3X4’s new Functional Medicine Practitioner Spotlight series features interviews with practitioners, consultants and functional medicine thought leaders to explore everything functional medicine practitioners need to know about successfully building, managing, and growing their private practice.
The following is an interview we recently had with Aric D. Cox, DC, Co-founder of the Institute for Restorative Health.
What can you tell us about your practice?
AC: The Institute for Restorative Health offers healing to those with chronic illness through functional, biological, and energy medicine. The Institute for Restorative Health opened in 2018 and is a partnership of three chiropractors and a functional medicine certified health coach. We are located near Wichita, KS and see patients from across the US and Canada. We see our patients over the course of one day, one week, or two week programs. Our approach applies time-tested healing methods such as herbs, homeopathy. We also embrace advances in healing through heart rate variability, light and frequency-based therapies, lymphatic drainage, and functional medicine-trained health coaching.
What surprised you the most when you started your practice?
AC: I knew that starting a practice with partners was going to be better than when I struck out on my own right after chiropractic school. I went through considerable stress and strain attempting to do it all in my solo practice. Thankfully, I already had 5 years experience working with my partners before we set off to build our own clinic. This gave me plenty of awareness on which roles I could apply my strengths. So the surprise when opening the Institute for Restorative Health was just how much freedom I could experience by no longer having to do everything myself. The difference between knowing how good it could be and the actual experience has been a most excellent surprise.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as you built your practice? How did you overcome it?
AC: Our biggest challenge was trying to bring everything together in a short amount of time. What we hoped would take 2-3 months ended up being 7 months. Our patients were ready to go, but we didn’t have a clinic to see them in. We had the ideal environment for our patients in mind but were limited by time and resources. Of course, the finished product was even better than we imagined. Together we overcame through patience, both with the process and each other. It was like a 6-month team building exercise! But we couldn’t have done this without our collective faith in God and knowing that He had everything taken care of.
What advice would you give to other practitioners considering launching their own practice?
AC: My advice to other practitioners would come from two proverbs. The first, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The second is “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” The tendency for most is to try and control the conditions that would help realize their vision. But control doesn’t allow for maximum growth and we can become the lid to our vision. More can be accomplished through trust and vulnerability in a team with complementary strengths and a shared vision. I have grown because of our partnership. I am a better leader because our partnership. Above all, I get to share this experience (the good and the bad) with some fantastic people!
What excites you most about the field of functional medicine?
AC: Starting off in practice a year ago, I remember seeking better tools to help me with complex cases. When I found functional medicine, I knew it was exactly what was needed. Now that I have functional medicine training, I get most excited when I think about what lies ahead of functional medicine. Functional medicine is just the beginning and not the end! It is a starting off point for understanding the needs of the individual. Functional medicine alone is not enough to end the chronic illness problems that are out of control. But it is a fantastic foothold to gain significant ground and help people find freedom from chronic illness.
Where do you see your practice 5 years from now?
AC: Five years from now I see the Institute for Restorative Health helping patients reclaim their health through our innovative treatment methods and through online education (videos, classes, books). I see our clinic helping practitioners close the gap between what convention has taught them and the truth to what each chronically ill patient needs. By building on functional medicine with biological medicine and energetic medicine, we will help doctors be better equipped to address and promote the self-healing capacity of each patient. I’d love to see patients have more points of access to our unique approach!