Dr. Kristin Reihman and Dr. Kristann Heinz join me on the Heal podcast straight from a COVID epicenter in Atlanta. Listen to this week’s episode to learn how two MDs apply lessons learned from treating Lyme patients to patients currently battling the coronavirus. They also dive into the five pillars they recommend to optimize your health. This is an episode you don’t want to miss!
Straight from a COVID virus epicenter at Atlanta’s convention center, learn how two MDs apply lessons learned from healing Lyme patients in their daily practice to patients currently battling coronavirus.
After reading Dr. Kristin Reihman’s book, Life after Lyme, I reached out to her to speak on our podcast. I was so excited when she quickly responded yes and also offered to do the podcast with her good friend Dr. Kristann Heinz in between their shifts at Atlanta’s emergency COVID medical center. During the podcast, we dive into their experience and recommendations to heal Lyme and other chronic illnesses, and how they are using holistic treatments to keep themselves healthy while treating patients and boosting the immune system of coronavirus patients.
To build a healthy immune system, both doctors believe there are five crucial pillars to health. Without a robust immune system, one can not fight chronic Lyme, auto-immune diseases, or even the coronavirus. Until these five pillars are optimized, there is no use in trying to combat the Lyme or virus. Also, now is a perfect time while we are at home to establish these five pillars so that we can fight off the coronavirus and other illnesses, or in case we get bit by a tick this summer.
Nutrition: You need to eat a whole, real food diet. Dr. Kristin and Dr. Kristaan recommend a 21-day elimination diet to figure out if any inflammatory foods are causing the inflammation or if you have any hidden food allergies or sensitivities. Some foods at the top of the elimination list are coffee, eggs, gluten, nightshade vegetables, and dairy, to name a few. There is a complete list of the foods you should exclude from your diet in Kristin’s book. After the 21 days, you can begin adding back each food group one by one to see if it triggers your symptoms again. Kristin offers an online program to assist you through the 21-day cleanse.
Sleep: If you are not sleeping through the night, you will not get better. You must get eight hours of sleep. Dr. Kristin and Dr. Kristann offer tips on the podcast to assist in helping you sleep through the night. A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP IS A MUST. I know it is hard if you are in the thick of the Lyme battle because pain and insomnia are a side effect. Even if you have to get medication to sleep through the night, you need to do this ASAP.
Water: You must be drinking at least eight glasses of clean water a day or half your body weight in ounces. You need to be flushing out the toxins out of your body.
Movement: It can be any movement-walking, biking, stretching- it is a necessity to heal. There are so many benefits to exercise. I know it is hard when you don’t feel well, and every bone and muscle in your body hurts, but exercise is one of those things that after you do it, you will feel better.
Mental Health: Removing negative thoughts and stress out of your life is vital to your healing journey. If anything is causing stress, you need to remove it. You also need to learn the tools to help you manage stress better, such as meditating, practicing breath-work, tapping, or talking to a professional.
Dr. Kristin and Dr. Kristann believe many of the symptoms will disappear once you address these five pillars, starting with healing your gut. If the patient still is not feeling well, that is when they dive into other areas such as mold, heavy metals, detoxing, herbs, and antibiotics. Chronic Lyme is a very complicated, multi-layered disease and needs to be treated as such. Cleaning up your lifestyle and food choices is the first and most crucial step to healing. Visit http://kristinreihmanmd.com to buy her book and learn about your elimination diet program. To learn more about Dr. Kristann Heinz, visit her website at redhillmedical.com.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (01:14):
Maybe we should just start by introducing ourselves and a little bit about our background. You want to go first Kristanna?
Dr. Kristann Heinz (01:19):
Sure. Um, my name is Kristann Heinz. I’m a family doctor trained in family medicine and then kind of had an interest in integrative medicine. Originally, I started off my career in medicine in nutrition, so was a dietician for many years working with food and wellness and kind of public health populations and then went on to medical school and with an interest in family medicine. Went to a family medicine residency, which is where I actually met Kristin. And then just continued more of my studying and interest into integrative medicine and have been practicing integrative, holistic family medicine for, I don’t even know how many years now, 10 years.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (02:04):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And Kristann’s actually, the reason I ended up in the residency, I landed in because she had done a part time residency and that’s what I was seeking to do as well. And so I remember a long conversation with her, well, she was on her farm milking her goats and chickens running around and I was like, Oh my God, I need to be friends with that woman. I’m totally going to that residency. So I did my residency out in Pennsylvania and um, and ended up staying on as faculty there, although I was very interested just from the beginning and doing things that were out of the box because I really wanted tools that work. You know, I really wanted to help people and have, you know, results and not just be putting bandaids on people. So Christina and I actually started an acupuncture group in the inner city. Both of us had been trained… You trained after like sort of intermittently on in residency. We both sort of trained during our residency during our residency years with the Helms Course. So we both know medical acupuncture. We were both working in this inner city together and we put together acupuncture groups and smoking cessation groups and tapping groups. And we had a blast and always really, really wanted to work together. But our paths have sort of been these parallel paths of doing integrative holistic medicine since residency. And this is the first two weeks here that we’ve just spent working together on the front lines of the COVID crisis, which has been awesome. So we really finally are back kind of working as a team together. Really fun.
Oh, that’s awesome. Maybe you can touch on that now? Or should we talk about touch on that later?
Dr. Kristin Reihman (03:33):
Sure. We can touch on that now. So my, my main practice, um, really what I do now is really informed by having gotten really sick from Lyme in 2012, 2012 and 2013 I lost 30 pounds. I couldn’t pick up my infant. I laid in bed for five months and I was really, really sick. And as many of you and your listeners would know that, you know, everything I’ve learned in my residency in medical school kind of didn’t prepare me for complex chronic Lyme because it’s not really even considered a real thing. Right. Um, and so I had to learn all that stuff on my own and, and from wonderful teachers in the Lyme world, like the ILADS, people and Klinghardt and you know, and just a lot of people who are out of the box thinkers and actually getting results with Lyme patients. So I’ve been doing that for the last eight years. And what’s been really staggering about this, this covert thing for us and really validating, I think for both of us, is that all the tools that we try to empower our patients with now to help them recover from Lyme and other complex chronic kind of baffling mystery illnesses. Um, things like diet and lifestyle, nutrition, you know, mindset, sleep, you know, getting out of mold. All those things are really hugely important for recovery, but they’re also mandatory if you want your immune system to be functioning when you know coronaviruses come your way. So it’s been really validating and we see these patients who are so sick, but the reason they’re sicker than others who aren’t in hospitalized because they’ve got these chronic inflammatory conditions at baseline, you know, from the way they live their lives. And it’s been, it’s been very sad, but also validating for our kind of chosen paths, wouldn’t you say?
Dr. Kristann Heinz (05:09):
Yeah. And I think what was interesting when we did show up, you know, this is very kind of allopathic. Go back to your hospital roots type of medicine that we’re doing, which was a little daunting cause it’s not really our wheelhouse. So we kind of had to remember like, oh, what are those drugs? Well we don’t really prescribe drugs anymore. What are those things?
Like is there an app for that? Or how did you figure them out?
Dr. Kristann Heinz (05:38):
Thank God for the internet is all I have to say. Exactly. Um, surprisingly it doesn’t change all that much, thankfully the majority of it is all the same drugs and you know, all the same indications. So fortunately it was just kind of tapping into that again. But when people had found out that we came with this more integrated foundational health background, they actually asked us to do a talk for all of the people who have also come to serve, all the providers, to just kind of talk about like what our take was on kind of COVID and integrative medicine and foundational health. So we put together this two hour workshops with them and it’s interesting. It doesn’t change whatever illness you’re talking about. You still go back to basics. You still go back to those foundational things and it’s these kind of five areas that become the most paramount and become critical in terms of maximizing and managing your immune system and managing your health. So it’s diet, hydration, it’s sleep, it’s stress and mental health and it is movement.
Now for diet, let’s just talk about each of those individually quickly. So diet, would you say it’s like a Keto, low sugar, gluten, meat, no meat. Like what, what are you kind of typically recommend?
Dr. Kristann Heinz (07:04):
I think first starters, you know, right out of the gate without any, um, specializing in any of those realms is really just a straight up anti-inflammatory food elimination type diet. So start by getting all of the main inflammatory foods out of your diet so you can get to a baseline of where that is. I think many of us have food, hidden food allergies and we’re not even aware of them because we’re so used to living at a certain baseline. It’s become our norm. We don’t have a reference to know how good we can feel because we’re living in a different norm. And when you can take away some of those, um, influences and those factors that are stimulating our immune system in a very low level that we can’t even cognitively recognize. It’s not like a runny nose or it’s not like a high level, it’s just that it’s a chronic, you know, kind of low level inflammation that we can’t discern until we actually remove that insult and are able to see what that would look like without it. So, I’ll kind of move over to Kristin because she actually has a whole program on offering an elimination diet program to people that’s like online and available to patients with their families and the whole thing. So you can talk a little bit about your program, but that’s like that in general if we can get, that’s the first step. So I kind of imagine, you know, kind of moving towards wellness is a layered approach. You know, like, let’s try to do these foundational health things first and let’s see what we have left. Do you want to speak about?
Dr. Kristin Reihman (08:38):
Well, just to finish that statement, I would also add that I don’t even talk to my patients who have Lyme about antibiotics or herbs or oxidation or whatever therapy we’re considering until they feel the gut. Because as far as I’m concerned, if you come into my office with a chronic Lyme picture, which is more than six months of suffering, whether or not you called it Lyme six months ago or not, like if you’ve been suffering from inflammatory issues for more than six months and we don’t heal the gut, first, all bets are off. And I’m not going to be able to get you better. You’re not going to able to get yourself better in a way that sticks until the gut is healed.
How do you know when the gut is healed?
Dr. Kristin Reihman (09:17):
Um, that’s, it’s a little different for everybody, but generally speaking, people feel better. They have more energy, their skin clears up. You know, everything on the skin is a, is a mirror for what’s going on in the gut. I mean the gut and the skin come together at the anus and the mouth. Now that you all have a visual, the skin is really an external view of the gut. So if you have anything on the skin, like a rash or psoriasis, anything chronic or even new, you can assume that the gut is going is going through a similar inflammation. So when the skin clears up, when the dark circles under the eyes disappear, when people start to sleep better, when they start to have less brain fog, I mean, it’s a little bit dependent on what a person starts with. You can generally tell when people’s symptoms start to peel away that the gut is healing. And you know, the, the elimination diet, both of us use the foundation of it anyway, or the starter place is the, the elimination diet from the Institute for Functional medicine. So you take out the top 10 allergens for 21 days. Some people have already done that and haven’t had results. That’s usually 5 or 10% of people don’t get results by just doing that.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (10:20):
And most people can start on that and actually see tremendous shifts in their health. And it’s only those like select people that then you have to get more personalized with, kind of making those additional modifications or because there are new things that are introduced in our food chain because of the gluten free movement and things like that, we will have a lot more things like almond flour, almonds and things, coconut, those types of things. I’ve actually seen if you have a really inflamed gut, people will start to react to things that typically they thought were like, oh, I thought nuts were all healthy. Well maybe not for you. You know what I mean? So it, it becomes a little bit more personalized and a sleuthing that can go on.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (11:00):
And allergies is actually another symptom that you have a leaky gut, you know, seasonal allergies as well as hyperreactivity to mosquito bites and fleas. Those things are all an indication that the immune system is a little bit out of whack. Hyperreactive and that all goes back to the gut.
Okay. So I have a question, a personal question. I pretty much, I feel a thousand times better than I used to a year ago. My biggest symptom I still have is hives. I get random hives for no reason. It could be cause I’m cold when I wear workout pants, like tight workout pants, I wound up getting hives. Is that still like an allergy or is that like, is it a mass cell? No, it’s mass cell. But then I’ve taken two mass cell tests and that’s come back negative. So it’s like maybe it’s along what you guys are talking about like my gut might still not be healed and that’s just an indication of…
Dr. Kristin Reihman (11:52):
Yeah, I mean mass cell has gotten a lot of attention recently and I’m glad it has cause a lot of people suffer needlessly before they understand what’s going on. But in my mind it, you know, it, it goes into the context of this could just be leaky gut and your immune system could be over in overdrive because there’s so many things leaking in that aren’t food into your bloodstream. And creating that kind of overreaction. So in my mind it always makes sense to start with healing the gut. And then if you haven’t solved the problem, you dig a little bit deeper and you kind of, as Kristann was saying, you layer on other approaches and other therapies, but you start with a healed gut.
And I think for me it took me a while, like the first three years I kind of was in denial. Like I still didn’t want to give up my wine and my alcohol. I want to give up my coffee. I still thought I could get away with, you know, things here and there and like the sugar. And I think until it got real and realized, okay, I really need to clean this up is when it’s totally started turning around for me. And I find now I go, I go back and have bad days and I look back, I’m like, ooo I had some coffee or I had more sugar than I should have or I had a glass of wine. It really sets me off now and I just unfortunate it’s a new norm, but it’s, I think for people, I tell people like unless you are drinking a lot of water and you change your diet, you’re not getting better.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (13:03):
Yeah. Yeah. And I will say something to that kind of that reactivity that you’re experiencing now where you might be exposed to something and then the next day is a little worse. I think as you get further along in your healing process, you will start to develop as that gut continues to heal and your overall immune system starts to settle, you will begin to find that, Oh well maybe I can tolerate a piece of bread once a week and still do. But then if you happen to have that exposure, you may not have that quite the same level of an extreme reaction.
But talk, talk also about, because we went through their food, talk about um, like the mold, cause that’s a huge part I think of this puzzle, right? And this sleep, like what do you tell people to sleep? I know that’s two different completely questions, but so like sleep was a big part until I started sleeping again.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (13:48):
Yeah, sleep is part of that five like foundational health pillars that we just talked about. So we just talked about nutrition. Sleep is another one. Um, and so sleep is absolutely critical for healing. I mean there’s no question that people have to be getting proper sleep and so that kind of dives in a personal way down the rabbit hole to like what’s stopping you from sleeping? Is it difficult getting to sleep? Do you have issues waking up at night? All of those are different indications of, you know, interventions or ways that we can start to retrain the body to naturally find its sleep rhythm.
Right. I think for like a lot of Lyme patients, at least for myself, my sleep, I have no problem falling asleep. It’s like you wake up in the middle night and you’re in so much pain, but I used to just cry at night because I was in so much pain, I couldn’t sleep. So I don’t know. I mean, I would think a lot of people are that way. And it’s like, what, what do you get past? Like I’m a one point the Lyme had hit, like, you know, when you get joint pains, it literally hit the joint, my mouth joint and it was in my ear at the worst earache. I couldn’t move. My jaw literally couldn’t open my mouth and it stayed that way for like two weeks until it moves to the next joint. And I finally went to like the walking clinic and the guy like gave the doctor, gave me some, I can’t remember some deep drugs and he’s like, just sleep. I just want you to sleep and get the pain away. And after that I did like three best nights of sleep. The pain went away. I felt. So it’s almost like I needed that heavy narcotic just to sleep, just to get the pain to go away. Um, but what other like natural things would you recommend for people? Like is it melatonin? Is it dealing with what, like you’re saying like emotional that’s keeping you up or ..?
Dr. Kristin Reihman (15:20):
I can speak a little to that. I used to have terrible pain too. And when I was having my second Lyme, my second bat of Lyme, which was sort of the near death experience, one. I had pain down, static pain on my right side and it would shoot down into my foot and my calf and my anterior right leg was just so incredibly painful and numb and tingling and weird and I felt like a buzzing feeling in my foot. I mean it was a terrible, the whole right side was just like, I wanted to like lop it off and it was just so painful and I found that wrapping a heating pad around my calf and foot, I had two different heating pads. I mean I literally slept with a heating pad for two years. I had like a borderline inappropriate relationship with my heating pad and I actually have continued that because I have a bio mat, which
I have a biomed too. I have a BEMER mat. I sleep or lie on.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (16:07):
Okay, funny you should mention that community because we actually lugged down to Georgia where we are. We lugged down the bio mat and it’s big purple suitcase and a BEMER mat that I rented and we’ve been taking it with us to our, our night shift and we make it nest every night and try to sleep on it in between our shifts in the hot zone because absolutely feels so much better. I mean, I lie on that Biomet and my whole, everything opens up and I’m like, ahhh, it’s almost like a slug of morphine or something. It’s just like I’m in an opium den. So, um, yeah. Biomat for sure. So heat really helped. Sometimes a cold pack would help too. And I also, you know, when I was in the thick of it, I sometimes had to take a narcotic to sleep at night because it was just that bad. I mean, ibuprofen did nothing, Tylenol did nothing. And it was so incredible. I think later on as I was… That whole episode moved me kind of away from the Western paradigm and into the more holistic paradigm that I operated now. So I was learning the tools that I now have. I wouldn’t use that now. I would use heat and I would use boluoke, which is a biofilm breaker, an enzyme. It’s made from earthworks, you know, we call it ground up earthworms. It’s Lumbrook kinase and it’s really good at kind of grinding through the biofilm that not only holds the infection and keeps it from, it keeps your immune system and whatever remedies you’re taking to kill the bugs from having access to those bugs. But it also opens up the blood vessels and the tissue so that things can flow again and bring in immune cells, bring in oxygen.
What’s it called again?
Dr. Kristin Reihman (17:34):
It’s called boluoke, Canada RNA makes it right and it’s Lumbrook kinase is the generic. There’s actually a lot of good studies on it showing that it can take down biofilm and it’s, it’s a very under utilized tool that I think doctors would do well to learn about because it’s in the literature. They just, we don’t learn, you know, it’s not a drug that we learn about.
Right. I loved kavinace for the longest time. That’s what I was using. Am I saying it correctly? They took it off the market and you used to be able to get it at the pharmacy, the local pharmacy. And now that you just have Kava and then there was something in there that I guess was not okay for the CDC or whoever approves that. And so they took it off. And I remember just crying cause I was like, my gosh, it’s the only thing that’s getting me to sleep. And then I was using CBD oil to sleep when CBD came out, that was helpful. Yeah. I’m pretty much sleeping on my own except for, you know, I wake up for a little bit, but it’s not as bad.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (18:33):
Um, and some people actually, we haven’t talked about EMFs, but some people need to like break their circuit and have the whole house, you know, seriously, like all the wifi and everything goes off while they sleep. It can make a difference for, for very sensitive people. And then you mentioned melatonin. I think we should get back to that because that’s actually one of the things that we’re learning about in this whole covert crisis can actually be really helpful. Um, and anti-inflammatory. And as you probably know, and your listeners probably know, like people are dying as a result of the inflammation in their body. Not so much the virus itself, but what happens with the immune system creating a huge storm or cytokine storm around the virus and around the tissue damage it causes and melatonin is able to decrease inflammation.
Oh, it does. Okay. But then I read somewhere that the melatonin with the zinc helps that together. I don’t know if that was true or if I’m remembering correctly. There was something about zinc with the Covid.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (19:23):
Yep. So yeah, so you want to get, you want to get our, um, rundown on the supplements that we’re finding helpful in this?
Yeah, that’d be great. Especially for like people like you were like trying to prevent it. Yeah. And then also for the people who were actually sick,
Dr. Kristann Heinz (19:37):
Can I just follow up on the sleep thing? Just wrap that up and then we’ll talk about Covid just cause I feel like, you know, we had mentioned melatonin and we had mentioned like different stages of sleep and people waking up at different times during the night. And so typically I think of melatonin as being that type of a supplement or support to help get somebody to sleep, right? Melatonin is naturally produced in our, in our brain and our pineal gland as things get dark, then melatonin is a hormone it’s released and that helps make us sleepy. And then we go to sleep. In the age of, you know, constant screens and artificial lights and things like that, it becomes very difficult for people to self regulate that in and of themselves. So getting somebody, you know, making sure that people are sleeping in a really dark room, you know, making sure that you’re not doing the screens like two hours before you try to go to bed, like eliminate the screens or if you need to do it, make sure it has a filter on it to block out the blue light. So you’re wearing like the glasses that you can where they can help block those rays out from your brain. So your brain doesn’t think that it’s being stimulated by the sun and you know, allowing more cortisol to kind of come up. So that’s like the role of melatonin in sleep. So typically I think of it as something to help people get to sleep. Staying asleep is like a whole other ball of wax. So staying asleep gets into those things of like number one, what’s keeping you up? Is it pain, is it, or are you waking up in kind of like a fight or flight? And that would be more of an adrenal situation where you might get those big cortisol rushes at night. And I think that that’s that kind of wired and tired feeling that people can feel when they have chronic illness or they’re just like so exhausted but they have this kind of like this like buzzing jittery thing. And so that requires being able to use specific herbal support around being able to block that cortisol response at night so people actually can get sleep. When your cortisol levels are up, you can, you tend to be up in the morning like as soon as you wake up and your eyes open up, you get that sunlight in there and bang like that cortisol will go up. So that’s the spike. That’s why people will say, okay, if you get up you’re going to have more energy in the morning because your cortisol will be higher. So trying to get back to those bio rhythms and re-regulate those hormones becomes super critical for people who are chronically ill with, you know, mysterious illnesses and Lyme because that resetting that rhythm to be normal is, is paramount to them building upon that scaffolding to get healthier.
Right, right. That kind of almost sounds like what I have, I had where I get up at 2am to 3am and then I can’t get back to bed. It’s like that fight or flight. And I do have that buzzing feeling in my body where I feel like I’ve been plugged into a wall. I can’t explain it to people, but that’s what it feels like people are like, what does it feel like? I’m, I feel like my body was just plugged into a wall and there’s like electricity going through my whole body.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (22:21):
Hmm. One of the things I’ll say since you said 2 to 3 that you know, the liver time is 1:00 AM to 3:00 AM in Chinese medicine. Both of us are trained in, in acupuncture and Chinese medicine as well. And so it’s, it’s, it’s also, it’s a useful clue to ask, well, when are you waking up and when is your pain worse? And you can then address that organ, that organ of issue during its time. And a lot of people wake up between one and three because a lot of people are super toxic and it’s the livers job to toxify, so doing things that support that, making sure you’re drinking, you know, at least half your body weight in water, sometimes more in ounces of water, rather, making sure that you’re pooping every day, making sure that you’re eating foods that promote detoxification and the cytochrome P450 system, which are the little enzymes in your liver that bio transform and break down chemicals even naturally made chemicals in your body like estrogens. Making sure that’s really lots of leafy green vegetables and lots of brightly colored vegetables with all those phytonutrients. Sometimes a supplement like zinc you mentioned. Um, those things all really support detoxification. You know, milk thistle is really great too. If you talk about herbs for the liver, um, what’s another one? We use? Dandelion root, dandelion root, you know, so, so you can Google do a quick Google search for you know, how to support my liver naturally and you’ll find a bunch of things and you know, most of those things are not going to harm you and they’re potentially helpful. So it’s worth looking into how do you support your liver? If you’re waking up between one and three, which is the most common time, I think for people.
Yeah. Yeah, that’s really useful information. Okay, so let’s talk about the mold I guess, or is that what we were talking about. Yeah, I feel like we had so much to talk about. There’s a lot to cover.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (23:57):
Mold is worth getting to cause it’s a really bad actor and one out of four of us, I won’t say us three, but one of the four humans cannot process mold out of, they cannot get it out of their body so they can get all whipped up into a frenzy and get inflamed about it, which everybody does when a little bit of mold gets inhaled or ingested, but they can’t take the second step. The innate immune system doesn’t convert into sort of a humoral response where they make an antibody clump onto that piece of mold and then get it out of their body, process it through the spleen or whatever and get rid of it. They don’t take that second step. So mold toxins just accumulate, accumulate, accumulate, and that’s 25% of people. In my practice, more like 85% of people because that’s why they’re in my practice. That’s why they haven’t gotten well from Lyme or they haven’t gotten well from autism or whatever it is they come in with because they are one of those, I would call them canaries in the coal mine and people who can’t tolerate toxicity without getting severely ill from it.
Right, right. So is that mold like you’re breathing in or it’s like if you just happen to eat a moldy piece of bread, is that considered mold too, or is it just primarily inhaling?
Dr. Kristin Reihman (24:58):
I would say it’s, I don’t know the answer to that. So in my book, when in doubt, leave it out. Like I don’t want to be, I don’t want to be touching and I don’t want to be drinking it and I don’t want to be eating it. You know? I have to tell people that some people just stop taking in kombucha because kombucha is…
Yeah, I can’t have kombucha.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (25:12):
There we go. Boom. So yeah.
Now how do you know if you’re highly sensitive? Is that the MTHFR or is that something else? Is that, how do you know you can’t process mold?
Dr. Kristann Heinz (25:23):
So the MTHFR gene is a gene that really helps us identify people who maybe have difficulties with detoxification. So it’s a way of us identifying like, are you a good detoxer are you a bad detoxer. And one thing I will say is, for instance, like I’m homozygous for the MTHFR. I’m double homozygous for which one? For the 600, 607, both of them. I didn’t know that, which means that I’m like 80%. I could potentially have an 80% decreased reduction in my ability to detoxify. Compound, heterozygous. That’s what it is.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (26:04):
Oh, that’s me too. Yeah, that’s me too. Yeah. So I’ve got like one good one. One bad one too.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (26:10):
That’s Mimi too!
Let’s make a T-shirt and wear it around! It’s a club!
Dr. Kristann Heinz (26:17):
Yeah. But let me just say this about the genetic stuff because this is like one of my things. Patients come in to me with like rings and rings and rings of paper and oh, I have this now I have this genetic thing and I had that genetic thing and you know, kind of goes on and on and I say to them, look, you know what? This is just information. This does not mean that this is what is going on in your body. It’s like going into a library and seeing books on a shelf. Just because the books were on the shelf does not mean they are on library table with the book open and you’re reading it. So let’s, you know it can be helpful, but actually let’s take a look at what your issues are and where we think there might be glitches and how do we support you through that? Where are the challenges? How do we support you? Let’s not just revert back to like, Oh my genetic thing, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I don’t think that’s helpful. Because I also feel like it also creates a belief in somebody. And then there, that belief creates, that creates a whole other paradigm of what they believe about their body.
Right? Like they can’t heal because they have this or not being able to heal. Okay. So tell me like now if they went through the five pillars and you did everything like that, would you at any point give someone antibiotics? Are you strictly at this point all about holistic?
Dr. Kristann Heinz (27:33):
Absolutely. No, absolutely. We use, we use prescription medication all the time with our patients, but the point is, is like we talked about this layering effect. So if you start at the root and at the base, the foundational health there, you know, any amount of prescription medication that we would be using, if we’re not foundationaly clean, we’re not going to see the benefits that we know our patients can… We’re not going to see the gains that we know they can achieve.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (28:00):
There can be some harm. I mean, a Herxheimer in my book is simply didn’t do enough detox before we started killing bugs. You know, nobody should Herx like for God’s sakes, you suffered enough people.
Right. And if you r detox channels aren’t open, you’re not able to get out what you’re killing.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (28:20):
Yeah. Herxing is another word for cytokine storm. It’s another word for too much inflammation from all the die off. So let’s, let’s make sure all those pathways are open. Um, you know, making sure everything is available so that the body has everything it needs to just get rid of the download of pathogens dying and toxins released as a result so that it doesn’t feel worse in the process of killing them.
Right, right. That makes sense. Yeah.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (28:47):
The dance, you know, you have to balance, you have to be balancing those things as you go.
Right. So, okay. So out of the patients that come to you once you get that cleaned up. Like what? I mean, just to give people hope, like what percentage actually get better and get their life back, even if it’s a different life. Like where they’re not drinking like me. Like, I have a new norm but I’m happy and I’m able to be productive. I don’t think anybody can really get their life back to what it was before because that’s why they’re in the position that they were in. Right. There was a lot of stress or eating badly. They weren’t taking care of their bodies. Right? So it’s the norm that we’re all getting used to, which is probably a better norm anyway. That’s a lot of new learnings. Right? But what percentage of those people can get back to that new norm where they’re able to get out of bed and feel like they could contribute to the world and feel good about and having the energy to get through the day really?
Dr. Kristin Reihman (29:36):
Well, I believe everyone can get better.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (29:38):
Yeah. Everyone can get better. Absolutely. Absolutely. It may take longer for some people and it may require more patience and more kind of trial and error to try to see like how do we continue to create this balance of foundational health with kind of balancing the immune system as we move forward to get you better. But everybody can find that again. Absolutely.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (30:04):
And you mentioned changes in lifestyle as part of the transformation, but I think people need to sometimes hear that it’s not just these sort of outward physical things that you have to do differently. Like you have to change as a person to get through this. And I, and I think it’s a good thing, like no one comes out the other side of this, like a worse version of themselves, right? It’s really like an, it’s like a spiritual uplifting in my experience. I mean the people who come through it really commit to sort of the deep inner work cause it’s not just like not eating gluten and making sure you get sleep. It’s like looking at your, your thoughts and looking at your behaviors towards yourself and how you interact with your environment and how you interact with your relationships. I mean, people have to get out of their toxic relationships and learn to love themselves. I mean that’s the bottom line. You have to learn to love yourself in order to give yourself what you need to heal. And that leads to healing, but it also leads to a totally transformed life because you’re now moving through the world differently. Loving yourself.
Correct. And getting, making sure you spend the time to be like, look, if this isn’t serving me, I need to remove it. If it’s not bringing me joy. If it’s bringing me frustration or unhappiness I need to remove it and remove it. If it’s something to do with work, if it’s something to do with, you know, like you said relationships, right. It’s just reducing the stress and realizing that yeah, you have to let that out. And it took me a little while to do that. Um, and not getting worked up so easily. Like I used to get myself so worked up if I was 15 minutes late or something. I would put myself in a tizzy over it. Um, and it’s like at this point you just got let it be like it is what it is, you know? Um, but I think it took me awhile to learn that as well. And then also embracing, and I would love to know your thoughts. I have done the emotional work where I’ve gone to shamans, I have gone to Chinese healers that don’t speak English, that were able to like rub their hands together and create like something that I drink and their hand like in their hand is powder like medicine. Like I’ve been to everything. Like it’s been crazy but it’s been a cool experience. I mean at some point you just gotta let it be like, okay it must be true cause I want to get better. But you’re definitely, if you were to stop and you’d be like, wait, I’m drinking something that some woman who doesn’t, you know, only speaks Chinese and she’s chanting and then she created it out of air. But I did it!
Dr. Kristin Reihman (32:20):
Well I’ll tell you what, Mimi, I tell my patients this too, you know, for every single thing I’ve ever heard of people trying for Lyme and you can fill in the blank for, you know, autism or fibromyalgia or whatever, or the chronic complex thing you can think of. There are people who will say that thing did nothing. And there are other people who would say that thing was the thing. That was the thing that turned the table for me. Or that was the thing that was the beginning of my journey out of this. And so for everything, I don’t care if it’s rife machines or antibiotics or Jesus healings or some lady powdering her hands and puffing in your face. Like, I don’t care what it is, there’s going to be someone who was like, that was the thing. And they know it in their bones that that was the thing. And it was the thing. I mean, there’s not just one way to get well from these things. So, you know, one of the things I teach, and I write about this in my book too, is that, you know, complexity is the name of the game here. And complex problems don’t have known solutions upfront. You have to be willing to engage the problem and be willing to do little mini experiments on yourself that are hopefully safe to fail. Like no one’s going to die from the, from the powder, right? But, uh, hopefully you have to do a little bit of vetting, right? You’ve got to watch the last five people that took it and make sure no one died. But you know, you’d have to be willing to try things out and then pay attention to how you feel and, and do whatever inner work you have to do to get rid of the fog in your brain and the negativity or the fear or whatever, so that you can actually look at it with clear eyes and say, what did that thing do for me? Did I feel better? Maybe I do more of it. Did I feel worse? Maybe not again, or maybe I need more detox. Did I feel nothing? Maybe I need to wait a little bit longer and see how it goes for a few months.
And I think a lot of us do the cumulative too, right? You’re not just doing one thing at a time, you’re doing like that. So it’s a cummulative. So you don’t know if it’s like the cumulative effect. And that last one was like the icing on the cake or was it that one thing, you know, it’s kind of so it’s kind of hard.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (34:07):
It is hard. Most of us aren’t super scientific about it because we’re desperate to feel better, you know? And we feel like, look, why not throw the kitchen sink at it? I was certainly that way, you know? And so in retrospect I can look back and say that definitely didn’t seem to help or that maybe hurt and these things, this cluster of things together or maybe individually but I don’t know all worked. Like that’s what, that was my kind of take away from it. But I couldn’t have known that in advance. And it would be different if I got lime again. You know, it would be a different set of things cause I’ll be different at that time too.
But I also think that like, like what you said, listening to your body is important because I find now that when I do have, I can see myself starting to crash or have a couple of bad days, I now know, okay, look, I haven’t been drinking enough water. I need to go in my sauna. I need to go on the BEMER mat more. I need to take a hot bath with like, you know, with Epsom salt. Like I kind of have my tools now that I know how to get out and I can get out within a couple hours or it might take me 24 hours, but at least now I have the tools that gets me out of the nosedive I’m in.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (35:06):
Exactly. And that’s the goal. That’s what I want for all of the people who come to see me. I want to empower people. This is true for both of us. We want people to be empowered with the tools that they can dip into and do more of when they need them and less of when they don’t think they do and live their lives, you know, um, we all have something. Lyme tends to be a particularly yucky chapter for a lot of people, but other people have different kinds of suffering. And if you have the tools, you feel more in control, you’re not as traumatized by the experience and you’re more resilient.
Right. Right. Now, can each of you, as we wrap up, can you each tell us, tell me about your practice or your book or the program that you offer online, just so if people want to come and find you or if they’re in Pennsylvania not too far from you or to read your book.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (35:47):
Yeah, sure. So I can tell you I’m, so, I have a book that’s called Life After Lyme, Revive Your Inner Rockstar and Achieve a Full Recovery. That I think is marketed at the Lyme people because that’s who calls me. But really, as my husband says, you should have written a book with a better title because it’s really for everybody with a complex chronic illness or even people who just want to be healthy because it goes through all the things that you have to do to recover and they’re also, you know, magically the same things you should do to not get sick from COVID or to stay well and vibrant.
That sounds like a second book coming. Just rename the title.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (36:19):
Yeah. Did my husband get to you? Cause he’s always telling me that he’s like, write your book again. That’s an ebook right now and you can get that on my website, which is KristinReihmanMD.com and then I also have online groups I run that are elimination diet groups. So I walk people through how to do a comprehensive elimination diet and I provide support for six weeks through zoom calls and email and Facebook. And we do a, it’s a really cozy little group. I’ve run it five times now and it’s always been a huge success. A lot of people are finding kind of miraculous outcomes. Like one lady lost her glaucoma, another lady lost her, everybody loses their IBS. Like it’s just, you know, it’s one of those things where it is amazing and I forget how amazing it is when I’m doing it one-on-one. Cause you know, I’m in the room with one patient, but when you’re doing it in a group and everyone’s on zoom like Hollywood squares and like, Oh my God, you lost what happened? You don’t have any more ulcers in your mouth. Like that’s crazy. So people get to kind of feed off that excitement of watching people heal so that people can learn about that by getting on, go to my website, getting on my newsletter every time I launch that again, I, I send it out to my peeps.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (37:23):
So, um, I have a little bit more of a brick and mortar practice, so I have an integrative healing medicine practice, um, that people come to see me mostly with chronic complex illness. And my website is, my practice is called Red Hill medical and the website is www.redhillmedical.com. Um, and I also have a ton of allergen free recipes on that website. I have a have a kitchen in my office. So, you know, because of my background in dietetics as a dietician, you don’t have a really strong focus on food and recipes and lifestyle support around those types of things.
Do you have to be local like in person or do you have clients or patients that you see remotely?
Dr. Kristann Heinz (38:14):
So one of the silver linings about COVID is that telemedicine is now broadly available across all states. So we actually have the opportunity to see people in other states that we didn’t have. Normally we would have to have every single state, um, to be able to like actually take them on as our patient
Oh, I didn’t realize that, that that was what was holding that up. So is that going to go away or is that going to stay?
Dr. Kristann Heinz (38:41):
I don’t know. I think people are like loving the telemedicine option these days. That’s what I hear, you know, and it’s really allowing access to care in a way that it never has before. And insurance companies are starting to recognize it, which is great because the patient can get reimbursed for what typically they had never been able to be reimbursed for. So, I mean, obviously there’s a lot that can happen just by being physically in a room with somebody, you know, that we really can gain a deeper understanding of their physical health. However, um, there’s a lot you can get just over zoom, you can just intuit a lot. Just by seeing somebody, you know, kind of getting a sense of like what their responses are, like, what their engagement is. And that really tells you a lot about where they are in their illness.
And so what town are you in?
Dr. Kristann Heinz (39:26):
So I’m in a, I’m in a town called Oxville, Pennsylvania. It’s North of Philadelphia by like an hour and it’s South of New York by an hour.
Okay. So I went to, I went to Lafayette in Eastern Pennsylvania.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (39:35):
Oh yeah, 20 minutes from there, right?
Yes, it’s a beautiful place. Beautiful area. I grew up in New Jersey so it’s not that far from there.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (39:47):
This is awesome. Is there anything that we left out? I feel like we covered a lot of ground.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (39:55):
We did cover a lot. I think maybe the one thing I would say to people is that as crappy as this chapter of your life might be, it’s still just a chapter Like it’s not you, it’s not your whole life. You didn’t do anything to deserve this and you’re going to be a more awesome version of yourself on the other side of this
And don’t give up hope because you know there are people who are committing suicide over it or you know, I’ve heard a couple of cases and you’re just like, don’t, don’t like find whatever the reason is to stay alive and get through it.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (40:26):
And know that you can get through it. There is hope. There really is hope.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (40:29):
Yeah. I mean I think you don’t, you have a chapter in your book about how to talk to your doctor. I do.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (40:35):
Yeah. And I think that’s super important.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (40:37):
So Kristin in her book has a whole section in her book that really helps to guide and coach people on how to have conversations with their doctor, where they’re feeling like they’re not getting their needs met or they’re not being able to like get to the thought foundational bottom of like what’s going on. And it’s really helpful coaching tools in terms of how do you have those conversations, how can you get your, assemble your team, how can you feel like you have more people behind you to help you through this journey and get to the other side. So I found that super awesome!
That’s really good. Yeah, this has been amazing. Thank you for doing this. So last minute and I’m so glad and so thankful for everything that you’re doing down in Atlanta and COVID. It’s amazing, very admirable and for waking up to do this, this is amazing. For those of you who are listening, they’ve been doing the night shift for the last two weeks down in Atlanta at the convention center. And so these guys are rock stars. Um, and but thank so much. I really appreciate it. This has been so much fun.
Dr. Kristin Reihman (41:36):
Yeah, so nice. So much for having us for all you do too.
I could talk about this stuff all night. Like I had my kids like, wait, we’re supposed to go for a walk. So I have to go, but I could literally stay here and talk for hours. I love this, but thank you so much and have a safe trip home.
Dr. Kristann Heinz (41:57):
Thanks. Thanks. Bye bye.
Thank you Kristann and Kristin for coming on today. That was so informative. To find more about Kristann, you can go to redhillmedical.com and to find more about from Kristin and download her ebook, you can go to KristinReihmanMD.com.
Each week, I will bring you different voices from the wellness community so that they can share how they help heal their clients. You will come away with tips and strategies to help you get back your life. Subscribe to the Heal podcast and join our community, Lyme360 Warriors, on Facebook. Let’s heal together!