TELLURIDE – Say you’ve just been diagnosed with an illness, but you’d like to explore traditional remedies and alternative approaches to treat it, instead of, or perhaps in addition to, conventional Western methods that some worry may have just as devastating an effect on health as the disease had in the first place.
Or maybe a specific disease isn’t so much the issue as is looking for guidance for achieving a more healthful, balanced life. You’ve heard that certain nutritional supplements and detoxification regimes or acupuncture and Chinese medicine might help restore your balance and give you more energy, but you’re not quite sure how to separate the fact from the fiction, and certainly don’t want to harm yourself in the process of finding out.
People looking for an integrative approach to medicine that combines alternative and conventional methods to emphasize wellness of the whole person (including body, mind and spirit) rather than focusing solely on problems and pathologies might believe they have to look elsewhere to find a practitioner who shares that philosophy. But the truth is, Telluride already has a resource right here at home in Dr. Sharon Grundy, Medical Director of the Primary Care Department of the Telluride Medical Center.
“It’s what my whole patient population has been wanting from me for a long time,” said Grundy, explaining her path in into integrative medicine.
“It’s a philosophy that I offer,” she continued. “It means that in treating illness or maintaining health that I may be able to offer some additional thoughts on anything from supplements and mind-body work through to alternative treatments that others in the community offer.”
Though Grundy is more inclined to keep her new credentials quiet, she completed an integrative medicine fellowship at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine this past spring.
Created by Andrew Weil, MD, a leading proponent of integrative medicine and author of a number of best-selling books, the 1,000-hour, the two-year program included three weeks of residential programs and has achieved international recognition as the leading integrative medical education program in the world.
“For years I was so nervous about herbs and nutritional supplements, but that’s where medicine came from, starting with herbs, and then we got to point of isolating compounds,” Grundy said, explaining that her medical school training in nutrition consisted of a five-hour lecture focused mainly on tube feeding.
“Why did we walk away from them?” she asked. As a result of her continuing education, Grundy said, she now feels comfortable recommending various supplements – fish oil, for example – that research has shown to have positive benefits on health, to promote health.
Having completed the integrative medicine fellowship, Grundy is now continuing her professional education through the Institute for Functional Medicine, where she is pursuing a certification that will take her a few more years.
Functional medicine is personalized, science-based medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying causes, instead of symptoms, for serious chronic disease, and training through the IFM helps physicians and other practitioners to identify and heal the underlying clinical imbalances of chronic disease to create momentum toward health, according to its website.
“Medical training now is about what to do once [a patient] is sick,” Grundy explained. “I want to be more proactive with my patients, but to approach it in a scientific, fact-based way.”
“There are a lot of wacky things out there.”
Take detoxification and cleansing programs that have people consuming large quantities of certain substances, or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, perhaps next to nothing at all.
From her recent studies at the IFM Grundy has learned that there is a right way and a wrong way to detox.
Rather than duplicating the latest internet fad, “If you really want to do a cleanse, let’s talk about what to do and what kind of support you need,” she explained.
Then again, some people might just want a pill to make them better – in which case Grundy, who has already incorporated an integrative philosophy into her practice, will probably have some advice about important lifestyle changes not everyone wants to hear.
“Not everybody is going to be into that,” she said.
Overall, Grundy has sought education in integrative medicine because, she said, “I felt like people were asking for it.
“They were asking for me to kind of have the knowledge and I didn’t have it, so it felt like I wasn’t able to go that final step.
“It seemed like the right thing to do.”
To schedule an integrative consultation with Dr. Grundy, call the Telluride Medical Center at 970/728-3848.