Happy New Year! ūüí•ūü•āūüćĺūüéČ
So I had someone ask me a very interesting question the other day and it dawned on me that perhaps I should answer that question here for your benefit as well in case you may have wondered the same.
The question was “How did I end up being a wellness advocate and choose to start a Wellness Spa?
Well, let me try to walk you though my journey.
I still practice medicine today and over the years, I have mostly practiced primary care and urgent care. After medical school in Nashville, I started my post-graduate training in General Surgery in Boston and finally completed my residency in Family Medicine, here in BR.
This means I can take care of both adults and children which led me to my work in the ERs and subsequently the Urgent Care realm.
On my previous post I explained how I discovered the immense value that exercise personally had on my life and my day to day functioning. As a result, I learned earlier on in my practice of medicine, the importance of the BODY, MIND and SOUL connection and tried to integrate this into my practice as best as I could.
Fast forward several years, and myself and other thought leaders in the healthcare industry found ourselves integrating behavioral health and primary care because of this holistic necessity.
I also understood that our current healthcare system is a very reactive system. Let me explain what I mean by that.
It is a system designed to take care¬†of¬†you when you are already sick.¬†ūüė∑ūü§ē¬†¬†It is not a proactive system in that it is not designed to prevent you from getting sick or rather‚Ķstaying well.
In other words, it does not reward you nor compensate practitioners for services rendered to keep you healthy and functioning and out ofthe sick care network.
It only kicks in once symptoms have been reported and the chain reaction of diagnostic discovery has been triggered.
We are all familiar with the fact that healthcare costs are rising and this has been a very contentious issue in the media. What if the health insurance companies spent more of their resources providing wellness services to their customers rather than wait for them to get sick where the cost is really astronomical at that point.
Will it not be cheaper to get a pre-diabetic to work with a personal trainer and nutrition coach rather than wait for them to develop diabetes and all the complications thereafter which can get really expensive with very low quality of life and poor outcomes?
…but I digress.
I understand the importance of well care. I also understand the importance of self care and I try to teach this to my patients. However, there is not just enough time for me to teach each and every patient I see about this.
Within the confines of my day, there is just not enough time allocated to provide this service to the sick patients that really need it the most.
The health system is designed for me to see the patients within an allocated period¬†of¬†time and optimally provide an accurate diagnosis and initiate the appropriate medication management… which in turn benefits the pharmaceutical industry.
I must say though that things are changing albeit slowly. The reimbursement model for physicians is changing as the health insurance companies are starting to implement paying for value rather than volume. (That value proposition however is still only in play once you are ill and within the sick care network).
I love medicine and I still love to teach medical residents, nurse practitioners and physician assistants and try to impart my knowledge to them whenever possible. There is always going to be a place for sick care and how to appropriately diagnose and treat illnesses and I play my part.
I still contend that there is just not enough emphasis placed on preventive care and reimbursing good practitioners to really keep you well.
I created the Healthcare Gallery & Wellness Spa because I wanted to spend part of my personal resources (money, energy and time) while I still can, to provide resources to clients to take care of themselves better so perhaps I can keep them out of the sick care network.
I can sit back and do nothing but that would be me going against every grain of who I am and what I am supposed to be doing.
Imagine the long term value that can be realized if one can avoid medications, hospitalizations, medical procedures or delaying a heart attack or stroke by several years.
It means many more more years of work, generating income, better quality of life, time spent with family during holidays, traveling in my case, etc. The question is, what is that worth to you?
Believe me, the tenets¬†of¬†wellness and health have not changed since as far back as 400 BC when Hippocrates (known as the Father¬†ofMedicine) said ‚ÄúLet Food Be Thy Medicine‚ÄĚ.
In case you were wondering, 400 BC was about 25 centuries ago. Yep!
What we eat and put in our mouths on a daily basis has a lot to do with how well we will be. Add to that the way we move our bodies and how often, and you can have a good recipe for a healthy and productive life. (I’ll talk about Food as Medicine in another email).
So as you can see, by the time I see a patient that already has a disease/ illness, we automatically shift gears and go into fixing mode rather than preventive mode.
So anyway, this is the reason I became a wellness advocate and why I started my own wellness spa. 
If you need any further help with staying well, eating better, moving purposefully and staying out of the sick care network as long as you can, we can be reached at 225-384-5378.
Whether or not you are a diabetic/pre-diabetic, hypertensive/pre-hypertensive, completely healthy or have minor ailments and just want to stare those diseases down, we can walk that journey with you.
If you need other practitioners that are not in my wellness spa, I have a network of other people I can share with you or refer you to.
For now, do these three things…think¬†of¬†using¬†Food as Medicine,¬†manage your stress level¬†and move¬†often as in use¬†Exercise as Medicine, and you would‚Äôve won most¬†of¬†the battle.
Then go out and crush this sport we call LIFE!!
Stay well! ūüėö
Leone F. Elliott, Jr. MD, MBA
Owner | Chief Medical Officer | Wellness Program Architect