Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania Edition
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Dr. Kristin Reihman MD

Alternative Protocol for Treating Lyme Disease

After experiencing bouts of Lyme disease during her residency, Dr. Reihman found holistic methods of healing and recovery, which she shares with patients today through her holistic practice in Allentown and her e-book.

Dr. Reihman earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies, with a minor in communications and film, in 1992 from Yale University. After graduation, she went to China to teach English. She enjoyed Chinese food and culture and learned about modalities such as herbal medicine and acupuncture. After one year in China, she contracted appendicitis and was transported to Hong Kong for an emergency appendectomy.

“Being a foreigner in the middle of a health crisis was pretty shocking and eye opening,” she relates. “It made me realize how important it is to have a healing team that literally understands your language and your perspective.”

When she returned to the United States, Reihman was at a crossroad and didn’t know what to do with her life. Through encouragement from her boyfriend during a cross-country drive, she decided to go to medical school. She took pre-med classes and was accepted at Stanford School of Medicine, where she graduated in 2004. She moved to Pennsylvania to do a residency in family medicine at Lehigh Valley Hospital. During that time, a tick bit her. Although she had no obvious symptoms of Lyme disease, as a precaution, she put herself on doxycycline and seemed to have no further problems.

While still in residency, and after having her fourth child, Dr. Reihman became extremely fatigued. She contributed it to the fact that she was in her early 40s and had nursed her infant for an entire year, along with stress from starting a new job. She eventually realized that the Lyme disease contracted previously was recurring. She calls that second bout her Near Death experience; she spent 3 months in bed, lost 30 pounds and was unable to participate in her family life in any meaningful way.

Through one of her patients also suffering from Lyme disease, Dr. Reihman learned about a whole realm of research and treatment options not taught in medical school. “I had a false belief that once you treat Lyme, it’s gone,” she says, “but I began to learn more about it on my patient’s behalf, and that turned out to change the trajectory of my entire professional life.”

One of those options was chlorine dioxide, or CD, a man-made gas. Dr. Reihman says CD can either be ingested orally or used topically as a way to oxidize and reduce the body’s pathogen load. Kerri Rivera, from whom Reihman learned about the effects of CD, has promoted is as a tool to reduce pathogens such as yeast, parasites, and heavy metals.

Dr. Reihman says that CD eased her Herx reactions, or die-offs that can occur when treating Lyme. She notes that use of CD for healing purposes has been a bone of contention in mainstream and even integrative wellness arenas. “But as with any healing modality, any time you actively take apart pathogens, you creates inflammation which can temporarily make you feel worse. With good detoxification and drainage practices, you can avoid Herxing, or at least avoid the worst of it.”

Dr. Reihman believes Lyme and other autoimmune issues respond best to integrative protocols including naturopathy, herbal medicine, oxidative therapies and nutritional practices. “I address not just issues that undermine recovery in the physical body, such as food allergies or leaky gut, but I also look at limiting beliefs and emotional blocks to healing. I like to think of our cells as little minions taking orders directly from our thoughts and feelings,” she says.

As Dr. Reihman slowly got better, she decided that she wanted to be in an environment that promoted true healing and nurturing. In 2012, she left her job at the hospital and opened her own practice out of her living room. She instantly had a full patient roster comprised of people with chronic and acute Lyme, who wanted to learn about the tools she had used to recover herself, holistically. She shares her healing experiences in an informative new e-book, Life After Lyme: Revive Your Inner Rock Star and Achieve a Full Recovery, available at lifeafterlyme.net. The book covers every aspect of the complex disease. “It’s a comprehensive, D.I.Y recovery manual, and I also like to think it is like a supportive cheerleader on your healing team,” something she strives to be for every patient.

Dr. Kristin Clague Reihman, M.D, LLC is located at 739 E. Emmaus Ave., Allentown. For more information, call 610-704-1294 or visit KristinReihmanMD.com

Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.

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