What to Expect During Your First Visit at MIMC

What to Expect During Your First Visit at MIMC

Scheduling an initial visit with a new provider can be a daunting task! It may be a new provider or an entirely new clinic. The key to any successful provider-patient relationship is trust, and that can be hard to build at first! We’re here today to pull the curtains back and guide you through what to expect from your first visit at MIMC so you can walk through the doors confident in your care from day one.

A thorough assessment of your health history

Prior to every new patient’s first visit, we require a new patient intake form to be filled out online ahead of time. This allows your provider to read up on your health history before you even walk in the door! By taking the time to fill out this important piece of the puzzle, you’re giving your provider the opportunity to further tailor your initial visit. They can narrow their focus on the highlights of your health history, the areas that they suspect could be the root of your symptoms. They can also tailor lab recommendations to your case specifically.

RELATED: Introduction to Functional Medicine

At MIMC, we pride ourselves on an entirely customized list of lab recommendations. We don’t run any standardized panels, everything we recommend is custom fit to your specific case! As a general rule of thumb, any labs run later than the previous six months are considered out of date. If your symptoms have changed in the last six months, your provider may still want to repeat some of the labs that you’ve previously had run.

Pro Tip: Reach out to the admin team before your initial visit to learn how you can upload previous lab results!

A care team dedicated to your health and wellness.

Not only will you engage with your healthcare provider at your initial visit, you’ll also meet at least one member of our admin team and clinical support staff. Over time, you’ll get to know all of the friendly faces who are here to help guide you on your way to better health!

Our admin team keeps things moving with scheduling, billing, answering phones and returning your messages in ChARM. Our clinical support staff includes our nurses and virtual scribes help your provider carry out their carefully crafted treatment plan for you. And our one-of-a-kind health coach, Marwa, who will help you overcome obstacles and barriers in your journey!

RELATED: Integrative Cancer Care Enhancing Healing and Wellbeing

Want to know who you might meet on day one? Check out our team here.

An action plan for next steps.

Every new patient is encouraged to complete a Wellness Kickoff Call with our health coach, Marwa, after their initial visit. It’s a chance to break down the plan that your provider has outlined for you and identify barriers that might be holding you back from taking your supplements, getting your labs done or implementing the recommended lifestyle changes.

Or, you might use this session to do some visualization and goal setting with Marwa! Ask yourself, what do you want your health to look like in the next 6 months? The next year? Marwa can help you break down your goals into achievable, bite-sized chunks to keep the momentum moving forward.

The admin team will walk you through what’s next: completing labs and then following up with your provider? Scheduling your next visit? Coordinating any referral appointments if needed? Regardless of the number of to-do items, the admin team are experts in getting things done. They’ll set you up with automatic reminder emails and texts so that you never forget what’s next on your health journey with us!

We hope this quick breakdown of what to expect has eased your mind for the new and unfamiliar. We’re ready to take your hand and bring you through a patient experience like you’ve never seen before! Interested in scheduling your first visit or chatting with a team member about becoming a patient? You can schedule online here and reach out to us with all of your burning questions here.

Introduction to Functional Medicine

Introduction to Functional Medicine

If you asked me what questions I receive most commonly it would be these: What is functional medicine? Is functional medicine right for me? Is MIMC the right fit for me?

While functional medicine is on the rise and gaining popularity quickly over the last several years, there are still opportunities every single day to share with our community about what we do and why we’re so passionate about it. As someone who does not have a background in medicine, I was completely mystified by the concept when first introduced and have found how powerful an educational moment can be for potential patients. Let’s break it down!

What is functional medicine?

As described on the Institute for Functional Medicine’s website, “functional medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of the disease’. In contrast, allopathic medicine (what we all know as the conventional or Western medical system) is a “method of treating disease with remedies (such as surgery or drugs) that produce different effects from those caused by the disease’ (mua.edu)

Functional medicine might use a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes and herbal supplements to treat the root cause of a patient’s symptoms and conventional (allopathic) might prescribe a medication to ward off the symptoms that the patient’s disease is causing.

RELATED: About Our Process

At Minneapolis Integrative Medicine Center, we’ve adopted a method of practice commonly referred to as integrative medicine. We take the best of both functional and allopathic principles to customize treatment plans to each and every patient. We recognize that functional medicine is an incredible tool to get to the root cause of disease, but a patient may still need conventional treatment like prescriptions or surgery in order to reach their goals. In our opinion, the greatest strength of integrative medicine is the ability to customize a journey for all of our patients and their unique needs.

How do I know if functional medicine is right for me?

Simply put, functional medicine is right for you if you’re looking for a unique perspective on your health. As addressed above, allopathic medicine is not inherently bad. However, it’s not a method of treatment designed to look to the root cause of your symptoms. Things we hear from our patients about why they pursued functional medicine:

“My provider told me my labs were normal, but through my own research I understand that ‘within normal limits’ isn’t the end-all, be-all”

“My provider told me I should just start ‘xyz’ medication and all of my symptoms will go away, but I’m interested in healing the root cause of my disease”

As humans, we all have an innate ability to know internally when something isn’t quite right. We empower our patients to hone in on that intuition!

3 things to consider when searching for a provider

  1. Location, location, location! Consider whether or not having an option to see your provider in person is important to you. In today’s world, we’re all fully accustomed to and enjoy the flexibility that virtual appointments allow. Our office continues to see patients both in person and virtually so that everyone gets the experience they desire.
  1. Does the provider that you’re interested in seeing have experience treating the symptoms and/or condition that you want to have addressed? One of the first questions we ask potential patients is what the symptoms or concerns they’re looking to have addressed are. We want to make sure that our providers are well versed in the areas of concern that a patient has to ensure you’re with the best fit possible! We continue to build our team of incredible providers and even recently onboarded a Naturopathic Doctor with a speciality in integrative oncology! 
  1. Access to various treatment modalities. At Minneapolis Integrative Medicine Center, we utilize a combination of diet and lifestyle changes, herbal supplements, intramuscular injections like Vitamin D3 and intravenous infusions like multi-nutrient IVs and Venofer infusions when clinically appropriate. Consider where you’re seeking treatment and inquire about the types of treatment modalities they employ. The world of medicine is always growing and evolving!

RELATED: On Your Team: How Membership at MIMC Works

My hope is that if you’re confused about functional medicine and wondering if it’s the right fit for you, you can glean a better idea of the basics from my breakdown. Have any other questions about functional medicine? Get in touch with us here!
Ready to dive into functional medicine? If you’re located in Minnesota or Wisconsin, you can reach out to us about scheduling your initial appointment here! For patients located outside of these states, we recommend you search for your state’s chapter of the Association of Naturopathic Physicians or for a functional medicine provider trained by the Institute of Functional Medicine.

Understanding Holistic Dentistry 

Understanding Holistic Dentistry 

When you think about health, longevity and the interconnectedness of different chronic health conditions–are you thinking about how your teeth, gums and overall oral health contribute to your health?

Only in the last several years have people begun to pursue a holistic perspective on their oral health as it relates to the rest of their bodies. More and more information is available on the controversies of using fluoride, the hidden danger of mouth breathing and so many other topics. 

With this information coming to the mainstream, we’ve noticed an increase of interest from patients and in turn have discovered it can be a bit confusing navigating and understanding holistic dentistry vs biological dentistry vs conventional dentistry. So this week, we’re here to break down the difference between the two and give you a great launching point to the world of holistic dentistry and when it might be helpful for you.

What is holistic dentistry?

The first important piece to remember is that holistic and biological dentistry are the same. Often the terms are interchanged and we’ve found that just confuses patients further trying to understand the two and how they’re different. They aren’t! Whew.

Holistic dentists focus on oral health as it relates to the whole person. The majority of dentists siphon their focus on oral health to the teeth only and don’t consider how treating the teeth can impact everything else.

Holistic dentists provide a unique perspective in areas like tooth extraction, root canals, mercury fillings and the use of fluoride treatments. For example, they consider how introducing materials like metal and mercury in fillings can impact the rest of your health. Are we adding to your body burden of toxic heavy metals? How is that going to trickle down and impact your everyday health?

When should you consider seeking a holistic dentist?

It’s time to look for a biological dentist as soon as you’re not satisfied with the answers you’ve been getting from your conventional dentist. Whether your primary concern is everyday oral hygiene or safe mercury amalgam removal, you should be in the hands of a provider that you trust to go the extra mile.

Some services that biological dentists provide that your conventional provider might not include safe mercury amalgam removal, mercury-free fillings, ceramic or porcelain crowns, ozone therapy, myofunctional therapy, fluoride free dentistry,  and tongue and lip tie releases.

RELATED: Could Your Symptoms Be Mercury Overload?

How do I find a holistic dentist near me?

We’re passionate about sharing local businesses far and wide with our community in Minnesota, so are a few holistic dentists in the area to get you started: 

If you’re not local to the area, you can use the Holistic Dental Association’s directory found here, on their website for both dentists located in the US and internationally.

And we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t leave you with some resources! Holistic dentistry is such a wide ranging topic and it can feel so confusing at first. We’ve linked below some of our favorite social media accounts, podcasts and books for you!





Pantry Organization: What You Should Throw Out Today

Pantry Organization: What You Should Throw Out Today

A pantry cabinet opens to reveal organized snacks and baking items.

Pantry organization might not be the FIRST thing that comes to mind when a patient asks, “What can I do today that will have a positive impact on my health journey?” but it’s a common response from our practitioners.

We love to meet patients who are motivated to take control of their health and implement even the smallest lifestyle changes to start moving the needle in a new direction. Something we can suggest to patients is to go home and take inventory of what’s in their fridge and pantry.

We encourage patients to start bringing awareness to the foods they’re consuming, the products they’re using and generally what types of things they’re exposed to in their everyday environment. 

Here are some common items you might find in your pantry, and swaps we’d recommend making today.

RELATED: An integrative approach to healing Hashimoto’s.

Pantry organization: what to ditch today

Inflammatory seed oils

This is a pretty broad category, because you would be shocked to learn how many common foods include some type of inflammatory seed oils! Oils like canola oil and vegetable oils derived from sunflower, safflower, soybean and corn are high in omega-6 fats. While we need some omega-6 fats and lots of omega-3 fats, the standard American diet has a much higher ratio of omega-6:omega-3 than our ancestors had in the past. This study found the ratio consumed used to be 1:1, but because seed oils are used so frequently, we’re now closer to a 15:1 ratio of omega-6:omega-3 consumption. Since we know as a society we’re over-consuming omega-6s, it’s best to limit the amount we’re consuming at home!

RELATED: What IS chronic inflammation?

Now, we’re not suggesting you go home and throw away every single item that has seed oils in the ingredient list. An easy approach is to look at the oils you use to cook food in. Are you using canola oil? Nondescript vegetable oil? Try swapping those out for something like olive oil, or avocado oil which has a high smoke point and doesn’t go rancid as easily as other oils!

Drinks high in sugar

It’s widely understood that a diet high in sugar can lead to serious health conditions like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. One of our biggest suggestions for patients is to avoid consumption of drinks that are high in sugar content. This includes soda, juice, some types of kombucha and energy drinks. For example, one 12oz can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams of sugar per day for adult women and no more than 36 for adult men. When one 12oz can of soda contains almost twice the amount of daily sugar for women, this is an easy area to work on cutting back and then cutting out entirely!

RELATED: What do my food cravings mean?

Our favorite swaps for soda include plain or sparkling water with fresh fruit, coconut water or flavored electrolyte powders. LMNT is our favorite!

Conventional salad dressing

Now that we’ve touched on overconsumption of seed oils and sugar, we’re diving into an area that contains a lot of both. It would be shocking to some people to learn how many of your favorite salad dressings include both seed oils and a high amount of sugar! Some of our favorite better-for-you brands include:

Coffee that hasn’t been tested for mold and other toxicities

Most of us drink coffee every single day, right? What you might not want to think about is all of the organisms and toxicities that don’t get filtered out of the coffee before it’s ground up and shipped to the grocery store, or shipped right to your house.

Purity Coffee, a brand committed to providing the healthiest, purest form of coffee for consumers, conducted massive third-party testing on over 60 brands of coffee. Some of the data points tested include Ochratoxin (mold) levels, antioxidant levels, acidity and yeast. While they don’t call out the brands by name, you might be surprised to learn how the average cup of joe stacks up to Purity.

Another great option is Danger Coffee, created by Dave Asprey.

Take it one step at a time when it comes to pantry organization

The last thing we want to do is overwhelm our patients or give them a blanket recommendation to throw away every last thing that is already in their fridge or pantry. So this is where we’d start! Common household items that most people have their fridge or pantry but are easy to replace with better-for-you options.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

A plant sits on a white shelf in front of a line drawing of hands.

Have you ever wondered how to improve your indoor air quality? It’s an area of wellness that’s often overlooked. We can easily forget how important it is that we’re breathing clean, quality air inside of our homes. If you live in a cold weather state, like Minnesota, and spend a lot of time indoors during the winter months, it’s imperative that you’re getting quality air. Or, if you live in an area with poor outdoor air quality due to chemicals (smog) or forest fires.

We know that poor indoor air quality can have a huge impact on our health. There is even a term coined for those experiencing repeated exposure to poor indoor air quality called ‘Sick Building Syndrome’.

RELATED: 5 tips for ensuring safe indoor air.

Many patients come to us with concerns about their indoor air quality, but aren’t sure if there is anything they can do to change it or where to start. Fear not—there are many things that you can do to take back control of your home environment and improve the quality of your indoor air! If you live in a home that does not have known water damage or mold exposure, it can be relatively easy to set yourself up for success. Keep reading below for tips on improving your indoor air quality.

RELATED: Get to the root cause of your seasonal allergies.

Tips on how to improve indoor air quality

Consider getting your home tested

If you’re not sure whether or not your home has experienced water damage or has known mold exposure, consider getting your home tested. EnviroBiomics ERMI test is a direct-to-consumer test that you can complete at home using samples of dust from multiple places in your house. ERMI tests the dust from your home to see what levels of mold and mycotoxins are present in the sample.

Another option is to find a trusted expert in your area to come inspect your home. MN Mold is a local inspection company that will come assess your home and determine what level, if any, mold is present. They will not remediate if mold is present, but can provide other local recommendations for mediation! If you aren’t in Minnesota and are searching for an inspector, consider finding a company that does inspection only and not inspection and remediation to ensure you’re getting an accurate recommendation.

RELATED: What is histamine intolerance? Symptoms and tips on how to treat it.

Invest in a HEPA air filter

Consider investing in a HEPA air purifier for your home. There are tons of options on the market, so it may require a bit of research to determine which brand is the best fit for your home. 

Some things to think about when comparing air purifiers: 

  • How big of a space does the purifier cover? Will I need to purchase more than one to cover the most important areas of my home?
  • How often does it need its filters changed?
  • If it’s going to be in a space such as your bedroom, does it emit a high level of EMFs that can be disruptive to my sleeping environment?

From the extensive research I conducted before I purchased air purifiers for our home, the general consensus was to prioritize HEPA air purifiers that filter the smallest particles possible so that you’re getting protected from as many pollutants as possible. Some HSA administrators allow for the purchase of air purifiers when certain requirements are met.

MIMC’s Favorite HEPA Air Purifiers

Ditch the indoor toxins

Whether or not you choose to invest in an air purifier, it’s important to make sure you’re not using products that are contributing to the problem. Avoid using candles, air fresheners, wall plugins, or other products that release any type of chemicals or scent into the air in your home. Consider diffusing essential oils, or keeping a vase of fragrant flowers (as long as you’re not allergic!) on the counter to give your home a fresh, natural scent.

Let the fresh air in

Some research has been conducted to study the impact that opening your windows can have on improving your indoor air quality, even in very cold weather. I’m not suggesting that you open your windows for hours on end, especially in the cold Minnesota winter! But, it’s worth noting that you can improve your indoor air quality by opening your windows for even 10 to 15 minutes per day.

If you live in an area that experiences lots of outdoor air pollutants like smog, forest fires, or other natural incidents you will absolutely want to keep your windows closed especially during those times! If this applies to, heavily consider investing in an indoor air purifier so you can confidently have a source of quality air while the outdoors are not safe.