Q & A with Miami’s Healthcare Pioneer Dr. Michael Forman
By Bill Kress
While some people may still be stuck on calling natural medicine “alternative” medicine, the use of this well-worn term may now be considered totally inaccurate.
That’s because those who have long known natural healing as an alternative form of medicine are now discovering that Functional Medicine with nutritional-based therapies often works better and more consistently than many drug therapies.
Miami’s leading pioneer in this field is Dr. Michael Forman of Total Health Restoration. Dr. Forman says that for too long, health care has been divided into just two categories: real medicine and “that stuff,” referring to practices that use natural healing methods.
Proponents of so-called “conventional” medicine claimed for many years that natural therapies are alternative because they have not been “scientifically proven.” As it turns out this is not necessarily true. Dr. Forman asserts that not only are they proven to be effective, natural medicines are often used as the primary component of many drugs.
Even though Dr. Forman has a busy medical practice, he believes the general public is not yet fully embracing Functional Medicine with nutrition-based medicines as the most appropriate care for many chronic health conditions.
And it’s time for that to stop.
We caught up with Dr. Forman at his MCH Medical Center clinic located beside the Baptist Hospital Medical Campus to learn more about it.
Q. Tell us what your specialized approach to medicine is all about.
Dr. Forman: Our practice is entirely focused on chronic degenerative health problems. These types of health conditions, such as high blood sugar, low thyroid function, and IBS are poorly treated using only drug therapies. I am focused on correcting the cause: organ function that has declined over time.
Q. Why should people stop saying natural therapies are in the category of “alternative” medicine?
Dr. Forman: Because they need to consider that many natural therapies are in fact scientifically proven to be effective. They are also often used as the primary component of many of our drugs. In addition, there are countless drugs and procedures in conventional medical studies that have not necessarily been proven scientifically, but are used because we (doctors) know from clinical experience that they work.
Q: So you believe the conventional medical system in the U.S. is somehow flawed?
Dr. Forman: Frankly, it would be hard to find very many people these days who do not think that our current conventional medical system is flawed. To be fair, the system is designed to treat and address acute and emergency medical problems – and for that it is pretty good. Our system is not, however, designed to address the majority of health problems in the U.S. – chronic degenerative diseases.
There are basically three types of health problems: First, there are congenital conditions such as Type-1 Diabetes, Spina Bifida, Hemophilia etc.; secondly, there are traumas like a heart attack, stroke, cancer, falling off the roof, etc., which require medical intervention as acute or emergency medical problems. Add these two types up and it’s about 40 percent of the health problems in the U.S.
Q.You mentioned three types, so what’s the third type of medical problems?
Dr. Forman: The third type – 60 percent of health problems – are chronic degenerative diseases like Type-2 Diabetes and collections of symptoms we call “syndromes,” such as IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome, migraine syndrome, and more.
Q. So where do chronic degenerative health problems come from?
Dr. Forman: They come from organ function that declines over time as a result of nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins. I am speaking of medically related nutritional deficiencies. Enzymes, minerals, vitamin complexes, and amino acids – 11 we make, 9 we get from food sources – are the only four substances, plus air and water, that we have ever had to create, maintain, and fix organ function. There is nothing else on this Earth.
Q. So why aren’t more doctors doing this?
Dr. Forman: Every single patient asks me that very question. The answer is, medical doctors in the U.S. (and many countries) are neither trained nor required to. The mandate of medical doctors in this country is to apply the appropriate pharmaceutical intervention to diseases. Of course doctors are permitted to learn more and explore further, but they are simply not encouraged to do so – sometimes even actively discouraged.
Further, medical doctors cannot get paid for it. There’s very little remuneration for functional medical therapies built into our insurance system. We only have remuneration for pharmaceutical interventions, medical procedures, and related devices. That’s it.
Lastly, medical doctors also don’t practice Functional Medicine because they haven’t been trained in it. Interestingly, in medical school, there is extensive teaching about nutritional deficiencies as a cause of various diseases processes, but rarely any consideration of nutrition-based therapeutic methods. Hardly a word about that.
So our medical system is expertly set up to address 40 percent of the health problems in the U.S., but inadequate and somewhat clumsy at addressing the other 60 percent. And that’s why we are seeing more and more people continuing to struggle with their health in spite of competent medical attention. They’re just not doing very well.
Q. Who is your “typical” patient?
Dr. Forman: People who see me have been suffering from pain, chronic symptoms, illness, and disease for a while. Conditions like high blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, chronic asthma, low thyroid function, insomnia, IBS, and migraines. Some are not responding well to medications, some want to reduce or eliminate the medications they are taking – if possible – and others are unwilling to participate in pharmaceutical intervention.
Q: Is eating better part of your treatment?
Dr. Forman: Absolutely. We teach our patients how to understand food properly. Once the patient understands the physiological implications of their current dietary intake, they are very comfortable eliminating foods that are directly making them sick.
But eating a better diet is not enough to correct the problem. Because of soil erosion, pesticides, and genetic modifications irreversibly applied to crops, even the best food does not provide the nutrients required to restore the long-term degeneration causing symptoms and disease.
Q. So what does a visitation consist of?
Dr. Forman: Firstly, we do a very thorough history and review of medical records including current treatments. we then perform several clinical examinations to determine exactly what organ systems are not functioning related to the problem. Once we know where the root cause resides, I design a customized treatment course, which we carefully supervise, to start the process of restoring problem organ function.
Q. It appears you have some strong concerns about conventional healthcare…
Dr. Forman: Well perhaps. I just want patients to know what their real options are for treating and managing health problems. I want them to be aware that our medical pharmaceutical system does not necessarily offer them the most appropriate or safest therapy for their condition. That’s a fact.
Part of the problem is that many people still don’t know what Functional Medicine with nutritional-based therapies is all about. That’s why I am working to change the mindset of the public –
including medical doctors – to boost awareness of, and access to, these services. That’s because, for these specific types of problems, it can truly be a better and more comprehensive way to approach it.
Q. Any final words you wish to share?
Dr. Forman: This is an exciting time, as we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift in medicine and healthcare. There is a re-conditioning of public thinking, the beginning of a swing toward true consideration of the undeniable benefits of nutritional-based medicine that are right in front of us.
Total Health Restoration is located at 8740 Kendall Dr., Suite 210, Miami, FL. For more information and to schedule a consultation, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit michaelformandom.com.