Restoration Healthcare Blog

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 

Dr. Walid Faraj is a board-certified family physician and a holistic medicine practitioner who specializes in Integrative Functional Medicine here at Restoration Healthcare. The journey that led to his embrace of functional medicine started back in 2001 during his family medicine residency at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, Calif.

It was at that time that Dr. Faraj’s own father was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and once it was confirmed that he suffered a progressive neurodegenerative disease, specialists pretty much threw in the towel. Initiating no plan of treatment, doctors gave his father a walker, an appointment for physical therapy, an antidepressant, and a suggestion that he drink Ensure.

Upon questioning, his father’s specialists shrugged their shoulders and told his son that nothing else could be done.

Helplessness led to frustration, and soon Dr. Faraj set off on a 19-year quest to find more effective treatments for chronic and often debilitating medical conditions. Following his residency, he worked in a Native American health clinic in Northern California, experiencing the healing power of a sweat lodge and the healing wisdom described by tribal elders. He came to believe that a sense of community and spiritual faith could help in the treatment plans of many health conditions.

Further training allowed him to become board certified in integrative holistic medicine, and for the past nine years, he has applied these integrative modalities to help his patients optimize their well-being, practicing a wellness model of care.

As a physician at Restoration Healthcare, Dr. Faraj’s emphasis is on supporting the immune system, which we know to be linked to nearly all chronic health conditions. And, since 70 percent of our immune is in our digestive system, Dr. Faraj believes that many illnesses begin in the gut. As a result, he puts much of his emphasis on the choices we all get to make — particularly the power of food and as you’ll see below, the value of intermittent fasting.

We asked Dr. Faraj to elaborate on his career and share a few details of his life. Here is what he told us:

Restoration Healthcare: As a physician, what is it that you do at Restoration Healthcare?

Dr. Walid Faraj: In five words — provide integrative and holistic healthcare. But it’s much more than that. I suppose I pride myself in connecting with patients to build trust so that the doctor/patient relationship can thrive and become a two-way street. My area of emphasis is helping support the immune system because I believe there is an immune system component in all chronic conditions. Being a family medicine provider, I see patients spanning all age groups and varying levels of wellness. This ranges from patients who want to prevent illness and optimize wellness, to those who want to reverse illness and improve quality of life. Like all of us do at Restoration Healthcare, I work together with my patients to customize a sustainable plan of care.

RH: What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

Dr. Faraj: I’ll tell you four things: 1. I’m  Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

The middle of winter may seem like an odd time to write about tick-borne Lyme disease, but here in Southern California, tick season is year-round. In fact, for those already infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, there is no off-season. Likewise, Lyme research continues unabated throughout the year, increasing our knowledge and insight into this elusive, tenacious, and often devastating disease.

In this post, we review the latest Lyme disease research, including key factors that determine treatment effectiveness, as well as genetic variations that make Lyme harder to treat. We’ll also bring you up to date on the identification of a protein that may protect against Lyme.

(Image by Erik Karits, used with permission via Unsplash)

Does a Certain Protein Protect Against Lyme Disease?

Why Lyme symptoms and symptom severity differ among patients remains a mystery, but one explanation could be variations in the amount of a certain protein the body produces. In a recent article published in PLOS Pathogens, Yale University researchers report the discovery of a protein that helps protect hosts from the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

When exposed to the bacterium, the protein, Peptidoglycan Recognition Protein 1 (PGLYRP1), triggers an immune system response against the bacterium. The researchers exposed mice with and without PGLYRP1 to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. Mice without the protein showed signs of immune system dysfunction and had much higher levels of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.

Stimulating the ability of people to make more of this protein could help fight infection,” wrote Yale’s Erol Fikrig, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and professor of epidemiology (microbial diseases) and of microbial pathogenesis and co-corresponding author of the study.

Fikrig and his colleagues are also investigating whether people with higher levels of  Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

Have you ever shown up totally unprepared for a business meeting or a class? Perhaps the meeting coordinator failed to let you know what the meeting was going to be about, giving you no opportunity to prepare questions or come up with ideas. Or maybe you didn’t complete the assignment for a class and couldn’t answer the instructor’s questions or participate in the class discussion. The experience is agonizing, and you probably didn’t get as much out of it as you would have if you had known the benefits of preparing in advance.

Here at Restoration Healthcare, a functional medicine practice in Irvine, we collaborate closely with our patients to optimize the time we spend together. To get the most out of your healthcare appointments, we strongly encourage you to prepare for each one, so we can address all your questions and concerns as effectively and efficiently as possible. We also want you to be aware of our office policies regarding COVID, so we can protect you, our staff, and our other patients from infection.

In this post, we let you know specifically what you can do to help us make your telemedicine and clinic visits as helpful as possible.

Preparing for Your Appointment and Asking Questions

The best appointments start and end with your questions. To help us address all your health issues and concerns, please follow these tips to prepare for your appointment:

  • Sign into your OnPatient Portal account at least two business days prior to your appointment to do the following: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

The year 2021 is just around the corner — with little fond farewell for 2020 — and that means your health insurance provider is about to reset your deductible. And what, exactly, does “reset your deductible” mean? That’s just one of things we’re going to cover in this post.

Suppose you have a health insurance plan with a $3,500 deductible. You have to spend $3,500 out of pocket on medical expenses before your plan would start to help you cover any future medical expenses. If you already paid $3,500 in 2020, your deductible is zero ($0), and your health insurance provider has to pay up whenever you are charged for a medical expense covered by that plan. (Of course, how much of the bill your insurance company is required to pay varies according to the plan you have.)

However, on New Year’s Day 2021, or whenever your health insurance plan is set to renew, your deductible is reset to our arbitrary $3,500 figure, and you have to start from scratch to cover that deductible before your insurance company is required to pay any of your medical costs.

Resetting your deductible also means:

  • If you’ve already met your deductible for 2020, and you need any healthcare services or products that your insurance plan covers partially or in full (such as an expensive prescription), you’d be wise to buy it before midnight on Dec. 31.
  • You should start thinking about setting aside some money to cover your 2021 deductible, especially if you have a high-deductible health insurance plan combined with a health savings account (HSA).

Pro Tip: Speak with your accountant or financial advisor to learn how to use your HSA to maximize your tax savings. And if you’re unfamiliar with HSAs, read Offset Medical Costs with a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account here on the Restoration Healthcare blog.

Getting to Know Your Health Insurance Plan

Health insurance plans are generally structured as a cost-sharing model, meaning you and your health insurance company share the costs of your medical care. These cost-sharing models typically take one of the following forms: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

The term “stress kills” is a cliché. And while we have known for some time that stress is unhealthy, we are just beginning to really understand why and what its effect is in our brains. For instance, an October 2019 study published in the British Medical Journal highlights a strong connection between stress-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the subsequent risk of life-threatening infections. In that study, researchers found a 63 percent higher risk of meningitis among those with stress-related disorders — and a 57 percent higher risk of endocarditis compared with siblings who did not have any stress-related conditions.

In another 2019 study published in the same journal, researchers concluded, “Stress-related disorders are robustly associated with multiple types of cardiovascular disease, independently of familial background, history of somatic/psychiatric diseases, and psychiatric comorbidity.”

Dr. Sunny Raleigh – Restoration Healthcare – performing Cranial Osteopathy Treatment

At the root of this understanding is the realization that the mind and body are more integrated than we have been led to believe. Our thoughts and feelings, and even our interactions with others, have a significant impact on all our body’s systems — including cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, digestive and excretory. And this connection between mind and body runs throughout the brain and nervous system.

In this three-part series, we are exploring this mind-body integration. In Part 1, “Integrating Implicit and Explicit Memory,” we explained how trauma (physical or emotional) causes the fragmentation of implicit and explicit memories, and how that fragmentation can negatively impact a person’s health and the ability to recover from illness. Only by integrating implicit and explicit memories can someone suffering from trauma — both physical and emotional — move past it and free the body to heal itself.

In Part 2 of this series, “Restoring Health Through the Vagus Nerve,” we took a closer look at how external psychological, emotional, and social stimuli manifest as physical dysfunction in the body, and how certain physical therapies can restore balance and healthy function to the body. This interaction between external stimuli and physical dysfunction can be explained through polyvagal theory, which we cover in that post.

Here, in Part 3, we introduce you to several treatments and therapies that may help to restore vagal tone, thereby strengthening the body’s ability to fight infection and heal itself while also restoring calm, confidence, and joy to a mind that has become hard-wired for fear, depression, and anxiety.

First up is osteopathic manipulative treatment. Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

The recent surge of COVID-19 cases has created new uncertainties, questions, and stress. That’s why I’m writing — to share new information for combating the surge and preparing yourself for the rest of the holiday season.

Here’s what I want you to know:

1. Testing: If you are sick with symptoms of respiratory illness — including fever, cough and shortness of breath — or you were exposed to or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, please get tested immediately.

When it comes to testing, you now have two options:

  • Option I — in person testing: For the nearest testing location in Orange Country, please visithttps://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing-locations-map. For other areas, you can visit your state or local health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.
  • Option II — at home testing: The County of Orange is now offering at-home saliva-based COVID-19 test kits. For more information, visit https://oc.care.ambrygen.com.

If you think you may have COVID-19, the most important thing to do is to isolate yourself from others and get tested as soon as possible. Most people will have mild illness (or even no symptoms) and can recover at home without medical care.

Good to Know: Two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: Continue reading…

By: Restoration Healthcare 

This Thanksgiving Day is going to be a challenge for all of us — and especially those who go to great lengths to maintain their health and wellbeing. Before getting into today’s post, please take a few minutes to watch the below message from Restoration Healthcare Co-founder & Medical Director, Dr. Sunny Raleigh:

For starters, we should all probably heed strong suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging us all to curtail travel for this particular holiday and avoid large family or friend gatherings altogether.

Sadly, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, more people across the nation are testing positive for the virus named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes, named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). And here in Southern California, we’re not immune from the devastation the disease has the potential to cause. As a result, Los Angeles banned outdoor dining at restaurants this week, and the State of California has declared an overnight curfew that will remain in effect for the next three weeks.

On the plus side — and we definitely need some cheerful news — both Zoom and Microsoft Teams are offering their respective videoconferencing platforms for free and without a time limit on Thanksgiving Day. This enables families to safely celebrate and share the holiday nationwide from their homes, thus remaining safe and connected. Just visit Zoom or Microsoft Teams to sign up for a free account.

Secondly, three pharmaceutical companies have announced vaccines for COVID-19 in just the past week, with each suggesting delivery beginning as early as January 2021. While it’s not our place to recommend a vaccine, it’s important to know that they’re being worked on.

In the meantime, we all should continue to follow the health edicts that we were taught earlier this year, which include: Continue reading…