Walking the talk: One member brings holism everywhere she goes
AIHM Member Spotlight: Madiha Saeed, MD
By AIHM Member Manager Kelsey Misbrener
“I want to be the voice of holistic health,” says Madiha Saeed, an Illinois MD just five years out of residency, laughter filling the space between words.
“Because I live and love holistic medicine, I needed to help out AIHM in any way I could, and becoming part of the organization is the best way to accomplish that,” Madiha said.
Madiha was always conscious of holistic medicine, she said, but residency was missing the heart-centered touch for her. Until she met one of her attending physicians who happened to be a holistic OBGYN.
She was immediately interested when he began to teach her about holism. When she finished residency in 2010, he offered her a position at his whole-health center, Physicians Holistic Health Alliance.
“It totally took my holistic mindset to a new level,” Madiha says. “I wanted to know everything I could do to heal patients.”
She thrived at Physicians Holistic Health Alliance, where the clinic cared for all elements of a person’s life. The staff included an acupuncturist, internist, chiropractor, exercise therapist, OBGYN, psychologist and more.
Madiha expanded her holistic knowledge further when her cousin, a psychiatrist in New York, told her about the ABIHM Board Exam. She became a Diplomate in 2012, and remains an active member of the Academy.
“AIHM was the spark I needed to ignite the huge passion I have for holistic medicine and healing, which I demonstrate in numerous public speaking events, social media presence, in all my writing (publications and book) and that I live daily with my growing family.” Madiha just welcomed her fourth boy into her family on June 9.
Often, Madiha’s patients come to her in desperate shape. They’ve tried all the pills, and even tried individual integrative treatments, but they need a more comprehensive treatment plan.
One memorable patient was a 21-year-old with chronic eczema and depression. She told Madiha her entire body had felt like it was burning for nine years.
The burning hurt so much that she attempted suicide three times because she did not see any end to the pain. She’d visited specialist after specialist, and still her skin burnt.
“If the burning was gone, I’d be able to live my life,” she told Madiha.
During the first meeting, Madiha suggested changes to her diet that involved removing the common allergens. She gave her some recipes and instructions on meditating and exercise. She took some blood tests.
“I have been looking for this kind of approach,” the patient told Madiha. “But I didn’t know where to start.”
One week later, the patient told Madiha her skin had stopped burning. Within a month, her eczema had lessened.
Individualized care is still an important tenet of Madiha’s new practice at Prairie Trail Family Medicine. To create a personalized plan for each patient, Madiha looks at their nutrition, stress, social and emotional health. She also takes blood tests. Then, using knowledge gained through extensive research, AIHM conferences and her own life, Madiha offers patients plans to change their lifestyles.
“When you live by [holistic principles], it’s easy to articulate them to your patient,” Madiha says.
Setting herself as an example, Madiha was able to overcome thyroid disease, weight, digestive and skin issues using the methods she passes on to her patients today.
Madiha also passes on her knowledge to her children.
“I had my carbohydrate, can I have my protein and vegetable now?” her 4-year-old asks.
The next step on Madiha’s journey is writing a book for patients who she says are sick of side effects and don’t know where to start in the healing process. She’s using research she’s collected from approximately 300 books to put together the comprehensive guide. She also writes articles for “Holistic Primary Care,” a publication that AIHM members receive as a member benefit.
Madiha also teaches chronic disease prevention, weight-loss and psychological disease classes at the YMCA and local health clubs.
“All I do is think about holistic medicine, how I can better my patients and family and how to get this information out,” Madiha said.
Visit Madiha’s website HolisticmomMD.com