistic mean?
It means looking at the WHOLE body as a series of functional systems:
energy producing system
Now, we are all unique but all our systems are common.
Once we started looking at things wholistically, the methods of support and true preventative care became more obvious.
I'll give you an example:
A patient that has digestive distress like reflux, bloating, gas, food intolerance, diarrhea, constipation, all have the same thing in common- they have an issue with their digestive system.
So rather than try to attack each symptom, why not just optimize the function of the digestive system?
Of course that entails a variety of different factors but what the research showed, as well as our eventual clinical results, was that supporting a more functional digestive system better resolved the original complaint AND created longer lasting overall health than treating the initial symptom in isolation.
Our method became a combination of looking at the neurology, foods, nutrients, emotions, and movement that best supports an optimally functioning digestive system.
Now just extrapolate that model to all the other systems and Voila!- a completely different paradigm.
The mindset is catching on
When we first launched, it was stressful.
I am not going to lie, I was worried and I wanted to quit and go back to the way things were so I would afford to feed my family.
No one understood what I was saying or what we were trying to do.
It was bleak.
Fast forward to today.
I just came from a conference where a gastroenterologist (tummy doctor), gave a lecture on how supporting your gut, the entire digestive system, was a way to prevent a variety of diseases. NOT just digestive issues mind you, but autoimmune, depression, joint pain and a slew of others. She also talked about NOT taking drugs like acid blockers and NSAIDS and immune suppressants, like HUMIRA, because of the damage it does to your gut and it's lining.
After over a decade of pounding that message in my little pond, the healthcare world is making strides!
I was stoked!
I am totally okay with being an early adopter.
I am totally okay with taking the push back and abuse and ridicule of people who just don't get it and call me a quack.
It's just a matter of time before people get it.
So, why FIVE?
LOL. Yes, why is it five? Why call it the O institute?
When I was deep into the stress research, I realized that there were five factors that contributed to a persons happiness:
career-what you do
sense of purpose
These areas are also the primary areas where people experience stress.
Trying to create a space that addressed those five areas was the initial dream of the O Institute.
Help people have a life that supports those five critical areas of life and people are much happier.
And happier people are healthier people.
It's that simple.