Genetics vs Epigenetics: Beyond Pre-Determinism

“The Sage creates his destiny, while the fool resigns himself to his fate.” – Confucius

One evening many years ago, as I was driving from Kew Gardens to Syosset to teach a class in Chinese medicine theory at my alma mater, the New York College of Health Professions, I was listening to National Public Radio. The interviewer was speaking with the head of the Department of Oncology (cancer) at Stonybrook University Hospital. He asked, “Isn’t cancer genetic? Don’t you get cancer because it’s in your genes to get it?” Much to his surprise, the oncologist replied, “5-10% of cancer is genetic. The rest is lifestyle choices.” There was a rare moment of talk radio silence as the stunned interviewer absorbed what he just heard, from a remarkably credible source. He even asked the good doctor to repeat what he had just said, so shocking were its implications.

A common fallacy in the area of health is genetic determinism – that there is nothing you can do to change your health outcomes and future, because of your genes. This is the “DNA is destiny” nonsense. For example, cancer is blamed on genes, though even the hyper-conservative National Cancer Institute acknowledges that 2/3 of all cancer is lifestyle. Genetic testing rubs the microscopic crystal ball to prognosticate what illnesses we will manifest someday. Nonsense. Wealthy people spend up to $100,000 to have their own genome sequenced. A misguided waste.

“People will think that because genes play a role in something, they determine everything. We see, again and again, people saying, ‘It’s all genetic. I can’t do anything about it.’ That’s nonsense. To say that something has a genetic component does not make it unchangeable.” – Eric Lander, PhD, one of the principal leaders of the Human Genome Project.

Patients, having believed the popular misinformation that “There’s nothing you can do. Just hope for the best,” are surprised and relieved to learn that by making conscious lifestyle choices consistently, they can live better, have more vitality and resilience, prevent most disease, and change their future. Each of us has both genetic/innate and acquired factors which influence our well-being, and by far the most important are the acquired influences – what we perceive, pay attention to, eat, breathe, express and do.

“Chronic disease is a result of a complex interplay between genes and environment.” – The scientific journal Cell, 2016; 167: 1431

Genetic factors are inborn and unchangeable, our fixed ancestral inheritance, the hand we are dealt. In Chinese medicine, they represent our hereditary constitutional potential, or destiny (Ming). Very few of us even approach this level of capacity or function. Each of us has great untapped potential to manifest strength, emotional maturity, creativity, greatness of character and spiritual development. This time in history is perhaps an unprecedented opportunity to manifest our innate greatness.

“Everyone has the power for greatness – not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Acquired influences are those that occur after birth, and include diet, rest and activity, and other lifestyle choices we make each day. The point is to, as the Serenity prayer states, to accept what cannot change, change what we can, and know the difference. It is to this goal, of making healthier choices in our lives to enhance strength, vitality and peace, which wholistic care is dedicated.

Lifestyle choices and experiences control our epigenetics, which largely determine which genes are expressed and which are not. Epigenetics is how you play the hand you are dealt. It is largely governed by lifestyle choices: nutrition; exercise; thoughts, attitudes and what we express; environmental influences, e.g. toxins, radiation; life experience and how we perceive it.

I have a strong family history of heart disease and heart attacks. That is a tendency or propensity, no more. I eat well, take the best supplements in the world, exercise 3-4 times each week, love those I care about deeply, do meaningful work that serves the whole, cultivate heartful and honest relationships, and (usually) get enough rest – all to enjoy life, and also to prevent the family heart disease pattern from manifesting in myself. What are the choices you are making in these simple areas of food, exercise and attitude? Are you more or less well than five years ago? What’s your well-being trajectory – up or down? What can you do today – eat more nutrient-dense foods, get off your butt and go for a walk, do a set of pushups, tell someone you care about that you love and appreciate them, send thoughts of healing or blessing to someone in need? Small and simple changes often create huge and dramatic results.

The Hypothalamus: The Bridge


The endocrine, or hormonal, system is the most powerful control system in the human body. The breadth and depth of its action is only rivaled by the microbiome – our bacterial reality that establishes our physical unity with all life on earth.

The endocrine system is made up of ductless glands that produce hormones. These hormones are messengers, signals or “cellular directors” that affect cells throughout the body. Hormones affect or regulate every tissue, organ and system in the bodymind. They must be balanced to activate the body’s powerful systems of repair and self-healing.

Most people live in a state of glandular depression and hormonal disruption. Hormones can go wrong because of poor nutrition or sleep, dis-stress, environmental toxins, heavy metals, vaccines and other pharmaceutical drugs, manmade radiation and more. This reduces our ability to adapt to life’s stresses. Clinically, in natural functional medicine, to restore and maintain the strength and balance of the endocrine system, which increases vitality and resilience, we use two primary principles:

  1. To clear and unburden, through detoxification and autoantibody reduction, and
  2. To feed and build through nutrition (diet and food-based supplementation) and herbal medicine.

The endocrine system is an interconnected web of glands that affect each other as well as body cells. The director of the endocrine system, akin to the conductor of an orchestra, is the pituitary gland, often referred to as the “master gland”. It has the largest influence on the action of the other “downstream” glands in the body.

As an aside, most of the endocrine glands have two parts. The pituitary has a front (anterior) and back (posterior) part; the thyroid has a left and right isthmus, each with two parathyroid glands; the pancreas has a head and tail; there are left and right adrenal glands and ovaries; there are two testes. The pineal gland, spiritually related to the crown chakra and our connection to Cosmic Being, is one, undivided.

As directive as the pituitary is, it itself has its own master – the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus sits “above” the endocrine system, and is the master of the master gland (pituitary). It is the bridge between the nervous system and the endocrine system. There is much we have not yet discovered about the hypothalamus, much still unknown. And what we do know is both fascinating and mysterious.

Neurosurgeon Russel Blaylock, MD, one of the courageous physicians who has exposed the irrefutable truth that vaccines do far more harm than good, writes in “Aspartame, MSG, Excitotoxins & the Hypothalamus”: “The hypothalamus is a small area of the brain, no larger than the fingernail, that despite its small size, is responsible for controlling some of the most vital neural systems in the body. The wiring of the hypothalamus is some of the most complex in the nervous system, with connections not only to the pituitary, but also to the limbic system (emotional control system), hippocampus, striatum and brain stem. Through these connections it regulates emotions, autonomic control (parasympathetic and sympathetic), hunger and satiety, immunity, memory input, and anger control. Disruptions in this vital piece of brain can result in anything from minor behavioral problems or endocrine malfunctions to major disruptions in sexual functions, obesity, immune suppression and endocrine gland failure.”

Physically, the hypothalamus, literally “below the thalamus,” sits about one inch above and behind the pituitary gland, which it regulates. It is in front of the thalamus and brain stem, the deepest structures of the brain. The hypothalamus is made of three nuclei, which are clusters of neurons (nerve cells). It secretes eight hormones which have broad effects on the pituitary glands, autonomic (automatic) nervous system function, sleep, temperature, blood pressure, and more.

A wholistic perspective on the endocrine system includes the principle that its central pole is the HPA axis, more accurately described as the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Thyroid-Pancreas-Adrenal-Gonadal axis. The hypothalamus is the bridge between the mind and the body, between the nervous system and the endocrine system. It is triggered by thought, and manifests that thought in the body through the hormones. So, the hypothalamus embodies thought. It translates thought into a bodymind experience, through the endocrine system.

Our circumstances – the situations we are in moment to moment – are filtered through our Choice Point: the triune lens of our chosen

  1. Sense of who we are (identity),
  2. How we see things (perception), and
  3. What we focus on (attention).

Our choice of identity, perception and attention creates our life experience. In the reactive (Stephen Covey’s model), or victim, state, our circumstances create our experience of life. “If people behave and things go the way I want, I’m happy, and if they don’t, I’m upset.” In the proactive (Covey), or conscious, state, we create our experience through our attitude and expression. “I choose to have a meaningful and creative experience through my conscious choices in the moment.” So, it’s not what happens to us, but whether we choose to consciously respond or habitually react.

For example, one day I was stuck in heavy traffic on my way to teach a class in Chinese medicine at the college where I was trained. It was a warm, beautiful Spring day in the lush greenery of Long Island, NY. I was happy – going to contribute in a way I love (teaching), and enjoying the Springtime air, birdsong and sunshine. Coming up to my left, in the same stop-and-go traffic, was a quite irate fellow driver – shouting, beeping his horn, futilely trying to get where he was going faster. Maybe it was an emergency – I don’t know – but we were in the same situation, having quite a different experience.

Looking back, I understand what was going on in our bodies – the neurotransmitters and hormones, with all their effects on heart rate, blood pressure, brain wave activity and countless other variables – was quite different, as I chose a relaxation response and he chose a stress response. Long-term, making daily choices of stress or relaxation response – has dramatic effects on our health and longevity.

Physiologically, the hypothalamus responds to thought impulses to trigger the pituitary gland, resulting in this basic flowchart:

Circumstances → Central Nervous System (CNS) / Choice Point → Hypothalamus → Pituitary → Other Endocrine Glands, e.g. thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, gonads (testes and ovaries).

Now this flow is not in just one direction. There are many feedback loops which tell the CNS and hypothalamus what the resulting hormone levels are, and whether more stimulation is needed or if there’s enough. The hypothalamus also responds to light, smells, blood sugar and infections.

The hypothalamus, even with our current and incomplete knowledge, is critical to regulating nearly all aspects of body function. And so, anything we do to positively affect it has broad benefit to the bodymind. There are three main ways to improve hypothalamic balance and function:

  1. Inner shift: change the Choice Point: opening to a larger sense of who we are (identity); choosing compassion in how we see situations (perception); giving most of our attention to what is right with ourselves and others; maintaining an attitude of thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation; expressing kindness and integrity in our relationships.
  2. Nutrition: a nutrient-dense, low-glycemic, whole-foods diet, high in healthy fats, protein, vegetables and fruits, and low in sugar, wheat, pasteurized dairy and genetically-modified foods. And the correct nutritional supplementation specific to hypothalamic function. Finally, diet and correct supplementation is the best way to optimize the health of the gut microbiome, which also strongly regulates the HPA axis.

Over 27 years in practice, I have treated many patients who have been harmed by synthetic isolate supplements and pharmaceutical drugs to manipulate neurotransmitters, and helped far more using food- and plant-based supplements to naturally encourage optimal hypothalamic function. Over-the-counter drugs / synthetic hormone replacement like DHEA and melatonin should be avoided, or used briefly and with great caution under professional supervision. In most countries, DHEA is properly regulated as a drug, and not as a supplement, as it is in the US. It activates the feedback loop which regulates its production, and will often lead to atrophy of the adrenal glands.

I have found that Standard Process food-based supplements, with 80% of their ingredients coming from their own beyond-organic farm, to provide the best results, in the least time, with the fewest side effects. Natural foods and supplements provide the building blocks and raw materials, like the lumber needed to build a house. Examples of formulas I have had success with, which are appropriate in specific situations with individual patients, based on a clinical assessment, include Hypothalmex and Hypothalamus PMG.

  1. Botanical medicine: the phytochemicals in medicinal herbs remove the roadblocks that can impede optimal function and vitality.

Plants predated animals by many millions of years. For example, the ginkgo tree, with its powerfully therapeutic leaves, existed in its current form 265 million years ago, 100 million years before the dinosaurs, at a time when the earth did not have a protective ozone layer.

Plants have adapted to their environment over enormous amounts of time. Eating certain plants, and a wide range of them, helps you and I adapt to the modern world. Without a range of protective plant / phytochemicals coming into our bodies regularly, our bodymind doesn’t function properly, and we lose our ability to thrive in our present-day environment. So, we need to dip into the herbal world daily to stay well. As the brilliant Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, said, “For every human illness, somewhere in the world there exists the plant which is the cure.” I would expand that to add that we can consume certain plants, in our diet and herbal supplements, to help prevent most human illness.

Specifically, certain phytochemicals activate specific cellular defenses (e.g. resveratrol and Sirt1, alkylamides and heat shock proteins, bitters, nrf2) in human and animal bodies. One specific example is Rhodiola rosea root, which balances and optimizes the hypothalamus and its control of the pituitary. Not all herbs are created equal, and the right herb at the wrong dose or with low quality will not work. When I select Rhodiola for a patient, I will deliver that in the form of MediHerb’s Rhodiola and Ginseng Complex or Rhodiola and Schizandra tablets, so I know that the herbal quality of the formula will meet or exceed that of the herbs used in the clinical trials that show benefit for that herb (this is called phytoequivalence).

Dr Stuart White, a colleague and highly successful US nutritionist, shares that with appropriate hypothalamic support, his natural medicine protocols often deliver results in two to three weeks, instead of two to three months without such support.

Strengthening the Bridge, the hypothalamus, is one of most powerful ways to increase our vitality and resilience, and help us bring the largeness of who we are, and our unique positive contribution, into our world.

If you are a natural health professional, and would like to learn the relevant anatomy & physiology, etiology, pathology, pathophysiology, lab testing, nutritional exam, diet & lifestyle, Standard Process supplementation, MediHerb phytotherapy, support protocols & strategies, patient communication, practice implementation, follow-on resources, and practitioner self-care in this critical area of endocrine health, I invite you to take my recently revised and well-reviewed self-study course, entitled Endocrine Mastery. Use coupon code BRIDGE17 to receive the special discounted offer of $97 until 8/21. This program focuses on thyroid, adrenal and blood sugar balance.

For clinicians wanting a comprehensive certification program in natural functional medicine, please visit View Program details and apply if interested.

Thanks to Royal Lee, Mark Anderson, Kerry Bone, Lee Carroll and Stuart White for their contributions to the content of this article.

Dr Michael Gaeta

Boulder, Colorado




Diabetes, Part Two of Two – A Wholistic Perspective on American Epidemic

In Part One you learned what diabetes is, how common it is, what’s happening in the body, what causes it, and the conventional drugs-for-symptoms approach.

How to Prevent and Reverse Diabetes                                                                                                                        

Regular exercise, and eating an organic, nutrient-dense diet of mostly vegetables and protein, with little sugar and grains, is a great way to stay well, prevent disease, and stay drug-free. Greens and protein at every meal is a simple and effective tip.

What About Coffee?

Studies show that people who regularly drink coffee (caffeinated or decaffeinated) have a 23-50% lower risk of developing T2D. While the association is still being investigated, what is it about coffee that makes it helpful in preventing T2D?

This is an interesting association – the idea that drinking coffee, even seven cups per day in one study, reduces your risk of developing diabetes. To a coffee drinker, this sounds great, and may even encourage them to not only feel justified in drinking coffee, but drinking even more.

There are two issues here. One, association does not prove causation. In other words, the coffee drinking may not be the cause of the reduction in diabetes risk. Second, and more important, is that coffee, regardless of its possible preventative effects in diabetes, comes with considerable adverse effects for many people. This is because coffee contains relatively large amounts of the world’s most popular drug: caffeine. In the words of research scientist and author Candace Pert, PhD, discoverer of endorphins, “any honest scientist or pharmacologist will tell you that caffeine is indeed a drug.”

Caffeine, as a drug, is what we call a neuroendocrine stimulant. This means that it will give you a short-term lift, at a long-term cost. By continuously stimulating your brain and hormonal system, caffeine wears you out, just like turning up the brightness on a flashlight uses up the batteries faster. In 27 years of practice seeing many thousands of patients, I have seen what daily coffee consumption does to many people – eventually producing fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, and a dependence on that drug (caffeine). There are far safer ways to reduce diabetes risk than with coffee. Also consider that coffee, unless organic, is a highly sprayed crop which carries pesticide and herbicide residues. And many people drink flavored coffee, which is usually high in sugar, or add their own sugar (or, even worse, artificial sweeteners) to their coffee, causing more problems. To adapt a Frank Zappa metaphor, drinking coffee to prevent diabetes is like treating a headache with decapitation.

Fruit vs Fruit Juice

A study published in the British Medical Journal found that people who consume whole fruits such as blueberries, grapes and apples foods have a lowered risk of developing T2D, where those who consumed fruit juice instead had a higher risk.

A critical factor found in fruit but not in fruit juice, is fiber. Fiber, a type of carbohydrate found in most foods, is not digestible, or able to be broken down in your gut. About 75% of your stool is made up of fiber. Fiber has remarkable and powerful benefits to your entire system, and dramatically reduces the impact of sugars that you eat.

There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble, each with its own unique benefits. Water-soluble fiber, like that found in fruit, slows down sugar absorption and reduces the sugar “spike” after eating that stimulates insulin release. Remember that the more insulin you make, the more your cells can become resistant to it, and the more likely that the insulin-producing part of your pancreas (the beta cells) will wear out over time. Soluble fiber also helps you feel full, reducing how much food you eat. This may explain why eating soluble fiber helps you lose weight. Soluble fiber is also a prebiotic, which means that it can be fermented by bacteria in your gut to produce many beneficial compounds, keep your colon acidic (very important), and support the critical gut microbiome. Fruit juice contains little or no fiber, so you get all the sugar without the protective benefit of the fiber.

What about Fruit Juice?

Fruit juice, or even worse, high fructose corn syrup added to drinks, can increase one’s risk of diabetes, by adding sugar – about 8 teaspoons(!) in an eight-ounce glass – without the sugar-balancing effects of soluble fiber. A typical serving of fruit (about a half-cup) provides a little more than 1/3 teaspoon (1.1 grams) of soluble fiber. Many authorities recommend eating 20-35 grams of fiber per day and the average American only eats about half that. This helps explain why one-third of all Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic (high blood sugar, short of being diagnosed as diabetic) Though I recommend eating at least twice as much vegetables as fruit, I don’t believe that eating fruit can cause diabetes in most people, for this reason.

How Much Fruit to Eat?

There are a few considerations here. One is eating almost all organic fruits, as non-organic fruits are sprayed with toxic farm chemicals that end up in your body. Two, eating seasonally, in other words what is growing in your region, is ideal. For most people, this means eating more fruit in the summer, and less in the winter. Three, eat twice as many vegetables as fruit. Finally, focus on the highly-protective fruits, like berries, which have a range of body-protective compounds beyond the soluble fiber. At the end of the day, I generally recommend eating about one cup per day of berries or other low-glycemic foods. Remember that eating fruit is not the same as drinking fruit juice or eating added-sugar foods. Now go get some organic berries and enjoy!


Increasing water intake may help prevent or reverse diabetes. Correcting dehydration can increase blood volume and therefore dilute blood sugar. It also helps the kidneys flush sugar through the urine. How much water to drink? Two good criteria are drinking according to thirst, and making sure you pass pale yellow urine at least three times each day. Ideally drink spring or reverse osmosis-filtered water.

A two-year study of prediabetic people found that those who reduced food portions had a 46% lower risk of diabetes than those who made no lifestyle changes. Another study found that controlling portion size was one factor in reducing the risk of T2D.

Eat Moderately

Given that most people eat a high-glycemic, high-sugar diet, it makes sense that the more you eat, the more sugar your body must deal with. Those pre-diabetic people were likely already used to eating sugary foods. Again, the greatest source of “hidden” sugar in one’s diet is not what you eat, but what you drink! For example, a bottle of sweetened tea or a can of soda contains about seven tablespoons of sugar. So, eating less reduces the glycemic load on the three main organs of blood sugar balance – your liver, pancreas, and adrenal glands.

Eating less also contains a key to health aging – conserving organ reserve. This principle has been part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years – that preserving organ capacity, through moderation in lifestyle choices and taking strengthening herbs, can lead to a long and healthy life largely free of disease.

The simplest approach is to portion control is to develop the healthful habit of pushing the plate away and finish eating before you are full. Leave the table with a little room in your tummy. Except for times like Thanksgiving dinner, don’t eat to fullness. Second, chew well and put the fork down between bites. The goal is to eat consciously, and slow down your eating to give your stomach time to expand, so that you feel full. Eating fast leads to eating more, and not chewing well leads to poor digestion.


A study in people with prediabetes found that moderate-intensity exercise increased insulin sensitivity by 51% and high-intensity exercise increased it by 85% on days they worked out.

A January 2000 study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that “…physical training can be considered to play an important, if not essential role in the treatment and prevention of insulin insensitivity.”

Your brain is the biggest consumer of blood sugar, creating about 20% of your total body energy per day. The second biggest sugar-burners are your muscles. By improving circulation, using up available sugar and increasing your sugar-handling efficiency, physical exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of diabetes and its sibling, cardiovascular disease.

Current research suggests that the best combination of exercise is resistive (working against gravity or weights) and high-intensity interval training (short bursts of intense exertion). Aerobic exercise is also helpful, to be sure, and any exercise is better than no exercise. Exercising 30 minutes per day, or four hours per week, is effective.

My favorite three tips for finding an exercise routine you love, and sticking with it, are:

  • Do exercises you enjoy, and change it up – variety is fun!
  • Exercise with a partner or group – the social connection can be as nourishing as the workout
  • Do some or most of it outside, unless weather makes it unsafe


We know that cortisol, one of the main stress hormones, leads to insulin resistance and diabetes. We also know that conscious relaxation reduces cortisol levels. Meditate, or at least do slow breathing.

The simplest method, backed by an impressive stack of research, is seated slow breathing. Sit upright, and do seven breath cycles (a complete in and out breath) per minute for five minutes, upon rising and before sleep. This is one breath every eight or nine seconds. Once you are comfortable with that, slow that to six and even five breaths per minute. That’s one breath every 10-12 seconds. I guarantee that within a month you and therefore your life will change for the better, and you’ll become a happier, calmer person who is nicer to be around. And you’ll reduce your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease to boot.


The “mineral triad” for good glycemic control is:

  1. Zinc. The zinc content in the insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cell is among the highest in the body. Zinc protects the beta cells. Zinc deficiency alone can cause type I or II diabetes, because the body cannot store and release insulin properly. Zinc directly reduces the inflammatory signals that damage the beta cells, a process that leads to type I diabetes. I take and have had clinical success with Zinc Liver Chelate from Standard Process, which has been around for 30 years, and also provides the benefit of organic beet, carrot and sweet potato.
  2. Magnesium. A 2004 article in Magnesium Research, Vol. 17 #2, states that “Magnesium is required for both proper glucose utilization and insulin signaling. Metabolic alterations in cellular magnesium, which may play the role of a second messenger for insulin action, contribute to insulin resistance.” I recommend Magnesium Lactate, which has also been used in clinical practice for 30 years, from Standard Process.
  3. Chromium. Many studies, including a 2004 article in Diabetes Education, entitled “A scientific review: the role of chromium in insulin resistance” confirm the role of chromium in regulating insulin action. Chromium supplements can lower insulin resistance and reduce some of the metabolic disturbances associated with metabolic syndrome. It’s important to avoid the common but dangerous chromium picolinate. When the body cleaves the chromium off this compound, the resulting free picolinic acid appears to be carcinogenic through DNA damage and mutation, especially in the presence of synthetic ascorbic acid (nearly all so-called vitamin C supplements). This was confirmed by John Vincent, PhD and colleagues at the University of Alabama. I have had success with Cataplex GTF by Standard Process, a food-sourced trivalent, or Glucose Tolerance Factor, chromium, which has been used successfully for 36 years, also includes beneficial buckwheat and liver.


A true superfood, buckwheat is not actually a grain, and is not wheat. It is also gluten-free, for those who have concerns about gluten. Buckwheat, especially a combination of both buckwheat seed and leaf, improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood sugar, improves vascular health (reduces varicose veins, blood clots and more), and provides a complete protein and natural multi-mineral.

A Chinese Pharmacological Bulletin study from June 2001 confirmed that “…Buckwheat seed has the effect of reducing serum lipid, glucose, increasing insulin sensitivity and anti-lipid peroxidation…”

A 2007 paper in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, Volume 34, found that “…consumption of buckwheat seed may be a preventative factor for hypertension, dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia…”

In addition to including buckwheat in the diet, I take and recommend Cyruta and Cyruta Plus, organic buckwheat seed and leaf concentrates, from Standard Process.

Herbal Therapy

Many herbs can lower high blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. Here are a few of my favorites:

Gymnema sylvestre leaf: reduces dietary sugar absorption, lowers blood sugar, and appears to actually regenerate and heal damaged insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. I recommend Gymnema tablets from MediHerb. I have found it to work within weeks, and it appears to have cumulative benefit, with peak effects coming within two years.

Herbs that improve insulin resistance by increasing insulin sensitivity include:

Milk Thistle seed. A placebo-controlled clinical trial published in 2006 in Phytotherapy Research, Vol. 20, found that taking Silymarin (milk thistle extract) for 4 months produced significant reductions in HGB-A1C (13%), fasting blood glucose (15%), and triglycerides (25%).

This wonderful herb also protects the liver from damage from chemical exposure (which affects everyone these days), helps regenerate a damaged liver, and improves bile production and flow. I have been quite impressed by the formula I use in practice, the Silymarin tablets from MediHerb.

Panax Ginseng root. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in a 2008 edition of Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, Vol, 18, found that panax (Korean) ginseng reduced fasting insulin (an excellent marker for measuring insulin resistance) by an impressive 34%.

This herb is the king of the tonic adaptogen herbs, used for millennia to promote vitality and longevity. The formulas I use clinically that contain this herb include HerbaVital, Rhodiola and Ginseng Complex, and Korean Ginseng 1:2 liquid, all from MediHerb.

Ginkgo Biloba leaf. Ginkgo is an astounding herb that improves circulation, vascular health, memory, radiation resistance and much more. An animal study published in a 2011 edition of Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B, Volume 1, found that ginkgo leaf reduces insulin resistance. A 2011 Journal of Medicinal Plants  Research, Vol. 5, published a study that revealed “Ginkgo biloba extract can improve glucolipid [sugar and fat] metabolism and may have protective effects on hepatocytes [liver cells] and endothelial [lining of blood vessels] function of blood vessels & partly or remarkably reverse endothelial dysfunction and steatohepatitis [inflamed and fatty liver] due to IR [insulin resistance]”.

I consider ginkgo to be one of the most important preventative and therapeutic botanicals in the world, take it daily myself, and use it constantly in practice. The formulas I use clinically that contain this herb include Ginkgo Forte, HerbaVital, Gotu Kola Complex, Horsechestnut Complex and PulmaCo, all from MediHerb.

Next Steps

If you would like a personalized diabetes risk assessment and health evaluation, or a customized diet, lifestyle and supplementation program, schedule a live, phone or video appointment with my associate Dr Brandy McCans or myself, at My Blog archive is there too.

If you are a health professional who would like to improve your patient care and practice success with natural functional medicine, click here to learn about my one-year certification program, or click here for a schedule of upcoming live trainings, and here for my free monthly master class.  And join us for the next offering of the well-reviewed Autoimmune Mastery Program for health professionals, in September 2017.

If you’re concerned about vaccines (intelligent, independent-thinking people are, and for good reason, as they do far more harm than good), click here to receive my e-booklet on vaccines, and keep up-to-date on my upcoming articles and events. And do something to protect and expand vaccine choice, parental rights and informed consent.

Final Thoughts

Though it looks like diabetes incidence and deaths will get worse before they get better, I am hopeful. People are waking up to the proven dangers of sugar, corn syrup, genetically-modified foods, vaccines, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and lack of physical activity. Every day, more people are choosing a low-glycemic, nutrient-dense diet, taking natural (not synthetic) supplements, and getting off their butts to exercise. Your main job is you. Take care of yourself, and become an example to others who will want to know the secrets to your vitality.

Dr Michael Gaeta

Boulder, Colorado

12 June 2017

Diabetes – A Wholistic Perspective on American Epidemic

Diabetes is a disease in which the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood stays too high. The word translates as “passing through,” referring to the increased urination (polyuria) that happens from the kidneys having to deal with more sugar than they can handle.

How to Know if You Have Diabetes (Diagnostic Criteria)

Pre-diabetes is defined as having both fasting sugar (glucose) between 100 and 129, and hemoglobin A1C (glycosylated hemoglobin, sugar bound to hemoglobin inside the red blood cells) between 5.7 and 6.4. Diabetes is having both fasting glucose 130 or greater, and HGB A1C of 6.5 or greater.

I really like the A1C test because it provides a two- to four-month average of blood sugar, since the lifespan of red blood cells is about four months. I recommend that all adults over 40 and anyone of any age who is overweight to have these two tests done once each year, or every two years if in an excellent state of health and fitness.

Stats (Epidemiology)

World incidence of diabetes has quadrupled in just 36 years, from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2016. World population increased by 62% in the same period, so global per capita incidence has increased more than three times faster than population growth.

Diabetes, by any definition, is an epidemic in America. A ridiculous one-third of all Americans – that’s over 105 million people – are diabetic or pre-diabetic, which is high blood sugar short of the criteria for diabetes. Of those, about 30 million – almost 10% of the US population – are diabetic, and another 75 million – some 25% of the whole country – are pre-diabetic.

What’s Happening in the Body (Pathophysiology)

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 (T1D) is a pancreas problem. The hormonal part of the pancreas, specifically the beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans, in the endocrine tail of the pancreas, produce little or no insulin, allowing blood sugar to stay too high. Causes include vaccines, eating bleached flour, chlorine exposure, chronic low-level infections, environmental toxins, gluten,

Hormones are messengers or signals, that regulate every system and function in your body. Insulin is a critical hormone that lowers blood sugar when it gets too high. It does this by telling your cells to open up and take in the excess sugar, preventing organ failure or brain damage from high blood sugar. Insulin does the same for your body’s other fuel, which is fatty acids.

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a liver problem. In this condition, the cells of the body, especially in the liver, muscles and fat, ignore the insulin message, leaving the sugar levels too high in the blood. This is called insulin resistance, insulin insensitivity, or insulin inefficiency. Having read some of the current research on aging, I can confidently state that you age according to how much insulin you produce. Here’s the flowchart: eating lots of sugar + refined foods + sedentary lifestyle → high insulin → insulin resistance → high blood sugar & triglycerides, chronic inflammation → diabetes, overweight & obesity, cardiovascular disease, dementia & Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain, other chronic/degenerative disease, mitochondrial damage → cancer, autoimmune disease

In blood work, other than fasting blood glucose and HGB A1C, I like fasting insulin, a key marker for insulin resistance. The optimal range is 1-5. Borderline high is 6-9, and insulin resistance begins at 10. Unfortunately, the lab reference range (these are usually of limited value) often has an upper limit of 26.

A 2005 article in Annals of Medicine, Vol. 37, states, “Both obese and lipodystrophic [disturbed fat metabolism] patients… have an increase in the amount of fat hidden in the liver… An increase in liver fat content has been shown to predict type 2 diabetes, independently of other cardiovascular risk factors…”.

An astounding 90 million Americans – that’s 28% of the whole US population, have a fatty liver, where fat fills up and injures the liver cells (hepatocytes), usually from excess sugar. The liver, in general, converts excess sugar into fat. Too much sugar, especially the ultra-nasty high fructose corn syrup, leads to a fatty liver and insulin resistance. This causes insulin levels to rise to compensate – higher levels are needed to do the job of controlling blood sugar. T2D accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes in the US.

Causes of Diabetes (Etiology)

When a person has a poor diet and doesn’t exercise, their cells start to ignore the insulin, and so blood sugar, triglyceride (fat) and insulin levels go up. Eventually the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand for all this insulin, and it gets tired and weak, leaving the person with not enough insulin to keep blood sugar low enough. So, in advanced T2D, there’s both insulin resistance and insulin deficiency.

T2D shows up more as we age, due to the cumulative effects of a sedentary, high-sugar lifestyle. The most common age for a diabetes diagnosis is between 45 and 64.

Why all the diabetes? Did you know that about 150 years ago, the average American ate between two and five pounds of sugar per year? Today it’s between 120 and 170 pounds of sugar per person per year. That means that some Americans eat a half-pound of sugar per day! All that sugar creates insulin resistance and therefore diabetes. This is a big reason why about 10% of Americans are diabetic, and another 25% are pre-diabetic.

What’s worse is that much of that sugar intake (about 30%) is high-fructose corn syrup (HCFS), a dangerous, mercury-containing sweetener which did not exist 100 years ago. At least half of HFCS is synthetic glucose. The other half is usually extracted from genetically-modified corn, itself a toxic and carcinogenic “food’. HCFS can cause a fatty liver, a condition which now affects an amazing 28% of the entire US population (that’s 90 million people!). Your liver converts HCFS directly to fat. What’s more, eating HCFS has been shown to cause high insulin, sugar, triglycerides (blood fats) and high blood pressure.

Dangerous, useless statin drugs which lower cholesterol, dramatically increase one’s risk of diabetes, which is great if you’re a drug company. These drugs, like most drugs, do far more harm than good.

Sweetened Drinks

Jack, a 45-year-old diabetic patient, came in as a new patient for nutritional care. I asked him about his diet, and to keep a seven-day food diary. Jack replied that he couldn’t understand why he was diabetic, because he didn’t eat that much sugar. When I looked at his food log, I saw that he drank about a six pack of soda daily. Each of those cans of soda contains about seven tablespoons of sugar. That’s almost ½ cup of sugar from each can. Jack didn’t realize that most of his sugar (and I’ve seen this dozens of times over the years) came from he drank, not what he ate. Jack’s chosen diet contained about four cups (that’s two pounds) of sugar per day, an unbearable burden for anyone’s pancreas, liver and adrenals. His diabetes was inevitable.

Jack was a common and tragic example of the truth of the words of the late, great Dr Royal Lee, one of the greatest nutritionists of all time. Dr Lee lamented that Americans, with their diet of what he called “counterfeit” foods, were “digging their graves with their teeth,” every time they ate.

A recent observational study of 2,800 people found that those who consumed more than two servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day had a 20% increased risk of developing T2D. And another study found that overweight adults who swapped diet sodas with water, experienced a decrease in insulin resistance and lower fasting blood sugar and insulin levels. It’s no surprise that drinking added-sugar beverages like sweetened tea, soda, or coffee with sugar increases diabetes risk.

Sugar Replaced Fat

About 100 years ago, fat made up about 50% of the calories in the American diet came from fat. Real, protective fat, mostly animal fat, and none of it hydrogenated (artificially saturated) fat. Heart disease and diabetes were present but uncommon. Today, American fat intake has dropped by a third to about 34% of calories, and lifetime heart disease risk is 50%, with one-third of American adults diagnosed with some form of cardiovascular disease. This includes 1.6 million heart attacks per year. One third of those are fatal, which is one US heart attack death per minute. It also includes 800,000 strokes per year, one-fifth of which are fatal.

We’ve replaced protective animal fats like lard, butter and beef tallow, with sugar, and hydrogenated, genetically-modified fats like corn and soybean oil. All this is causing much of the metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) diseases, which include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and more.

Drugs for Symptoms (Conventional Medical Management)

This is all great news for the drug industry, which has pharmaceutical drugs for managing the symptoms of all these conditions. Big pHarma makes an estimated $200 billion each year from diabetes and related drugs alone. And many diabetes drugs significantly increase risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and overall mortality.

I had a new patient come in one day saying she “used to have high blood pressure,” until she started taking a drug for it. I explained that she still had hypertension, and that the drug was simply suppressing that symptom of a deeper problem. I was like, I shared, if a rock got into her shoe and caused foot pain. If she went to a drug-happy medical doctor, she would get a prescription for a pain-relieving drug (analgesic). If she went to a wholistic practitioner like myself, I would help her get the rock out of her shoe. Two hallmarks of wholistic healthcare are root cause resolution, and the principle of “nature first, drugs last.”

We could accurately say that the food industry makes billions of dollars creating disease, the drug industry makes billions managing those diseases, and the government makes all that deadly profiteering legal. In 2002, the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 were more profitable than the other 490 companies combined. I’m all for conscious capitalism, and love to see success in businesses that serve the “fourfold bottom line” of people, planet, presence and profit. Drug companies have proven repeatedly to pursue profits at any expense, including ethics. Government agencies like EPA, FDA and CDC are cozy with, or, more accurately, controlled by, these industries. This is part of why my mission is to help create a world of vital, resilient people who boldly make their positive contribution in the world, and stay out of the medical system entirely, except in emergencies.

In Part Two, you’ll learn how to prevent and reverse diabetes, something which I’ve done hundreds of times in practice, and which is pretty simple to do, if the person is willing to do it.

Seasonal Allergies

Achoo! This is a common sound you and I are hearing these days, sometimes from ourselves. Seasonal allergies affect one in six Americans, at an annual cost of over $18 billion, and four million lost work days. (1, 2) An allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful. Exposure with an allergen is through the lungs, skin or gut, or injections, often vaccines. Most seasonal allergies are from respiratory exposure, usually to tree, grass or weed pollen.

How do I know I have allergies?

Common symptoms of seasonal allergies include itching of the nose, mouth, throat or skin; swelling or puffiness; mucus and phlegm production; hives (urticaria); skin rashes; breathing problems (coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing); burning, tearing or itchy eyes; conjunctivitis (red, swollen eyes); cough; headache.

Drugs for Symptoms

Conventional medicine claims that there is no cure for allergies. In mainstream medicine the only approach is minimizing allergen exposure, and taking drugs to suppress symptoms. These include antihistamines, e.g. Benadryl, Claritin, Allegra, Zyrtec; corticosteroids, e.g. cortisone, prednisone, dexamethasone; decongestants, e.g. sudafed, dimetapp, visine, neosynephrine; leukotriene inhibitors, e.g. Singulair, Accolate, Zyflo; and allergy shots (immunotherapy/desensitization). Total sales of these drugs is over $18 billion per year. While sometimes necessary when less toxic approaches are not enough, relying on drugs alone to address allergy symptoms is at best limited, and potentially dangerous, given the side effects of the drugs and the cumulative toxicity of taking any pharmaceuticals daily.

The Nine Contributors to Allergies

Wholistic healthcare, unlike reductionist medicine, looks for contributors to wellness and illness, rather than single causes of disease. What differentiates wholistic from reductionist medicine is root cause resolution. Instead of merely suppressing symptoms or managing disease, wholistic care seeks to address the specific causes and triggers of illness, most of which are in our lifestyle choices, and removing those blocks to our natural expression and experience of well-being.

All Allergies:

  1. 1. Alkalosis
  2. 2.Liver toxicity/congestion
  3. Adrenal insufficiency
  4. Poor sugar handling/excess intake
  5. Vaccines
  6. Immune dysregulation (the “danger” state in the immune system), leading to an excessive immune response to the environment (hypersensitization)
  7. Gut Dysbiosis

Food allergy-specific:

  1. Poor protein digestion (putrefaction)
  2. Leaky gut

The first contributor to allergies is alkalosis. Dr Royal Lee, perhaps the greatest nutritionist of the last century, stated that “alkalosis is a major cause of allergies.” This has been proven out over several decades of clinical practice, where balancing the pH of allergy patients whose blood, saliva or urinary pH is too high, creates impressive results and lasting resolution of their allergies.

How can I tell what my pH is? Checking first morning saliva (before you eat or drink) and urine (first of the day) is a good way to tell. Resting or basal saliva should be a neutral pH of 7, and urinary (as well as stool) pH should be acidic, between 5.5 and 6.5. Stool, urine, skin and vagina must all be acidic, partly to prevent infection, as nearly all pathogens thrive in only an alkaline environment.

Unfortunately, the recent alkalization fad is misguided and unwise. Blindly assuming that everyone is too acidic, and globally trying to alkalize everyone without actually checking their individual acid/alkaline state, is ignorant and potentially dangerous.

Causes of alkalosis include weak lungs or kidneys, high cortisol (caused by being in a chronic stress state, or eating sugar), dehydration, and mineral deficiencies. That last one is a frequently overlooked cause of ph imbalance. All three of the pH buffering, or balancing, systems are dependent on adequate minerals. Most Americans, from eating conventional foods grown in weak soil, poor diet, eating processed, and refined foods, have many mineral deficiencies, for example calcium, magnesium or potassium. Over 27 years of clinical practice, I’ve seen many pH imbalances resolve just from providing adequate minerals from a whole-foods diet and food-based supplements.

Foods that can help: sea vegetables, sea salt, dark green leafy vegetables. All of these are mineral-dense, and can support those three acid/alkaline balancing systems. Raw, organic apple cider vinegar (e.g.  those made by Bragg’s, Eden or Spectrum) aid in protein digestion and support healthy gut flora as a fermented food.

Supplements: to correct alkalosis, my favorite is Cal-Amo, from Standard Process. This is a chloride-rich formula that supports optimal body pH, and has been used successfully by many thousands of patients since 1952. Since 1953, thousands of health professionals have used Antronex, also from Standard Process. As a natural antihistamine, it works by improving circulation into the liver, thereby helping your liver break down histamines better and faster, and reducing allergic inflammation. A highly effective formula.

Key herbs: Feverfew leaf and stem (tanacetum parthenium); Chinese skullcap root (scutellaria baicalensis), albizia stem bark (albizia lebbeck), echinacea root (Echinacea angustifolia blended with e. purpurea).

Remember, “nature first, drugs last” is the best approach for a vital and long life. Seek natural ways to help your allergies, and get to the root causes, with the help of your natural health professional.



A Key to Healing a Leaky Gut

Greetings and blessings for a wonderful year ahead. After 26 years of practice, I can say with certainty that digestion, which includes nutrient absorption, assimilation and elimination – is one of the cornerstones of vitality and resilience. In Chinese medicine, our digestive function is even referred to as the Center (zhong), and is considered a foundation of addressing any health issue, and creating lifelong health. And many other conditions, especially autoimmune diseases, are deeply connected with digestive imbalances.

In this video (about 4 minutes), I’m going to share with you one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned about creating and maintaining good digestion for life, in the area of intestinal hyperpermeability, or leaky gut. Included is one of the greatest superfoods in the world, that you’ll want to include in your regular nutrition habits or supplements. If you find it helpful, feel free to share it with your connections.


Thanks for reading and watching! See below for a transcript of the video, with additional content.


Hello, and welcome.  I’m Dr. Michael Gaeta.  I’m an acupuncturist, nutritionist, herbalist, and the founder of the Clinician’s Mastermind Circle. What I wanted to share with you today is one of the most important areas of practice – digestion.

The digestive system is our internal skin, that selectively absorbs what’s important and eliminates what’s not.  I want to share with you specifically one of the areas that’s least understood I think in practice, and frequently overlooked. And it’s the area of intestinal hyperpermeability, otherwise known as the leaky gut. It’s frequently overlooked because it can have so many different manifestations. Yet the things that we can do to help our patients improve their digestion and absorption, and to heal and seal, the leaky gut can have dramatic benefits.

First, let’s define what we’re talking about here. Leaky gut is scurvy of the gastrointestinal tract. Scurvy is a collagen, or connective tissue breakdown condition which most people think of as causing red, inflamed, bleeding gums. This breakdown can happen further down in the GI tract, causing a leaky gut.

What then happens is that you have undigested or partially digested proteins from your foods passing through unusually large junctions in your intestinal wall. For example, a tight junction in your intestines might be one to two microns across.  By comparison, a red blood cell is five to seven microns wide.  In a leaky gut, this can expand to two to three hundred microns, allowing very large particles to enter the blood stream.

So, in a leaky gut, you’re forcing your immune system to complete the job of digestion. How would you know if you have a leaky gut? While there are lab tests which can help, there are also many symptoms of this. One of the most important, are multiple food sensitivities.

For example, I had a patient who had so many food sensitivities that her diet consisted basically of tuna fish, celery and water. That was it. She had dozens of food sensitivities that led her to narrow her diet so drastically. So, multiple food intolerances or food sensitivities is a classic sign of a leaky gut. There are many other symptoms, a few of which include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, joint pain, fever, fatigue, skin rash, allergies, and also a whole range of autoimmune conditions.

So what I want to emphasize today is a very specific approach to helping patients with a leaky gut. The first is to include in your care plan some type of approach, plan or program to heal and seal that leaky gut.  And if you’re not sure, it’s safe to do a leaky gut, or heal and seal, program, for all of your patients, no matter what. It can’t hurt, and can do a world of good.

And since leaky gut is a collagen degeneration or weakening disease, one of the best foods we can recommend, which is a wonderful source of the permeability factor, which we call vitamin P, is buckwheat. Buckwheat is one of the most important foods to eat to heal and seal the leaky gut.  There are supplements that are made of concentrated buckwheat, for example the Standard Process Cyruta Plus, which is a supplement made of young, organic buckwheat seeds and leaves.

Be sure to include in your diet, and recommend to your patients, buckwheat as a regular greater part of the diet, or supplementation program. Buckwheat is the world’s best source of vitamin P. Vitamin P is for permeability. It is what I call the collagen formation factor, which actually helps to increase collagen formation, increase intestinal resilience. Buckwheat can help correct the nutritional deficiency of this critical vitamin P, which is also found in citrus peel and some other foods that are responsible for collagen formation, collagen production, collagen integrity.

So that’s our clinical tip for today. I trust that it will benefit you, your family and patients in a useful way. I welcome your comments and questions on this subject, and thank you for listening.


But wait… there’s more!

For more useful ideas for practitioners and patients, please visit

To learn more about the Clinician’s Mastermind Circle, a one-year certification program in natural functional medicine, that I present along with 12 guest faculty, please visit

To learn about Expert Nutrition Advisor, the first online video education service for Standard Process and MediHerb practitioners and their patients, please visit

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Making the Holidays Meaningful; Save the Date(!) for February’s New Autoimmune Mastery Course

Dear Ones,

Greetings to you and yours in this holiday season. This is a time for allowing the increased emergence of light through each of us in these days. For me, there are just a few things that make the holidays more meaningful than stressful:

  • An attitude of thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation. In our family’s daily prayers, I say “We are thankful for all that we have, all that we are, and all those in our lives” as part of it. When did you last tell the people you care about, that you love and appreciate them? I try to be specific about this, when it feels natural. For example, “I really appreciate how patient and poised you are when things get hectic.”
  • People and presence, above gifts and lists. Attentive, heartful, fully-present time with those we love and who love us, is the greatest gift in the world. Children, when given a choice of a present or more time with their parents, choose the latter.
  • At least once this season, volunteer, even if for an hour, to feed the homeless or those with less than you. One of my top life experiences was those months, many years ago, of serving breakfast and a bag lunch to the homeless on Tuesdays, at St Peter’s Church on 53rd St and Lexington Ave in midtown Manhattan. Find a gig here, here, and here.

If you and I get it that we are spiritual, creator-beings, here on earth to create the good, true and beautiful, and choose to be more than consumers, only here to buy, use and throw out stuff, we’ll find meaning and fulfillment in the everyday. This is a major theme in an amazing book I published, by a dear friend, Dr Thomas Cooper.

One of the areas of greatest need, and potential service, for those of us in the healing arts, is helping prevent and reverse autoimmune disease in ourselves, our families and patients. This is one of the most important, yet least-understood, areas, of clinical practice, since it affects at least one in five Americans. We, as clinicians, simply and absolutely need to understand autoimmunity and what to do about it, if we are going to effectively treat today’s patients.

With great joy, I am offering the most comprehensive and effective autoimmune training available for clinicians, in February. This six-week certification course, entitled The Autoimmune Solution, Because All Disease Becomes Autoimmune: Preventing and Reversing the Autoimmune Process, starts February 9th, and will be available on January 16th. It’s the culmination of 26 years of clinical practice, and 20 years of research and study, in this essential area of health. I’ll send you more details soon.

Thank you for all that you do to change lives for the better every week. Please receive my blessing and gratitude for who you are and your healing service to many. May we, you and I, bring the fullness of our light into the darkness of this season.


With Love,


Calendula is Perfect for Dry Skin

Calendula Liquid, the extract of the Calendula flower, is one of the most well-known and versatile herbs in the western herbal tradition.

Native to southern Europe, the herb is most famous for its topical use for all kinds of skin problems: wounds, burns, acne, and other dermatologic issues — a great healing herb that has been used for centuries for these purposes.

Internally, it’s excellent for inflammation, damage to the throat, mouth, digestive system. For example, Calendula supports patients who are experiencing ulcers and swollen lymph nodes, because it is also antiseptic, it reduces infection wherever applied (whether on the skin or ingested). Some might not know it can be used to stop bleeding and reduces inflammation topically, too.

This is a wonderful and versatile herb great to use during the winter months! I always recommend the Calendula liquid (or Calendula 1:2) – in combination with other Mediherb botanicals, and Standard Process nutritional support. Go ahead, check this wonderful herb out!


Change Your ‘Default’ Future

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A couple of topics that interest me are Change and Growth. As natural health professionals, we help people come back to natural healing principles. But as you know, when people start to change, there’s a tendency to regress to the mean. They often snap back into their old habits and patterns.

What happens when we don’t have the knowledge or support we need, is that we move toward a ‘default future’. It’s like a space rocket that doesn’t have the escape velocity to break free of Earth’s gravity. This is our future, if we keep doing what we have been doing. It is how many live their lives. And, even when a person wants to change without putting in place new structures, support and mindsets, it is most likely that not much will change.

Self expansionI have found this true in all areas, including when we as healers want to grow and expand our practice. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There is a path that has been proven through the ages to help you breakthrough.

To go beyond your default future, your path is that of finding the right mentor or mastermind group to give you support and accountability. Now, I am offering my Clinician’s Mastermind Circle, closing next week, but even if my group is not for you, I suggest you reach out and find another group to join…it is so important.

Mentoring and masterminding has been the secret to people achieving extraordinary levels of success in very short periods of time. Of course it also helps you be a better clinician and, with the right group, grow your practice and business, taking it to a whole new level.

It helps in other areas too. One of the hardest and most painful experiences for a health professional is a feeling of isolation. Often we are siloed in our practice, separated from the warm, connected community of our school or training program. Feeling isolated from one’s colleagues, teachers and profession, alone in practice – just you and your patients, and possibly staff – is a major source of burnout, loss of joy and enthusiasm, and sense of struggle.

Having a connected community of practitioners, colleagues who help each other succeed – brings renewal, joy and a felt connection to something larger than yourself and your practice. And giving support to and receiving support from fellow clinicians is soul food for a health practitioner.

Another painful difficulty too many clinicians face is the sense that they need to figure everything out themselves, such as how to start, run and expand their practice. Part of the pain of separation is disconnection from those upon whose shoulders you stand – the teachers who guided and trained you in your chosen healing art while in school.

Suddenly alone after graduation, too many practitioners feel that their mentoring has ended, and now, for the rest of their career, they have to go it alone and find their way themselves.

Tragically, many fail and leave their chosen healing career because they did not seek and find a mentor or guide after graduation. It amazes me how many get their degree and how few start or continue a practice! This is tragic, because there are millions who need and want a natural approach to getting and staying well. These dear ones unfortunately tried to reinvent the wheel – never learning the skills and habits developed by the successful ones who went before.

Ongoing mentoring saves practitioners years, even decades, of trial and error, struggle and stress. If you want to avoid a default future, if you’re ready to grow your practice, if you’re ready to advance your knowledge and skills as a clinician…and if you want to do this the light way, without struggle, then go to this page and thoughtfully complete the application for my upcoming program:

Click here to apply for the Clinician’s Mastermind Program

In appreciation,

Michael Gaeta, DAc, MS, CDN

P.S. When you apply, we will arrange a phone call to determine if it is good fit for you according to where you are in your practice. We have a great, supportive group forming which allows you to connect online from anywhere. Apply directly here NOW

The 7 Secrets of Successful Practices

One of the top questions I frequently get asked is, “what can I do to grow and build my practice?” This is a hot topic and what we will be teaching and helping those who join the upcoming yearlong Clinician’s Mastermind Circle.

Take a look below as I would like to share with you the 7 secrets I have seen empower the most successful practices. The truth is, they are not so much secrets, but rather habits and ways of operating that some of the best clinicians do to help clients build a successful practice and thriving business! I believe that both go hand in hand.

1.  Remember the Purpose & Why You Do This Work

Successful clinicians don’t just know how to help people, they are driven by purpose. They’re clear about why they are helping people, and have a purpose greater and deeper than just making money. They also remember how their work changes lives for the better and that:

“Creating wealth, is a happy side effect of creating health.”

10536513035_4164c634a52. Bring Passion & Enthusiasm to Your Work!

Successful practitioners love what they do and it shows. Though it shows up as everything from quiet confidence, to joyful exuberance, their patients feel their commitment to their work, and excellence.

3.  Consistent Use of  Clear Systems

Thriving practices have developed, often with expert guidance, efficient, and effective ways to receive and care for patients. They tend not to wing it day to day. Their patients feel like the practice is on top of things, that details are being cared for well. And rather than guess, they are consistent in how they work with patients through a plan and flow of care – from the first hello, to long-term maintenance care. In the upcoming Clinician’s Mastermind Circle, we will dive deep into the best practices and systems.

4. A Focus on Wellness & Prevention

Strong practices don’t rely on a huge influx of new patients every week, only to see them two or three more times for care. They commit to the wholistic model of wellness care, focusing on preventing illness and increasing overall quality of life. They make sure every patient understands the flow — from acute to corrective to wellness care, and they encourage all patients to continue regular, less frequent treatments as part of their wellness lifestyle.

5. Educate! Educate! Educate!

Great practitioners attract and create great patients. They know that great patients who want and pursue long-term wellness care, have been educated about how the treatment works and helps, and all the many conditions and goals the treatment can help with; and, great practitioners see patients as partners in care. They teach patients about the importance of their lifestyle choices in creating their future and prove that patient education is the foundation of lifestyle medicine.

6. Success is a Team Sport

Almost every successful clinician has a staff of one or more assistants who free up their time, so they can focus on doing things that only they can do – seeing patients, working on, not just in, their practice – creating future goals, strategies and plans. They hire, train and manage well, often learning these often non-native skills from successful clinicians who have gone before them.

7. Growing from the Inside-Out

Every thriving practice grows mostly through referral. By doing a great job, creating an exceptional patient experience, and simply caring more, successful practitioners ask for and inspire referrals from their patients and colleagues. Inferior practices need to invest heavily in advertising and new patient marketing since their work does not inspire referrals and long-term care. Great clinicians consistently attract patients who resonate with their work.

Let me say that it is important to master the art of referrals and have a system in place to automate this piece of your business if you want it to grow.

What I’ve found is that simple ideas and changes can make a big difference. I encourage you to take an inventory of the above tips and pick one area to focus on over the next month. Take one action that can you can improve, write it down and reevaluate it within 30 days to see if it’s working.

If you are looking for a mentor and support system on the clinical side to expand your practice over the next year, do not miss our 2016 Mastermind.

I am confident it can help you build the life and practice you deserve! Click to learn more about the Clinician’s Mastermind Circle.

Michael Gaeta DAc, MS, CDN

Echinacea: Nature’s Perfect Support for Your Immune System


The Most Important and Misunderstood Herb for the Immune System

Echinacea is an oft-misunderstood Native American herb of immense benefit to a variety of patients in your practice with both chronic and acute conditions. Its lipophilic (fat-loving) extract is known as the traditional echinacea extract.

Echinacea is a traditional North American herb. Native Americans have highly valued and used it therapeutically for hundreds of years. I consider Echinacea root to be the single most important herb in the world for supporting your primary immune system. It is also one of the most misunderstood herbs in the world.

There are several myths about Echinacea, popular in today’s media, culture and even natural health field. The main one is that Echinacea is only a short-term herb, solely used for a few days at the first sign of sickness of infection. This, we now know, is incorrect. The idea is based, in part, on the traditional use of Echinacea root – as needed, for days, weeks or months, for any type if infection or inflammation.

In the 1800s and early 1900s, American physicians of the Eclectic school of medicine used Echinacea angustifolia root with consistent documented success using this herb, internally and topically, for helping patients with the following conditions, and more:

Boils                                         Indigestion                             Mastitis                 Abscesses              


Leucorrhea                            Septicemia                             Dysentery              Vulvitis                  


Fevers                                     Gonorrhea                             Insect bites            Influenza              


Tuberculosis                          Toothache                              Tonsillitis              Pneumonia            


Bronchitis                               Measles                                  Impotence            Gangrene                


Even without our modern understanding of the immune system, it’s clear from the above mentioned list that Echinacea is most certainly an immune-supporting herb. We should keep in mind that the Native Americans and the Eclectic physicians only used Echinacea angustifolia root, extracted with a high alcohol-to-water ratio, to achieve these impressive results.

Modern research, especially from the last 25 years, has shown us a new use for Echinacea – that it is most certainly also a preventative herb, to be taken daily, long-term. Unlike some botanicals, Echinacea can be taken for long periods of time or for life, without any adverse effects. It seems that Echinacea works best when it is in your system already at the time you are exposed to a possible pathogen. This is an important new understanding, for an herb traditionally used only as needed for acute conditions.

Also, the quality of an Echinacea product is critical to how well it works. Modern research has confirmed what parts of Echinacea provide the remarkable immune-supporting effects. They are a group of phytochemicals called alkalamides, which also create the distinctive tongue tingling produced by a high-quality Echinacea extract. Interestingly, the Eclectic physicians back in the day distinguished a clinically-relevant product as “producing a persistent tingling sensation in the mouth.” The more alkalymides, the stronger the tingle, and the more potent the Echinacea formula is.

In my own experience in practice over the past 25 years, I have found very few Echinacea products that cause any significant tingle in the mouth, other than the Echinacea Premium from MediHerb. Echinacea Premium is an herbal extract which blends the roots of Echinacea Angustifolia and Echinacea Purpurea. This product is, in my experience and review of Echinacea over the years, the most powerful and effective Echinacea product in the world. I’ve had many patients who reported no benefit from years of taking other Echinacea products, who felt immediate benefit from Echinacea premium.

Another common myth is that Echinacea should not be taken by people with autoimmune conditions. This would be a serious concern, given that 1 in 6 Americans (over 50 million) have one or more of 155+ known autoimmune conditions. This concern is based on the incorrect idea that Echinacea stimulates the immune system. More accurately, Echinacea root improves your innate immune response, rather than being a stimulant.

bloom-22786_1280 (1)Also, autoimmune disease is a condition of excessive natural tissue or auto antibodies, which is part of your acquired or humoral immune system. Echinacea has no effect on antibodies, but rather strongly supports the innate or cellular immunity, which is your primary immune system. (This is another reason why vaccines are completely ineffective at improving anyone’s health. Vaccines only produce an artificial and temporary antibody response to synthetic or man-made pathogens. They do not affect or improve your immune system, health or strength).

So, Echinacea is not only safe and appropriate for patients with an autoimmune condition, it is actually very useful for supporting these patients. Echinacea helps correct the immune imbalance found in autoimmune conditions, where the innate/primary immune system is weak, and the acquired/secondary immune system is overactive to body tissues. This is the same reason why Echinacea root is so helpful for people with allergies, by balancing the allergic or excessive immune response to normal things in the environment. It’s basically the same pattern: allergies are an inappropriate response to normal proteins from outside your body, and autoimmune disease is an inappropriate response to normal proteins inside your body. Echinacea helps both, as an immune modulator or balancer.

So, just to conclude, Echinacea:

Has also been used for hundreds of years topically for various types of skin conditions, such as boils, psoriasis, and insect and snake bites. Traditionally, Echinacea was used for days, weeks or months to help people recover more quickly from an infection, by improving immune response to colds, flu, respiratory infections, really any type of infection anywhere in the body. Modern research has now confirmed that it also has a powerful ability to help prevent infections from happening in the first place. Personally I’ve been taking Echinacea premium daily since 2002, and have found it incredibly helpful in my own health as well as for hundreds of patients who have benefitted greatly from this wonderful formula.

Just remember, Echinacea can be used for helping get through an infection more quickly (traditional use), as well as preventatively with daily long-term use to support your immune system and immune response (modern research). I always combine Echinacea Premium, with Standard Process Nutritional Support for the immune system. So ask your practitioner which nutritional formulas from Standard Process would be most appropriate for you in your case.

Learn more about Echinacea’s benefits in this helpful article.

Growing Your Practice in 2016!

One of the biggest problems I see with practitioners is that we are just too busy with treatments and daily tasks that we never have a chance to take a step back to plan and develop a solid growth strategy.

And even those with a strategy, this often fails to translate into an actionable plan that has a chance to work. The truth is that it isn’t your fault. Most of us in the health field are well trained and oriented in helping people, but not so well educated in being smart business owners. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I would love to share some simple ideas that I have personally used as well as many of my students with much success. Just as you become good at diagnosing a condition and creating a treatment protocol for a patient, the same can be done for your business.

When you know what to look for, we can identify exactly what you need to do to grow and maintain a thriving practice! Often this means taking some time each week to NOT do the day-to-day work and to focus on strategy and implementing steps that will help your business and your staff be more productive and efficient.

This is working on your business rather than in it. When you do this, the game changes. You will start to gain control. With the right guidance, you will start to see bottom-line results.

That’s why each month in the upcoming Clinician’s Mastermind Circle, we will review best practices for building your business and growing your practice. I encourage you to check it out, here:

By the way, I am giving you, free of charge access to a recent webinar that delves deep into this topic. Click here. 

Growing Your Practice Intro with Michael Gaeta



Vaccines: Minimizing & Preventing Damage

There is a golden rule to reducing vaccine damage in children who are going to receive them. Most of you know I do not condone the use of vaccines. Why? Because they do more harm than good.

There have been no formal studies comparing vaccinated to unvaccinated children for benefit or harm; this is the only class of drugs that have no placebo-controlled trials to show they work.

One of the best practices I teach is to never vaccinate a child who is sick as they’re highly reactive and their immune system is already increased. And, I often say it’s a grave error to give multi-dose vaccines in a single visit.

Watch Best Practices to Protect Children From Vaccine Damage


The Adaptogen Herb: Ashwagandha Liquid for Whole-Person Resilience


Withania somnifera plant

By Dr. Michael Gaeta

January 6, 2016

Ashwagandha is an extract of the herb also known as Withania somnifera, the king of the tonic – or vitality increasing herbs – in Ayurvedic or traditional Indian Medicine. This herb is native to India and the Mediterranean. In Sanskrit, ashwagandha has the meaning, horse smell. This not only refers to the smell of the herb, but also its ability to give you the strength and vitality of a horse or “herb with the strength of 10 horses.”

It’s an incredible herb that helps us meet the demands of modern life.”
– Michael Gaeta

Somnifera in its botanical name, Withania somnifera, refers to its ability to improve sleep. It’s one of the few herbs that increase your energy, stamina, and endurance all the while helping you to relax and calm your mind, overall improving your sleep. We can think of ashwagandha as a calming tonic and as an adrenal strengthening herb (the adrenal glands are the stress glands that help you meet the demands of stress or change); it also significant restorative properties for the brain, immune system, and sleep regulation.

Ashwagandha is a great example of how herbs can have many different effects in a balanced way. This powerful herb has been used for over 2,000 years as a strengthening herb helpful to improve and restore vitality helping those who are overworked and exhausted, and clear and calm the mind, improving sleep. Consequently, ashwagandha has an amazing benefit as what we call an adaptogenic tonic which means it increases our ability to handle stress.

Traditionally it has been used as an aphrodisiac – an herb to improve sexual desire and performance. Along these lines it is also an excellent fertility tonic for both men and women. But it can be used for all ages. I have found in my own practice and well as in traditional practice, it can help children insure proper development; and in later years, it’s helpful to improve mental and cognitive function and overall quality of life. It is great to help people improve their ability to retain new information, enhance memory and concentration.

Exemplary Immune System Benefits

Ashwagandha is known for reducing inflammation within the body.  There’s even great evidence of its ability to help people with inflammatory problems like arthritis, asthma and inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis. Along with its antioxidant and medicinal compounds the power herb is a great source of iron, too. It works hard to improve the strength of the immune system; and is a blood tonic – strengthening vitality and potency of the blood.

How I recommend Ashwagandha with Mediherb

As a liquid herb, I will usually blend Ashwagandha with other herbs.  I can say that I include Ashwagandha in almost all of the liquid blends that I put together for people, using the Mediherb liquids. And, there are other herbs and nutritional support that work really well in combination with the Ashwagandha liquid. So ask your practitioner what Mediherb herbs and Standard Process nutritional formulas would be most appropriate for you in conjunction with the Ashwagandha liquid, so you can get the most benefit and results from this wonderful herb!

Gaeta headshot semi-formal

Michael Gaeta, DAc, MS, CDN, is an herbalist, acupuncturist, nutritionist and founder of the Clinician’s Mastermind Circle, a one-year training program for natural health professionals. Over 25 years of practice, his purpose has been to create a world of vital, resilient people who stay out of the medical system. 

7 Habits for Highly Effective Digestion

Bad eating habits and poor nutrition can cause indigestion. Here are seven great eating habits that will help you avoid indigestion:

1.  Eat consciously. Enjoy your meals slowly with gratitude.
2. Just eat. Create a quiet atmosphere, turn off the TV and avoid arguments while eating.
3. Never eat late. Do not consume big meals after 8 p.m.; have at least three hours between dinner and bedtime.
4. Start big! Make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals, Spleen/Stomach (digestive) Qi peaks 7-11am.
5. Know your schedule: eat at regular times each day.
6. Stay in touch with your body while eating. Stop eating before you are full.
7. Relax after eating. Put your feet up or take a walk to help aid in digestion!

Some Eating Habits to Avoid:

  • Eating while stressed, upset, working, reading, driving, worrying
  • Eating quickly, not chewing thoroughly
  • Overeating – feeling over full
  • Eating before bed
  • Smoking during meals

Poor Nutrition Can Be Caused by:

  • Processed, refined, contaminated, microwaved, improperly prepared foods
  • Chemical food additives and pesticides
  • Soil depletion
  • Too much cold or raw, hot/spicy, sweets, greasy, adulterated (pasteurized) dairy products

So, enjoy your meals consciously and avoid digestive health issues!

Endocrine Mastery – What Attendees Are Saying

Attendee Comments on the Endocrine Mastery Seminar Series [Testimonial]

Hello Dr. Mike,

Your seminar was great. Loved the info, piano music and your delivery and also thank you for the pulse evaluation and nutritional recommendations. I really appreciate all the effort you put into making the seminar spectacular.

Look forward to the next seminar. Please add me to any mailing list you have as I would travel to see you and get cont. ed credits in New England.

My best regards,

Brian Bigelow DC

PS You are an awesome healer, presenter, human being.  Thanks again so much.

Leaky Gut Syndrome (Intestinal Hyperpermeability)

Did you know that approximately 30% of the U.S. population suffers from uncomfortable bouts of digestive problems, such as bloating, food sensitivities, and constipation?

One common cause of this is intestinal hyperpermeability most commonly known as leaky gut. This is where large food particles get through big gaps in your intestinal wall. This condition can lead to major health problems, including autoimmune disease, allergies, skin problems and more. Leaky gut is scurvy of the gastrointestinal tract.

View my latest video to discover what nutritional deficiency causes leaky gut, and the most important steps you can take in your practice to help your patients prevent and reverse it.

WATCH this clinical tip: Causes of Intestinal Hyperpermeability with Michael Gaeta

Herd Immunity: The Foundational Lie of the Forced Vaccination Agenda, Part One

By Michael Gaeta, DAc, MS, CDN

The pHarma / government / mainstream media cabal has a clear goal: unlimited forced vaccination for the entire population. How could such an outcome be imaginable? How could we knowingly give up our parental rights, informed consent and personal sovereignty, by making an entire class of drugs mandatory, with no freedom of choice?

The justification offered, for this particular form of medical fascism, is herd, or “community” immunity. One of the primary US government/pHarma propaganda websites,, says this: “When a critical portion of a community is immunized against a contagious disease, most members of the community are protected against that disease because there is little opportunity for an outbreak. Even those who are not eligible for certain vaccines—such as infants, pregnant women, or immunocompromised individuals—get some protection because the spread of contagious disease is contained. This is known as ‘community immunity’.”

Sounds reasonable, initially. I should put aside my personal concerns about the lack of demonstrated effectiveness, necessity or safety of vaccines, and put any government-recommended number of vaccines into my or my child’s body, for the sake of the whole. I have my concerns, but I’ll take one for the team. What’s more, I don’t want to be seen as a selfish or irresponsible by not vaccinating. I may be willing to take the risk of contracting a non-dangerous, self-limiting infection for myself, but I wouldn’t want to endanger anyone else. Vaccination, from this carefully-manufactured perspective, is part of being a responsible member of society.

But is it really true? Is it truly so that vaccinating protects others, and that failing to vaccinate endangers others? For the precious few with the courage to question the forced vaccination propaganda, and accept the truth, based on credible, non-CDC science, is no, or, more accurately, absolutely not.

Vaccine-induced herd or community immunity is scientifically impossible. It is a brilliant piece of marketing, using guilt to coerce behavior and drive drug sales. It is twisted genius in action, making intelligent, independent-thinking people ignore their honest, well-founded vaccine skepticism, and causing the rest to accept unlimited vaccinations without question.

There are two primary reasons why vaccinating oneself cannot protect others, and why failing to vaccinate cannot endanger others. The first is from the science of immunology, and we can describe it as waning antibody stimulation, post-vaccination. In short, vaccines only do one thing – stimulate antibody production to something similar but not the same as the infection. That antibody stimulation is temporary, lasting a few months or years. So the majority of the US population has had no so-called vaccine “protection” for several decades, without any resurgent epidemics of measles, mumps, pertussis, etc.

The second is from the science of population outcomes, or epidemiology. In all populations globally who have ever attained the ever-rising and completely arbitrary (read: made up) minimum threshold for vaccine uptake (% of a population who get vaccinated), outbreaks of vaccinated diseases still occur. This should, of course, be impossible, if herd immunity were actually true. In Part Two of this article, we’ll take an honest, non-hysterical look at each of these in more detail. In the meantime, you can safely and responsibly ignore any of the sheeple who tell you it is irresponsible to not vaccinate.

Also, if you value the timeless ideals and ethics of parental rights, informed consent, personal sovereignty and healthcare freedom of choice, and care to restore and preserve same, go to It’s a free, private service that will let you know of exactly what nefarious threats to vaccine choice are happening in your state, and specifically what to do about it. Even if you believe in vaccines, I’ll bet that you believe even more in freedom of choice in healthcare treatment decisions, for parents and individuals. The pHarma-driven unlimited forced vaccination agenda may happen, if enough of us who value freedom do nothing. It’s up to us.

About the Author

Dr Michael Gaeta is a visionary educator, 25-year clinician, and writer in the field of natural healthcare. His purpose is to help create a world of vital, resilient people who find fulfillment through positive contribution, and choose a lifestyle of nature first, drugs last. He holds licenses in acupuncture, dietetics-nutrition and massage therapy, and is a doctor of acupuncture in Rhode Island. Michael earned his master’s degree in acupuncture from the New York College of Health Professions, where he was a faculty member for ten years. He co-founded Acupuncture for Veterans, which provided free treatments for US Veterans in New York City. Michael is past president of the Acupuncture Society of New York, earning awards for State Association President and State Association of the Year. He appeared on the CBS Early Show and NBC News. Since 1993, Michael has improved the patient care and practice success of thousands of practitioners nationally, through his live trainings, Clinician’s Mentoring Program, and distance learning programs. More at



Using Free Consultations to Grow and Expand Your Practice

Using Free Consultations to Grow and Expand Your Practice

By Michael Gaeta, DAc, MS, CDN, Dipl Ac & ABT (NCCAOM)

A free consultation is a wonderful way to connect with a potential patient, and market your practice in a professional and ethical way. In-office or phone consultations demonstrating qualities of caring, patience and understanding make you a practitioner who attracts clients who resonate with your purpose and approach, instead of one just working to lure them in. Let’s look specifically at how and why to use free consultations to grow and expand your practice.

Free consults are frequently used by professionals in various fields to make it safe for people to contact them at no risk, no cost and no obligation. It invites people to make an initial contact. Consults are a tasteful thing to offer in your marketing materials and website. Your conversion rate from initial inquiry to appointment is higher with successful free consultations. They help you become a practitioner who is a magnet, who attracts people who are a good fit for your practice. Since consultations often happen by phone, developing strong phone presence is important.

A consultation is not an evaluation. It is perhaps 15 minutes spent with a person to assess their needs, goals and concerns, and explain if and how you can help. It is designed for those who are unsure if your approach is the right one for them. The potential client is at no risk and invests nothing but time. Block off fifteen minutes in the schedule for your free consultations, and see if that is a good amount of time for you. Inform the prospective client of your time frame. Don’t rush, and set aside enough time, because in terms of a complete course of long-term care, this could be a conversation worth several thousand dollars.

Here are some specifics that make for a good consult:

  1. Start by asking an open-ended question like, “What brings you here?” or “How can I help?” This is also a good opening question for your initial evaluations.
  2. Listen attentively and patiently, but use clarifying or redirecting questions to keep the consultation from going too long.
  3. Explain your approach to patient care—how it works, and how it will benefit the client and her specific condition. Be sure to start with your “Why” – your purpose or reason for working with people as a health professional. Knowing and communicating why you do this work is one of the most powerful invitations to those who might resonate with you and your practice.
  4. Estimate the cost of treatments and supplements. Speak with confidence and clarity.
  5. Give an overview of the frequency of treatments – more frequent visits at first, tapering off to maintenance/wellness/.preventative care as they improve.
  6. Ask if the prospective patient has any questions about your approach.
  7. Ask if she would like to make an appointment. Whether or not an appointment is made, be sure to provide educational literature about your practice, and nutrition. The Standard Process brochures “Are You Feeding Your Body,” and the DVD “Why You Need Whole Food Supplements” (available at no charge from SP), are great pieces to give to a potential or new patient. Thank the person for her time. If she is not ready to make an appointment, tell her that you will be glad to help when she is ready.

Then ask if the prospective client has any further questions. Repeat this question until all of their concerns are addressed, then ask if they would like to make an appointment (very important!).

During free consultations, you don’t need to take notes, do a physical exam, or conduct a detailed history or assessment. Save all of that for your initial evaluation. Keep the tone of the consult relaxed, and have an intention to be fully present, ask good questions, and listen well. The prospective patient is carefully sizing you up in a free consult, with the perspective that how you treat them in this initial exploratory visit is how you will treat them if they become your patient. If they feel cared for, respected, heard, accepted and understood, then you did a great job!

From the perspective of medical ethics, a free consultation is also an opportunity for you to ask yourself, “Is this person is a good fit for me, someone I can help, someone that I can enter into a successful therapeutic relationship with?” “Can I actually help this person, within my scope of experience, training and expertise?” Knowing our limitations as practitioners and not taking on cases that are beyond our abilities is essential to ethical practice.

In a free consultation, since you have not yet taken them on as a patient, you also have no obligation to begin working with them, and can decide not to do so for any reason. As one chiropractic professor said, “I don’t just want new patients. I want good patients.” In other words, people who resonate with your care, and are willing to actively participate and take responsibility for their own healing process.

One day, in my first year of practice 23 years ago, a new patient came in seeking a natural treatment for her colon cancer. I clearly explained that I do not treat cancer, but rather provide natural therapies and nutritional support to patients with and without cancer, to promote healing and repair, by supporting their own innate healing ability. I also referred her back to her oncologist to discuss treatment options, and explained that the care I provide can work alongside conventional treatments that she might choose. Appropriate referral is a key to safe and ethical practice.

Consultations are a low-risk way to help you and the potential client decide if you are a good fit for each other, if their condition is within your skill set, and sets a strong foundation for a successful long-term therapeutic relationship. Start sharing this opportunity to connect with you in your community, and watch your practice grow!



About the Author

Dr Michael Gaeta is a visionary educator, clinician and writer in the field of natural healthcare. His purpose is to create a world of vital, resilient people who find fulfillment through positive contribution. Michael works with natural health professionals who want to improve their patient care and practice success, through his clinician’s mentoring program, live seminars and webinars, and distance learning programs. He holds licenses in acupuncture, dietetics-nutrition and massage therapy, and is a doctor of acupuncture in Rhode Island. Michael earned his master’s degree in acupuncture from the New York College of Health Professions, where he was a faculty member for ten years. Michael’s teaching is informed by 23 years of successful clinical practice, in his New York and Colorado clinics, helping thousands of patients improve their well-being, prevent illness, and stay out of the medical system. He co-founded Acupuncture for Veterans, providing free treatments in New York City. Michael is past president of the Acupuncture Society of New York, earning awards for State Association President of the Year. He appeared on the CBS Early Show and NBC News, and has trained thousands of clinicians in his Success with Natural Medicine clinical seminars since January 2001, and his Love, Serve & Succeed business and ethics seminars since 1996. In four years, his wellness radio show on Contact Talk Radio has attracted over 100,000 subscribers. He loves to debunk popular myths regarding food quality (critical), vaccines (bad), cholesterol (good), antioxidants (bad), and chronic illness (preventable). Michael is also a pianist and composer. Useful ideas and resources at and



3980 Broadway, Suite 103-129, Boulder, CO 80304

P 303 442 2525 • F 970 237 3062 • •

2015 Clinicians’ Mentoring Program: Major Expansion & Improvements – Join Us Before January 16th Tuition Increase

Dear Colleague,

Blessings and joy to you and yours in this sacred season. It’s been a truly wonderful second year for the Clinicians’ Mentoring Program. Members’ practices have grown in size, results and ease. Their confidence and success with nutrition, herbal therapy, lab testing and lifestyle counseling have greatly increased. Click here to read Member comments. and for complete Program details, and click here for comments from colleagues.

This Program is the joyful fulfillment of a decade-long desire to go to depth with a small, committed group of clinicians who have a burning desire to improve their patient care and practice success with natural medicine. I love my busy seminar schedule, and often feel that I have so much more to share than is possible in a one- or two-day event.

heather lahdenperaThrough Michael Gaeta’s Mentoring Program, I have a wider knowledge base regarding possible herbs and supplements to use for more effective treatment.  My patient outcomes have improved with my increased knowledge and confidence and my practice has grown as a result. I am very grateful that I am able to learn from Michael Gaeta.  I highly recommend him, and hope others may learn from this excellent teacher.” – Heather Lahdenpera, LAc, MPT, MTOM, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM)

As we head into the third year of the Mentoring Program, I’ve gathered comments and requests from graduates and current members, and am excited to announce the release of a significantly expanded Program for 2015. It will be even better, with considerably more engagement, one-on-one training and a private Members’ retreat. But to provide that high level of engagement and personal attention on our small group calls twice each month, we are going to limit registration to just 12 new members. I am deeply thankful to those who are currently participating, and am pleased to extend all the benefits of the new Program to them at the current tuition.

The big additions to the 2015 Mentoring Program are monthly, focused one-on-one training calls with me (normally $1,800 over a year), a private Colorado retreat in August ($1,500 value), and the release of several new seminar training recordings (estimated $500 value). NCCAOM-certified practitioners will also receive 30 PDAs as members of the Program ($750 value).

We will continue with group teleconference trainings (two per month), our private website (with over 325 case studies, training recordings and more), many free seminars (live and by teleconference) throughout the year, and a Mentoring Buddy for peer support.

brenda sahlin“I do not have the words to express how knowledgeable, intuitive and giving Michael Gaeta is. I am just grateful that I have the opportunity to learn from him, right now, when my patients need me the most. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.” – Brenda Sahlin, DC, Ocean, NJ

With all of these wonderful additions to the Program, designed to improve your patient care and practice success, tuition for new members will increase after January 15th, 2015. However, if you reserve your place in the Program by then, you can enjoy the greatly improved 2015 Program at the 2014 tuition. Starting January 16th, tuition for the one-year Program will be one payment of $4,500, or $450 per month. Tuition through January 15th: one payment of $3,500, or $350 per month. Click here to register.

A single payment of just $350 by January 15th will reserve your place. If you are not yet ready to start your Mentoring Year right away, reserve your place by 1/15/15, and choose your start date, which can be as late as July 1st.

Michael Forman“If you want to integrate nutrition into your practice and need to step up your level of understanding and practical application with your patients, I cannot not think of any way better than Dr. Michael Gaeta’s Mentoring Program. I highly recommend it. Michael, I thank you and more importantly, my patients thank you for the loving and invaluable education you have given me. I will always be grateful.” – Michael Forman, DOM, Miami, FL

The Mentoring Program is for those clinicians who would like to receive mentoring with me for a year, and keep up-to-date with all of my teachings. It is the most personal, in-depth way I have to fulfill my purpose, which is to create a world of vital, resilient people who make a difference through positive contribution, and help patients stay out of the medical system. If I can make one practice better, then I am helping thousands of people, including patients I’ll likely never meet.

lisa rhodes cropped“Thank you, Michael. I don’t know how you get all you get done, but I am sure glad you do and that I am learning from the best.” Lisa Rhodes, Naturopath, ACN

I invite all health professionals who would consider joining us in the 2015 Mentoring Program to call me directly at 303-442-2525, or email at your earliest convenience. I am happy to do our Practice Assessment, answer your questions, offer ways to “sample” what it’s like to participate, and see if it is indeed a good fit for you.

charlotte richer 8-14 cropped“Since I’ve started working with you, adding nutritional protocols with my acupuncture treatments, my weekly income has increased by $625 (that’s $30,000 a year)! In addition, my patients feel better quicker, so I’ve been getting more referrals, and have my patients coming back on a monthly or quarterly basis to re-evaluate their nutritional protocol as well. So not only have you helped me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, you’ve helped me financially! My practice has now quadrupled since joining your Mentoring Program 14 months ago. It’s fantastic.” – Charlotte Richer LAc, MSTCM, Dipl Ac (NCCAOM)

Also feel free to contact Corinne Conry, LAc, Director of Client Services, Clinicians’ Mentoring Program, at

In closing, to express my appreciation for your interest in my teachings, I invite you to join the 2015 Mentoring Program at the 2014 tuition, before the increase on January 16th.  Click here to register.

Thank you for all that you do to change lives for the better.

Blessings and peace to you,
MG Signature Michael Only



Michael Gaeta, DAc, MS, CDN, Dipl Ac & ABT (NCCAOM), LMT

Boulder, Colorado

19 December 2014