Hey there! I’m Dr. Michael Arthur, but most often, my patients call me “Dr. Michael”. I’m a medical doctor (family practice), Senior Instructor at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine for first and second-year medical students, and Clerkship Director for the functional medicine clerkship for third and fourth-year medical students.
I’m so excited to bring true functional medicine to the Roanoke valley. I have dedicated myself to mastering functional medicine–a root-cause approach to symptoms and diseases.
There are several certifying bodies that teach physicians functional medicine, but by far, The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) is the gold standard for certification. When certifying to become a functional medicine doctor, IFM allots 7 years to complete the certification cycle. 7 years is the amount of time for medical school (4 years) plus residency (3 years)! I’ve enjoyed every minute of my experience with IFM and have been amazed by the difference that their functional medicine approach makes in the lives of my patients and in the very lives of myself and my family.
The Story of Dr. Michael Arthur
(“How I Got Into Functional Medicine”)
Do you remember that Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken”? The one that starts with: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”. Well, I took the one most travelled by for a while. The mainstream route took me through medical school at The University of Virginia, residency at the Carilion Family Medicine Residency program, and fellowship training through the Carilion Geriatrics Fellowship.
Along the road more travelled by, there was a little voice inside my head that kept questioning the status quo:
- “How come everything boils down to medicating the patient?”
- “Couldn’t we do better by doing things differently?”
- “Don’t you feel like you’re just adjusting medications all the time and not making much of a difference in the lives of your patients?”
After years of treating patients in the conventional medical model, I became frustrated. Frustration turned to burnout. Day after day, I’d see patients in 10-minute time slots and I felt more like a drug pusher and less like a healing physician. The only tools in my toolbox were pharmaceuticals. Dissatisfied with this status quo, I left traditional family practice and in 2005, I started my journey down the road less travelled by toward holistic medicine.
I became a certified personal trainer, nutrition professional, and a lifestyle coach. I formed my own company called Homebodies Fitness, and using lifestyle medicine principles, I helped my clients get back on the path to wellness through diet and exercise from 2007 through 2014.
While I loved Homebodies Fitness and the lifestyle medicine approach, I encountered more and more clients whose results were limited by gut distress, or by an apparent stalling of weight loss, or by chronic diseases resistant to the very lifestyle changes that worked for the vast majority of the population. What was going on here? Was lifestyle medicine failing these particular people?
I began to do research. Paper after paper, study after study, I kept crossing paths with this thing called functional medicine. Functional medicine was just like lifestyle medicine, only better because of its more advanced diagnostic testing and its more scientific approach to healing. The research and science couldn’t be denied. Best of all, the results that my clients began to experience with a functional medicine approach couldn’t be denied either.
Using functional medicine approaches,
- We burst through resistant, stubborn weight loss.
- We rid their bodies of gut distress.
- We began to halt disease progression. In some cases, we even began to reverse disease.
This was so exciting and life-changing that I began to apply some of the functional medicine principles to my very own life…
A little history here: from the tender age of 14, I suffered with relentless heartburn. Wasn’t GERD something that you got when you were 40 and overweight? My body decided to defy that norm.
By age 16, I did a barium swallow. By 18, an upper endoscopy–it was my first, but certainly not my last endoscopy. I was eventually diagnosed with a duodenal ulcer and later with H. Pylori–on three different occasions spanning my teens and twenties.
I’ve been on every acid blocker known to man (Zantac, Tagamet, Pepcid, Prilosec, Nexium, etc.) and took bottles of TUMS throughout my teens, twenties and thirties, BUT I still wasn’t any better. Heartburn was a part of my life–suffering with it nearly daily, even with avoidance of spicy stuff, fatty foods, and the typical things conventional medicine tells you to avoid. Despite sleeping with my head elevated, I still suffered nightly with acid scorching the back of my throat. Between my days and my nights, I couldn’t catch a break!
The break would not come until 2010 when I read an article by Dr. Mark Hyman, one of America’s best-known and most-loved functional medicine doctors. The solutions outlined for my problem seemed too simple to be helpful and the idea of putting more stomach acid into my system seemed far-fetched and ludicrous. With hesitation, I continued to research and look for different answers.
Time and time again, I came across the same information and eventually became convinced that relief would lie in the science of functional medicine. I started treatment with magnesium, betaine HCl, zinc, and other digestive support. I changed my diet according to functional medicine principles. Within a matter of days, I became free of the nightly throat scorching and abdominal pain and heartburn that had lived with me for the better part of 20 years. Skeptic, no more–I had found relief!
This same kind of relief is available for so much more than GERD. From autoimmune disease to cardiovascular disease, from endocrine disorders to pain disorders, functional medicine offers solutions and resolutions. I’m so very excited to share this approach with you and to continue changing lives and helping everyone achieve their very own ultra health!
Read more about the specific services available at The Center for Ultra Health.
Read more about the general functional medicine approach that we use at The Center for Ultra Health.