Resiliency Functional Wellness brings ‘root cause medicine’ to Liberty Hill

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By RACHEL MADISON

Kaela Thurman didn’t intend to open a new business during a global pandemic, but that’s exactly what she did. She opened Resiliency Functional Wellness in late June—and while everything wasn’t ideal, she’s glad she did.

“Now is a good time to focus on having a really healthy body and strong immunity, and that’s where functional medicine really shines,” said Thurman, family nurse practitioner and owner of Resiliency, which is housed in the same building as her other business, Care First Walk-in Clinic. “The easiest way to explain functional wellness is ‘root cause medicine.’ It’s about looking at a person as a group of systems as opposed to just one system. For example, in a conventional medicine practice, if you come in for high blood pressure, the majority of the focus is on treating the blood pressure instead of figuring out why you have high blood pressure in the first place. That’s where functional wellness steps in.”

Thurman first got passionate about functional medicine after working on the primary care side at Care First for a few years, and seeing the same patients coming in who needed to get prescriptions renewed every few months.

“We were not looking to heal them or cure them — we were just looking to control the numbers and labs and symptoms. But for those who eventually want to be off medication or want to find a cure, that’s where functional really shines,” she said. “I’m super passionate about it. I believe most people who have the will to get to a place where they can be living a really quality life and not taking very many prescriptions can get there.”

Thurman, who is working on a certification from The Institute for Functional Medicine, said functional wellness looks at a person as a whole, from their emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health, as well as things like food, water and toxicity levels.

“All of these things combined impact our well-being,” she added. “The really exciting thing is out of the patients I have, I have seen some really awesome improvements and found diagnoses that I never would have looked for in the conventional model.”

Resiliency doesn’t accept insurance, which is largely because each patient’s visits are 60 to 90 minutes long, Thurman said. The initial visit for patients is $375, and the additional hourly rate is $300.

“The insurance model just doesn’t work for this,” she said. “Functional medicine is not for acute problems, like a sore throat. It’s for chronic health problems and optimal wellness. I see a lot of people who have been feeling bad for years, or dealing with something for months and months, and we’re not going to be able to heal that in one visit. It’s typically a process and a journey that we take together over at least six months.”

Thurman also offers a free initial phone call with potential patients, to make sure functional wellness is right for them.

“The majority of people don’t know what functional medicine is and why they need to pay that much for it,” she said. “This way I can provide guidance as to whether or not it makes sense to come see me.”

When a patient sees Thurman for the first time, the initial visit is typically spent discussing their life’s timeline and figuring out potential triggers for disease along that timeline.

“Depending on what they’re presenting, we make decisions together on where to start first,” Thurman said. “For someone who is eating a standard American diet and has very little education about food, we would probably start with food. If I have somebody who is married to their job and gets by on little sleep and is stressed, we might start by looking at stress and hormone testing first. On the functional side we also take a deeper look at the body itself, which includes looking at your tongue, nails and hair, and identifying easy physical markers for health. We track as we go and figure out what works and what doesn’t and the biggest thing is we want to find the cause of the problem. The goal is to get my patients to a place where they feel better and their health is better.”

Thurman has coined the term “hometown health center” for Care First and Resiliency, and also houses Renew Psychiatric Associates, owned by Anastasia Corker, in her practices as well.

“All three practices work together,” Thurman said. “Our patients don’t come with individual problems. A patient who has high blood pressure may also have a mental health concern. One of our nurse practitioners might see a need for functional wellness, so we all discuss together and we’re able to collaborate in real time with all our different knowledge sets.”

Thurman expects functional medicine to become much more popular over the next couple of decades and wanted Liberty Hill to be at the forefront. Since opening Resiliency in June, she has seen a positive reaction from the community.

“I actually had a goal of the number of patients I’d like to see by the end of the year, and I’ve almost met that goal,” she said. “It’s actually taking off a little bit more than I initially anticipated it to. The future is unknown a lot right now, but my hope is to continue to really have a hometown health center where patients can get care and have a team of NPs who are experts that come together to really provide excellent care for the community. That may include new specialties down the road or may just mean adding additional services—I’ll have to see what the community needs.”

Patients are seen by appointment only. For more information, visit www.resiliencytx.com.

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