Provider Spotlight: Rachel Hall, MD
by Wynter Kaiser
Dr. Hall graduated from the University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine in Columbia, South Carolina in 1999. She then completed her residency in family medicine at Palmetto Health Richland, also in Columbia. She was certified by the American Board of Family Medicine in 2002 and went on to complete a year of obstetrics training for the Family Physician in San Jose, California. After that, she returned to Columbia to teach family medicine at the USC-affiliated Family Medicine Residency at Palmetto Health.
With a passion for education, Dr. Hall taught for almost 10 years before she attended the Scripps Center for Integrative and Holistic Medicine’s annual meeting in 2011. It was there that Dr. Hall discovered an approach to medicine that truly fit her thought process, inspiring her to embark on a year of self-study. As a result, she passed the board exam for Integrative/Holistic Medicine in 2012.
Dr. Hall’s medical philosophy is that diseases are the result of an imbalance in the body, and therefore the goal of health care is to help patients of all ages find their homeostasis, their desired balance, allowing the body to heal itself of illness. As an integrative/holistic medicine family physician, Dr. Hall looks forward to helping everyone in the family live a healthier life, naturally.
DUTCH: What is your training?
Dr. Rachel Hall: I went to the University of South Caroling (USC) USC School of Medicine in Columbia, SC and graduated in 1999. From 1999 to 2002, I served a Family Medicine Residency at Palmetto Richland in Columbia. Additionally, I did a one-year fellowship in obstetrics for the Family Physician at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, CA. I returned to Columbia and began teaching at the residency program starting in 2003. My focus was teaching prenatal, intrapartum (labor and delivery), postpartum and newborn care, but was practicing full scope family medicine with a clinic patient load.
I was sick to death of the pharma driven conferences and was struggling to find a conference to go to for CME in 2011. That’s when I got a flyer for the Scripps 12th Annual Science and Clinical Application of Integrative Holistic Medicine. I didn’t understand what those words meant, but there was enough in the flyer to spark my interest to go.
My world broke back open and I realized I could still be a doctor and practice medicine, but in a way that made sense. The first lecture was on all the things I had realized why I hated medicine. The rest of the conference was like drinking from a fire hose, but I had found what I wanted to do. I had also found my tribe since the room was full of hundreds of clinicians who thought like I did and didn’t blink an eye when I pulled out my essential oils to fight my sinus headache.
I started studying and became board certified in Integrative/Holistic Medicine in 2012.
DUTCH: Describe your medical background/ practice.
Dr. Rachel Hall: In 2013, I bought an existing practice in Columbia and slowly have built it up from part time to full time. I see patients for general wellness, weight loss, the integrative holistic approach to a variety of chronic diseases, bio-identical hormone replacement for post-menopausal women, but also for men and pre-menopausal women with imbalances, and I still see pregnant women for my midwives’ clients.
I use a lot of supplements, essential oils, and lifestyle change as I have a part time health coach in my practice. We also offer IV therapies like chelation for heavy metals and heart disease, high dose IV vitamin C, and other nutritional IVs. We have a BEMER, which helps improve the impaired pumping movements of small and very small vessels to promote needs-based distribution of blood. Finally, we offer some aesthetic services.
DUTCH: What other functional testing do you use in your practice?
Dr. Rachel Hall: I do IV provoked urine testing for heavy metals, complete stool analysis, Boston Heart panels, as well as ordering “regular” labs that are rarely ordered on most patients and evaluate them for not just to see if they’re normal but if they’re optimal.
DUTCH: How have you incorporated DUTCH Testing into your practice?
Dr. Rachel Hall: I always do a DUTCH on my BHRT clients to evaluate how they metabolize estrogen. It also helps reduce potential testosterone side effects to know hormone metabolism. HPA axis is so important for balance in the body, so I can make recommendations for supplements and the importance of a daily breathing practice, when I review that section with my clients. We all need to do more to balance our stress and off load our adrenals. It’s also helpful with my pre-menopausal clients who are having symptoms suggesting improper metabolism or imbalance.
DUTCH: What are the changes you have seen in your patients and practice since incorporating the DUTCH Test?
Dr. Rachel Hall: We have less side-effects from testosterone, which the ladies of course appreciate, and I’ve gotten to see one patient whose cortisol was off the charts see the positive effects of balancing the HPA axis.
DUTCH: Where do you see functional/integrative medicine 20 years from now?
Dr. Rachel Hall: My hope is it will be much more mainstream, accepted and used. That patients will realize they need to invest in their most important asset and not rely on their “health insurance”, or as I call it, their illness payment plan, to help them get well. I do think in 20 years the status quo of sick care and the strangle hold of big pharma and insurance will still be quite firm, but that the consumer and culture will be shifting. This could be expedited (especially insurance’s grip loosening) if a single payer system has begun by then.
DUTCH: What do you like to do outside of work?
Dr. Rachel Hall: My biggest passion outside of work is Latin dancing. I learned salsa while in San Jose and have been dancing ever since (16 years now). I love salsa, bachata, cha cha, and started learning Kizomba, which is out of Angola, about a year ago. I enjoy reading, puzzles, time with my dog and two cats, travel, and playing games.