An Arsenal of Holistic Services at Grace Integrative Medicine
Dr. Melissa Overman, owner of Grace Integrative Medicine, in Easley, has some powerful tools in her medical arsenal. First, she is an osteopathic physician. Osteopathic physicians (DOs), are the only physicians, in addition to allopathic doctors (M.D.s), that are licensed to practice all aspects of medicine, from prescribing prescription drugs to performing surgery. They are also trained to have a holistic view of healing, acknowledging that the body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing, and health maintenance.
As an only child Dr. Overman grew up in Iowa. Desiring to have an impact on peoples’ lives, and at her father’s suggestion, she chose osteopathic medicine as her calling. Prior to attending the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, she worked as a health educator. That experience influenced her interest in medicine and she chose preventive medicine and public health as her medical specialty.
She decided to open her own medical practice in October of 2018. The services provided at Grace Integrative Medicine include osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), a functional medicine approach to hormone dysfunction (including non-hormone replacement options for adrenal, thyroid and sex hormones), mind-body approaches to chronic pain and anxiety.
“When used with the underlying approach of whole person health, each aspect of care simply supports your body’s natural function and ability to heal, allowing a natural return to health. We treat chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and chronic pain, pelvic pain and urinary bladder issues, irritable bowel syndrome, food and chemical sensitivities, insomnia, depression, brain fog, and other chronic conditions. Our goal is to treat these issues without prescription medications, unless they are truly needed.”
Dr. Overman also likes a collaborative relationship with her patients. “I like to ask a lot of questions about their health goals. Rather than issuing directives, if there is something they want to work toward feeling well enough to achieve, we can discuss how to get there. After all, it is the patient who has to do the work.”
Additional aspects of holistic medicine that she finds useful include Ayurvedic medicine and epigenetics. Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayurveda” for short) is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Its main goal is to promote good health, not fight disease.
An important aspect of Ayurveda is identifying which of the three body types, Vata, Pitta, or Kapha—or combination of body types—fit you best. While we each have elements of these three body types, about 80 percent of us are a combination of two. Dr. Overman explains, “With Ayurveda, the dietary aspect provides an opportunity to look at body type, how that person’s body uses food and energy, and to come up with a personalized plan”
Epigenetics is the study of how external forces, such as your environment and life experiences, trigger on-off mechanisms on the genetic switchboard. Epigenetic scientists are examining the mechanisms by which genes become expressed or silenced with the goal of understanding how we can influence their activity and change our genetic health outcomes.
“There are times when epigenetics can help us find the right solution to the health problem. I don’t always recommend epigenetic testing, but I do ask questions. Some types of testing, however, can help me to know, for instance, how the body uses B vitamins, Vitamin D, and how you manage stress. Different kinds of genetic testing can also discover if you have a gene for a certain cancer.” She adds that it is a tool that is available, though it may not always be recommended or desirable.
Self-care is another important function not to be overlooked, says Dr. Overman. Self-care is the foundation of our health as it includes all of the decisions we make daily on how to take care of ourselves. Early in 2020 she will be offering Self-Care Coaching workshops. The workshops will take the shape of one-on-one, hour long, video-conferencing sessions over the course of 6 to 8 weeks, with a focus on emotional, mental and physical well-being.
Dr. Overman adds, “The workshops will be driven by the questions I hear voiced by people I meet. You do not have to be a patient to enroll in a self-care workshop”.
For more information on Self-Care Coaching workshops, or for more information on services, visit gracemedstudio.com or call 864-546-5505.
Roberta Bolduc is the publisher and a writer for Upstate Natural Awakenings.