In this episode, host Dr. Andrea Austin interviews the co-founders of Mana Wellness, Dr. Maria Paasch and Dr. Anna Barrett. They have been caring for the health of women for a combined 30-plus years. They grew up in a family surrounded by strong women and therefore, found themselves drawn to women’s health without hesitation. Their women’s health training took them from the deep South to the South Pacific, giving them the opportunity to work with women across the continent and from varied backgrounds. Through their training in Obstetrics & Gynecology and in their practice, they have found deep satisfaction in the connections formed with women while helping them through pregnancy, childbirth, and beyond. Working with women through some of their most intense and life-changing moments, they created intimacy and a bond with their patients that are unique to women’s health and not often found in other areas of medicine.
Returning to the South and settling in Savannah, they cultivated a practice, a sisterhood of caring, that feels more like a family as they care for mothers, sisters, and daughters. According to Drs. Paasch and Barrett, "Taking care of women and their families year after year is an honor and a privilege. It is also revealing of the shortcomings of our medical system." Many women, year after year, share the same health concerns and frustrations with little relief. As physicians, they spend time hearing their stories and offering recommendations only to find themselves frustrated with a system that is not designed to guide patients to true wellness. Through the course of their careers, they recognized the importance of caring for the mind, body, and soul, and developed a passion for teaching women about wellness.
While they sincerely value their OB/GYN training, they recognize that true preventive medicine and the art of cultivating and maintaining wellness are largely lacking both in allopathic training and in traditional medical practice. They consistently find it difficult and frustrating to help women achieve true wellness in a system that is not designed for this purpose. At the same time, they realized that they had not been fully attending to their own health. Juggling demanding careers and families of their own, Super Mom Syndrome (as they call it) had left them burned out and depleted, less than truly well. They found themselves at a crossroads, both personally and professionally.
After a decade or so into their careers, this crossroads led them to Functional Medicine. They understood instantly that it was not only the solution to this problem but that it was the medicine of tomorrow. Through their own journey with Functional Medicine, they have been able to identify and address underlying issues on the biochemical level that were the cause of symptoms that they assumed were just a “normal” part of motherhood and aging, symptoms that they just assumed they simply had to live with. Functional Medicine has shown them that feeling truly well and vital is possible at any age and with almost any health issue. They are learning on a deeper level, just how amazing the human body is and the innate power it has to function and heal. They founded Mana Wellness Medicine to help reconnect women to the innate power and wisdom that they already possess. The fulfillment of helping other women realize, through Functional Medicine principles and practice, that they have within them the ability to heal and achieve optimal wellness is truly comparable to sh
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