“I believe that people deserve to feel as well as they can possibly be. Rather than being bound by the typical box of “Pills and Procedures” for solutions, I provide a road map with services that help you improve your Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep Hygiene, and Stress Management. These strategies when actively pursued, will elevate your sense of physical and mental well-being.”
Dr. Leone F. Elliott Jr., MD, MBA
Hey there, my name is Dr. Elliott and this is my personal story of how I ended up being a wellness advocate. You would think that as a bona fide medical physician this would naturally imply that I would be a wellness advocate, right? Well, no. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth! This was a path I had to intentionally choose against all odds, because I am passionate and somewhat obsessed about making sure people are as well as they can possibly be. Please come along with me and I’ll take you on a brief journey.
My first memories as a child growing up was living in a house that was down the street from a large cemetery. I don’t think my parents gave that much thought and probably never knew how much that impacted me but I recall as a 6 or 7 year old watching a lot of funeral processions go by my house on the way to the cemetery. I remember making a conscious decision then in my early school age years that I wanted to do my part to prevent people from dying. Aaaah, the joys of having the innocence of a child.
You see I wanted to become a doctor because I had this fantasized view of how I was going to be part of saving the world, yada, yada, yada. Fast forward several years, I went on to college in West Virginia and then medical school in Nashville, TN.
I was in it for the long haul and in fact, spent many grueling hours in training much like in military boot camp because I believed in these ideals. In the early part of my residency, I worked an average of 100 hours a week. Can you believe that?!…and that went on for years because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself!
Anyhow, I digress. Post residency, I started to practice medicine and I was astounded as to how different the real world was. You see, I am a practicing Primary Care and Urgent Care physician and didn’t realize how I had gotten sucked into this hamster wheel of caring for patients. What I mean by that is that taking care of patients felt like I had 10 spinning plates and I was just running around trying to avoid the plates from dropping. We were basically taking care of patients for the moment, getting them stable, shove them out the door…until at some point, they invariably showed up at the hospital door again….and the cycle repeated itself.
I started to understand that the system was really not designed to prevent you from getting sick. Instead, we were at the epicenter of the sick care network where our main focus was to take care of patients, get them marginally better, then send them out into the world. No one actually took the time to educate and support these patients as to how they can avoid being caught up in the sick care network.
It hit me as to how poor sleep quality, poor nutrition and poor stress management can cause or exacerbate conditions such as fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, migraines, acid reflux and stress eating issues etc.,…the list goes on and on. You would think that this would lead us to evaluate and treat the sleep problems and stress as appropriate therapy in dealing with any of these problems – instead of just writing another prescription, right?.
Noooo! Instead, our current health system places lifestyle at the top of the pyramid and gives it the least importance and our reliance on expensive drugs and costly procedures at the bottom of the pyramid which has given rise to the very expensive cost of healthcare today. And that’s the most fascinating thing of all. People still only feel marginally well even after all the expensive meds and procedures. Yet, we continue to prescribe and recommend the same solutions despite the very poor outcomes.
Can you believe I spent the better part of my career prescribing meds that people told me didn’t make them feel much better? Wow! I started to think…”There has got to be a better solution out there!” That’s when the discovery for deeper solutions started for me.
It’s not enough to just “tell” patients to go eat right and exercise and check the box that we did tell them. They would leave with no blueprint or roadmap of how to actually navigate this essential part of their care. They were left to the mercy of the internet and the so-called nutrition and wellness gurus. But wait! I thought…I went to school for this right? This was supposed to be my responsibility!
That was my light bulb moment. I would rather prefer to actually give you the tools to increase your wellness IQ, improve your body awareness and show you how to actually care for your body and implement these wellness tools…one idea at a time. So rather than sit by passively, I decided to take matters into my one hands and thus the Healthcare Gallery & Wellness Spa was born. In fact, it was on this very premise that I was invited to give a TED talk at the TEDxLSU stage in March 2014.
Here’s the bottom line. Metaphorically, I see life as a sport 🏃🏽♂️ and in order to win at life, you have to train as an athlete! Which means that just like an athlete, if you want to keep on winning and be at the top of your game, you have to constantly be in training which means constantly optimizing your body, mind and soul for the long haul.
The most exciting thing I have observed over the period of doing this is how much better a person starts feeling once they adopt the changes my team and I recommend. Most people didn’t even realize how badly they felt because it had become a “normal” state for them. That feeling of being bloated, feeling fatigued and chronically exhausted had become prevalent so much so that over time, they had begun to think that was the new feeling of normal. All we do is encourage some positive lifestyle changes, eliminate the negative ones and BAM! things start to turn around.
My team and I take a holistic approach to treating you by not being bound by the typical box of only “pills and procedures” for solutions. Instead, we help you learn how to manage and prevent chronic diseases through proper Nutrition and whole foods; intentional, functional Exercise; Sleep Hygiene and Stress Management.
To sum it all up, I have evolved as a physician. My goal has changed from wanting to get people who are sick not only better, but more importantly for them to feel well, healthy and youthful as long as conceivably possible. I want to help my patients live the fullest and most enjoyable lives possible. I want to help them put the pieces together in a way that makes sense and enables them to truly be in charge of their health. I believe that for you to succeed in whatever you do and win at life, wellness has to become a necessary part of our daily lives to improve function, restore balance and happiness.
I know it’s a lofty goal but it’s attainable.
Thank you for coming along this journey with me. Here’s to you staying well!