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December 15, 2016 Meeting: “Healing Journeys” by Elize St. Charles, PhD, Palmer Kippola and Cynthia Li, MD

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Main Presentation: “Healing Journeys”

Panel Speaker: Elize St. Charles, PhD

elize_casualElize St. Charles, PhD, has been involved in alternative and complementary healing modalities for more than 30 years. With her extensive understanding of the natural healing arts, Elize has provided health care to people in all walks of life including star athletes, executives, mothers, babies, the brain injured and the chronically ill. Her extensive academic and professional development and problem-solving skills, combined with her success in improving her own health, uniquely qualify her to address a wide variety of health concerns. Elize is the mother of three healthy young adults and lives in Silicon Valley, California. She has run her own yoga and wellness studios, founded a non-profit organization, and worked in real estate finance. She is a voracious reader, and excels at thinking out of the box and identifying the best of many possible solutions.

Elize has been studying and practicing in the field of complementary medicine for more than 30 years. Her tool box is deep and her knowledge is broad. As a Certified Traditional Naturopath she emphasizes nutrition, environmental mediation, detoxification and emotional transformation to address the health goals of clients. Elize’s approach to wellness is grounded in reality, cutting edge science, a keen sense of observation, intuition and years of first hand experience. 

 Panel Speaker: Palmer Kippola

palmer-head-shotPalmer Kippola is on a mission to make chronic disease history. In 2010 she reversed her own 26-year course of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). To figure out how this was possible and eventually share that priceless information with others dealing with MS, Palmer quit her day job as an executive in the Information Technology industry to study autoimmune disorders and natural healing.

Her research first took her through the emerging science of epigenetics, which shows how environmental factors control gene expression like a light switch: harm or heal. She then did coursework in functional medicine, which addresses underlying root causes of chronic disorders, and became certified in science-based stress reduction and subconscious belief-shifting techniques. Now, she is pursuing certification as a functional medicine health coach through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, a collaboration with the Institute for Functional Medicine.

Once Palmer fully understood the 6 critical lifestyle factors that are the primary drivers for health outcomes, she was compelled to help others minimize suffering and maximize vitality. She founded as an online resource to inspire, educate and empower women who seek not only freedom from chronic illness, but also optimal health.

In the website’s first year, Palmer’s articles have reached nearly 200,000 people worldwide, and her Facebook following has grown to 10,000+. Palmer is also an advisor to Documenting Hope, a scientific initiative to study and record the recovery of children with chronic illness. She also mentors women entrepreneurs who are focused on game-changing health and wellness endeavors.

Palmer is honored to count among her strategic advisors the renowned immunologist, Dr. Aristo Vojdani, PhD, and Stanford Medical School professor emeritus and longevity expert, Walter Bortz II, MD.  She is blessed with superb teachers in the field of autoimmunity who have been generous with their time and guidance, including Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, Susan Blum, MD, Terry Wahls, MD, Mary Ruddick, CNC & ancestral nutritionist, Michelle Corey, CNWC & FMC, Linda Clark, MA & CNC, Ann Boroch, CNC, Steve Fowkes, Organic Chemist, Gerald Cohen, D. Hom. & D.C., Donna Eden, Energy Medicine Pioneer, and Donna Jackson-Nakazawa, author of the award winning The Autoimmune Epidemic.

When she is not learning, coaching, writing, or speaking about finding freedom from autoimmune disorders, Palmer may be found hiking in the SF Bay Area hills, taking road trips with her husband, connecting with good friends and family, and laughing as often as possible.

Panel Speaker : “Autoimmune Thyroiditis and Chronic Fatigue – A Doctor’s Healing Journey” by Cynthia Li, MD

cynthia_headshot2Up until my early 30s, I was living life at the fullest: traveling abroad for 6 months with my husband, working full-time in a primary HIV/AIDS clinic, exercising regularly, and eating a diet of mostly organic low-fat foods. Living life forward, I thought I was quite healthy. Now, with hindsight being 20/20, I realize I had underlying imbalances for many years already– starting out as subtle symptoms I either disregarded or pushed beyond– that were signs of mounting inflammation and physiological stress.
These underlying imbalances and what I know now to be a genetic predisposition, led to postpartum thyroiditis after my first child was born.  I followed the usual course of seeing an endocrinologist and taking medication, but even after my numbers normalized, persistent vertigo and fatigue remained.

Nonetheless, I was still functional, so in my doctors’ and my own opinions, I was doing well enough.  Soon thereafter, a 2nd pregnancy, along with other inciting factors, threw me into a chronic state of debilitating symptoms no one could decipher– not my primary care doctor, various specialists, my acupuncturist, or myself.  I found myself in the group of patients that either (a) was not recognized or validated by the health community, and/or (b) was not help-able. I was spiraling in a vortex of diagnoses that included autonomic dysfunction, multiple food sensitivities, and chronic fatigue syndrome.  I wasn’t even sure if some of these conditions truly existed, but the experience of my symptoms was undeniable.

In the years that followed, I explored the fundamental connection between nourishment and health.  I also explored our inextricable spiritual and physical connectedness to our environments as well as our inner environments of the microbiome (gut, skin, and respiratory microorganisms with which we co-evolved).  I delved deeper into evolutionary biology and the effects of epigenetics (how gene expression is affected by environmental factors).  I experimented with integrative medicine, acupuncture and herbs, mind/body medicine with a focus on neuroplasticity (rehabilitation exercises to rewire the communication between our brain and hormonal pathways), and whole foods-based ancestral diets like WAPF, GAPS and the Paleo Diet.  I learned how to cook delicious, nutrient-dense foods.  I also learned to tap into the support offered by the strong, loving community around me, and how to practice pleasure again.  After a 2 year medical leave, I returned to clinical practice, but with a very different set of eyes.  I saw more clearly the beautiful complexity of the human mind, body, and spirit; as well as what it looks like when that delicate balance is disturbed.

The Czech writer and political leader Vaclav Havel articulated a distinction between optimism and hope, which is paraphrased here:  Optimism is the belief that everything will go right. Hope is a deep orientation of the human soul that can be held in the darkest of times.  It is from this hope that I have emerged back into a renewed experience of Life’s richness and its mysteries.

Cynthia Li, MD, is a Bay Area clinician who practices internal and functional medicine.  She treats many patients with complex chronic conditions, integrating internal medicine with lifestyle medicine. Dr. Li did her medical training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Since completing medical training in 2000, her practice has mostly centered around public health, with a focus on underserved communities. She worked for 3 years in the HIV/AIDS division of Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. She volunteered with Doctors Without Borders in rural China to help them start up the first dedicated HIV/AIDS clinic there. Upon returning, she worked as a general internist and taught UCSF medical residents at San Francisco General Hospital. She also worked at St. Anthony Free Medical Clinic in the Tenderloin district of SF. She is a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine.

For more info, read the newsletter.

NOTE: Meeting starts promptly at 7pm.  Main speaker presentation begins at 7:20 p.m.

Join us! $10 at the door, or join as a Member to the right and get a 50% reduced admission price.


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