Habits & Health episode 39 with Dr. Miles Nichols, a functional medicine doctor specializing in Lyme, mould illness, gut, thyroid, and autoimmunity. He personally struggled with chronic fatigue in his early 20’s, and then dedicated himself to figure out the root causes. He suffered with and recovered from thyroid dysfunction, autoimmunity, a gut infection, Lyme co-infections, and mould illness.
Dr Miles and Dr Diane Mueller co-authored “How to Use Your Mind to Heal Your Mold and Lyme” and “Stress Resilience”. They founded the Medicine with Heart functional medicine clinic in Colorado and also the Medicine with Heart Institute that trains other doctors in functional medicine.
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Habits and health episode 39. Welcome to the habits and health podcast, where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. Brought to you by an educator and coach for anyone who wants to create a healthier life.
Here's your host, Tony Winyard
Tony Winyard 0:18
Welcome to another edition of the podcast where we give you ideas around improving your health. Today's episode, Episode 39 is with Dr. Miles Nichols, who is the co founder of medicine with Heart Clinic and the medicine of Heart Institute in Colorado. He grew up in a medical background, his father was a medical doctor who passed away when Miles was quite a young age. We're gonna hear a lot more about how that affected Miles and the direction that led him to take in the world of medicine. We're going to hear a lot more from Miles very soon if you'd like this episode, and if you know anyone who you think may get some value from this, please do share the episode with them. Habits and health my guest today Dr Miles Nichols. How are you Miles?
Dr Miles Nichols 1:13
I'm doing great. How are you today?
Tony Winyard 1:15
I'm very well. And you're a snowboarder?
Dr Miles Nichols 1:18
Yeah, yeah, based in Colorado.
Tony Winyard 1:22
Are you from Colorado? Or did you move there because of the snowboarding?
Dr Miles Nichols 1:26
No, neither. I'm from Arizona, originally from the desert, which is hot and over. Very, very hot in the summer and no winter to speak of there. So it took me it college, I moved to Boulder, Colorado. And that's where I first was able to discover snowboarding. And winter a proper winter.
Tony Winyard 1:53
Yeah, I don't imagine you can do a lot of snowboarding in Arizona.
Dr Miles Nichols 1:56
No, not at all.
Tony Winyard 2:00
Do you enjoy living in Colorado?
Dr Miles Nichols 2:04
I love it. It's beautiful. Here the nature is amazing. There's year round hiking, that's really beautiful. And I live sort of I feel like in the forest. I'm surrounded by pine trees and aspen trees. And I see deer. And I love the feeling of living out in the forest. And there's research coming in about forest bathing and how good it is for for human health. So I feel that
Tony Winyard 2:34
Well, I can very much identify with what you're saying, we spoke a little bit before the recording started. And I made a similar move last year. it doesn't sound quite as idyllic as what you're describing. But yeah, it's quite nice where I'm living as well. So when did you make that decision to go out to Colorado? How long ago was that?
Dr Miles Nichols 2:53
That was about 16 years ago now. And that was I transferred schools and college and decided I wanted to shift where I was going to college what I was studying. And so I found a school in Boulder, Colorado. A College that was founded by a Buddhist monk actually, and that it was to a psychology programme. It was a mix of the western and eastern psychologies together. And I got to minor in yoga and major in psychology and a very interesting version of it. And that was really, really good choice. I felt good about being able to find that kind of a programme it offered a lot for me.
Tony Winyard 3:47
It sounds fascinating. And from what I know about what you do. I'm guessing that's informed a lot of what you you do now really is in your line of work?
Dr Miles Nichols 3:57
Yeah, I mean, what I do now is really functional medicine that looking at a lot of lab tests and making a lot of decisions about things like supplementation and vitamins and minerals and looking at hormones looking at many different aspects of chronic illnesses like Lyme disease or toxin exposures like mould or mould toxin. And, of course, I have really seen the importance of managing stress and even with chronic illness what I've noticed is there's a lot of quite a bit of a spectrum of, of trauma I wouldn't it wouldn't be classically necessarily defined as trauma but but the someone's struggling to get through their day someone having a hard time with being able to maintain relationships. Because of their health condition. This creates some Pretty significant levels for for people of depression of anxiety of have difficulty dealing with their day to day and it's kind of a trigger, people start to think about it in a way that that's really negative. And that contributes to a worsens by roll of that health condition getting worse. So I do integrate brain retraining, and meditation and breath work and in cold exposure and things like that into gather with doing things like nutrition and supplementation and looking at specific treatments for specific conditions.
Tony Winyard 5:44
It's quite a different approach to what most people receive when they go and see a doctor in almost any part of the world. So how do people specifically seek you out? Because they've heard about you? Or do you get really surprised people that come to you not knowing anything about any of this? And then they're like, Wow, I wasn't expecting this.
Dr Miles Nichols 6:06
Yeah, yeah, we really do get people, seeking us out because often they hear about the different kind of work we're doing and that we specialise and work with things like Lyme disease and mould illness and thyroid issues, gut issues, and autoimmunity are kind of the top five things we work with. Now, we because those are causes of a lot of different. Not everyone understands this, but most people who get the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, for example, which is this chronic pain all over the body, most people have one of the things that we test for and find they may have Lyme, or another chronic infection, they may have exposure to mould or other toxins that build up in the body that are contributing to that pain by creating a chronic inflammatory response. People who are diagnosed with chronic fatigue, wind up often having root causes that relate also to what we specialise in people who have diagnoses of depression, and anxiety, there's actually good research showing that infections, it was originally found with strep in kids would change their personality very quickly, kids would overnight stop being able to concentrate and focus and have a hard time behaviorally and start having a lot of stress and anxiety. And it took a while for doctors to realise and researchers to confirm. But they eventually found that there are infections that can lead the immune system to attack receptor sites in the brain for neurotransmitters like dopamine, for example. And dopamine is important for mood regulation. And so that can create the conditions for someone to all of a sudden become stressed out easily anxious, depressed. So we get a lot of people who have things like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, anxiety or depression. And it's an unknown cause, like maybe they've gone and they've gotten some treatment for it, but it's not resolved. And they want to try to figure out the causes. And so that's one camp are people who are kind of in that, that I don't know what's going on. It's a mystery. And I'd like to try to figure it out. And then the other camp is people who I know I have Lyme, or I know I've been exposed to mould. And a lot of those people hear about us too.
Tony Winyard 8:59
You mentioned about two camps of people. I'm wondering if there's probably other camps as well who just simply want medication. They don't care about what it is about. They just want medication, and I guess they're not the kind of people that will come and see you?
Dr Miles Nichols 9:13
Right? Yeah, we're not the the give a pill to cure your Ill kind of clinic where? Yeah, very much. In our initial conversation with people talk a lot about how the way we work with people involves many aspects of yes, we will do labs, and we will prescribe a protocol, but we'll also be asking people to make changes in their diet to do things. A lot of people who come to see us, they're already pretty self studied, and they're aware of their diet and they've made changes so we don't get a lot of resistance to that. But occasionally someone comes in and they haven't really worked on that front and we say no, this is going to be more than just taking a pill or a protocol, you're probably going to be, we're going to be asking you to do some things. And in your lifestyle, and, and we find that specific breath protocols, specific practices for brain retraining specific things that people can do that don't take a lot of time but make a big difference in the treatment outcome. Because since we do deal with a population, that's so a lot of times people have been to four or five, six, sometimes 10, 12 other practitioners by the time they get to our clinic, and so often, they've done a lot with diet already, they've taken a lot of the basic vitamins and minerals and supplements. And they've often done many different kinds of therapies, they've often done a lot of acupuncture and massage and chiropractic and they're often still feeling like something's missing. And that's, it's challenging, because it means that a lot of the basics have been covered already by other practitioners. But it's a fun challenge to work with a population who really is doing a lot and willing to do a lot for themselves, and yet is still struggling. And I have so much empathy for for people like this, because I also struggled with my own health journey. And, in my early 20s, I had chronic fatigue, and I would look around me and I would see other early 20 year olds, they would be staying up late, they'd be drinking, they'd be waking up early, they seemed to have all the energy in the world, they were functioning, it seemed just fine. And here I am changing my diet, taking all this stuff, trying to figure this out. And I'm still struggling to wake up in the morning still struggling to be able to feel like I have the energy to make it through my day. And this is so common, unfortunately, with the people that we see in the clinic are, are so dramatically different than the people around them.
Tony Winyard 12:16
As you described in all the different conditions, like the Lyme disease and fibromyalgia and so on. And how prevalent it is, is that something that's very prevalent in the area that you're in? Is it across much of North America?
Dr Miles Nichols 12:37
yet actually known to be more on the east coast of the United States, but I'm more on the southwest side. But recently, the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, which is in California, on the very west coast of the United States, released a paper where they had found many Lyme carrying ticks in the brush at the beach on the West Coast. And so it's becoming more and more understood and realised that this is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases and that there are species that are more native in Europe and Asia. And so all over the world really we were seeing in some of it. Lyme disease is just one bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, but there are what are called co infections are referred to as you know, sometimes I don't like to say that we work with lyme because it's a little limiting. We really work with chronic infections. And these days, we're dealing with many different chronic infections. There's Bartonella and Bartonella can be transmitted from Cats, Cat Scratch Fever many people have heard of and that can become chronic. It can be transmitted from ticks, it can be transmitted from dogs, it can be transmitted through other insects as well. And so there's also the Bz, which is a parasite that can be transmitted from different vectors. So there are many different, and of course today, there's an understanding that there's many different ways that viruses and bacteria and parasites can transmit, and that most people are probably walking around exposed to some of those. And some people don't have any negative reaction whatsoever and other people get sick for a short time and then they're better and other people have what's called, a chronic syndrome that evolves as a result. The infection takes hold and they get chronically inflamed as a result
Tony Winyard 15:02
Is it an accumulation of the toxicity, and the moulds, and the poor nutrition, and stress, and accumulation of all of that, is why these things are happening more now??
Dr Miles Nichols 15:12
It is yeah, there's a combination of some people are genetically predisposed to have a hard time with toxin from mould, for example. So, there's a genetic relationship, it's about 24% of the population and in the research that we have, which is almost one in four, so that's pretty significant. But it means that you could have four people living in a home, and only one is getting ill, and no one suspects the home. So it's often missed. And then it's not, even though there might be the genetic predisposition, it may or may not express, and whether a gene expresses might depend on the level of stress that there is and the diet and whether they're inflammatory foods and the stress levels and the emotional state of the individual. So we often, when we're doing a case history, for someone who's coming into the clinic, I have to trace it back and find that, oh, there were these couple of traumatic events in childhood, which there's studies on Adverse Childhood Experiences are called ACES, that show that you get later in life and increased incidence of things like auto immunity and heart disease, when you have more than one adverse childhood experience. So we'll see those start very early, we'll see a couple stack in early life usually, and then someone may have lived in a home that was water damaged for a period of time. So they may have had some mould exposure. And then they may have had some tick bite and some exposure to chronic infection. And then maybe it's when they're in their 30s, that they have a relationship go south and they go through a divorce. And that's when it starts to express that they're actually feeling ill now, whereas before their immune system was managing it, okay, their body was managing it. So it is, sometimes we call this the allostatic load, there's a threshold below which the body can stay resilient and handle the pressures and stressors of life. And then if it crosses a certain point, then it pushes the body into this chronic inflammatory response that then a person can start to feel very ill and have strange symptoms and have auto immune issues arise and get diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, and all of this other medical stuff that can come up as a result of just as you said it, a constellation of stress and toxin, and infection, all coming together in that perfect storm to overload. Our bodies are so resilient, there's a lot that our bodies can take. But if it gets pushed over the edge, then it can seem as if people feel very off internally, even if they look normal externally. And even if they go to the doctor, and the doctor says you're normal. That happened when I had chronic fatigue, I went to the doctor, they ran some blood tests, they said, "Oh, you're normal". Maybe you just have some depression. And it got dismissed as if it was something in my mind only and it wasn't also something in my body. And it took me a long time to figure out the things to test for to find that I did have an infection in my gut, I had two chronic infections, the BCM Bartonella, I had been exposed to mould and it took a while but I figured out a constellation of things going on.
Tony Winyard 19:02
And was that experience what led you to study functional medicine in the first place?
Dr Miles Nichols 19:10
It played a role. Growing up my father was;... he was a doctor and he worked with public health and he sent mobile clinics, he founded a rural health office that would send mobile clinics to rural areas and give underprivileged people access to basic health care and, and he wound up working in policymaking and politics for a while trying to pass certain bills to get access for people to health care. And, when I was 15, right, I was babysitting for a friend of my sisters. And I remember when I got a call from a family friend who said, Something's happened. Your father's in the hospital, and it turned out that he had passed suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. And... we didn't see that coming. So that propelled me to first deal with my own grief... and to start to question what happened. He had top notch medical training, he knew what what most medical practitioners knew, he had the best schooling that was available to him at best medical education. He was at Stanford Medical School, and that's a very prestigious school. And so what I started to realise was that, I started to question, one, he had a lot of stress going on, because he was doing a lot and there he was having pressure. And I started to realise also that the traditional medical education didn't include some of the things like nutrition and mindfulness and how to deal with stress it really looked at how to manage the symptoms of disease, and managing symptoms of disease was so uninteresting to me, I still, I appreciate it, I like it, if if someone's in pain, they should be able to access something that can help. So I really appreciate that medicine offers what it offers in the way that it helps people to manage their symptoms and get binded. It absolutely saves lives and it's eliminated so many acute infections, and there's so much good that's come out of it. It's just that the the territory is shifted, it used to be that people would die from things like tuberculosis and, pneumonia. And those were in the top 10 causes of death. Medicine solved that. But where medicine is falling short today is that seven of the top 10 causes of death today are chronic diseases in nature and in things like heart disease that my father suffered from, there's a lot of underlying things that build up in order to produce that, that we can really see early on, when we do some advanced diagnostic lab testing, we have markers that show that if you head down this path, if you continue down this path in a couple of years, there's likely to be an issue. And so, so for me, his passing inspired me to want to do, I told myself, I didn't want to have that happen to my family someday, you know, and I wanted to help others not have that happen to their family. Because I felt that my father was at the peak and the pinnacle of his career, he was helping a lot of people and if he had been around another 20 or 30 years, he could have helped so many more people. And so I dedicated from that point myself too, to in most of my free time really study everything related to a bigger picture of more the, the the chronic health epidemic that I see going on today in the United States, it's to the point where the CDC says it's 6 in 10 Americans have at least 1 chronic disease. It was 4 in 10, and then it's shifted, and it just keeps rising and it keeps rising. Autoimmunity is on the rise, diabetes is on the rise, obesity is on the rise. And so I felt passionate that I need to do something about the part the population of people who are not being served right now in their health picture in the way of getting to the root cause of some of the the chronic health conditions like auto immunity and cardiovascular disease and some of these big killers today or, big quality of life issues that people have. So that was a big part of it and then and then going through my own health struggle propelled me to find the therapies that worked because I tried a lot of things that didn't work. I went to dozens of different practitioners. I tried just about everything you can think of... I did whatever standard medicine I could, I went to a specialist I went to a sleep specialist, I tried to look at different things that I could do through naturopaths and acupuncturists and and massage therapists. I got energy work, I went to psychics, you name it, I was dedicated I was going to try anythingand what ended up helping was I found a functional medicine mentor who really helped me understand a lot of the the lab testing that was more nuanced for root cause that together with a meditation and movement practice, that on the inside really helped me. So the combination, of this external, finding the labs that helped me find the root causes that helped me dial my treatments in plus, on the inside, doing meditation and movement practices, breath work and cold exposure practices really helped in combination with each other for me to feel better and feel energy again, and I don't consider chronic fatigue to be an issue for me anymore.
Tony Winyard 25:58
So I'm guessing the people that come to see you because as you mentioned, they tend to seek you out. So therefore they're not surprised maybe when you mention things such as cold therapy or treatments, which... a normal doctor wouldn't ever suggest? Or are they surprised when you say things like that?
Dr Miles Nichols 26:19
Well, some of them are a little. So we do try to offer therapies that people haven't tried, because they have been to so many practitioners before. So, often, people think that, Oh, I've tried diet before nutrition, but then we do a very systematic process with them that's different than they had tried before. They say, you know, I've tried some breath work before, but then we talk about a very specific kind of breathwork that's been researched for endotoxins. And they're dealing with a toxin issue. People often are familiar, and maybe think they've tried it but it is about building a whole lifestyle around these different aspects of of health and wellness for people who, are struggling with chronic disease because the world today is so full of weird things, we have a mismatch between our genetics and what's in the environment today, we weren't evolved to deal with all of the screen time the chemical exposures, the food additives, and preservatives, and, and the pesticides and all the air pollutants, and we're exposed to an enormous amount of things that are unprecedented from any other time in history. And so whereas in the past, it may have been much simpler to live a simpler life and, to not need to do specific practices for health today, we live in a time where those who really, especially those who have struggled with chronic health concerns, they need to find this way of being in the world, this lifestyle that keeps their body very resilient in the face of these very significantly different times that we're living in than how we evolved to live in. And so many things have changed in the world today. The body is very resilient, and wants to heal and wants to be be very healthy and vibrant. But there are a lot of obstacles to that from the world and from consumerism and from the way that everything today there's a lot in the world that's pushing people into a level of... it's a kind of addiction there's a lot of dopamine activating things that are really pushing people into these pleasure states that are distracting from things that used to be very commonplace. Like spending time outside and getting sun and having nature time and, and there are a lot of things that that have changed in the world today. So building a lifestyle around health has become more important today than it ever was before in history, I think.
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Tony Winyard 30:06
Changing someone's lifestyle must be one of the most difficult things that someone could do, because to change someone's whole lifestyle is huge. And it must be, I guess some people must really struggle with it. And well, what's your experience with trying to help people change their lifestyle?
Dr Miles Nichols 30:25
Yeah, that's a great question because there are many people who just aren't wanting to aren't ready to change their lifestyle and, they usually don't seek a practice like ours out or, you know, our initial conversation,, it becomes clear that we're not a fit, because we are looking at how to live a healthful life and not just how to take something to get rid of some symptoms that someone's experiencing. And, so I do encounter mostly people who are ready and interested, in a way of living in the world that's going to be health promoting. So luckily, I don't have to broach that as much as I think other practitioners might, because people come in who are already ready to do that. And I think the old quote, that, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It's, kind of like people think they can do the same things and add a pill on top and be okay. And, it's really, we're waiting for the people who have decided that they're fed up with their struggles, in terms of, of health picture and, and happiness is so important and a big focus, because I think when people start to tune into the, way that people live, that produces health concerns, also, there's often a dissatisfaction or an underlying, it's maybe not overt depression always, or sometimes it is, but I think the mind also really wants for people to be doing certain things like many of the health promoting behaviours promote happiness as well. We know for example, that getting out for a walk in nature has such a dramatic effect both on health and happiness. And we know that doing something like cold exposure increases norepinephrine significantly by 200 to 300%. After just a very short time and, and doctors will give norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors for depression to try to increase the amounts of norepinephrine available in the system. And when someone can spend two minutes in the cold and get a 200 to 300% increase in norepinephrine, they can feel so alive again, and they can feel empowered that they've done it for themselves, and they don't need to take a pill to do it. And they don't tend to have the same side effects. In fact, they tend to have positive side effects of that you also get more dopamine, and you also get lowered inflammation as a result. And you get these side benefits with some of these things. And so there's a lot of science to things like breathwork things like cold exposure to things like meditation. And yet it is, as you mentioned, a lifestyle change. And that's really hard for people and I'm compassionate with that. Sometimes, it's hard to even just get through the day to day in life and manage the necessities of a job and the relationship and how to get by in life. And so I wish there was, you know, luckily, there are many tools that are freely available and practices that people can do without a lot of investment that are good starting points. Of course, people who come to our clinic, they're ready to really dive deep with changing many things. But there are entry points where many people will start with just one, five minute meditation or one short breath practice or one end of the shower on cold for 30 seconds. And that can be an entry point for people.
Tony Winyard 34:41
It must be difficult for them as we as we've talked about, to make the change in the first place is extremely difficult. But some of them may go in and I'm just guessing here, some of them may go in with the thinking, "Okay, well, once I've sorted all my issues out, then I'll go back to my old lifestyle", but then maybe they realise Well, I've got rid of the issues and Today my life is better. Now I don't want to go back to the old lifestyle, or, do you find that some people don't want to do this change permanently they want to go back to some of the things they used to do before, what's your experience with that?
Dr Miles Nichols 35:14
Yeah, well, the way I frame it for people in the clinic is we have a therapeutic phase. And then there's a maintenance phase. And the therapeutic phase is probably more intensive than you want to live with for the rest of your life. So during the therapeutic phase, we do intensive lab work, we identify is there Lyme disease is there a chronic inflammatory response from mould toxin, is there a gut issue like small intestine, bacterial overgrowth, or a parasite, we figure all that out. And then we do a very intensive phase of treatment, we might have people highly restrict their diet for two months, and then gradually start to add back one food at a time in a very systematic way, in order to determine what their system responds well to while we're also eradicating an infection. And we're also eliminating toxins from the body, and then we're reducing that chronic inflammatory burden. And then, as people start to feel better, we transition and we say, Okay, now we're looking to find a maintenance plan, which is essentially something that you feel is a lifestyle that you could live with ongoingly that maximises the benefits of how you feel good, we want to keep you feeling good, we want to keep the changes that we've been able to achieve with this therapeutic phase. And we want to minimise the chances of recurrence or going back or slipping back into how you used to feel. So you're not going to be able to go back entirely to the way that you were before. But you're not also going to have to stay and as extreme of a limited diet where you have to plan all your meals, and it's hard to eat out. And, we don't want that for you that that would get in the way of happiness and socialisation and it would cause loneliness and other things. So we want this maintenance plan for people to where, okay, you have a you have a varied diet that you can eat out, but you know the few things that really you don't do well with your body, at this time doesn't do well with so you're gonna avoid those. And then, you don't need to spend three hours a day meditating, but that you have a practice, that's a daily practice that you're doing some brain retraining or meditation or a breath practice or a cold exposure or a little of a few of those, you don't need to do all of them every day. But can we, you know, have a plan or a schedule to do some of these practices regularly enough that you're feeling really good and vibrant? And so it's a collaborative dialogue around, What would you feel really good about doing for the rest of your life. And some people say, I feel so good, right now, I don't want to start to eat processed foods anymore. I don't want to eat sugar anymore. I feel so good. And I don't want to compromise or risk that and I'm happy to live with that, I'm happy to forego the dessert, I'm happy to be doing this cold practice, which isn't pleasant, but I feel so good that I can't imagine not doing it. And so we find those things, because everyone's a little different. Some people, they love meditation, and they feel so good, other people, it helps them and they know it helps them but it's a struggle every time, for them, maybe it's that they do that as just a very, very short window. We find the minimum effective dose on that and get them, to not have to do a lot of that for their maintenance plan. But we help them to do more of other things that they really enjoy.
Tony Winyard 39:15
You talked about how people seek out what you do. I'm wondering... on the population as a whole, you'd probably know more about United States rather than globally. But a population as a whole in the US, is functional medicine, integrative medicine, becoming more widely accepted now? Are more more people seeking it out do you think?
Dr Miles Nichols 39:38
Yeah, oh, yeah, more people are seeking it out for sure. And the word is spreading and people are getting results and they're telling other people and and you know where I live in Colorado, there's probably a couple of dozen functional medicine practices now. They're different specialisations, and different ways that they go about the process, But yeah It's, I'm sure it's in the 1000s of practitioners across the United States who have moved in the direction of functional medicine because they want to do something that they couldn't achieve in the conventional medical practice. Unfortunately, in today's world, there's still a lot of prejudice and intolerance in the medical world, we sort of come a long way, with race and gender; people are more tolerant, but for some reason, in the medical world, there's still this stigma, that seems permissible to, down talk people who are doing it differently than the conventional way of doing it. And people feel justified in calling practitioners things like quacks or, snake oil. There's this name calling. It's really interesting. I'm fascinated by the fact that, Oh, it's okay to, prejudice here because and I think the the justification is because, oh, there could be harm done, if someone's not in integrity. And yeah, there, there are people who, they're just trying to sell something, and they're overstating claims, and that does cause some harm, and there needs to be some regulation around what people can say. But, it's, I think, unfortunately, right now, we're in a very charged climate and it's easy to get very polarised in today's world, and, to say, Oh, you're either with the normal convention, or you're against it. And, the reason why this functional medicines considered itself to be complementary medicine, not alternative and that it complements, I want people to have gone through the diagnostic testing in the conventional model, ideally, before they come or while they're at the clinic, mostly people try some things in the conventional world, and they've exhausted their options. And that's where we can come and partner together with other practitioners who are doing more of a conventional model, and we can work as a team and, and I'd love for there to be more collaboration in the healthcare world. But unfortunately, there is still stigma, there is prejudice, there is intolerance, and we do deal sometimes with people who, they they come they work with us, they feel great. And then they go to some practitioner has this prejudice, and they say it was all bunk, and it was all, in their head that they got better and, sometimes people buy into that. So I don't know, it's a strange world that, I value tolerance highly, I was raised very progressively, and I believe, in really looking at deeply prejudice and looking at categorizations. And looking at the way that that we tend to box things in and try to understand things simply. And so my hope is that the medical community will move more towards this idea of, of complementary modalities that can work together that can help people in different ways, and that we can respect those different ways and that not everything's a good fit for everyone and conventional medicine does a heck of a lot of harm for some people in some cases, and, I atherogenic causes of death, which are causes of death from everything related to medicine, or are in the analysis, probably the number three cause of death in the United States. And that's not intentional, it's just a byproduct of infections in hospitals and side effects of medications and short time windows that practitioners are limited to spend with people and they can't help people to change their lifestyle to change their diet, because how do you do that? And even if you want to how do you do that with, an eight to 12 minute visit, then some doctors are being pushed down to in the insurance based model and, how do you, even start to have a conversation that's going to touch on on lifestyle, all there's time to do is to just just barely take a quick look at the labs and try and write a script or refer to a specialist or offer a surgical intervention. That's just all there is in that system to be able to do with the limitations on it, which is great that we have it and I wouldn't want to sacrifice that but can we allow for an add together a complementary approach of working together with other modalities that can actually sit down and spend an hour chatting through, tell me about your life tell me where how things started, when you started to notice what what childhood issues were there, what things might have played a role and put together this picture of, of wow, I really, as a professional, I'm suspecting that this water damage Tony lived in as a child and this, early to first two years antibiotic regimes might have disrupted your gut, and then you had this toxin exposure, and then you lived in this area with ticks and you got a lot of tick bites, and you might have had an infection and then this big stress, pushed it over the edge and we can have that conversation that's never able to happen in the limited time that's available in the conventional sessions. And so I think they complement each other really well. I strongly encourage people to take advantage of both offerings and really look at conventional medicine and functional medicine. And I hope that practitioners worldwide will, I think it's a growing field. The US may be ahead of the curve as compared to some other countries. But I know that, many practitioners who are in certain places in Europe, Germany, and I know, some places are practitioners are really starting to move into this model as well.
Tony Winyard 46:37
If I was to ask you to look at a crystal ball, how do you think things might change over the next few years, over the next decade?
Dr Miles Nichols 46:46
Well, I see a crisis coming unfortunately, if there isn't a big change, because, for example, in medical system, we know that in the US, for someone who gets diagnosed type two diabetes, it costs the medical system, about $14,000 per year per person. And many people are getting diagnosed earlier in their 30s, 20s, even juvenile diabetes for children. And, that those costs become astronomical, it's in the trillions of dollars a year that the US spends on, medical and, for many things, they're preventable, with good lifestyle medicine, and dietary change and good nutrition. And, so unfortunately, the trend and the way it's moving, I see actually, the pattern the trend that's moving. And if we don't make some changes in the next 10 to 30 years, I don't know how we're going to cover the costs of health care. Because if the costs keep increasing, it's already enormous and astronomical, the costs and chronic diseases still on the rise. And if it keeps rising, and if the costs keep increasing, then it's going to bankrupt the country, I don't understand how the economics are going to work unless something happens to address the chronic disease epidemic. And it's the chronic disease epidemic where I see functional medicine playing such a big role. For acute issues that someone gets hit by a bus, go to a hospital, don't go to a functional medicine practitioner. But if you have an autoimmune disease, if you have something that your only offering is maybe an immunosuppressant drug for the rest of your life or you're only offering as a pain medication to deal with pain that's coming up all the time. That's not normal. There's something underlying that issue. And I think if we get into the cycle and the habit of only managing symptoms from a medical perspective that we will bankrupt governments and countries and it's not going to be tenable or feasible to continue. So I see unfortunately, the path that we're heading down is unsustainable, not just on the environmental front, but on the medical front. It's very unsustainable. And so I hope that their efforts in order to really look at prevention really look at chronic disease, not just management, but getting to root causes and offering things like if someone's pre diabetic, usually the stats are within five years they're diabetic, but would it be better to spend five to $10,000 to put together a very comprehensive nutrition and lifestyle programme for those people who are in pre diabetic who we know within five years are going to be diabetic who we know cost $14,000 per year per person, would it be worth the investment of five to 10? In that pre diabetic time to have a programme that could very easily prevent diabetes from ever happening? And so this is the kind of thinking that I hope it sets in, because if it doesn't, I'm very concerned about the economics of medicine in the future.
Tony Winyard 50:28
As we're moving towards the the end of the episode, a question I ask a lot of guests;, is there a book that's really resonated with you in your life, can you think of one?
Dr Miles Nichols 50:44
Yeah, so many, so many books, I read a lot and really learn a lot from different books. And then there are some in the realm of, well, I'll give, I'll give one more in the realm of the medical nutritional side, and I'll give one in the realm more of the consciousness side, because both are so important. So on the medical nutritional side, I really like Eating on the Wild Side by Joe Robinson, it's a very nice book that covers over, she reviewed over 6000 studies looking at different foods and the phytonutrient contents of those foods and how preparing those foods makes a difference in the bioavailability of the nutrients. And there are a lot of really simple tools and tricks. Things that I would never have thought of without reading the book, like garlic stores Allen and the heat sensitive enzyme in different parts of the cloves. So if you cook with garlic, you don't get Allison, which is that antimicrobial compound that people know garlic for. But if you press it and let it sit for 10 minutes on the cutting board, the enzyme reacts and it creates Allison and then Allison is heat stable. And then you can cook with garlic and get that antimicrobial benefit. Little things like that are just very fascinating to me. And so eating on the wild side is one. On the consciousness side I really like this book called The Universe is a Green Dragon by Brian Swimme. I like it because it's done as a story. It's two people dialoguing and talking, and it goes into the science of a cosmology of the universe all of the vastness of the universe and, the fact that, we're one planet and a solar system of many planets, that's in the galaxy of many, many stars, that's an eclectic cluster of many galaxies. That's one of many galactic clusters in the universe, and it just offers a, I think perspective is huge. You know, this is a phenomena like, for example, when people travel to another country for the first time they get this culture shock and, and I remember when I was little travelling to another country, and really having a significant shift in perspective. And, that book gives, I think, a nice feeling into the vastness of the universe. And, it helps me to feel that the problems and concerns in my day to day life are smaller, they're there, they're still there, but they're smaller. And we're in such such an amazing universe.
Tony Winyard 53:36
Miles, if people want to find out more about you, get in contact with you, where are the best places for them to look?
Dr Miles Nichols 53:42
So my clinic websites, a great resource for blog articles for educational information. And if people want to work with me in the clinic, that's also the best place so that's medicinewithheart.com Medicine With Heart is the name of our clinic, click on blog for a lot of those blog articles. And then there's a place to book a free consult with one of the staff in the clinic to answer questions about how how it looks to work with with us in the clinic, if people are interested in that that's available through the website as well. And then of course, social people can connect on Facebook, it's facebook.com/medicinewithheart instagram.com/medicinewithheart on Amazon: "Use Your Mind to Heal Your Mold and Lyme" book. That's a book that we published in stress resilience is another book as well. If you search stress, resilience, Dr. Miles you'll see that and if you search use your mind to heal your mould and Lyme that it'll probably pop up without my name because that's a more unique title.
Tony Winyard 55:04
Well, we'll put links to all of those books you mentioned. And your social media links. Just before we before we finish Miles, is there a quotation that you particularly like?
Dr Miles Nichols 55:17
Yeah, one of my meditation, my main meditation teacher has a quote, that is, "Within the depths of the human heart lies a paradise waiting to be revealed" by Teacher Li Junfeng. And I think so many people think of, oh, how can I heal, like it's something that's unnatural, or that has to be forced? And how can I be happy, like, it's something to be achieved. But I believe that it's, the natural state, the quote to me, within the depths of the human heart lies a paradise waiting to be revealed. It's as if happiness and health and vibrancy, and feeling connected and feeling filled with a sense of love towards yourself and towards life is the default. And, I really feel that and I feel that, it's cultural conditioning, it's the environment, it's the mismatch of our genetics, and where we're at in the world today. And, there are many obstacles. There are many stressors, there are many, things that are obstacles to what's inside coming forward. But I think if people do, for me, I know looking inside really working on opening my heart and feeling into what is it that I need in order to feel complete and whole. And when I was able to really do practices and find things that that were able to achieve that for me, I now I really feel like my life is devoted to helping and serving and supporting others, because I'm complete in myself. And I think when people can tune inside to their heart and really feel into a sense, or a part of themselves that's unaffected by the challenges and stressors of life, a part that's untainted, I believe we all have this part of us that's completely whole and untainted, and untouchable by any of the difficulties and challenges in life, and that accessing that part can be so healing, and can help to feel able to tune into meaning and purpose. And, I feel so much that I've been blessed to be able to have a purposeful career path and a purposeful way of working with people in the world. And, I want that for other people too. And I know health gets in the way of that a lot. So I work with chronic health. But I also feel that there's an opportunity for people tuning inside to find a part of themselves that can transform their inner experience. And that can translate into health improvements, happiness, purpose. And that's really where I feel that the some of the important parts of life are.
Tony Winyard 58:22
I would love to dig into some of the stuff you just talked about. But I think we'd be here for another couple of hours if we did so I'm gonna leave it there., but Miles it's been a real pleasure. So thank you for your time,
Dr Miles Nichols 58:33
Tony. I really appreciate it. Thank you and have a great day.
Tony Winyard 58:38
Next week is episode 40 with Dr. Patrick Porter. He is the inventor of something called BrainTap and he began his journey into the science of calming the brain at age 12 When his father taught him relaxation method, and also to his eight siblings. Porter soon recorded his first visualisation on a cassette recorder and used it to transform himself from a self professed struggling student and story troublemaker into a three sport athletic Captain as well as an honour roll student and we're going to hear a lot more about Patrick Porter, about BrainTap binaural beats, what are they? How they help people. That's all coming up in next week's episode with Dr. Patrick Porter. Hope you've enjoyed this week's show. If you know anyone once again, who would get some value from this one with Dr. Miles Nichols please do share it with them. And hope you have a great week.
Thanks for tuning in to the Habits & Health podcast where we believe creating healthy habits should be easy. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app. Sign up for email updates and learn about coaching and workshop opportunities at Tonywinyard.com See you next time on the Habits & Health podcast.
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