Restoration Healthcare Blog

Welcome to the Restoration Healthcare Blog

Here, you’ll find news from our office, insights and observations from trusted sources in health, profiles of Restoration Healthcare staffers, information about innovations in the effort to take back your own good health, testimonials from our clients, resources and recommendations of note, and more. Read a post or two and comment on anything that strikes a chord.

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Understandably, many of our patients with Lyme disease are concerned that having the disease might increase their risk of being infected by the coronavirus or experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19 (the disease the virus causes). After all, many comorbid (co-existing) health conditions have proven to increase the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, including being in an immunocompromised state (having a weakened immune system), and people with Lyme disease certainly fit in that category.

The biggest concern is the possibility that COVID-19 will add fuel to an already existing fire for people with Lyme disease. Those who have the worst cases of COVID-19 (as well as people who contract Lyme disease) sometimes experience what is referred to as a cytokine storm — an over-the-top immune reaction during which the body releases too many cytokines (inflammatory, infection-fighting chemicals) into the bloodstream too quickly, attacking not only the virus but also the body’s own organs.


A cytokine storm causes severe inflammation throughout the body that can some instances lead to multiple organ failure and even death. Because Lyme disease weakens the immune system and causes inflammation (and can trigger a cytokine storm), people with Lyme disease have good reason to be concerned about COVID-19.

For these patients, we have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: Lyme disease and COVID-19 are similar in many ways.

Lyme Disease and COVID-19 Connections and Similarities

One of the problems with Lyme Disease and COVID-19 is that you can increase your exposure to one by trying to avoid the other. For example, learning that COVID-19 is less likely to be spread from person to person outdoors, people are spending more time hiking and camping in the great outdoors, possibly increasing their exposure to the ticks that carry Lyme disease. And people who spend more time inside to avoid ticks and other disease-carrying insects increase their exposure to the coronavirus, unless, of course, they choose to spend their entire time indoors in total isolation, which as we covered in The Impact of Social Isolation on Brain Health, isn’t healthy, either.

But that is not the only way Lyme disease and COVID-19 are related.  Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently told the AARP a story of a 93-year-old man who was brought into the Grady Memorial Hospital emergency room in Atlanta where Gupta was on call. The patient had experienced a head injury resulting in a brain bleed after he had fallen from his roof while blowing leaves. The patient appeared to be suffering from severe neurological decline, but his 94-year-old-wife and 63-year-old son assured Dr. Gupta that before the accident, the man was physically fit and mentally sharp.

Dr. Gupta, a board-certified neurological surgeon, performed surgery to “remove the blood pool and coagulated small remaining bleeders” from the man’s brain, and within hours his mental acuity was restored. During the surgery, Dr. Gupta could tell that the man had a 93-year-old brain, but it was functioning more like the brain of a 50-year-old.

social isolation and brain health

What was this man’s secret to health and fitness? No doubt he had good genes, but he was also an avid runner, continued to work part time as an accountant, maintained his property, had strong and active family and community ties, and even did some volunteer work in western Africa. He remained physically, socially, and mentally active; had a positive outlook; and he lived life with a purpose.

Researchers are discovering more and more evidence supporting what most of us already know — people who are optimistic, engage with others, remain active, and have a sense of purpose live longer and healthier lives. In other words, to a large degree, you are as healthy and fit as you think and act.

Good Health Starts in the Brain

We physicians often think of the brain as being a key to good health, based on the fact that it unconsciously controls so many vital processes in the human body — heartbeat, breathing, digestion, reflexes, and so on. But the brain is also a key to good health in terms of attitude — what you choose to think about, how you think about it, the mental activities you engage in, your relationships with others, and how you choose to spend your life.

Those who have a positive outlook on life, are physically and mentally active, have healthy relationships, and live with a Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Today, we’re pleased to continue our Meet the Team series by introducing you to Linda Keil, RN — Restoration Healthcare’s Clinic Services Manager. Linda, who joined our team in January of this year, was attracted to Restoration Healthcare in part by the commitment of our clinical staff to empower patients to learn about and adopt complimentary lifestyle changes in order to achieve their health objectives.

Among her areas of focus, Linda is tasked with providing clinical leadership and support through developing, managing, and assisting our team of back office professionals and support staff.

A licensed Registered Nurse (RN) with more than two decades of practice in functional medicine and integrative healthcare, Linda is enthusiastic about patients at our Irvine clinic who are intentional about working toward resolving chronic health. She credits our co-founders Dr. Sunny Raleigh and Dr. Tom Bakman, for building a culture that creates a professional and compassionate atmosphere.

Early in her career, Linda practiced in traditional medicine organizations, and she said her patients were, not for lack of trying, not getting better. She came to believe, like we do here at our Irvine functional medicine healthcare practice, that a pill is not a symptom solver. In fact, she often saw medications bringing on more symptoms with patients, making them sicker. Before long, a friend introduced her to energy healing, and Linda eventually became a Reiki Master Teacher.

Among her many qualifications, Linda has studied numerous healing modalities and received nutritional certifications from Metagenics (FirstLine Therapy), the International Foundation for Nutrition and Health (INFH), and the nationally accredited Natural Healing Institute in Encinitas, Calif. Continuing education has allowed Linda to cross paths with many healthcare practitioners who mirrored her thinking, and we here at Restoration Healthcare feel fortunate to have her as part of our clinic team in Irvine.

We recently asked Linda to tell us more about her professional life — and some personal details — and here is what she had to say: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Patients often ask us if they could be allergic to the cleaning products they use in their home. Fact is, many people are sensitive to all sorts of chemicals in their home, including natural and synthetic substances in carpeting, plastics, perfumes, air fresheners, paints, cleaning products, cigarette smoke, and other sources.

However, a sensitivity differs from an allergy. With an allergy, the immune system launches an attack on what it perceives are alien invaders — a virus, bacterium, food particle, pollen, or something else it perceives as a threat. The response typically occurs soon after exposure and involves a release of a specific antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which triggers a series of biochemical reactions that can cause hives, congestion, sneezing, and inflammation

(©Kelly Sikkema, sourced from Unsplash)

Kelly Sikkema, sourced from Unsplash)

A sensitivity, on the other hand, is more like an irritation. A chemical to which the body is unaccustomed, can irritate tissues of the sinuses, lungs, intestines, or other parts of the body. Although symptoms can occur almost immediately, they are usually delayed, often occurring several hours after exposure. For example, a food sensitivity may result in indigestion or diarrhea several hours after eating. However, in some people, a sensitivity can trigger mechanisms involved in the immune response, such as a release of histamine from mast cells (migrant cells of connective tissue that contains many granules rich in histamine and heparin). Although not technically an IgE-related allergic response, the symptoms can be similar:

  • Congestion/difficulty breathing
  • Runny nose/sinus issues
  • Coughing or sore throat
  • Rashes/hives
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue/exhaustion
  • Brain fog, poor concentration
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint ache
  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Memory loss
  • Poor sleep

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)

This leads us to multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) — a chronic illness that causes sufferers to experience allergic-like reactions to very low levels of chemicals in everyday products, including the following: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

As many of Restoration Healthcare patients know, our Irvine-based functional medicine and integrative healthcare practice is well known throughout Southern California for its work in the area of chronic illness without a diagnosis. And among the mystery syndromes that are often difficult to diagnose are those caused by ticks, including Lyme disease.

With that in mind, we’re saddened to share that Dr. Neil Lee Spector, a luminary in the world of Lyme disease research and treatment, passed away on Sunday, June 14, 2020 at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C.

Doctor Neil SpectorThe 63-year-old physician first gained notice as a renowned oncologist who helped garner FDA approval for two molecularly targeted cancer treatments. In addition to cancer, Dr. Spector conducted extensive research into Lyme disease, following a misdiagnosis of the disease that resulted in the physician himself having to undergo a heart transplant in the summer of 2009.

Dr. Spector’s personal exposure to Lyme disease prompted him to write a book five years ago titled, Gone in a Heartbeat: A Physician’s Journey to True Healing. In that memoir, he describes living with undetected Lyme disease for years, with doctors telling him that his symptoms indicated stress, and urging him to give up his 80-plus hour work weeks and begin to take it easy.

His escalating heart issues eventually led to the installation of a pacemaker above his chest and an internal defibrillator. Later, after suffering cardiac failure, Dr. Spector’s physicians told him he needed a new heart if he were to live.

In his book, Dr. Spector wrote that he continued to conduct research into his own heart issues and discovered that they were indeed the result of Lyme disease. Soon, he became a sought-after speaker at scientific and medical conferences, continuing to research and publish papers on tick-borne diseases. He was more than a decade into that research and public service when he passed away earlier this month.

Our own Co-Founder & Chief Medical Director, Sunny Raleigh, DO, was distraught to learn about the passing of Dr. Spector. Although she did not personally know the noted scientist and physician, she did hear him speak at the 2015 International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

And, very much like Dr. Spector’s experience, Dr. Raleigh’s own exposure to Lyme disease was Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

You don’t have to look very hard these days to find news stories mentioning neurodegenerative diseases. Just this week, researchers announced new indications of a link between Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes. And just the week before, far too many articles appeared in newspapers across the country paying tribute to far too many prominent and everyday people who passed away after suffering from ALS, Multiple Symptom Atrophy, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

So, it stands to reason why now — more than ever — it is important to understand what’s possible to prevent the onset of neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, June just so happens to be Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month!


Neurodegenerative diseases occur when neurons (nerve cells) in the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body begin to deteriorate and eventually die, resulting in dysfunction of the body’s nervous system. Early symptoms of neurodegeneration may include:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Impaired memory
  • Changes in mood
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Inability to cope with normal levels of stress

Over time, as more neurons are damaged or die, symptoms worsen, impacting one’s ability to think clearly, walk without assistance, or care for themselves.

Loss of cognitive function can lead to dementia (impaired memory and reasoning, along with personality changes). Breathing and heart function can also be diminished. Some neurodegenerative diseases ultimately result in death. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sixth leading cause of death in the United States is Alzheimer’s disease, which ranks just below stroke.

Neurodegenerative Diseases Statistics and Data

According to the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center, 5,000,000 American suffer from Continue reading…