As you enter this beautiful clinic, you may get the feeling that although this practice is straight out of the future, the clinic (including the people who work there) has roots firmly set in the past on the shoulders of nutritional greats that include Dr. Royal Lee and mentor, Dr. Dinkleman.
Walking into the Frye Functional Health Center is like walking into an integrative practice, 20 years into the future. As you enter the waiting room, you are greeted by photos of functional foods, smart promotional pieces, a built-in screen for educational workshops, and see a glimpse into the natural pharmacy.
Upon arrival to the Fryes’ practice in Glen Carbon, IL, guests are greeted by an inviting, rustic interior.
After a quick tour from Dr. Clinton T. Frye, D.C., we went into how he got started in chiropractic and functional healthcare.
“Growing up as an athlete I kind of knew that I initially I always wanted to work with athlete in some type of setting. Ironically enough growing up, and playing sports I never visited a chiropractor. My parents never went to a chiropractor.”
Dr. Frye talks to Jeff West about the checkout layout in FRYE Functional Health Center.
“In Big 10 Athletics, there would sometimes be surgeries that, in my opinion, were maybe recommended that weren’t necessary, and different treatments, etc. I was just kind of voicing some of these frustrations, and somebody just said, “Why don’t you look at Chiropractic?” My first instinct was I know nothing about Chiropractic, but it was something I felt that I was called to do for some reason.”
The Fryes integrate Clinical Nutrition and Chiropractic in their approach to healthcare.
“As I went through the training, and the education I became more passionate and developed a strong interest in the field of chiropractic, and at that point, I was still more or less looking at things from a pain-based chiropractic model because that’s what I had done with the athletic training.”
How did you get into functional healthcare?
“Brooke (Dr. Brooke N. Frye, D.C., FIAMA) and I had been practicing together in Otterville for about a year, not yet offering nutrition, functional medicine, or anything of that nature, and I’ll always remember this. It was on a Tuesday, a patient came in, and asked me a question about calcium, and I honestly didn’t know the answer to the question, but I had heard of Dr. John Dinkleman, who was in Wood River, Illinois which is only 15-20 minutes away from Otterville, and I told the patient, “I really don’t know the answer to your question, I’m not going to make something up, but I think I know somebody who might.” I called John’s office and spoke to him on the phone on a Tuesday. He invited us to come to his office the following day, his day off. We spent about five hours that Wednesday just talking about nutrition.”
The Fryes emphasize balanced nutrition to help their patients reach optimal wellness.
“I realized that I needed to dedicate my life, and my practice to functional medicine, and nutrition, because there isn’t any limitation to what you can do, who you can see, or who you can help. From there we just devoted every day to learn more about nutrition, and functional medicine in the realm of whole food, supplementation, hair analysis testing, saliva testing, functional blood chemistry, hormones, etc. I probably spent the next five years at least one or two days a week in Dr. Dinkleman’s office to shadow him. To this day, I still do this as much as I can. That’s really how our practice started and evolved.”
Jeff West and Stacy Gauch reviewing the stock of Standard Process and MediHerb.
How would you classify the type of practitioner you are?
“My passion lies in functional and integrative medicine. I view holistic healing as being an umbrella of course, over the whole body, but that can include chiropractic. It includes nutrition, it includes functional medicine. I explain it in a way that I’m a chiropractor by license, by trade, but my specialty is really in functional, and integrative medicine.”
Free oranges instead of a candy bowl…
“I want the majority of our patients to view us as their primary care. A lot of patients do that. They will call us on the phone first before they call their medical doctor, and it’s nothing against MD’s. We have a great relationship with several in this area, but people don’t want to just be put on more medication. They don’t want to be run through more expensive tests when we have things that are discretion whether it be hair analysis, knowing how to read functional blood labs, Biomeridian Testing, that can uncover a lot of things that you can’t see within Western medical tests.”
Urinalysis and Hair Mineral Analysis are offered at the Frye Functional Health Clinic.
What’s the idea behind the way you have designed this open, transparent, and modern practice?
“Well, basically what we have are four separate areas where the staff can check patients out. Whether the patient is coming in to buy their supplements, whether they just had an appointment with myself or my wife. Whether they just had a nutritional consultation with one of the staff members in terms of diet. “
The checkout lanes make placing and picking up supplement and herbal plans a breeze.
“In terms of our natural pharmacy, all of our supplements are on display so to some degree, no matter where you are in the office, everything that we do is in full view. In some ways, it’s kind of another educational tool that we use for patients that are just coming in only for chiropractic at the time. They start to see all these patients coming in and participating!”
Beautiful photos of functional foods are displayed in the waiting room.
“We try to not waste any space, or time to miss an opportunity to educate somebody who may not know. We created an open space environment where everything that was in front of the patient all the time was nutrition. Whether it be holistic health and gardening magazines, Standard Process brochures, pictures of food on the wall, or the supplements that are in view, it [the set up] always stirs up questions over, and over again. That was one of the main premises aside from trying to figure out how can we functionally design this, because when you’re in a period of growth, and fortunately we have been for 10 years, you have to figure out how can you keep planning for the future, and how can you keep planning for a bigger patient load.”
How are appointments set up? (Time, Interactions, checkouts.)
“Depending on what type of functional medicine appointment it is, it’s a minimum of 30 minutes, but if we’re doing like a heart sound with quarter, or a Biomeridian scan, or something like that we’re going to block anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes.”
Another view of the waiting area.
“We have four staff members now aside from Brooke, and myself. There’s six of us that work here at the office. For us, it takes about a year for a staff member to be fully trained where they’re comfortable with interacting with the patients, and talking to the patients like they’re an extension of us. For me, I still like that to be in front of a patient all day long. I still get every patient out of the waiting room. I bring them back with me to the room for the appointment.”
“We don’t have staff members that take patients to the rooms. I like that connection with patients. I don’t know that we would even get to that point where we would do that, because the patients really coming to the office to see whatever doctor it is. They don’t want to come to the office and get 90 percent of everything done by the staff, and then they only get the doctor for 10 minutes or 10 percent, yet still pay the doctors price. One thing that we pride ourselves in is having that connection, and that relationship with patients.”
How would you describe your mission of the practice?
“Brooke and I believe in practice and the law of attraction. We have a vision board at home, and we constantly go through, writing down what our vision is for next week, next month, next year, 10 years, whatever it might be, and one of the things that keeps resonating with us is our desire to be a destination. We want to be the destination where people say, “You just have to go there to get well.”
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
“That has been our mission, and our driving force the whole time. Even with trying to create the office. We try to create an office that’s a calming environment. It’s a peaceful environment. The energy is always good here. We feel that that has to be part of the destination, because the patient has to feel welcome, and comfortable, and loved in the situation with where they are in order to be healed. That is a huge part of the healing process. Just trying to become a destination for patients is that all-encompassing term that we’ve used for people to come in.”
Dr. Frye sharing some laughs with local Standard Process Field Rep Stacy Gauch.
“We have a lot of new patients that come in, and I always ask, “What brings you here? What can I help you with?” They said, “I don’t really know. I was just told by five people that I have to come here.” It’s a very humbling feeling to have that. Never letting a patient down is what drives us every day. It doesn’t mean that we always have to be right, but if we’re wrong we’ve got to make it right. We’ve got to research, and we’ve got to figure out what did we miss, ‘what was our recommendation that wasn’t exactly what it should have been?’ You can never go wrong by giving somebody whole food nutrition, but we want to make it as good as it can be, and make sure that that recommendation is the right time, the right level, the right sequence, or remedies for that patient.”
What is your desert island product–the one you can’t live without?
“So many products are so interconnected. That’s the beauty of it too with these formulations. There’s probably a few that I could pick, and not to sound too cliché, but it’s hard to ignore what started it all in 1929 with Catalyn because those ingredients that are in there literally have support in every single body system. I feel that because the body is a whole being from a holistic standpoint, Catalyn just brings the interconnectedness together, and I think it is the glue that can help the body stick together, and just restore function over time. Depending on what it is that we’re treating, Catalyn is definitely one of the major things that we will always start with as well, but then we’ll always tie in hair analysis, we’ll tie in blood testing, saliva testing, that kind of thing. Treat from a functional standpoint based on their bodies individual needs. Catalyn is definitely one of the baseline things that we use as a core product to put it all together.”
The treatment rooms are clean and highly organized.
If you were to talk to your younger self five years in the past, what would be the piece of advice that you would give yourself as your going through this process of building this practice?
“There’s probably three things I would have to say. The first thing would be, “Just breathe.” I think that means a lot of things. Breathing to us is a process of being present with the patient, trusting the process is the second thing because when you’re coming out of school, you’re young, everybody has bills to pay, everybody wants to treat everybody. The process doesn’t always allow for that. The bigger picture. Just trusting the process, doing things the right way, and just being present in the moment. We were at a seminar once a few years ago. I remember, and the presenter asked, “Who’s the most important patient that you’ll ever treat?” A lot of people say your spouse, or your wife, or your mom, or dad. The presenter said, “It’s your staff member.” I raised my hand, and I said, “I disagree, because in my opinion the most important person that you’ll ever treat is the person that’s in front of you at that time.”
I think the point I was getting at was you have to be present with the patient that’s in front of you. Give everything you have for those 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes, whatever it might be to help that person get well. Then you move on to the next person. The next important person becomes the next person that’s in front of you. I think that knowing that from a very early stage, breathing, trusting the process, and just be present in the moment with whoever is in front of you is the most important advice I could have been given 10 years ago.”
“One of the core things is mentoring. I believe if it wasn’t for Dr. Dinkleman and his wife Antoinette mentoring us, we wouldn’t be where we are. Mentoring is important not only for young doctors, but even for experienced doctors. You’re never going to know everything so lean on people that you know and trust that can always offer something different. One of the biggest things that has to be eliminated is egos. There can never be any egos, and there’s never any competition. The minute you make it about competition you forget about the patient, and then you’re never going to succeed.”
“I feel that so many people are afraid to share information. I don’t understand because truly the information that we need to heal people is the information that’s been around since the early 1900’s. If we go back to the basics, and the foundation of John Courtney’s information, and Dr. Lee’s information, that’s where we find the type of research that’s really based on true physiology and true healing–You can only heal the body with what it’s made of.”
To consult with Drs. Brooke and Clint Frye or become a patient…