Provider Spotlight: Laura Paris, DACM
by Wynter Kaiser
Dr. Laura Paris, DACM, is a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and a functional medicine practitioner. Since 2004 she’s owned and directed Laura Paris Healing Arts, an integrative medical clinic in Monterey California, specializing in women’s reproductive health care. Dr. Paris also consults with clients across the country, writes articles, and teaches online programs. She has a rich background in nutrition and movement, including yoga and the Feldenkrais method of movement education.
DUTCH: What inspired you to become a healthcare practitioner?
Dr. Laura Paris: After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis Missouri with a degree in Fine Arts and Women’s Studies, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and became exposed to the rich world of integrative health practices. I studied yoga and the Feldenkrais method and became a teacher in both. I began to use integrative medicine for my own personal healthcare and discovered the Paleo style of nutrition worked well for me. This was in the 1990’s, the old days! Becoming a healthcare practitioner who specializes in women’s health was a natural application of my interests, my background in creativity, and my interest in women’s health and empowerment.
DUTCH: What is your training?
Dr. Laura Paris: I completed a Masters’s degree in traditional Chinese medicine, with a doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. In addition, I completed a two-year certification in nutrition consulting, a four-year training to become a certified Feldenkrais practitioner and several functional medicine trainings. I’m still learning new things all the time! That’s part of what keeps the work interesting.
DUTCH: Describe your medical background/practice.
Dr. Laura Paris: Before starting my Masters and doctorate program, I worked as a Feldenkrais practitioner and a nutrition consultant. I started my acupuncture and functional medicine clinic in 2004 in the Monterey Bay area, where I’ve been ever since. In the past few years I’ve created some collaborative online functional medicine programs, as well as working with women via video telemedicine from across the United States. My specialty has always been women’s reproductive health care, spanning from adolescence through menopause. I’m not a prescriber, and my strength lies in using all-natural medicine; supplements, acupuncture, and herbal medicine. I’m in the process of designing some women’s herbal formulas specifically for fertility, menstrual cycles, and perimenopause.
DUTCH: What other functional testing do you use in your practice?
Dr. Laura Paris: My top three tests are blood work with a functional perspective, the Dutch Test®, and the G.I. Map PCR stool test. I also do a fair amount of food intolerance testing, SIBO breath testing, and organic acids.
DUTCH: How have you incorporated DUTCH Testing into your practice?
Dr. Laura Paris: I started using Dutch testing in 2016. Many women actually come into my practice having already heard about the Dutch Test® and requesting it! Dutch is a great tool when I’m looking for more detail about adrenal function, sex hormone levels, and sex hormone metabolism. I primarily use Dutch Complete®. Occasionally I will use the adrenal-only version. The addition of the organic acid markers is a huge plus!
DUTCH: What are the changes you have seen in your patients and practice since incorporating the DUTCH Test®?
Dr. Laura Paris: Zeroing in on these markers has been significant. I’d like to say I could guess what patient results are based on my exam and their history and symptoms, but I continue to be surprised by the results. Identifying subpar estrogen metabolism has been key. Getting the information about cortisol levels and rhythm has also been instrumental.
DUTCH: Where do you see functional/integrative medicine twenty years from now?
Dr. Laura Paris: I see functional and integrative medicine as disciplines which are here to stay, even more so during this COVID-19 crisis. In twenty years I think these disciplines will be mainstream. The public wants this!
DUTCH: What do you like to do outside of work?
Dr. Laura Paris: I’m actually an introvert and a homebody. I live in Aptos California with my husband, our teenage son, and two King Charles Cavalier spaniels. We are walking distance from a huge, redwood state park and a long beach where dogs can go off-leash, so we spend a lot of time outside in these places. We love to garden and cook healthy, Paleo-style meals. My primary exercise is swimming in a local saltwater pool. I also love to do yoga and Feldenkrais awareness through movement lessons at home. I’m also a true geek; curling up on the couch reading research or writing blog posts is one of my favorite things to do during my free time.