Provider Spotlight: Shannyn Pearce, DC
by Wynter Kaiser
Shannyn Pearce, DC has been a leader in chiropractic health and wellness for more than a decade. After being diagnosed with fibromyalgia at a young age, she discovered the difference holistic healthcare made for her own body and how it could help others. Now, she is on a mission to change women’s healthcare through proper testing, stress management, and individualized health plans.
Dr. Shannyn and her husband, Justin Pearce DC, run their virtual practice, Journey to Wellness, in Lexington, KY, where she is able to work with patients all over the country. You can join Dr. Shannyn and thousands of others on her Facebook page, Journey to Wellness, to access tons of free resources and content.
Watch our interview with Shannyn Pearce, DC:
Hi, I’m Dr. Shannon Pearce in Lexington, Kentucky, and I am a huge fan of the DUTCH Test®. It is by far my most used test in my practice. I’ve been using it for several years now, and I truly believe it is the key for women who need answers for their health and I’m so excited to be here to talk about it even more with you guys today!
DUTCH: What inspired you to become a healthcare practitioner?
Dr. Shannyn: Yeah, so I did what I think a lot of health care practitioners do, I did this for myself. I’ve had a very up and down experience with my health my whole life, I was actually diagnosed with fibromyalgia when I was eight years old and then went through probably every diagnosis, situation, doctor, you could think of until finally, I actually ended up in a chiropractic office and I got an adjustment! It helped me with my headaches, which I thought was awesome, but it didn’t really help with all of the other things. So I started going after this whole healthy lifestyle, I started exercising, I started eating better, I started taking supplements. And honestly, for me, I was doing everything that anyone else would think was the “right thing” to get healthy and get well.
By this point, I was already a doctor, I was already a chiropractor, I was teaching people how to live these healthy lifestyles and my health completely tanked after the birth of my son. I was having almost daily migraines, I was chronically fatigued and could barely get out of bed, and I actually had to stop practicing for almost a year because my body hurt so badly I couldn’t function, and we didn’t have answers. So my husband and I, knowing everything we already knew, said “there’s got to be something, we’ve got to be missing something!”
That was actually the first time in my career that I got introduced to proper testing, and to look for your answers instead of being a victim to your circumstances. So I did my DUTCH Test®, along with a bunch of other tests, and found some fascinating information that truly led me to my health breakthrough. And it was at that point, when I found my answers and I got well and I could really say I was living pain free, that’s when I knew that this is what I wanted to offer to other people as well. So the focus of our practice and our career completely shifted, full 180, and now this is what I do pretty much exclusively for our people.
DUTCH: What is your training?
Dr. Shannyn: Oh, all the stuff! So I went to chiropractic college out in California in the Bay Area, and that’s where we got our chiropractic degree. And then we did a lot of additional training in things like nutrition and spinal correction and those types of things, and we spent a lot of our career doing that. And then when I went through my health journey, we found The Wellness Way and that’s where we really started learning about the lab testing, the functional healthcare and integrative stuff and we kind of pieced a lot of different pieces to our puzzle as we went along. I’m now doing more of our functional medicine certification and things like that. So we’re constantly and never ending our learning, adding new pieces all the time.
DUTCH: Do you do any other functional testing in your practice?
Dr. Shannyn: We do, we have access to all kinds of testing. So for me, and what I teach a lot about on social media, is kind of the foundational things that every single person should test. And one of my things is if you are a woman, you should have a DUTCH Test®, a stool sample, and we are really big fans of food allergy testing. Those are the three best places that I start with most people. But then, I mean, it’s limitless the amount of testing you can find, but those are the things that I think most people miss as far as answers on their health care journey. If they’ve never done any kind of functional testing before a DUTCH Test®, a stool sample, and food allergies is a great place to start.
DUTCH: Absolutely. And how have you incorporated the DUTCH Test® into your practice?
Dr. Shannyn: It’s foundational. If you are working with me, you probably have had a DUTCH Test®. I start every woman with the DUTCH Test® at some point in our first 60 or 90 days of work together, because there’s so many pieces on that test that if we missed or we don’t have them, it really just slows down the whole process. So it’s one of our foundational tests, pretty much everyone who works with me gets a DUTCH Test®, unless there’s some reason not to.
DUTCH: What are the biggest changes that you’ve seen in your patients or your practice since you started using the Dutch Test®?
Dr. Shannyn: I think it’s so different for each person, and that’s what I love about the DUTCH Test®. I say this often, but there are so many things based on their symptoms, or things I’ve known about them I would have guessed at, but then you get their test back and it’s like, totally different! So every woman thinks they have high cortisol, she’s certain it is, she’s taking the vitamins because she has high cortisol and she’s stressed so much, but then you get her DUTCH Test® back and guess what, her adrenals are tanked. Or all of her symptoms are going to show that it’s estrogen dominance and you’re certain is estrogen dominance and then the test comes back and it’s not, and it’s a progesterone deficiency or something totally different.
I think being able to really individualize those answers and knowing that a lot of times symptoms can complicate the puzzle, and if you don’t have legitimate facts in front of you, it makes it a lot harder to make those choices for your patients. But ultimately, since being able to incorporate more tests like the DUTCH Test®, people are just getting better, faster, more consistent results because you take that guesswork out, and I think that’s really encouraging for people. Everyone wants to know that they’re having a plan individualized to them and not just the coolest, newest thing right now, and that’s what the DUTCH Test® really allows us to do for people.
DUTCH: Do you ever do any follow-up testing afterwards?
Dr. Shannyn: Always, yep. Here’s typically what happens: I’ll work with somebody for whatever period of time that we need to work on the foundational things, we retest, definitely, but then I tell everybody, you probably need to do your DUTCH Test® at bare minimum every time you’re in some type of hormonal change. So if there’s been pregnancies, postpartum, if you’re nearing menopause, if you’ve come off birth control, if you had a hysterectomy, whatever it might be you’re retesting.
I also believe that if you were to do a test like this every few years anyways, you’re going to be able to have, what I call, true preventative health care. Find things that they deviate, and correct and fine tune moving forward, so I really think every couple of years you should be doing a DUTCH Test and see what your body is telling you in that season.
DUTCH: In your current situation, have you found yourself practicing more virtually?
Dr. Shannyn: I have the pleasure of being one hundred percent virtual right now, which is amazing! So part of my story when I had my son, my first son, that’s when I really got sick. And I do think a part of why that happened was I really didn’t take time, I didn’t slow down. I mean, I prided myself on being a mom who strapped my baby on my back and went to work adjusting people with a newborn. And, you know, I thought that was all great because I loved what I do, and in part it was, I think, a lot of why I got so sick as I pushed my body way too hard, way too fast and didn’t get myself a break.
So when I got pregnant with my daughter, I told my husband I want to do it different this time. And I had my pregnancy with her, so eight months since we figured out how it would look different, so that I got to keep doing what I love doing, but not in the same kind of force or pressure that I had with my son. So I actually went all online, that way I get to work from home, I get to stop and nurse her, I get to do the things that I want to do and kind of have more freedom around my schedule, and it took off! Honestly, with everything that happened in this last year, I made it more accessible for other people to get the care they needed, and it was easier for me to incorporate that. So I decided to go fully virtual and it has been really fun, I really enjoy it. I get to meet people, work with people from all over that I wouldn’t have been able to just doing it out of our office, so I love it. And I really don’t foresee myself going back to the office ever, because I really like the way that this feel and the amount of people I get to serve doing it from home.
DUTCH: So with that, do you see any out-of-state patients?
Dr. Shannyn: We do, I actually see people all over the country! When you kind of cross state lines, it gets into the more health coaching realm type stuff, but everything that we do is still applicable. You can still get tested, you can dropship testing just about anywhere, and that’s what I love about the DUTCH Test®, it’s so accessible you can do it from anywhere. I get the results in a couple of weeks, and we can go over it on a call. I mean, it makes it really, really easy to get that in people hands. So, I work with people from all over the world!
DUTCH: Where do you see functional or integrative medicine 20 years from now?
Dr. Shannyn: This is going to be the switch. I think it’s really cool, I’ve been in practice ten years now, and I feel like when we first started, the information we were sharing with people was craziness. Right? Telling them gluten wasn’t good for them was, like, earth shattering. Telling them that you can use supplements in place of the medications was like, crazy talk! But over the last few years I’ve really noticed people are coming to us wanting those things or already being a little bit pre-educated and knowing they want a different answer.
So this needs to, I’m going to boldly say, this needs to save health care. It’s been going in a weird direction, people aren’t happy with the results and they are looking for something else, and this type of work is the answer. The more people who realize that it’s a viable, very effective option, we’re going to see a really cool shift in the way people manage their health care, and the testing part of it is crucial.
DUTCH: What do you like to do outside of work on your days off?
Dr. Shannyn: On the days off… which I have more of now, which is amazing! We’ve kind of, again, created that space for more days off. We are water people so the lake, the beach, that is our favorite thing to do. We go boating in the summer, fires outside. If we have an option to be outside, that is where we’re going to be. So, again, we created our lifestyle and made a lot of space to be able to hang out with my family and my kids and enjoy the outdoors and get movement and exercise of those things, too. So anything that involves my family and the outdoors, I’m in!