Where it began...
Four years ago, I was a burned out doctor, unavailable mom, and a distant wife. I had anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, food sensitivities, GI issues, skin rashes, and really bad PMS. There I was, body broken and soul near dead. As a trained physician, I should have known what was wrong....
MEET THE TEAM
Rob Kress RPh FxMed
FUNCTIONAL PHARMACIST + INTEGRATIVE WELLNESS CONSULTANT
Rob Kress is a functional pharmacist who now works with practitioners and patients to help integrate, promote, and implement natural medicine in their practices and lifestyles.
His extensive background in medicine varies from conventional practices to functional and integrative medicine. After owning and selling his own compounding pharmacy and wellness clinic, Rob decided to pursue a new path of alchemizing pharmacy
by returning to the native practice of functional wellness. In addition to his conventional pharmacy studies, he's received by Certification In Clinical Nutrition, the art and science of compounding, Reiki, kinesiology / muscle testing, with continued studies in mind-body medicine, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, homeopathy and more. Rob believes that as pharmacists the experiment of chemical-only medicine has run its course. He wants to help patients discover natural solutions for their health as well as assisting practitioners in finding more natural and integrative care in order to differentiate the practices. His goal is to help pharmacists, patients, and practitioners get back to our roots of an integrated model of pharmacy.
Four years ago, I was a burned-out doctor, unavailable mom, and distant wife. I had anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, food sensitivities, GI issues, skin rashes, and really bad PMS....There I was, body broken, and soul near dead. As the trained physician, I should have known what was wrong. I remember thinking “Why is this happening to ME. I don’t have time for, nor am I allowed to, get sick.” Yet, I was completely disembodied and clueless as to why my body was so out of control. As the patient, I was told I was physically “normal,” and that my labs were “within range.” Yet, I was offered a steroid for inflammation and Xanax for my head. Adamant about not taking pharmaceutical medications, I decided to try every other alternative modality. So, I ate a gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free, egg-free diet. I took supplements to help me wake up, to sleep, to digest and eliminate, and I even tried esoteric therapies such as distant healings and past life regressions. These were all wonderful, and they did take the edge off, but it still wasn’t enough. Something was wrong from the inside. Deep inside, I was in crisis.
One day, I flew out to Los Angeles for a functional medicine training program, which emphasizes finding the root cause and patterns in illness and disease, and starting treatment from there first. The facilitators introduced the “timeline” tool, which maps out a patient’s history on an arrow and documents not only when the symptoms happened, what other emotional, psychological and spiritual events happened at the time of the pathology. Chronicling my own history, I realized that all the years of drive and ambition to do, be, and have more finally culminated and became my perfect storm. Physically, my adrenal glands, the fight or flight organs which secrete the stress hormone cortisol, was completely fatigued. I soon learned that a dysfunctional adrenal system could cause all of the symptoms that I had. Emotionally, I was depleted, chased by the mental tigers named “perfectionism” and “need for approval.” Psychologically, I was worried that I would fail as a mother, wife, and doctor, disappointing everybody who supported me along the way and heartbroken over our healthcare system because I could not yet fulfill my idealistic medical student dream to help heal humanity as well as honor the Hippocratic Oath of “do no harm.” Spiritually, my personality and true purpose were completely malaligned.
I played the role of a good doctor: the white coat, the stethoscope, behind the glass desk and computer. Tolerated the pressures of conventional medical practice to see more patients in very little time. Ordered tests to satisfy meaningful use criteria, met budget, documented every phone call and conversation, labeled my patients with precise ICD codes and kept the integrity of comprehensive and compassionate care, all with a smile on my face. Yet, my patients needed more, and there was more that I could do. They needed to be seen, heard and know they mattered. They wanted love and compassion. They wanted to learn how to care for themselves as well as their families, and I wanted to teach them.
Interesting that the word “doctor” is derived from the Latin docere which means “to teach.” I believe I was called to be their teacher—to teach them how to self-care, to breathe, to connect to their higher power, to understand and own their bodies as well as create possibilities for their lives that they never thought imaginable. Those blue scrubs and rubber Crocs never suited me. I was meant to wear the mala beads and the recycled leggings made of recycled water bottles. I was meant to create a yoga studio so that people could feel strong in their physicality as well as relax. It was my job to build a community from the grassroots so that they could be empowered to support each other with knowledge. I had been living somebody else’s dream for me instead of my own. Something had to shift, and as Anaïs Nin said, “The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
So, I left my hospital-owned medical practice to take a more integrative approach to caring for myself, my family, and my patients. This meant practicing what I preached—stress reduction, a whole foods diet (guiltless treats on occasion), yoga meditation, prayer, apologizing and asking forgiveness from those who I had hurt so that I could create deeper, meaningful relationships. It meant listening to my own body—its simple needs like breath, rest, sleep, and laughter. It meant, above all, listening to the deep whispers of my soul, so that I could stay true to what was important to me. A few weeks after I resigned from my job, my skin cleared, I slept like a baby, I could breathe for the first time in a long time and I ate a grand slice of cheese pizza without having a crazy allergic reaction.
Now as a physician, I’m interested in WHY symptoms and illness occur, not just band-aiding, excising, or ignoring the problem. Our biography is our biology. The story of our lives, including every negative event, gets lodged in our cells and tissues. Neurobiologist Candace Pert, PhD proved that emotions—guilt, anger, fear, resentment—secrete neuropeptides in the brain to change the chemistry of every cell in our bodies. The inability to process these emotions through (i.e. share, shake off, or let go) forces stagnation and accumulation of toxins—physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological, which is the true root cause of illness and disease. Addressing our being from all of those layers, using deep self-inquiry, self-reflection and positive action, can lead to rapid and sustainable health and well-being.
The universal law of cause and effect states that we create our reality. We as individuals are the microcosm reflected in the macrocosm of humanity. The heartbreaking truth is that we’ve created a world whereby our children, including my own 10 year old Bella and 6 year old Luka, will be the first generation of children who will not live as long as their parents. If we hope and dream for sustainable health and well-being for ourselves as well as for future generations, we must start from the inside first. Mahatma Gandhi said, "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world ... as in being able to remake ourselves." Thank you.