Integrative Medicine, The Best of Both Worlds
Interview with Dr. Marcie Claybon
Ready to give up either/or thinking, transcend the debate and give yourself the best of both worlds? Dr. Marcie Claybon, integrative medicine specialist, shares her wisdom and knowledge. Note: We’re sharing our interview notes, this is not a transcription – for more information please listen to the interview.
Our guest today is Dr. Marcie Claybon, a medical doctor who speaks freely and enthusiastically about her Spirit Guides, and she has some very interesting viewpoints to share with us … Hello Dr. Marcie! Thank you for joining us.
Thank you for having me on the show …
Now, I’m particularly interested in what you are doing, based in my own professional experiences, so I wonder if we can begin with you telling us what you do?
I’m an internal medicine physician by training. I work as the medical director of a private club in Chicago called BIÂN, where I am building a concierge medical practice on-site. For those unfamiliar with concierge medicine, it’s essentially an “active membership” to a private physician. So individuals pay an annual fee to have access to my cell phone and email address 24/7 for medical advice and telehealth beyond traditional office hours.
BIÂN, is a private social social club rooted in holistic wellness. Essentially, this was a project initiated by a group of Chicago-based entrepreneurs who thought: “What if we created a space in which people could hang out or get work done, have coffee, enjoy a meal, work out, go to a yoga class, get a massage, AND see their doctors – all in the same space? What if we could integrate health and wellness into everyday life?”
The intention of BIÂN is truly to represent a home for “integrative” medicine. I think this can be honestly be an elusive and sometimes misunderstood term. But the idea is that we’re actively utilizing a multi-disciplinary team of both traditional and non-traditional practitioners, who work together to promote overall healing. Additionally, there’s an understanding, at least for me, that “integrative medicine” represents the idea that mind, body, and spirit are integrated as one – not separate entities, but one, single entity within a person.
Marcie, as I said, I’ve had some of my own experiences with Integrative Medicine, and back in the 90’s we established an Integrative Health facility here in Cincinnati. First there was one and then suddenly there were more – but I found the enactment frustrating. What I’m finding interesting in your model at Bian is that there is more collaboration. It seems that as a doctor of western medicine, you aren’t automatically in the most senior position, is that fair to say?
Exactly. As the primary care internist and even as the “Medical Director”, I am one provider amongst a group of health care professionals. I am essentially the “Director of Western Medicine”. We additionally have a “Director of Nutrition”, a “Director of Mental Health”, a “Director of Eastern Therapies”, a “Director of Fitness” and so on and so forth. I am by no means considered more significant or superior to my fellow director-level colleagues, who hold positions of equal hierarchy in the grand scheme of the way our facility runs.
And all of you work as a team? For example, do you have case discussions, and how do those work?
Yes, we’ve recently initiated formal case discussion meetings every other week. This has allowed us to come together to ensure our goals and treatment decisions are aligned and to ensure that we’re not stepping on each other’s toes or providing incongruent recommendations to patients.
And how do the patients decide what they want, or what they get? How does that work?
Initial meeting w/ wellness advisor
Or, initial meeting w/ MD is often the first introduction to the club.
Important to appreciate values, belief systems, goals at an individual level
Important to avoid the “Disneyland” potential of a place that has so many options, or you risk degrading the value of treatments and overwhelming people.
Can you describe any examples where the team of 3 of you directors worked together for best patient care?
Story of Joe (our CEO) – diagnosed w/ renal cell cancer within the past year. He sought specified treatment plans from all of us. I established an anti-oxidant low-dose IV cocktail and worked w/ him in terms of expectations w/ respect to surgical treatment needs and prognosis. Ben (naturopathic nutritionist) provided supplemental and nutritional recommendations geared toward kidney protection. Sandra (Eastern practitioner) utilized both acupuncture and energy healing techniques to provide cleansing and to help mitigate anxiety levels. And our Yoga/Pilates instructor and fitness director worked with him to get his strength and muscle tone back up upon surgical recovery. Combined effort with direct communication all in one space.
Sandra, myself, and Ben (Chinese Med + Western Med + Naturopathic Med) frequently work together when managing issues such as weight loss and IBS via a combination of lab monitoring, prescription medication, herbal supplementation, acupuncture, energy healing, etc. We’ve also held roundtable discussions as a group – “The 3 doctors” – providing input on topics like sleep and chronic fatigue, for example. “Approaching medical issues from multiple lenses” is something I’m personally passionate about and which BIÂN as a whole is passionate about.
If one of our listeners wants to benefit from an Integrative approach, how can they put this together for themselves?
It’s all about giving up the either/or thinking …. Changing the mindset of what “Integrative Medicine” actually is represents an important first step. “Integrative Medicine” is NOT “alternative medicine” – but rather combining multiple approaches to healing which can enhance, not contradict, each other.
So the first step is maintaining an open mind as a patient, and then secondly seeking out professional providers who also maintain an open mind. If an MD says, “I don’t believe in hocus pocus energy work and supplements,” or a non-traditional healing practitioner says, “You better stay away from mainstream doctors, they’re hurting you,” I would argue both practitioners would be completely missing the mark and are likely operating from a very one-dimensional, ego-minded mentality. There is no reason that health care needs to operate like this.
And when seeking a medical doctor, how can a lay person assess whether that doctor is open-minded to complementary options? What questions can we ask, what will cue us? In other words, how can we each find ourselves a doctor like you … because that would be a dream come true!
- Are you OPEN TO alternative treatment approaches beyond traditional therapies? (no need to expect most mainstream docs to be experts, but openness is key)
- Are you willing to speak with or otherwise communicate with my other providers?
- What is your approach to treating symptoms that persist without objective abnormalities to support them? Ie – do they wash their hands of issues they can’t easily explain, or does this prompt an openness toward energetic and holistic remedies?
And Marcie, if we can’t find ourselves an open-minded doctor, and must rather go with the best medical care we can find instead, what can we say to ourselves/do to continue supporting ourselves in our viewpoint?
- Maintain compassion for a physician’s energetic and emotional limitations. In fairness to most mainstream doctors, medical school doesn’t teach us to “think outside the box” as well as it should (those of us who’ve decided to stretch ourselves to do this are not doing so on the basis of our medical education but likely on account of our own experiences or spiritual mindfulness). The “box” is HUGE. And a given MD might still be very suitable for certain things. As long as the doctor is respectful of you stepping outside the mainstream, again, they themselves don’t have to necessarily believe it or be an expert in it.
- Stay within your power. It’s okay to say to your physician: “I know you don’t completely understand or support these modalities of my care, but I do find them helpful.” Most docs are kind, compassionate people who will at least say, “No problem. If it makes you feel well, then I see no harm.”
- See what is available both within your community and beyond it. It may not be possible to find a single place in which care is completely intertwined, but there are plenty of independent alternative practitioners. With the rise in tele-health and virtual options, consultations can often now be done remotely.
This position at Bian came to you at an interesting time in your life, didn’t it?
In the summer of 2019, while traveling in Spain with my mother, I became acutely unwell with symptoms of dizziness, brain fog, fatigue, and anxiety to the point of panic attacks. The symptoms came on within 12-24 hours of an 18-course gourmet meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Barcelona; and they persisted continuously for 3-4 months without explanation and without abatement. I effectively had the proverbial “million dollar” workup and saw both traditional and functional doctors, but all studies came back essentially normal. I believe the ultimate diagnosis (which can’t practically be tested for) was a Caribbean fish toxin poisoning. Luckily, the symptoms resolved within a few months. But this experience of feeling helpless in terms of the offerings of the medical system (really my first time in life feeling truly chronically “ill”) led me to develop such empathy for human suffering and for the defeat that sometimes comes from not receiving answers to health problems. It was the beginning of my shift toward embracing the power of energetics, physical and spiritual detoxification, and thinking “There is obviously more to the story than what science can objectively explain”. My introduction to the BIAN team came just as my symptoms were subsiding, and I don’t believe this was simply coincidence.
Whether there was an actual shift in my brain chemistry that occurred from this experience, or whether I had simply reached a point in my life at which I was becoming more of a “seeker” this same time exact frame (the subsiding of the symptoms, the discovery of BIÂN during its infantile stages) also coincided with my own discovery, essentially, of my “spirit guides”. The details of this would honestly entail another hour, which I know we don’t have (I’m currently actually writing a book about this). But again, I believe the synchronicity of this is significant when I reflect on my life path.
Marcie, we need to take a break now, and when we come back, let’s talk a whole lot more about our Spirit Guides and how they affect us at home and at work.
Welcome back to the Schapera Show. We are speaking to Dr. Marcie Claybon, of Bian in Chicago, an Integrative Health Club. Marcie is a western medicine doctor who speaks openly about her spirit guides and is truly committed to bringing her patients the best of both worlds.
Marcie, let’s talk about one of our favorite topics – Spirit Guides! When did you first become aware of your guides, and how did this happen?
In brief, I came across a Ouija board, which my mother had purchased at a garage sale a few summers back. And I decided to use it! – Literally lit a candle, said a prayer, and welcomed in whatever wanted to speak with me through this old board. It’s a long and convoluted story that is not without joy, frightening moments, self-confrontation, and sifting the light from the dark so to speak. But ultimately, this discovery – that I could have guided energetic messaging to help me “do life” has been enormously healing and powerful.
Are you able to connect with your Guides on your own now?
Acupuncture story w/ Sandra – never have I had to use the board again.
What about other peoples’ attitudes? I met someone the other day who told me that while she was coming out of anaphylactic shock and having an NDE, a priest asked her: “What religion are you?” and she answered: “All” so the nursing staff made a note: “Needs psychiatric help.” And that’s a problem isn’t it – we are in danger of being considered “insane.”
My now dear friend Dr. Amy Robbins, how just so happens to be (again wild synchronicities) a clinical psychologist, a medium, and the Director of Mental Health at BIÂN would have much to say on this topic. She believes, and I believe, that spirituality exists on the same spectrum as what can be interpreted as “mental illness”. And I’ll tell you, if I am “mentally ill” from having opened myself up to another spiritual universe that works through messages of love and light, then DON’T FIX ME. Don’t give me meds to block the energy. I’m quite functional, and I don’t want them.
COPE Project – being done at Yale: https://aciste.org/yale-cope-project-call-for-participants/
Do you use spirit guidance to do your work?
Mostly I use them within my personal life. I haven’t mastered the ability to always distinguish my guides from my intuition from my imagination. And I would need to be able to master that I think before I would feel comfortable utilizing this in clinical practice.
Interesting, because my guides took over my work life, created businesses and have pushed me into several careers even, including this one!!!
Oh yes! There is that … I’m writing a channeled book – it is a book about ghosts – real ghosts (ie, “dead” people) and the metaphorical ghosts that haunt us in our daily lives. It will entail the story of the discovery of these ghosts and ultimately my guides. It is a memoir of sorts, but also a universal story that should resonate with all human beings.
A book! Oh, Marcie, that is FANTASTIC. You must come back on the show once it is finished and tell us all about it. In the meantime, tell us again how people can find you: