We chatted with Dr. Buddy Touchinsky, a licensed Chiropractor and certified Functional Medicine practitioner working in a rural community outside of Philadelphia. He is committed to providing patient-centered individualized care and to help empower clients to live their best and healthiest lives possible.
He focuses on helping people improve their health and vitality by making sure all of the basic requirements of good health are met, with strong success in the areas of the gut, fatigue, brain fog, and obesity.
— A Conversation with Buddy —
Can you share more about working as both a Chiropractor and a Functional Medicine practitioner and how this combination benefits your patients?
Out of college, I started a traditional chiropractic practice, focusing on neuromusculoskeletal issues such as neck and back pain, disc bulges, sciatic, headaches, sports and work injuries, etc. However, it didn’t take long to realize that at least in my community, health and wellness services were sorely needed. I felt frustrated knowing that so many people could benefit from diet and lifestyle changes, yet there was nowhere for them to get the help needed to do it. So, I started my journey into functional medicine so that I could fill this need. The results I have seen since have been nothing short of amazing for these people, and for me, it’s been very rewarding.
With so much information at our fingertips these days, I imagine that you have patients coming to you who are just so overwhelmed with information overload. What is your approach to helping them focus on the information they need and not let the overwhelm lead to more stress and worry?
Our saying is, the more complex things get, the more we need to get back to basics. So many people get caught up in “biohacking” or the next fancy new test they see in their Facebook feed or hear about on their favorite health podcast. Or, they get caught up in the conventional system where they focus so much on naming and medicating health issues vs. making sure people are meeting their basic foundational needs for good health. What we try to do is take them step-by-step through all of the behaviors and habits they need to follow in order to meet their body’s basic requirements. You can never go wrong by addressing these needs, and you’d be surprised how often they are overlooked.
What does it mean to you as a Functional Medicine practitioner to address “root-cause issues” and not just treat symptoms?
The idea is to assess the function of a person’s body and when there’s something not working optimally, ask “Why?” Then keep asking that question until you can’t break it down any further. In my opinion, even in this field we often don’t peel back enough layers. For instance, we often hear that the gut is the root cause of poor health. However, we still need to ask, why did that person end up with a gut issue? Abnormal gut microbes may be causing a person’s symptoms, but why are they there? It’s not just exposure. What about their individual situation led to the environment that allowed those microbes to flourish? Poor diet? Excessive stress? Excessive use of antibiotics? Low intake of certain nutrients? The wrong food type for their body?
Then, let’s say it’s a poor diet. Why is it poor? Do they not know what to eat? Are they poor and time management? Are they stress eating? Do they not love themselves?
Let’s say they are stress eating. Why? Do they hate their job? Are they in a poor relationship? Are they neglecting to use stress management strategies and not taking time for self-care?
Always ask why and keep peeling back the layers until there are none left to peel back. That is what root cause analysis means to me.
What is one of your favorite innovative new treatments or therapies that you’re using and seeing great results with?
It’s not necessarily innovative, but it is getting great results. We run a 6-week weight loss program that teaches a whole food, anti-inflammatory, low food allergen diet and uses principles of intermittent fasting and a very low-calorie diet (VLCD). This is paired with a longer-term maintenance phase and people can cycle in and out of the losing and maintenance phase until they reach their goals. We love it because it teaches people how to eat properly long term. Patients love it because they see fast results that are sustainable. Plus, the food choices are so good that people don’t even feel like they are on a diet. Our health coach Jess runs this program and we also use a private Facebook group to allow people to support one another. It really is a lot of fun.
You seem to be very active on social media with your patients and followers. How do you incorporate social media into your client engagement and business strategy?
I love to use social media to bring awareness to various topics that people might not normally be exposed to. We know that with traditional media, the sharing of information is often influenced by multi-million dollar advertising buys and large government institutions. Also, for better or worse, profit often drives what is promoted. For instance, how many ads do we see for biologics for autoimmune diseases? We see them all the time. How many ads or news pieces do you see talking about the benefits of an allergy elimination diet or AIP for those with autoimmunity? Hardly any at all, and all of us here now how profound those strategies can be for people.
So, for me it’s about helping people learn about this entire world that they would not be exposed to otherwise. We often take things for granted because we all follow and see what each other is posting daily. However, the average person isn’t exposed to this information. So, it’s up to ALL OF US to get out there and shout it from the rooftops. Written blogs, Facebook Lives, webinars, live lectures in front of groups… Get out there and educate. Then, if they need help beyond what they can learn and try on themselves, we are happy to provide them options.
I just want to emphasize the above again. It’s our duty to get out there and share what we know if it’s going to help others. Doing so has been the best business-building strategy by far. Posts should be daily. Don’t overthink them either. Share an article you found helpful. Get on video for 30 seconds to give your take on something on the news. Have fun with it. If you happen to not like being on video, then make sure you go live daily until you do!
How have running programs changed your patient outcomes and your business?
I’ve run the gamut with program options. I tried only a la carte. Big fail. People weren’t committed and I drove myself crazy chasing people down. Not to mention, the work far exceeded what was being charged. Then, I went to the complete other end of the spectrum. One 12 month program, all testing, and practitioner and health coaching visits included, you’re all in or all out, and payment required up-front. That actually went fairly well, but not everyone could afford that option and really not everyone needed all of that.
What we’ve moved to recently is a hybrid model. We broke down our program into three 4-month phases that follow the steps most of our patients go through in an average case. They can pay all up-front and save the most or break it into the three phases. We also have a la carte options for those that don’t quite fit our established model. With that said, we require 90%+ of our new patients to commit to at least a 4-month program. We only want to work with people that are committed to their health and that’s rarely the case if they are to visit.
Tell us about anything you’ve got coming up that you’d like our readers to know about and where they can learn more?
This is our most exciting development! My health coach Jess and I are working on a health mentorship program. It combines online education with support from us plus the ability to join and interact in our private discussion group. This has many benefits…
1) It provides all of the content we want our one on one patients to learn and is offered as a part of their program.
2) It’s an option for those that either can’t afford our one on one programs or may not be ready to commit. We are able to offer this at a very low cost of entry and under $50 per month.
3) We leverage our time by having group visits and webinars.
4) The group peer to peer support is priceless.
5) It’s ongoing, which allows us to share new things that we learn and the members can grow along with us. Plus, let’s face it, the journey towards better health is rarely complete within the time frame of any program. Professional athletes don’t stop getting coached when they make it to the peak of their sport. People need support on an ongoing basis. Just like us practitioners and health coaches should have our own coaches and mentors, our patients and clients need that too. We feel this delivers that for at a fee that makes it accessible to almost everyone. This is how we feel we can make the biggest impact in our community.
Thank you so much, Dr. Touchinsky!
To learn more about Dr. Touchinsky’s practice please visit www.theuprising.health and complete the new membership application and mention you heard about us here. In return, we’ll offer a very low trial rate so you can check out what’s going on inside the membership program and get ideas for yourself.
Practice Better is the complete practice management platform for nutritionists, dietitians and wellness professionals. Sign up for free today.