Hey, everyone! This is Rachel Frentsos with the Annapolis Fine Homes Office of Long & Foster and this is Moving Forward with Rachel. Today I have Dr. Erin Kinney. She is a naturopathic doctor.
Dr. Kinney: Hi!
Rachel: Thank you so much!
Dr. Kinney: You’re welcome! Thanks for having me!
Rachel: You’re welcome! I was referred to you by a friend because I have been having my own issues with my gut and I’ve been so happy with the way things are going right now and how I feel. I’m so excited to have you on here so you can share a little bit about what you do and how you got started. So, how did you get started with this business?
My Personal Health Journey
Dr. Kinney: I got started with my own personal health journey. In my twenties, I got really, really sick. I gained a bunch of weight. I got really depressed. I couldn’t get out of bed. My joints hurt. I went to my general GP and before I could even finish saying that I thought I was depresses, he had written me a prescription for Wellbutrin and sent me on my way.
I left the office thinking, there’s got to be something else. He barely asked me any questions. I feel like things are out of balance and it’s something nutritional. I went to my therapist and said, “Should I take this drug?” and she said, “No, you probably shouldn’t.” So, I called a couple of other family members who are doctors and they said I should try therapy or something else. Then my therapist actually referred me to a naturopathic doctor at the time.
Out of Balance
He ran a whole bunch of blood work and looked at things more specifically about what was going on with me. He asked me a bunch of questions. He spent time with me. Then he put me on this regimen. I had been a vegan for a while and it turns out I was low in iron and low in B-12. I had a lot of nutrient levels that were really low that caused me to gain weight and to feel fatigues and to have my joints hurt.
Anyway, he put me on a regimen for maybe 6-8 weeks and in that time, I felt almost 80% better, in just 6 weeks. I thought, wow, this is so cool!
I was in my early twenties and I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do at the time. I ended up quitting the job I was in and working a new job. I ended up deciding, after about a year, that I wanted to do this type of medicine. It helped me so much! It made me feel so much better! I was so passionate about it. I told everyone I could about this medicine and how this doctor had helped me. I thought maybe I should do this.
It Really Helped Me
Long story short, I got into it because it really helped me. Now I practice here. I have an office in Eastport, but I see patients all over the country. I was doing virtual consults before Covid hit, even with my patients that just live up the street.
I work with primarily women, but I treat all patients. I work with women who have GI issues, or anxiety, or hormonal imbalances. A lot of women have PMS, or are going through menopause, or peri-menopause, or are trying to get pregnant and there’s some sort of hormonal imbalance. Maybe stress has affected that. Or, you have some kind of GI imbalance. Or, you’re not going to the bathroom, or going to the bathroom too much. Or you feel bloated all the time.
Basically, my goal is to help you get back to feeling like you want to feel. Your body should feel good.
I always talk to my patients about their body benchmarks:
- How are you sleeping?
- What is your energy like?
- If you’re a woman, what is your period like?
- What’s your sex drive like?
- What’s your appetite like?
- How’s your weight?
These benchmarks, and your body, will let you know. Are you eating right? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you doing these things?
Sometimes, you just need a practitioner to ask you all those questions for you to realize. Oh yeah, you’re right! I’m not going to bed until one in the morning and I’m waking up at five. No wonder I’m tired. I’m only sleeping for four hours a night.
We get so busy and caught up in our lives that we forget to do some of these simple things.
Rachel: Right! Or, you feel like that’s just how you feel because you’ve felt that way for so long. You don’t even realize you could feel better. To your point, I went to a medical doctor with the same symptoms that I came to you with and just chalked it up to you have IBS and you’re stressed, just go home and figure it out. I’m so grateful that you figured it out, and in a natural way, which is even better, not using prescription drugs, which is amazing.
That leads me to ask, what is functional medicine?
Dr. Kinney: Functional medicine is a term and it’s part of what I was trained to do. Functional medicine is looking at how the body… Allopathic, or Western, medicine is very much like, here’s the box. Your labs look fine. Because your labs look fine, I don’t care how you feel. You should be fine.
If you’re someone who suffers with thyroid issues or fatigue, the doctor will say your labs look fine, so you must just be tired. Just go on your way. Or, if you’re a woman, here’s the birth control pill or here’s an antidepressant.
Functional medicine is like, ok, I’m going to take your symptoms and look at what your labs are. Maybe you’re within the reference range but you’re in the lower end of it. Functional medicine means that they are looking at your picture a little bit more individualized. They’re going to run more tests. There are MD’s, nurse practitioners, and other people that practice functional medicine. They are trying to get your body to function optimally.
They are trying to get your body to function optimally.
Instead of being like, oh yeah, your labs are normal, you should be fine. They are actually going to listen to your symptoms. You’re only having a bowel movement twice a week, or you’re a little bit bloated. Some doctors would be like, oh that’s normal. You’re a woman and you’re going through menopause. It’s normal that you don’t sleep and your hair is falling out and you gained 10 pounds. Just go be a woman and be menopausal.
It’s Not Normal!
I get women who say that a lot. My doctor just told me it was normal to get fat. And, I’m like, it’s not normal! Your thyroid is probably off.
One of the biggest things I see in women who come to see me is that they’ve been told, your thyroid is normal, but they are having all of these symptoms. They are either gaining weight, or feeling bloated, or they have brain fog, or they’re fatigued all the time, or their joints hurt, or they’re having trouble sleeping and their labs look “normal”.
Diet, Lifestyle & Herbs
Then when we take a deeper dive, I find out that there is something actually going on in a chemical way that we can address using herbs, sometimes medications, but mostly using diet, lifestyle and herbs.
It’s amazing, and to your point, after a few visits, a lot of people are like, wow, I didn’t realize how bad I was feeling. Now I feel so much better that I cannot believe I was going about my life feeling that way.
Rachel: Sort of like when the lawn mower has been going all day and when it goes off you’re like, oh, I didn’t realize it was on, but now it’s nice and quiet.
Dr. Kinney: That is a great analogy. And, I’m sure everyone’s been in this case, particularly in 2020, over the holidays when you’re drinking every night and you’re a little bit hung over, and then you stop drinking and realize, “Oh my gosh, I feel so much better when I’m not…” I actually can see clearly.
I think brain fog is another symptom that I see a lot. People just can’t remember things, feel foggy, just can’t focus. That’s usually a symptom that something is off hormonally, either if you’re a female with your sex hormones.
Rachel: Or, Lyme Disease.
Dr. Kinney: Lyme, or there could be infectious stuff. There could be all kinds of things. We just need to dig a little bit deeper. That’s usually what a functional medicine doctor or naturopath will do. They will dig a little deeper to get to the root that’s causing your body to be having these symptoms. If you’re not addressing the root cause, then you’re kind of just putting band aids on the problem. If the band aid falls off and you haven’t addressed the issue, the band aid is still going to be there.
Rachel: You figured out that I had Lyme Disease, which I had no idea. I’ve probably been living with this for a few decades and I had no idea. By treating it, I feel so much better. Like I said, the Western medicine doctors never even looked for it, even though I’ve been complaining about these symptoms.
More Time to Listen
Dr. Kinney: Because, again, they’re like, “Oh, you’re just a woman, that’s normal…” I think usually a functional doctor or a naturopath has a little bit more time to listen. Usually, we spend more time with patients. So, we’re like, “Oh, that doesn’t actually sound right.” I always say that.
I’m always happy to run whatever tests. I think it’s better to run the tests and figure out, is it something like Lyme? I check all my patients for Lyme, because I find it a lot. In a lot of cases, no one even thought to look for it before. It comes back positive a lot. It’s pretty prevalent where we live.
Rachel: Exactly! That’s awesome, so thanks for that! Are there other services you offer?
The Impact of Stress on The Physical Body
Dr. Kinney: Mostly, I do virtual one-on-one consults (and in-person when we’re back to normal). I teach a lot of workshops to companies and different groups of like, therapists. I teach a workshop called “The Ultimate Stress Reset” workshop. I teach people how and why stress has such an impact on the physical body. I do that for companies and groups of people. If you want to go to my website www.DrErinKinney.com you can watch a one-hour free webinar that you can get on the website.
The Dr. Kinney Show Podcast
I just launched a podcast. The first episode went live on January 11, 2021. So, go check it out! It’s on iTunes. It’s the Dr. Kinney Show. I interview tons of other people in the functional medicine, alternative medicine realm. There’s some good stuff on there if you want to go follow it!
We’re doing a little contest for the next month, if you subscribe and leave a review and then share it on social media, you could win a free pair of Apple Air Pods!
Rachel: I’ll definitely go on there! I really appreciate it! I appreciate you taking your time just to talk about what you do, because having gone through it myself with you, I’m a big proponent of if you’re just not feeling right, or no energy, or brain fog, go get checked out! It’s totally worth it!
Before we go, I know you’ve lived in Annapolis for a while, so what are some of your favorite restaurants or things to do in Annapolis?
Dr. Kinney: My favorite restaurant is VIN 909 I love their farm-to-table. It’s just a quaint little spot. I live right up the street, so it’s probably my favorite. I like Quiet Waters Park a lot. I love to walk my puppy there. I love to walk around downtown. It’s such a cute town. I get takeout from Vin 909 a lot lately during Covid and take it to Quiet Waters Park with my dog!
Rachel: I know it’s good Covid dinner outside. Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. We’ll get this out to everyone. If you’re feeling kind of funky and you’re just not sure why, call Dr. Kinney. She can help you out!
In the meantime, everybody, stay well! We’ll get through this! See you on the other side!