Integrative Medicine-treating the Whole you

The following article was published in Natural Awakenings Nov 2016 and discussed the definition of integrative medicine.

According to The Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, integrative medicine and health is “a holistic system that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.” This model, where all modalities are available to treat each patient uniquely, case by case, using different protocols for each person, runs contrary to the mainstream model of specialists and specific protocols for each disease or condition or symptom. The “whole person” is forgotten often in the mainstream model.

For this reason, many patients are searching for an integrative medicine practitioner to be part of their health care team who can manage both conventional and complementary health approaches in a coordinated way. While pharmaceutical medicines can give quick relief of symptoms, they do not address the underlying cause of the symptom. An integrative medicine approach would use pharmaceuticals when necessary to stabilize a dangerous condition or provide relief from a troublesome symptom, while working with all available modalities to help correct the underlying cause of the symptom or condition.

This involves but is not limited to nutrients, herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, reiki, compounded prescriptions, or pharmaceuticals along with lifestyle changes such as diet modification, exercise, stress reduction, meditation, therapy and sleep adjustments. Patients that are on pharmaceuticals can be helped with integrative medicine, as many drugs cause nutrient depletion which then can lead to other health issues and a decreased effectiveness of the medication.

An integrative practitioner is not a specialist in all modalities. They are an expert at determining what combination of therapies would be best for the patient to assist the healing of the body, address the main complaint that brought the patient to the office, and are willing to have other practitioners be part of the team approach to health. Such as when work is done on a house, homeowners may need an electrician, plumber, carpenter and painter, each of which has an area of expertise that they excel in and has the proper tools in their tool box to accomplish the task. To help co-ordinate the work, one usually hires a foreman to keep an eye on the whole project.

In medicine, each practitioner specialist has a skill set and a specific set of tools in their tool box. So too does the healthcare foreman (integrative practitioner), but the most important tool is their knowledge of the many different modalities and practitioners available and necessary for a joint effort in helping a patient get well. They understand that there is not one specific protocol, but rather an individual path that brought each person to where they are healthwise, and likewise a uniquely designed treatment plan that evaluates and explores multiple therapies and modalities to find the right combination for the safest, healthiest path to returned health.

In its earliest form of integrative medicine, the general practitioner from previous generations knew the family dynamics, their patients and their lifestyles, and as they received information from specialists, they put a protocol together to manage the care. Often that approach can get lost in the current medical model of modern medicine due to a lack of communication between practitioners, and many times no one is coordinating the therapies.

Now that patients are becoming their own health care advocate and searching for an integrative approach, the health care system can shift to “treating the whole you” and not just “treating symptoms”. This will lead to better health of the patients, and in the long run, decrease health care costs.

Dr. Gary Kracoff NMD and Reg. Pharm at Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center, located at 577 Main St., Waltham. For more information or to set up a consultation call 781-893-3870 ext. 2 or visit


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7 Rules to stop aging

I can’t believe that I am at a place in my life where an article in the AARP magazine resonated with me.

The article is from the a book  “Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy- Until you’re 80 and Beyond” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D.younger-next-year

Chris and Harry outline seven rules and explain them in their book.

The seven rules are:

  1. Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.
  2. Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week for the rest of your life
  3. Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.
  4. Spend less than you make.
  5. Quit eating crap!
  6. Care.
  7. Connect and commit.

This quote made me stop and think;  “How long you live is 90% genes and 20% you.  But how well you live is 80% up to you and 20% genes.

This made me stop and think. I do have a say in how the next chapter in my life plays out.  It will take commitment, some time, re-evaluating  what is important and what I am willing to do.

I now go to the gym three times a week. Thanks to my wife Lauren I have a healthy lunch to eat at work, and fun plans for our time off. I plan on doing everything I can to maximize how well I will live.

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Lifestyle changes help prevent diabetes

Here is short video clip from our lecture at Johnson Compounding & Wellness (Oct 19th 2016).

This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and shows how proper lifestyle changes are more effective in controlling blood sugar and decreasing the inncidence of type II diabetes.

Whether you have a problem with blood sugar, or want to prevent it in the future, follow these simple guidelines in the video clip.

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How to wash your hands to kill germs

One of the best ways to prevent getting sick is to wash you hands properly.  This not only includes the proper washing technique, but also making sure you don’t reinfect your clean hands when you leave the bathroom.

This video shows the proper technique.  Easy and effective, share this with your whole family.

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Prediabetes – a self inflicted epidemic

Every day, I get asked questions about what can be done to address; low blood sugar, prediabetes and weight gain issues, especially around the waistline.

Blood sugar issues are now affecting every age group.  The scary part about this epidemic is that the majority of the time, it is self-inflicted.

There are many things we can do to stop and reverse blood sugar issues.  They require your time and determination.  Diet, exercise, stress reduction and a good night sleep are the first areas to address.

Then there are many well-studied supplements that studies have shown are very effective in helping the body process and balance blood sugar in a safe and effective way.

I asked Brian Klimek N.E. team leader at Ortho Molecular Products to join me at Johnso20161019_191258n Compounding & Wellness last Wednesday (October 19th) to discuss the many reasons behind the epidemic of diabetes and  prediabetes and the many causes behind this.

Brian also discussed results of recent studies using many nutritional supplements and their positive results were also reviewed.

The lecture room was filled almost to capacity, so remember to reserve your seat at our upcoming  (free) lectures.

Here is a link to our calendar of upcoming events and recordings of previous lectures held at Johnson Compounding & Wellness.

Here is the recording of the lecture.

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Homeopathy for Colds & Flu – Testimonial by Gary Kracoff, NMD, R.Ph.

Colds & Flu medicine tips for the upcoming winter.  Gary Kracoff NMD, R.Ph discusses Boiron Cold & Flu Medicines. Homeopathy is the gentle medicine, safe for the whole family.  This quick video introduces you to some homeopathic medicines that are available for cold & flu.   Boiron’s cold & Flu medicines are safe for the whole family.

Click on picture to watch video

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“Let Them Eat Dirt-Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World”

Some days when I am reading the newspaper, I am amazed at some of the articles I come across.dirt

Last week in the life section of the Wall Street Journal there was a two-page article titled “Get your Children Good and Dirty”

The article was discussing information in the book “Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child From an Orver-sanitized World” by Dr. Finlay and Dr. Arrieta.

The article and the book explain that we have spent most of the last 100 years thinking that microbes need to be destroyed and they all lead to disease.  We have overused antibiotics, and have been keeping ourselves too clean.

In the book, it is explained that during the first months of life, our microbiome is not well established.  Being exposed to microbes in the environment helps the bacteria in our gut react, and helps program the immune cells to react appropriately.

I remember my mentor Dr. Jack Hinze NMD., PharmD say decades ago that the health of the bacteria in our gut is responsible for digestion, elimination, detoxification and 60-70 % of our immune response.  He was way ahead of his time.

Today, we use antibacterial soaps, antibiotics, and do not allow children to get “dirty”, get exposed to microbes that will help their immune system get stronger.

The FDA recently banned some chemicals in antibacterial soap, and instructs us to just use soap and water and wash our hands properly.

We need to stop saying “don’t touch that insect, it’s dirty, or don’t play in the dirt, you’ll get dirty” to our children when they play outside.

Below is a description of the content of the book. This necessary and helpful information is now available to us all.

I think this is a very important book for everyone to read.  New parents, grandparents and young adults.  It is not just for kids, it explains one of the fundamental ideas for helping our body work the way nature intended.


“A must-read . . . Takes you inside a child’s gut and shows you how to give kids the best immune start early in life.” —William Sears, MD, coauthor of The Baby Book

Like the culture-changing Last Child in the Woods, here is the first parenting book to apply the latest cutting-edge scientific research about the human microbiome to the way we raise our children.

In the two hundred years since we discovered that microbes cause infectious diseases, we’ve battled to keep them at bay. But a recent explosion of scientific knowledge has led to undeniable evidence that early exposure to these organisms is beneficial to a child’s well-being. Our modern lifestyle, with its emphasis on hyper-cleanliness, is taking a toll on children’s lifelong health.

In this engaging and important book, microbiologists Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta explain how the trillions of microbes that live in and on our bodies influence childhood development; why an imbalance of those microbes can lead to obesity, diabetes, and asthma, among other chronic conditions; and what parents can do–from conception on–to positively affect their own behaviors and those of their children. They describe how natural childbirth, breastfeeding, and solid foods influence children’s microbiota. They also offer practical advice on matters such as whether to sterilize food implements for babies, the use of antibiotics, the safety of vaccines, and why having pets is a good idea.

Forward-thinking and revelatory, Let Them Eat Dirt is an essential book in helping us to nurture stronger, more resilient, happy, and healthy kids.

Remember, the information in the book is helpful for everyone, not just children, so let us all plan on “getting dirty” and get healthier.


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