Melissa was featured on the 3x4 Genetics Expert Series! Here's a recap of her interview.
3X4’s new Functional Medicine Practitioner Spotlight series features interviews with practitioners, consultants and functional medicine thought leaders to explore everything functional medicine practitioners need to know about successfully building, managing, and growing their private practice.
What can you tell us about your practice?
MH: Wellest Integrative Health is an interdisciplinary pelvic floor therapy practice. We have a family nurse practitioner, three pelvic floor physical therapists, a functional medicine provider, and a gyrotonic instructor. We share the office with an acupuncturist, integrative massage therapist, and pilates instructor making it an extremely collaborative environment. We truly believe in treating the whole person and finding the root cause when it comes to pelvic floor dysfunction. We are located in Boston and launched in 2016!
What surprised you the most when you started your practice?
MH: I started this practice back in 2016 when there were very limited holistic pelvic floor practices in Boston. I had moved back from Washington, DC and could not believe the lack of pelvic floor clinics. I have always been interested in treating the root cause of dysfunctions and spending time with my patients. A fast paced hospital setting was not going to cut it for me! I could not believe how quickly the practice grew and how many patients were seeking this level of holistic care.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as you built your practice? How did you overcome it?
MH: One of the biggest challenges for me was owning my worth. We are an out of network clinic and I struggled with finding hourly rates that I felt comfortable with. I was 26 years old when I started the practice and it took time to build confidence around what to charge for an hourly rate. I was practically treating people for free in the beginning. It burnt me out and I was unhappy with how much I was working and not making what I was worth. I was able to overcome this struggle through networking and connecting with other women owned wellness businesses. It seemed like we were all struggling with this and together we all raised our rates! As women, we have to stick together and by raising our rates and charging what we are worth, we are opening up the doors for other women run businesses. I firmly believe that now and have never been happier with what I charge and patients are totally on board when you are confident in your offerings.
What advice would you give to other practitioners considering launching their own practice?
MH: Surround yourself with a good support system of like-minded practitioners in your area. Don’t think of other practitioners as competition, instead invite them into your network. We all have amazing gifts to share and I make sure to find these gifts in all the other clinicians in the area. I LOVE collaboration and learning from others. Always keep your ego in check!
What excites you most about the field of functional medicine?
MH: Oh goodness, everything about functional medicine excites me! I know from personal experience how effective treating the whole person is. I had chronic Lyme throughout my childhood and would not be where I am today if it were not for the amazing functional medicine practitioners I saw. The progressive nature of the field allows for more creativity and understanding of the body. To me, this is the foundation to pelvic floor physical therapy. So much of pelvic floor dysfunction is neuropathic and inflammatory. Functional medicine addresses inflammation and is life changing for our patients.
Where do you see your practice 5 years from now?
MH: We continue to expand and bring on new clinicians who will bring even more added value to our clinic. While we remain a pelvic floor therapy practice, we are incorporating more primary care and will be building out our nurse practitioner portion. We will be expanding our GYN care so patients with pelvic pain are seeing GYNs who are competent with pelvic floor dysfunction. We no longer want to have patients come in traumatized by their GYN exam because they were unable to tolerate the speculum. We have also started an online education platform, The Institute for Pelvic Health and we are releasing an online education course for clinicians to learn more about pelvic floor and how to integrate it into their exam. The sky’s the limit!
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