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Reversing the Irreversible: One doctor’s journey adopting a child with Cerebral Palsy that changed his approach to medicine

Reversing the Irreversible - Dr. Aaron Hartman

Today I am really excited to bring to you an interview with Dr. Aaron Hartman. Dr. Hartman is not only a functional and integrative physician, but he is a parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy. Becoming a parent to his daughter has changed the way he practices medicine because he and his wife want to ensure that his daughter will live her best life and thrive.

This conversation feels very similar to my own story with my daughter and how we went about finding the best things for my child to thrive. It’s why I created the My Child Will Thrive podcast and website so that you and other parents could find out about all the different ways we can help our children and most importantly, that you're not alone in this journey. There's always something new we can all learn together.

Listen to my conversation with Dr. Hartman (or read the transcript below) about how his journey with his daughter changed his approach to medicine and let us know what you think!

Things You Will Learn
  • Dr. Hartman’s journey with his daughter and why that changed the way he practices medicine.
  • The biggest things that he did to change that trajectory of where her health and development was going.
  • What are pons?
  • How Dr. Hartman is practicing medicine and how to get in touch with him.
  • How Dr. Hartman’s daughter is doing now.
  • And much more…

Show Notes

  • What is Cerebral Palsy? (5:49)
  • Dr. Hartman’s daughter’s story and how they ended up going down the alternative/integrative/functional medicine route. (6:40)
  • While we can get sucked into biohacking, Dr. Hartman found diet and hydration to be the most important. (10:18)
  • Some of the other things that moved the needle for his daughter’s health. (13:29)
  • Understanding what pons is and how it’s used. (19:25)
  • How Dr. Hartman is seeing people now and how he incorporates functional, integrative and holistic medicine.(22:19)
  • How his daughter is doing now. (24:12)
  • How you can learn from or connect with Dr. Hartman. (26:44)

Resources and Links

Richmond Functional Medicine Website

Dr. Hartman's Instagram

Dr. Hartman's Twitter

Dr. Hartman's Facebook


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More about Dr. Aaron Hartman

Dr. Hartman's journey with functional medicine started when he & his wife adopted their first daughter from foster care. She has cerebral palsy & countless dietary issues. They went from specialist to specialist and, even as a physician, he felt let down & confused. His daughter's health struggles forced him to confront an uncomfortable realization: Our current healthcare system doesn't have all the answers. His wife, however, refused to give up hope. She ultimately pointed him to functional medicine. His daughter & other two kids began to thrive. After years in family practice, he felt called to make a dramatic shift. 

He now helps patients  identify leverage points in key areas of their lifestyle & health that harness their body's remarkable power to heal and begin living the vibrant life they deserve. He has become the ‘go to’ doctor for difficult and hard cases in central Virginia. 

As a clinical researcher, Dr. Hartman has been involved with over 60 clinical studies, he is the founder of the Virginia Research Center, and currently is serving as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the VCU School of Medicine. 

In 2016 he founded Richmond Integrative and Functional Medicine.

00:01 Tara Hunkin:
This is My Child Will Thrive and I'm your host, Tara Hunkin, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified GAPs Practitioner, Restorative Wellness Practitioner and mother. I'm thrilled to share with you the latest information, tips, resources, and tools to help you on the path to recovery for your child with ADHD, autism, sensory processing disorder, or learning disabilities.

My own experiences with my daughter combined with as much training as I can get my hands on research I can dig into and conferences I can attend have helped me to develop systems and tools for parents like you who feel overwhelmed, trying to help their children. So sit back as I share another great topic to help you on your journey.

A quick disclaimer, before we get started. My Child Will Thrive is not a substitute for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. The information provided on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat your child. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before implementing any information or treatments that you have learned about on this podcast. There are many gifted, passionate, and knowledgeable practitioners with hundreds if not thousands of hours of study and clinical experience available to help guide you.

Part of our goal is to give you the knowledge and tools you need to effectively advocate for your child so that you don't need to implement each new treatment that comes along. No one knows your child better than you. No one knows your child's history like you do or can better judge what is normal or abnormal for your child. The greatest success in recovery comes from the parent being informed and asking the right questions and making the best decisions for their child in coordination with a team of qualified practitioners in different areas of specialty.

Today's podcast is sponsored by the Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder Summit. In order to learn more about the summit and to sign up for free, please go to mychildwillthrive.com/summit.

2:05 Tara Hunkin:
Hi, welcome back to the My Child Will Thrive Podcast. I'm Tara Hunkin. I am really excited to bring to you today an interview that I just completed with Dr. Aaron Hartman. I'm excited about this because Dr. Hartman is not only a position and now a functional and integrative physician, but he is a parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy, and he has changed the way he practiced medicine because of his daughter and he and his wife wanting to ensure that his daughter would live her best life and thrive.

This conversation is very similar to my story in terms of how we went through to find the best things for my child to thrive as well. And it's why I created the My Child Will Thrive podcast and website so that you and other parents could find out about all the different ways we can help our children and that you're not alone in this journey. There's always something new we can all learn together.

Before we get into the interview, I just want to remind you that we'd really appreciate it if you took the time to subscribe to the podcast and review it when you have a moment, because the more people that do that, the more those podcast platforms will also share it with other parents like yourself so they too can learn everything they need to know to help their child thrive. So without further ado, here is my interview with Dr. Aaron Hartman.

3:44 Tara Hunkin:
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the My Child Will Thrive podcast. I am excited to have with me today, Dr. Aaron Hartman. Dr. Hartman's journey with functional medicine started when he and his wife adopted their first daughter from foster care. She has cerebral palsy and countless dietary issues.

They went from specialist to specialist, and even as a physician, he felt let down and confused. His daughter's health struggles forced him to confront an uncomfortable realization - our current healthcare system doesn't have all the answers. And I'm sure this is starting to sound familiar to most of you right now. His wife, however, refused to give up hope. She ultimately pointed him to functional medicine, his daughter and other two kids began to thrive and after years in family practice, he felt called to make a dramatic shift. He now helps patients identify leverage points and key areas of their lifestyle and health that harness the body's remarkable power to heal and begin living the vibrant life they deserve. He has become the go-to doctor for difficult and hard cases in central Virginia.

As a clinical researcher, Dr. Hartman has been involved with over 60 clinical studies and he's the founder of Virginia research center. And currently is sort of serving as an assistant clinical professor of family medicine at VCU School of Medicine. And lastly, if that wasn't all enough, in 2016, he founded Richmond Integrative Functional Medicine and we'll talk a bit about that as well later. Welcome Dr. Hartman. Really glad to have you here with us today.

5:19 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
It's great to be here. I'm really excited about our conversation. It seems like we have a lot in common already, some I'm excited to see what kind of conversation, where it goes.

5:29 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, me too. So let's start with that because as a parent, I mean, you're a physician and as a parent, so you have adopted a child with cerebral palsy. Just before we get started to talk about her journey, can you explain to people that don't know what cerebral palsy is and how she was affected with it so they can understand better.

5:49 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
So Cerebral Palsy is when kids have a neurological insult to their whole brain typically before birth. And so it can happen by a myriad of causes. Sometimes you can have a stroke, which our daughter had one of those as well. It can be related to drug exposure, which unfortunately she had that as well. Sometimes we don't know, sometimes it's an umbilical cord kind of gets tangled or knotted, but the gist is that there's a decreased blood flow to the brain and they get a global brain injury.

And so they're born and as things turn out, as they develop, they don't progress. You start seeing, because of the lack of progression, you kind of get the diagnosis of cerebral palsy based on those findings.

6:28 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. That makes sense. So tell us about your journey with your daughter. So where you started and how you ended up going down the alternative or integrative or functional medicine route with her.

6:40 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
Well, actually, my daughter was, that one was my wife. My wife is a pediatric occupational therapist who dealt with kids with special needs, that was her practice. And so when Anna came out of the hospital, my wife started working with her as one of our patients. And when she was about a year old, her foster home was closing and my wife asked us, would we consider bringing this little girl into our house? And I said, sure. And fell in love with her. And we ended up deciding to adopt her.

And so about the time when we're pushing for that or trying to get that to happen, the GI specialist recommended putting a feeding tube into her stomach, and it's a plastic tube where they could pour a formula directly into her GI tract. Now, the thinking was, she was too small. She wasn't growing fast enough, a failure to thrive. The caveat my wife tells me is that I always have to tell people that the tube wasn't medically necessary. It was put in just because her weight wasn't optimal or whatever. Because of our understanding of oral development, feeding development, crawling, all these things, which our hope was she would thrive. At that point in time, her prognosis was quite poor. We just kind of opted out of putting a feeding tube in. Then we just spent the laborious time working with this little girl just to get bites in her mouth and get her to chew and swallow.

And about six months later, my wife actually found a pediatric growth chart for kids with cerebral palsy. And she was right in the middle. And that was the first time my eyes were kind of opened that the specialist who's supposed to know about this, didn't. They used a stereotypical go chart for our daughter and because of that was going to do a surgical procedure she did not need. And that was the first time I learned, wait a second, trust, but verify. Yes, the experts have their field of expertise, but they're not the uber generalists, which ultimately is kind of where my practice has gone. So that was when I first kind of veered off the well-trodden path. And that's what's led me down ultimately to have an integrative functional medicine practice.

8:32 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. So it's interesting, like you said, having a lot in common, but it was an interaction with a pediatric GI specialist that led me down the path of just saying that what was being suggested to us seemed extreme and maybe we just needed to.

And when I suggested that it might be diet, I was told that that was crazy. And I couldn't, my child could never eat enough fiber to deal with the issues she was dealing with. So it does sound very similar in many ways. And sometimes it's just that common sense that clicks in and you say, we just don't want to do these type of massive interventions if we don't have to.

9:12 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
In medicine, there's this push, like come with a problem and we want to solve it. So a lot of times with kids with special needs, like with my daughter, it's like a surgical procedure. She's tight, let's lengthen her heel cords. She doesn't look good in a wheelchair. Let's do a SPML or some kind of spinal procedure, make her look better, sitting in a chair. Her eyes wobble around strabismus. Let's do an eye surgery so she looks more and more stereotypical. And once you realize a lot of these things aren't actually, not all the time, but if you put in the hard work and find other routes, you can actually get similar and many times better outcomes if you just put in the blood, sweat and tears. And my wife and I and many parents with special needs, basically they don't pull any punches. They go all in and that's what we did.

10:00 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. Yeah. It does take that for sure. So maybe tell us a bit about maybe, well, I guess it's difficult because she would have been developing in her path, but what's the biggest thing that you did that you feel changed that trajectory in terms of where her health and development was going.

10:18 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
I mean, Tara, we've done so many, like bio-hacks and things with her, but the foundation on which all of the future things I've learned about over the last 10 years, and we implement the foundation, was changing her diet. Starting to change from formula, doing real food, realizing healthy fats are critically important for a brain development, realizing that processed foods are awful. That was the basic thing we do with all of our kids. We have two daughters with neurological issues and a son who has asthma and eczema issues and the diet was the pivotal thing that actually got them moving forward. And then on top of that, we did all the cool stuff, but diet was the critical thing that made the biggest initial change with all our kids.

11:01 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. It's funny that you say that because like all the cool stuff and it is true, it's the things that aren't that exciting that we go, oh they're not that exciting, but they're the things, they're foundational that work. It's the same thing when we talk about hydration. How much hydration can impact so many things in such profound ways. Basically, for most of us, it's not going to cost us really anything except for time. And there's sometimes blood, sweat, and tears to make sure that that gets done, but it is critically important to so many things. And you can spend a lot of money, time and effort on all those exciting things and you won't get nearly as far if they're not eating well and digesting well and are well hydrated.

11:46 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And that's one of the things we learned early on was the foundational things are foundational, critical things are critical. You can do all the fancy, cool stuff and peptides and Ponce therapy and hyperbarics and all kinds of crazy stuff, but if the diet is terrible, if the baby's stressed, you're not getting sleep, hydration, all these things.

You had mentioned hydration. One of the things with kids with CP is they tend to get recurrent UTIs. They tend to get a lot of bladder issues. And so I noticed that she was having issues with that and having clouding of her urine. And what the typical thing is, low-dose antibiotics.

For your daily way to prevent UTIs. I figured out, wait a second. I just sit her on the toilet a certain way, keep her well-hydrated, monitored. And she's ultimately bladder trained herself so now it's a non-issue, and she's 15 now. She's had antibiotics once in her life, which is crazy for any kid, let alone a kid with cerebral palsy who has low mobility issues and bladder issues and the like.

12:41 Tara Hunkin:
No, that's incredible actually, to hear that. And again, similar issues with my daughter as well, and the alternative again was a prophylactic dose of antibiotics and you just say let's try something else. Thankfully I will say that our GP at the time said we really don't want to do that if we don't have to.

So let's see what our alternatives are or it's just a test every time you think. I literally had an ongoing requisition so we could test if there was an issue. So foundationally, obviously we couldn't agree more with those things, but what other things would you say have moved the needle the most for her?

13:29 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
Well, when I first started this journey, I didn't know a lot of things about kids with cerebral palsy. So I reached out to the autism world first to say, Hey, what data is there for this neurological issue? And kind of went down the Amy Yasco, SNP testing world, if you're familiar with her work. And so we did the testing and learned how to read pages.

And back then it was only 20 pages of snips. Now it's over 80 pages of snips and to figure out what nutritionally, what would help her. And I was like, my first thing then kind of led into more, doing organic acid testing and stool testing. Again, these are things that help with her metabolism, but ultimately my wife actually came across a therapy called suit therapy that was used by astronauts for actually keeping their muscle mass in Eastern European countries.

And so we started doing that and realizing, wait a second, one of the best things for our brain is physical activity, lo and behold, right? And so that was the next kind of step. And so from there, we kind of expand even more looking at chronic low grade infections. Eventually did pons read a book by Dr. Doidge on how the brain changes often.

So we went to Canada, we actually came to Canada. We could not get that here in the United States. You said you were in Toronto area.

14:38 Tara Hunkin:
Just outside of Toronto.

14:39 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
We came up to Toronto actually, and actually saw a chiropractor up there that was doing this in his clinic. And we were the first kid with CP in the United States that I know of that actually was doing pons based on Russian research that actually I'd filtered through some other channels.

So, and now we're doing peptides. So it's just been progress. We've done hyperbaric, a whole host of things, but it's just been interesting. Every time I hit a wall, I learned something new that we'd then advance. And then part of our story is just seeing how, looking at other, not just CP, autism, traumatic brain injuries, I'm using all the literature, I'm taking the bits and pieces out of.

Well, how do you deal with a kid with gut issues? Okay. Check. How do you deal with a kid with chronic infections? Check. And it's interesting how things like Autism, PANDAS and PANS and ADHD and brain trauma, all these have similar threads. And sometimes it's an age at which you're exposed. My daughter was before birth. Sometimes with autism it's at 12 months or 16 months of age. Sometimes with PANS it's four years. It's interesting to see how similar etiologies at a different developmental stage in a kid will give you totally different clinical pictures and realize there's actually a lot of interconnectedness between any kind of neurological issue in a young developing brain that's trying to wire itself.

15:54 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. Interesting to hear you say that, because it did take me a long time. So one of the struggles I think that a lot of parents have, and of course the Internet's changed a ton since when I started on this journey 17 years ago or so, and where there was nothing, or very, very, very little. To now being probably actually too much because it's extremely overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. But one of the things that it did, it took me a number of years to realize is, and what was so important because my daughter didn't actually have great.

She didn't fit one diagnosis really well, which is the truth for many of these kids, because they have so many overlapping co-morbidities, but when they don't fit the diagnostic criteria at all, you're left to Google something, some random symptoms, which don't necessarily get you anywhere. But so what I ended up finding out through that whole journey was I really was, then I did the same thing.

I ended up reaching out because she did not have, even though we had done all the diagnosis on autism, did not have autism, but I ended up reaching out to the autism community as well, because there was so much overlap. I mean, I could see the overlap in the symptoms then, and from different things, as well as learning disabilities and all these different bits and pieces and books like Dr. Dorman does book his two books that it came out as well. So many interesting things. And you can start to see that you can pull these threads from so many places. And I think that's what's so important is parents is not to just look within the diagnosis of your child, but to look beyond that and just think about the symptoms and what other areas, where there has been more research that you can maybe pull in and pull that thread.

17:35 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
Well, I think, an interesting point to think on top of it, you decide is that when you get these diagnoses like autism or ADHD or whatever, you have to realize these titles originally started out just for research criteria.

We need to have these are syndromes, right, initially. So we need a set of symptoms that we can give a diagnosis so then we can do research, standardizing approach. So let's standardize the approach, whether it's, whatever that approach is. But the reality is there's so much crossover between all kinds of things.

What used to be called PDD then autism, then it's Asperger's, or a different version. It's like, it's very much, there's many diseases that are very similar, where they have a spectrum and then you have to learn the whole spectrum realize, well, based on exposure, time, date, environment, you get different trajectory. And so that applies, not just in the neurological developmental work but also in cardiovascular health, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, a whole host of other inflammatory diseases and mitochondrial diseases where based on the genetics and environment, you can have the same exposure, but a different outcome and researching that and find out, well, what do you do for these different things?

How can we unwind that? And then how can I look at my daughter or my patients and apply that information to them. And this is the ultimate kind of personalized medicine where we literally tailor the treatment to the individual, not you have this diagnosis here are your five or six treatments.

19:07 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. Now, one of the things I want to jump back to actually because I meant to do that when you were talking before is actually, can you explain to people what the pons is? Because most people will not be familiar with what that is, unless they have read that book or have someone in their world that has Parkinson's because that's typically what it's used for.

19:25 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
Well, so it's this interesting technology that do you know the first time the medical literature, they used lingual stimulation to treat a neurological disease? It was the 1880s. And so, yes, so it's like one of the things that just blew my mind about pons I'll explain is that a lot of these new fancy things are actually old, they just been refined. And so the pons is this really cool device that activates your central nervous system through your tongue.

And so you have multiple cranial nerves that are in your mouth and your tongue that go right back to your midbrain part of your brain, which is where all the regulation, temperature, a whole lot of regulatory nuclei are there. And so the pons actually activates them while you're doing an activity. So you wear a little thing around your neck and stick this tongue thing in your mouth and it vibrates and activates your tongue with little copper electrodes at a certain frequency in certain ways. And while you're doing activity, it helps reregulate dysregulation. So it's happening as your brain is trying to say, move that arm, move that leg from a stroke or whatever injury, traumatic brain injury, actually it's approved in the United States to treat multiple sclerosis now.

Okay. So originally was just approved for dizziness from traumatic brain injuries. As you're doing these things, the brain actually can reregulate its dysregulation and remake old connections. The thing with my daughter was she hadn't actually made those connections so the question was, could she actually improve her date with this device, which she did to a certain degree. So that's the pons. It's a really cool thing. I'm hoping to get more exposure, not just in Canada, but also in the United States just came here within the last year.

21:02 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. It is amazing how much that stuff goes way back. And like you said, it can be applied in many different, I guess, diagnosis or whatever it might be.

21:11 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
You just need to look back at the root of what it's doing and what the mechanism of action is and can that actually improve what your child might be challenged with. And one thing we talked about before we started recording was functional neurology. And I did some training at Cerebrum down in Atlanta, Georgia.

And so they were down there, years ago, using two lingual probes, activating the tongue to help with some people with neurological issues. And I remember looking at back then and be like, this is the weirdest thing ever. Who would ever do this? And then I ended up going to Canada to do something very, very similar. So it's interesting how a lot of things I've kind of looked at and poo-pooed in the past, I'm now doing. As you learn more, you realize that there's so much out there.

21:57 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. There's still lots to learn, which is a good thing, but also the overwhelming thing as well. So one of the things, so let's talk a little bit about how you are practicing now and the way it's changed, how you interact with the patients that you see.

22:19 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
Okay. So, well, I'm applying functional medicine, integrative and holistic medicine, which all have their unique nuances to them, to patients. So part of that is just a two-hour intake where I learn someone's whole entire history as best I can in two hours, which you still don't get everything.

What came before your illness? What triggered it? What's keeping you stuck there? Looking at their environment - is there mold, other toxins involved, chronic infections, nutrient deficiencies, and really kind of tailoring my treatment, not to the person's diagnoses, but to their expression. How things pop up has a huge impact on what we do.

What do we unwind first? If the first thing that triggered things was a traumatic brain injury, it's like, okay, well obviously that's an acute thing, but why do people have different expressions of a TBI? Maybe you lived in a moldy house for years and years and had no idea. Maybe had gut issues and have no idea that that was setting up for inflammation and the brain injury that caused massive leaky gut and leaky brain set up the issues the last two, three years. And so we kind of unwind that and then create an individualized treatment plan. And then once we have that, then we do therapeutic trials. It's like, let's try this, see how you do with it. Great. Let's do this. See how you with that. That didn't work so well, maybe we'll do that four steps ahead.

And you really tailor your treatment to the patient and also to their preferences. I may have this amazing protocol to do 15,000 things. And if the person is struggling with trying to find real food, then we kind of, we have to tailor that to the individual. That's part of the fun as well as the difficulty in this kind of medicine.

23:52 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. Well, it is that personalized medicine that we all need, but unfortunately can't get in most places. Where are you at now with your daughter in terms of how is she doing and what is your favorite thing from all the experiences you've had making these changes over the years?

24:12 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
She's 15 now. So to put things in perspective, I mean, she was never supposed to walk or talk or crawl. We were told she had severe mental retardation, so she'll never get any kind of jokes or anything. Of course she wasn't supposed to walk or talk so I'm not sure how that was supposed to make a difference. But now she currently is walking with forearm crutches.

She just now is able to balance and hold herself up for maybe 30 seconds. She plays chess, loves card games. She started writing. Actually we did hyperbarics last summer and she started actually, she was going like from single letters to actually writing her whole name. And then we started doing peptides with her. She's now actually, her vision's improving.

So we're in a unique position where kids that are 15 with CP, don't continue to get better. We recently started tasis therapy, which actually I'm doing with a group in Canada, actually smile therapy. If you're familiar with them, they're a OTPT group that does a lot of really cool things. And so that's basically a task specific electrical stimulation where she's walking based on her body tone, that you'll activate different muscles. So that's what we're doing right now. And again, she's continued to even get more balance, walk better. Her legs used to cross all the time. And the fix for that was to do SPML, cut her back and cut hamstrings, right?

We've addressed that with tasis and also another device that I've found, it's revive, it's a footplate, that's a neurostimulation device has actually decreased a ton of her tone, which has enabled her to actually stand flatfoot. So that's where we're at right now. We're continuing to try to learn new things. The gas in my fire has been my daughter. That's what's been my accelerant for learning. I like to read and learn, but when we have a little girl who literally, at some point in time, our brains going to stop developing and, you know you have limited time. There's no greater motivator than that, for a dad, there's no greater motivator.

26:03 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, no, it is. And I mean, it does, it takes a lot of time and energy and effort, and it does take a lot of research. And that's why it's great that you taken the time to share that with us today because it is a steep learning curve and we are all still learning because there's still so much more that we don't know.

And really what that means is there's just even more potential out there that we haven't tapped yet. So it's always great to run into other parents and obviously a practitioner that has been through this with their child. How do you work with people? Like in terms of what ways can people reach out and work with you if they would like to?

26:44 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
Well, we're trying to set up a different levels of things. The first thing is just general information to the public to kind of educate people about what is functional medicine and that we do through our social media, Facebook, blogs on the website that people sign up for our newsletter. They get those on a weekly basis.

The next level, which is actually individual involvement is we have a community, an online community where people can sign up. We have some courses in there, health coaches. We've just walked individuals just through some of the issues with navigating things, right? It's an educational platform only of course, but that's the next level of people. If people want to work with me one-on-one then I have my one-on-one clinic in Richmond, Virginia, where we work on people one-on-one. But we're trying to create this because it's kind of medicine is just hard to access.

Where do you go? I mean, in Richmond where I'm at, there's two doctors that do this, it's myself and my partner in a city of 1.2 million people. It's just, there's not enough of us out there. So I'm trying to educate as well as give people different options. One of the things I facts I quote all the time is that half of all chronic disease in our country can be directly related to eating processed foods. 80{4537a52abafa24f75931b694e3f6d1d9b0beb5896e18e49b3141987b78b41d96} of heart disease and 70{4537a52abafa24f75931b694e3f6d1d9b0beb5896e18e49b3141987b78b41d96} of cancer can be prevented by diet and lifestyle alone. If I truly believe that then the patients, the individuals at the center of their healthcare and educating people is the single biggest leverage point for people to advance their health or the health of their kids. So that's kind of one of the reasons I make education a big part of what I do.

28:16 Tara Hunkin:
That's great. I hadn't really thought of it that way too because in the end, we all have to take charge and the patients or the individuals that you are working with are educating. They do have to take both their own health and their children's health into their own hands and do the hard work. We can only, you can only do so much even when you are a physician and that is identifying what they should do.

There's so much more to do once they leave your office. So that's wonderful that you're doing that. We have links to Dr. Hartman's all his social media and his website and everything in the show notes for today. But it's richmondfunctionalmedicine.com. If you're looking for his website and just listening today. Is there anything else that you want to share with everybody today before we wrap up?

29:06 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
I think knowing the community you're talking to, I think the biggest thing is just, people just do not give up on your kids. Just because you run into a wall, you meet someone who is the expert. There's so many things out there.

I just am amazed by hypermobility, something I came across several years ago that there's experts doing that for 30 years. Mold, which I stumbled across eight years ago, which the guy who discovered that discovered in the 1990s, 98, 97. It was a long time ago. Like there's so many things out there that are waiting to be discovered. And people have been doing this for a long, long time, longer than I've been involved in longer than we've been involved. So just encouraging parents, just to search, seek, look. There aren't answers, but there are pearls out there. They require someone to uncover them. So just don't give up.

And technology, things are always changing. There's always new things popping up. Never give up hope on yourself, your family, your kids. My wife and I, we say Hartman's do hard things. And we tell our kids that and they kind of are growing up realizing we just do hard things. That's life. And when you do that, you live a great life, a life of meaning and value, but also see your kids thrive. And that's our main goals for our kids to thrive.

30:17 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, I'm right there with you. Thank you so much for your time today and I look forward to seeing all the work that you continue to.

30:26 Dr. Aaron Hartman:
Okay. Well, thanks for inviting me. I had a great time.

30:29 Tara Hunkin:
So that's a wrap. Thanks for joining me this week on My Child Will Thrive. I'm so passionate about giving you the tools and information you need to help your child recover. And as they say, it takes a village. So join us in the, My Child Will Thrive village Facebook group, where you can meet like-minded parents and stay up to date on everything we have going on at My Child Will Thrive. This is Tara Hunkin and I'll catch you on the next podcast or over at My Child Will Thrive dot com.

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