113: Chronic Illness

chronic illness

Chronic Illness: The Underlying Cause & How To Overcome

Chronic Illness is regarded as a progressive disease. While many aspects remain to be a mystery, there are definitive ways to cope with this condition.

The Truth About Chronic Illness

Everyone's in for a special treat if you want to know more about chronic illness. Naturopathic Doctor Christine Schaffner can thoroughly educate us regarding this.

Dr. Schaffner loves to treat patients who have seen every doctor under the sun. These are patients who have a chronic illness and for some reason, they're not getting better. She loves to help them recover their health naturally through education, lifestyle change, and special testing.

It's pretty exciting because Dr. Schaffner got tricks up her sleeve that I've never seen other Naturopathic Doctors do. So uncovering the mystery behind chronic illness is going to be a lot of fun.

Runs In The Family

chronic illness

Dr. Schaffner grew up on the east coast, outside of Washington, D.C. Her father is an oncologist and her mother trained as a nurse but had a background in education. In addition to that, she was a hospital director so technically, Dr. Schaffner grew up in the world of medicine.

“We joke that one of my brother's first words was chemotherapy. Medicine was what I grew up around. With my father being an oncologist, I grew up on antibiotics and food was not even part of the paradigm at that point.,” she said.

Finding Her Way

With Science as her favorite subject in high school, she had an inner knowing that medicine was most likely her calling. But despite that, she wanted something more.

“In high school during the 90s, the whole idea of ‘mind, body, and spirit' was a new thought. Going through the spiritual section at bookstores then, always triggered more questions,” she said.

Dr. Schaffner initially did not know Naturopathic Medicine existed until she met one of her mother's friends who had cancer. That friend sought out a lot of alternative medicine. She was also the one who exposed Dr. Schaffner to Bastyr University when she was in high school.

However, the idea of attending Bastyr University was initially put on the back burner. Dr. Schaffner went instead to the University of Virgina in Charlottesville. It took her a while to commit to pre-medicine and did not take up the course until her second year.

Taking A Breather

Enrolling in a Psychology course, she felt intimidated by the environment. “I made the decision during my last year to go to Bastyr in 2003. It was a stark contrast since my school on the East Coast was conventional whereas it was the opposite in Bastyr,” Dr. Shaffner narrates.

She also shares that we were one of the younger people in the batch when she transferred to Bastyr. Hence, because she struggled a bit, Dr. Schaffner took two years off from school.

During these gap years, she naturally needed to work. Because she loved skin care and using her hands, she was able to acquire her aesthetic license. Eventually, she even moved to Aspen to explore other options.

Trusting The Timing

After working in the spa industry in Aspen, she went back to Bastyr with a renewed passion and love for Naturopathic Medicine. Answering an ad after graduation landed her a job as a resident for Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt in 2010.

Isn't it amazing how everything falls into place? Sometimes we just need to go with the flow and gain a learning curve.

chronic illness, The Sophia Health Institute
The Sophia Health Institute in Woodinville, WA

Sophia Health Institute

Klinghardt and Schaffner founded the Sophia Health Institute in 2012. The clinic has become famous for treating chronic illness. I actually first heard of the clinic from my Naturopathic Doctor when we were talking about the geniuses in the holistic world.

Four Pillars of Treating Chronic Illness

To further illustrate, Dr. Klinghardt expounds on the four pillars of treating chronic illness:

  1. Balancing Physiology – hormones, electrolytes, and other related elements have to be balanced first.
  2. Detoxification – metabolic enzymes need to be detoxified first before starting treatment.
  3. Immune Modulation – measures must be done to regulate the various aspects of the immune system in order for it to function like it should.
  4. Decrease Pathogens and Increase Beneficial Bacteria – nurture the healthy tissues and decrease the bad bacteria.
  5. Especially relevant is that Dr, Klinghardt says treatment for chronic illness will be futile if these pillars are not addressed first.

Behind The Curtain

A wonderful thing about The Sophia Institute is that they really dig deep into the patient's medical history on chronic illness. Some things they provide treatment for include:

  1. Chronic infection / Lyme disease
  2. Environmental toxicity
  3. Diet
  4. 23andMe genetic testing
  5. Emotional issues
  6. Dental issues
  7. DNA Methylation

Why is someone better than the other person? Why are some people responding to treatment better than others? However, Dr. Schaffner says the bigger question is — ‘How do our genes react to our environment?'

“Nutrient deficiency affects our gene expression as well as the environment. Other doctors, on the other hand, believes our emotions affect it as well,” says Schaffner. “This is a very complex and multi-faceted topic.”

Success Stories

Everyone loves success stories. I believe a positive outlook translates to a positive reaction towards treatments. Dr. Shaffner shares there are indeed several patients who have made significant progress over time.

“There is a popular celebrity who has Lyme. She's made a lot of great strides with the work that we've done,” Schaffner reveals. “I have a patient in her 20s who has worked with us for a few years. We got her to 80 to 85% well.”

Stem Cell Therapy

Dr. Shaffner says Stem Cell Therapy is a controversial topic. Most noteworthy is that we have now more access to fat stem cells and bone marrow stem cells. As a result, there's a lot of progress made for recovering joints.

Treating Other Illnesses

It's really great to know that The Sophia Institute is very through when it comes to administering treatments. Because of this, patients with all kinds of illnesses have visited the clinic. Illnesses range from Hashimoto's, ALS, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroidism among many others.

However, Dr. Shaffner encourages, “If you're suffering out there, don't lose hope. There are so many things out there that are available right now also yet to be discovered. I really believe that anyone that I see has the potential to completely reverse their illness no matter what it's called.”

Finally, it is important to find a doctor who is willing to work with you. Furthermore, an ideal doctor should be a team player on your team basically. And I can see Dr. Shaffner is definitely one of those people.

Dr. Schaffner also completed Dr. Robert Rowen's Oxidation Therapy Course, Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker's Biotoxin Illness Course, Advanced Classes in Biotherapeutic Drainage, Methylation seminars with Dr. Paul Anderson and Dr. Ben Lynch, and attended Medicine Week 2012 & 2013 in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Get Connected With Dr. Christine Schaffner

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Ashley James

Health Coach, Podcast Creator, Homeschooling Mom, Passionate About God & Healing

Ashley James is a Holistic Health Coach, Podcaster, Rapid Anxiety Cessation Expert, and avid Whole Food Plant-Based Home Chef. Since 2005 Ashley has worked with clients to transform their lives as a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-linguistic Programming.

Her health struggles led her to study under the world’s top holistic doctors, where she reversed her type 2 diabetes, PCOS, infertility, chronic infections, and debilitating adrenal fatigue.

In 2016, Ashley launched her podcast Learn True Health with Ashley James to spread the TRUTH about health and healing. You no longer need to suffer; your body CAN and WILL heal itself when we give it what it needs and stop what is harming it!

The Learn True Health Podcast has been celebrated as one of the top holistic health shows today because of Ashley’s passion for extracting the right information from leading experts and doctors of holistic health and Naturopathic medicine


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