Brandon Jacobs was in his 30s. It was supposed to be the prime time of his life, but he was suffering. Even though he was stone-cold sober, he would be sluggish. People would ask him if he was drunk.
He had a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, and he only discovered the condition because he’d seen it featured on the CTV news program, W5. And, to treat the condition, he needed to access a strategy on how to live well, and not just a single treatment.
“If it wasn’t for integrative health, I wouldn’t be alive today,” he says.
What is integrative health? Think of a place where doctors who practice Western medicine work in allyship with experts in fields such as shamanic healing, acupuncture and massage. Think about a place where a wellness strategy is put in place for each individual patient.
After his ordeal, Jacobs — a yoga instructor and retired massage therapist — and his partner, registered acupuncturist Heather Gazley, teamed up with Top 40 Under 40 alumna Dr. Neeja Bakshi and her husband, Mahesh Upadhyay, to launch Park Integrative Health in Sherwood Park. It’s a place that embraces both western medicine — you can see a doctor there — and “allied” services that help with rehabilitation and wellness. It’s a place where a doctor can refer a patient for a traditional form of therapy.
“There is no single path to wellness,” says Gazley, “There is no magic pill.”
Even though the practitioners are embracing the whole “allied” approach to health, there are still naysayers.
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“Acupuncture dates back thousands of years in China,” says Gazley.
And she says it’s important to embrace a variety of treatment paths, as health care is not a one-size-fits-all thing. One treatment might work for one person, but not the other.
In the end, the goal is to educate patients about their wellness.
“We want our clients to have hope, and to be empowered,” says Gazley.