Tao Center treats the whole patient, not just the symptom

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Mon., Sep. 16, 2013
Certified health coach Brandie McKay Coburn and naturopathic physician Myriah Hinchey offer consultations for visitors to an open house held at the Tao Center for Vitality, Longevity and Optimal Health on Sept. 14.
Certified health coach Brandie McKay Coburn and naturopathic physician Myriah Hinchey offer consultations for visitors to an open house held at the Tao Center for Vitality, Longevity and Optimal Health on Sept. 14.

The front door of the Tao Center for Vitality, Longevity and Optimal Health was wide open on Sept. 14, welcoming visitors and admitting cool breezes from the sunny, mild day. Inside, visitors chatted in the comfortable waiting area, holding plates of healthy snacks such as kale with avocado, sea salt and lemon dressing and fresh vegetables dipped in hummus.

It was the fourth annual open house for the wellness center, and practitioners were offering free samples of some of the services that the center offers on a regular basis. There are currently six different massage therapists working out of the clinic, two different yoga instructors, a Pilates instructor, a psychotherapist specializing in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing) and a holistic health counselor.

Center practitioner Dr. Myriah Hinchey is a Connecticut-licensed naturopathic physician, specializing in the treatment and prevention of chronic disease utilizing functional medicine and Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) via First Line Therapy, as well as biomedical treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Pervasive Development Disorder and ADHD.
Hinchey received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UConn in 2000 and her doctorate of naturopathic medicine from the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2005. Hinchey has been a licensed massage therapist since 1998. She received her certificate in medical acupuncture for physicians from Briarwood College in 2006. She is also certified in facial rejuvenation with acupuncture and Chinese herbs from the Swedish Institute in New York City and completed training in auricular acupuncture for chemical dependency and detoxification at the Lincoln Recovery Center in the Bronx, N.Y.

Most recently, Hinchey obtained her certification for First Line Therapy (FLT) in 2009 and has been using Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) as the main focus of her practice. TLC focuses on “proper nutrition, exercise and stress management,” said Hinchey. When people ask her what she treats, “I say I don’t treat the disease, I treat the person,” she said. “By making your body function at its maximum capacity, usually the symptoms go away.” When it comes to disease, “It makes sense to me to prevent, versus trying to cure,” said Hinchey. “It makes sense to try to get to the bottom of it and fix it, rather than trying to manage it.”

But Hinchey doesn’t consider herself to be an alternative practitioner. She prefers the word integrative. “I think the patient is best served when you have a team of doctors working together collaboratively,” she said. In the case of Lyme disease, for example, Hinchey recommends antibiotics prescribed by a physician, although optimally, a physician would work collaboratively with a naturopath to incorporate herbs into the treatment. “I think a combination of herbs and antibiotics is going to give you the best result,” said Hinchey, “but I do think that antibiotics are necessary in the case of Lyme.”

People often have misconceptions about naturopaths, said Hinchey. “We are trained as primary care physicians,” she said. Naturopaths receive the same training as conventional doctors, she said, with the addition of further training in the interactions between herbs and medications, in nutrition, in acupuncture and in botanicals. Naturopaths are taught to look at the person as a whole, said Hinchey, taking into consideration factors such as emotional state, stress factors, environment, diet and lifestyle. “I think the biggest difference is that the doctors aren’t looking for an underlying cause,” she said. “Rather they’re prescribing medications to deal with the symptoms.”

In the case of high cholesterol, for example, Hinchey says, “High cholesterol is actually a symptom.” When a patient changes her lifestyle and gets the proper nutrients, “it resolves on its own,” she said.

"[Therapeutic lifestyle changes] can reverse as well as prevent conditions such as autoimmune disease, cardiac disease and diabetes,” said Hinchey.

The Tao Center is located at 269 Church St., in Amston. The center offers a variety of services including naturopathic care, yoga and Pilates classes, massage, acupuncture and health coaching. For more information, call 860-228-1287 or go to http://www.taovitality.com.

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