Patients who enter the lobby of PrivaMD are often surprised that it feels more like a spa than a traditional clinical office. It smells amazing, thanks to aromatherapy diffusers, and it feels warm and welcoming. The sounds of the water feature, the glow of the fireplace and the peaceful green of the living wall all add to the ambiance and make the waiting room a place that people want to visit.
The 4400-square-foot facility has well-appointed rooms and many integrative and functional medicine practitioners with different specialties who collaborate to ensure each patient receives the best care, with a focus on prevention and wellness. By combining the very best from both Eastern and Western medicine practices, PrivaMD can better address root causes and get to the bottom of any obstacles blocking wellness.
One of the most recent physicians to join PrivaMD is known as “The Functional Gynecologist.” Dr. Tabatha Barber, D.O., loves spending time with women and works with every patient to get to the root cause of their issues, “instead of giving another pill for another ill,” she says.
Barber is an OB/GYN by training and moved to PrivaMD so that she could practice functional medicine and spend more time with her patients, noting that the industry standard for most hospitals and clinics only allows 15 minutes per patient. At PrivaMD, Barber spends an hour or more with each patient she sees every day so that she can get to know each woman and fully address her needs.
At a first appointment with Barber, she will look at the woman’s previous lab work, take a complete history, listen to health concerns and goals and get a comprehensive picture of a patient’s lifetime of health, medical conditions and traumas. She may also order tests for additional assessments. Functional medicine practitioners are medical detectives and will look for clues until they find a personalized, whole person approach to health and healing.
A patient may present with hormonal imbalance issues, which could include symptoms such as hot flashes, PMS, insomnia, depression, weight gain, or other things, but those symptoms have a deeper cause than hormone imbalance, which is usually the result of something such as toxin build-up in the body, poor diet or other lifestyle issues. All the different components of a person’s life work together to create dysfunction.
“I see so many women who say, ‘I don’t feel like myself.’ I explain to them that we’re in a partnership and it’s a journey. They didn’t get sick overnight and they’re not going to heal overnight, but I will help them back to optimal wellness,” says Barber.
Getting well often includes working with a functional nutritionist to start eating better, recommendations for physical activity, referrals to counseling, acupuncture, infrared sauna detox, and more—it’s a personalized plan for each person.
“By utilizing a combination of food, movement, mindfulness, herbs, supplements, and energy healing techniques as medicine, you can reverse chronic illness and create a vibrant, energizing life,” says Barber.
Regarding gynecological issues, Barber says that many women suffer in silence for many years because they’re embarrassed or because they are so used to putting loved ones and other commitments first that they put their own needs aside. “Women all have the potential and right to live a healthy, productive life,” Barber says. She wants women to understand that incontinence, pain during intercourse or life disrupting symptoms of menstruation or menopause don’t have to be tolerated. There are incredible new treatments for conditions that many women often don’t take the time to even talk about, so they don’t know that they could be living a better life.
“My goal is to help you see that the answers lie within your own lives. Your daily choices about what and how you eat and move, and how you pause for gratitude and restoration determine how your body functions,” says Barber. “It’s really rewarding to see people get well, have energy again and feel like themselves.”
PrivaMD, 16986 Robbins Rd, Ste 180, Grand Haven. 616-213-0253. privamd.org.