The Chief Proprietor of Functional Medicine Clinic Kai Wellness discusses her work and why she uses Medicine Box products for her patients.
Like many in the fields of functional and integrative medicine, Dr. Karina Klimtchuk’s path of healing has taken her to many unique ports of call. Graduating with a dual major in sociology and psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Dr. Klimtchuk studied toward a Psya.D in Psychoanalysis, while also picking up additional training in Yoga, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
She later mastered Chinese herbalism and Acupuncture enough to teach at Emperor’s College in Santa Monica, and also serves as faculty member for Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Los Angeles. Her LA-based clinic, Kai Wellness, synthesizes all the treatment modalities that she’s mastered along the way for clients in need of responsive, caring and holistic medical and spiritual care.
“Dr. K,” as we call her, epitomizes the qualities of wellness Medicine Box Wellness upholds. She’s smart, open-minded and deeply compassionate, and we’ve learned much from her insights into plant medicine. It only made sense to share some of her wisdom with you. And if you’re interested in working with her, feel free to contact her at www.kaiwellness.com.
Q: Tell me about your background with herbalism and how you choose the nutraceuticals that you work with for your specific clients.
I grew up in Europe and spent a lot of time in nature. Folk medicine was very much the norm where I was living, between Armenia and Russia. And in those places, people basically don’t go to the doctor (laughs) unless they absolutely have to, so I learned that a lot can be treated naturally. I went on to study Chinese medicine for seven years, earning a doctorate degree in that field. I studied in China and Japan with several amazing mentors and master herbalists. I also studied quite a bit of Western medicine and Western herbalism.
When it comes to picking nutraceuticals, I tend to go with the companies that have been well-established, have research behind their products and are periodically reviewed by independent researchers. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to working with nutraceutical companies because I believe my patients deserve the best. I also have a strong intuitive sense, so I tune into the product. I can often tell if there’s a pathogenic quality or not.
Q: You’ve been with us since the dispensary days and the original Equanimity. What can you tell me about working with that formulation?
It’s a superior product and people are loving it. It’s pretty broadly applicable, because the herbs you use are largely synergistic with other herbs and nutraceuticals. I don’t want to sound too woo-woo, but I also have to say that it’s an energetically clean and quality product. So, I enjoy recommending it.
Q: We also have Happy Belly. How important is gut health to a person’s overall well-being?
The immune system starts in the gut, first of all. Emotional health has its roots in the gut. The gut is basically responsible for every aspect of the human body’s functioning. If we’re not absorbing and digesting and metabolizing and properly assimilating nutrients, then every single system in the body has the potential to be compromised, sometimes very severely and significantly. And there’s been a lot of new research about the gut-brain axis. There’s also a beautiful book called The Yellow Emperor’s Treatise of the Spleen and Stomach. And that theory dates back over 3000 years! It talks about how the base of every single disease in the body is in the gut. So bringing the gut into a state of health – especially now, when food is so de-nutritionalized in the soil in this country, when there’s so many pesticides and other toxins around, and so many stressors that affect gut health – it’s absolutely essential to start there and to keep the focus there. While they can never be eradicated altogether, auto-immune diseases go into remission if somebody keeps their gut in good condition. As far as mental and emotional health, a healthy gut goes a long way to help you to function optimally and show up for your day, every day.
Q: Talk about the mushrooms in our products. How do they work with herbs and with hemp?
Mushrooms are generally wonderful in combination with other herbs. I don’t always recommend mushrooms. If you’re familiar with small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), that’s a situation where mushrooms absolutely don’t belong. But for the majority of people, not only are they safe and effective to support the body in a variety of ways, but mushrooms are the ultimate immune boosting superfood. I think it’s great and exemplary that you guys are adding mushrooms to your products. That’s one of the things that makes you stand out in the CBD world and in the herbal world in general.
Q: We've just released Mind's Eye harmonize to aid people in their quest to optimize their mental acuity and resilience without synthetic isolates. What sorts of additional therapy do you recommend alongside the mushroom-herbal blends we are using to aid people with integration work or mental sluggishness?
It takes brain power to do integration work. Like spokes on a bicycle wheel, utilizing a balanced, multi-pronged approach to health and wellness is key in keeping the mind, body and spirit in alignment along the healing journey. Mind’s Eye Harmonize is a time tested and research-backed formulation. It combines the best available ingredients in supporting the close relationship of brain health and digestive function. Alongside nootropics, lifestyle essentials such as breathing fresh air, drinking clean and mineralized water, and a daily relaxation practice go a long way in supporting mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. For people doing integration work or addressing mental sluggishness, I also recommend meeting with an integrative doctor to ensure lifestyle, nutrition and supplement regimens specifically address their unique needs. Last and perhaps most importantly, I recommend enlisting the support of a trusted integration specialist or therapist as a fundamental component of successful integration work.
To me, that’s essential, and that’s the thing that got me so interested in Medicine Box in the first place. Of the thousands of CBD and cannabis products out there, I’m choosing to recommend Medicine Box exclusively because your process reflect my own values and that of my practice, and the values that my patients hold and trust. Because what I do is not for money, I’m not in this to be a businessperson. I’m not in this to be anything other than of service. My work is part of my passion and my life’s purpose, it just comes from the heart. I practice from a place of strong values and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a huge part of that.
Q: Have you gotten any interesting feedback from people who have tried the product?
People have responded really well to Equanimity. They report loving the effects and the taste. One patient, a very, very sensitive person, said she felt that this is a very potent product that has a higher energy about it. And a couple other people said that they really liked the effects in terms of down regulating their anxiety and allowing them to enter sleep faster and stay asleep through the night better. And one stroke patient reported it has helped him with inflammation.