Dr. Deborah Bain has been a pediatrician in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for 18 years. She began her career practicing traditional pediatric medicine, but after her own journey back to health following nine neck and back surgeries and a battle with breast cancer, she was inspired to bring a more holistic approach to the treatment of children with the creation
of Healthy Kids Pediatrics in 2006.
“I was brought up in the traditional system for 10 years,” she says. “You had a protocol to follow that usually resulted in a medication, procedure or what we called “symptomatic care.” Insight with my own illnesses made me start questioning many things. I began attending holistic-minded conferences and joined the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) to learn more about this field of medicine and realized there really is a better way.”
At Healthy Kids Pediatrics, she focuses on helping kids become healthier, not just managing their symptoms. “As a holistic and integrative healthcare practice, we draw upon all different avenues to get somebody well—we are treating the whole person,” she explains. “We may utilize different providers to get to the root of the problem, and understand that it’s not always a quick fix.”
For example, if a patient comes in with migraines, Bain won’t simply prescribe medication. The goal is to determine the cause of the headaches—what went wrong, when and why—and repair it at the root level, thereby eliminating or decreasing the need for medication.
“Our goal is to get kids well,” she says. “It was hard going against the grain initially, but more and more people are coming around to holistic, integrative care.” Bain adds that the office is usually filled with well kids, so what they are doing is certainly working. She notes that educating kids and their parents is one of the crucial aspects of her practice. From pregnancy and beyond, Bain and her staff discuss the importance of proper nutrition, natural remedies and the prevention of disease. She provides patients with a wealth of information via her website and handouts, including Traffic Light Foods, a food classification system which color codes foods for healthier food choices.
“It’s critical that we educate on all levels,” explains Bain. “When a mother is pregnant, I want her to know which supplements to take and which foods are best to eat. It’s all about nutrition. The result is babies that start in our practice as newborns do not have the same incidence of asthma, eczema, ear infections, and other common conditions that I see reviewing charts from other traditional practices. When the baby is ready to begin food, we want the mother to know that she should give real fruits and vegetables—not highly processed foods. Helping to keep things in balance and making their childhood an embracement of health and wellness is by far one of the most rewarding things I do.”
The practice offers many unique ways of determining how to optimize a child’s health, including food sensitivity, allergy and nutritional testing, comprehensive stool testing as well as other standard lab testing of the blood, urine, and saliva. In addition, Healthy Kids offers well and sick visits and complicated and/or developmental concern appointments. Based on findings in the history, physical exam and lab analysis, the practice offers customized recommendations, if necessary, and will create a treatment to best suit the needs of each individual.
“Our goal is to use many modalities to get to the root of your child’s health problems,” notes Bain. “Western medicine does not have all the answers, and neither does Eastern medicine, but by combining different traditional and non-traditional testing approaches, we come much closer to determining how to optimize your child’s health.”
Passionate about holistic and integrative medicine, Bain has pursued additional expertise and education and is now board certified by the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine, and will sit for her board exam through the Institute of Functional Medicine in September. She hopes her contribution to kids’ health will make a difference.
“I see some ugly trends in kids’ health, it’s disconcerting,” she comments. “We have seen a huge increase in developmental and speech delays, chronic illness, asthma, allergies and more. Every generation, kids keep getting sicker.”
She says that because women, including pregnant moms, are under an increasing amount of stress, they often have poor nutrition. With not enough time to cook, they aren’t eating healthy and babies aren’t getting the proper nutrition they need. Bain emphasizes that healthcare starts with the mother at the preconception stage. “The mother has to get healthy first and then get pregnant second,” she explains.
Kids also experience an enormous amount of stress these days and they spend too much time playing with video games or other electronic devices. “It’s time to get back to basics and take back our health,” notes Bain. For families, she suggests turning off the television and recommitting to family meals; cooking together; growing a garden; putting down the electronics and having designated, cherished family time. “Whole health is not just physical, it’s mind-body and spirit health, as well.”
Bain adds that she is inspired daily by her patients and has seen even the sickest kids get well through a very simplified approach. “To give someone their life back is extremely motivating to me; but so is watching vibrant, healthy kids, full of life and energy, grow up. These kids are our future, and we need to do all we can to ensure they are healthy. Where’s the future if we don’t?”
Healthy Kids Pediatrics is located at 4851 Legacy Dr., Ste. 301, in Frisco. For more information, call 972-294-0808 or visit HealthyKidsPediatrics.com.