6-month Health Transformation Program
After working with nearly 300 functional medicine patients and over 1000 primary care patients, I have come to realize that the greatest obstacle to finally attaining optimal health is comprehensive and consistent attention. You know there are things you need to change to attain optimal health, but you face several obstacles: What changes should you prioritize? How do you know you have eliminated underlying deficiencies or dysfunctions? How do you stay focused over time? It is so easy to be derailed by a family vacation or a stressful period at work. You need a way to keep your focus over the long term.
This is not about willpower. It is not something you can “white-knuckle” your way through, for the simple reason that putting pressure on yourself creates excessive stress which works against everything that is healthy in your life. Instead, health transformation is about being inspired! You start with a science-based approach featuring practical tools and you add an effective way to nurture motivation by aligning with your deepest values and your most compelling vision for your life. Intention, vision and inspiration are a lot more powerful than willpower.
The medical part
The most recent advances in medicine and in science point to three major areas that were on no one’s radar when most of today’s doctors were in medical school:
1. Beneficial bacteria play a crucial day-to-day role: they train and regulate our immune system, they make vitamins, they make substances that alter what we feel and think, and they detoxify for us. In planning for disease reversal and for future health, we put into practice key strategies for the care and feeding of our beneficial bacteria.
2. Most chronic illness is the result of dysregulated immune system activity. The previous era of medicine emphasized killing germs. But our immune system needs not only to be strong, but also to know the right thing to do and when to stop. A powerful immune system that reacts to peanut butter is not a good immune system. A major focus of this program is on optimizing the functioning of the immune system.
3. Our genes have very little to do with who we are. Yes, there are genetic diseases, and the program starts with an understanding of the genes to make sure we know what the basic limits of the body might be. However, the vast majority of the chronic illnesses we need to worry about are impossible to explain through genes. The environment is king! We can learn how to make our lifestyle work for us—little by little, changes that seemed overwhelming at first become automatic. The impact of these changes is multiplicative. There is much room for hope!
The coaching part
There are two types of coaches: those who focus on providing practical steps, and those who are mostly skilled at helping the client understand themselves, in the service of best focus and motivation. This program combines these approaches.
As a doctor, I understand the threats to health. Over a 25+ year career, I have seen some of these things play out. I have a list of risk factors to check, and I individualize my advice based on past and present medical variables.
As an inspiration-based coach, I know that you will not persist in (or even begin) putting forth your best effort if you don’t have a deep connection to what is most meaningful to you. While I might know what needs to happen, I also need to find out from you what is the best way for you to make it happen.
I trust that healing can best happen when we remove the obstacles that were standing in a person's way to recovery, then stoke the flame of motivation and consistent attention.
This program includes 10 prescheduled visits over 6 months, plus 2 optional short visits to address any pressing issues that may come up during those 6 months. These can be health issues or other types of crises that can benefit from diagnosis and treatment, collaborative problem-solving, or a listening ear.
The first visit is in person and lasts 2 hours. Subsequent visits last 30-60 minutes and can be either on the phone or in person.
Q & A
How is this program different from other programs?
We do something entirely unique! Dr. Ashe (see bio) has extensive training as a primary care physician, a functional medicine physician, and a certified co-active coach. Health transformation is difficult and we may resist it at very deep levels. We are not used to prioritizing ourselves; our busy lives and multiple roles get in the way of our best intentions. Some programs combine the services of two or more individuals with different areas of focus, a medical practitioner and a coach. Our program integrates them into each visit, saving time and the need for coordination between the providers.
Do you screen participants?
Some conditions lend themselves to this approach better than others. However, after reading this description, people usually have a pretty good sense of whether this type of program would work for them.
We do want to have maximum impact—we love to witness our patients’ successes. We don’t want to waste anyone’s money due to inadequate fit.
Why are visits pre-scheduled?
Because you are that important! We do not care that in your mind, you may not be the prefect mom, son-daughter-spouse-worker-friend. In our program, you are the star and therefore attention to yourself needs to come first (well we won’t let you neglect your loved ones—they will be part of the plan!). You are making a large commitment, and we do everything in our power to help you in keeping it.
Do I continue to work with my primary care physician?
We would like to be your primary point of care for the 6 month period. We do not have the capacity to be a permanent primary care practice, but we have found that “taking over” for a few months makes things more streamlined for patients, and avoids having patients caught in the middle between conflicting versions of medical care. If an urgent care visit is needed, we will make every effort to accommodate you. Of course, you are completely free to schedule any appointment you deem necessary, and there are times when you may need the emergency room. You may want to have an appointment with your PCP before embarking on the program, for example in order to get refills for your medications (Kaiser especially). We do use the services of deeply discounted laboratories so that you will not worry about asking your doctor to order labs for you.
How do you support motivation for change?
Health care providers often think of motivation as something their patients either have or don’t have. Actually the best research in this area shows that motivation arises out of the conversation between the patient and their provider—when this conversation can be guided in certain specific ways. The patient’s motivation comes from a deep understanding of their own values, and of ways to align their life with their values, and from removing emotional obstacles to self-love and self-forgiveness using specific approaches. We make use of a variety of tools we have become familiar with over 30 years spent in the practice of health behavior change.
The frequency and content of the visits is designed to support a model of functional medicine (aimed at optimizing nutrients, decreasing inflammation, repairing imbalances) as well as a model of life coaching (having conversations that support motivation, creativity and resourcefulness).
What happens after 6 months?
We recommend our patients continue regular visits, once every 6-12 months for adjustments, tune ups, to have discussions about reducing supplements, about repeating lab tests, and in order to plan for major changes in life. An example of a life change is menopause, retirement, or planning for a pregnancy. We will ask for a credit card so we can bill you $500 once a year, and will offer two hour-long visits every 12 months. We will offer to stay in touch with you through our newsletter so that you don’t forget about us!