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Dr. Henri Roca, graduated from Louisiana State University School Of Medicine-New Orleans in 1997 and specializes in family medicine. Dr Roca is among the very few physicians in the nation who practice holistic, integrative, functional medicine. He understands there is no separation between the mind, the emotions, the spirit, and the body
Dr. Roca has offices in Greenwich, CT; Little Rock, AR; and New Orleans, LA and is a regular guest on the Canon Hospice Health Hour on WGSO FM.
Dr. Roca created the Integrative Medicine Section at LSU School of Medicine and the Integrative Medicine Program at Greenwich Hospital. He is board-certified by the American Academy of Family Practice and the American Board of Holistic and Integrative Medicine, and is certified in Functional Medicine by the Institute for Functional Medicine.
Dr. Roca served on the board of directors for the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. He has chaired the Education Working Group and serves on the Program Committee for the Leadership and Education Program for Students in Integrative Medicine. Dr. Roca is on the clinical faculty of Yale University School of Medicine and LSU School of Medicine.
[0:00:08.8] JM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling and conversational interviews, this weekly radio show offers listeners first-hand insight in starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk-taking and the commonalities of successful people. Connect with Kerry through her candid, often funny and informative weekly blog where you'll read and may comment on life as a wife, mother, daughter and entrepreneur.
Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[0:00:42.0] KM: Thank you, Jayson. Like Jayson said, I’m Kerry McCoy and it’s time for me to get up in your business. Before we start I want to introduce my co-host who you just heard from, Jayson Malik from Arise Studios in Conway, Arkansas. Say hello, Jayson.
[0:00:55.9] JM: Hi, Kerry.
[0:00:57.9] KM: If right now you're sitting at your computer, you might want to watch us live on flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page. It's fun to see what goes on behind the scenes and at the breaks as it happens in real-time. We're waving at Facebook right now. If for some reason you miss any part of the show, want to hear it again or share it there is a way and Jayson will tell you how.
[0:01:19.8] JM: Listen to all UIYB past and present interviews by going to flagandbanner.com and clicking on radio show. There you may join our e-mail list, or like us on Facebook, thus getting a reminder notification of the day of the show and a sneak peek of that day's guest. If you'd like to be an underwriter of any UIYB shows, send an e-mail to email@example.com. That's firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to you, Kerry.
[0:01:52.3] KM: If you’re tuning in to this broadcast for the first time, welcome. If you're a returning fan, you probably know this next part by heart, but at the risk of being boring we must repeat ourselves for newcomers and besides that, it gives my guests a chance to settle into their seat. There he is settling.
This show Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy began as a platform for me, a small business owner and a guest to pay forward our experiential knowledge in a conversational way. Originally, my team and I thought it would speak to entrepreneurs and want to be entrepreneurs, but it seems to have a wider audience appeal, because after all, who isn’t inspired by everyday people's American-made stories?
To see people in their totality as humanizing. We all thirst to connect and make sense of an over complicated world and on this show, we have the luxury of time to go deeper than a mere soundbite or headline. My favorite part, we always learn something. It's no secret that successful people work hard and boy, my guest today has worked hard all his life. Other common traits found in many of my guests are the heart of a teacher, belief in a higher power and creativity, because business in of itself and just life is creative.
My guest today Dr. Henri Roca III has done many things before receiving his medical license, are you all ready? He was a geologist engineer working in the hazardous waste division of Tetra Tech in San Francisco, California. There he managed cleanup investigations and provided expert witness testimony relating to petroleum contamination. Somewhere in his 30s, he had what I call an identity crisis.
[0:03:38.4] HR: Coming to God moment.
[0:03:40.6] KM: Became a licensed masseuse, acupuncturist, shaman and had the realization that helping people is what he really wanted to do and that the best way to do it was to get a medical license. He moved back to his home of New Orleans, Louisiana and began medical school at Louisiana State University, LSU. While studying to be a doctor, he continued to work in his field of geology as a senior hydrogeologist for Burk-Kleinpeter again investigating soil and groundwater cleanups in landfills and industrial sites.
It was in 1997 that Dr. Henri Roca III graduated from LSU School of Medicine and began his medical practice. Dr. Roca is among the very few physicians in the nation who practice holistic integrative functional medicine. He understands there is little separation between the mind, the emotions, the spirit and the body. He says, everything that has ever happened to you, every choice you have ever made brings you to the health you have today. I love that.
This Louisiana transplant is now working and sharing his knowledge with the good people at Central Arkansas Veterans Administration in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has opened a private practice in North Little Rock called One Medicine Wellness Services, an apt name.
It is a pleasure to welcome to the table a caring teacher or writer, administrator and community activist Dr. Henri Roca III.
[0:05:21.2] HR: Thank you very much, Kerry. That was a wonderful introduction. Life is circuitous, right? It’s not a direct line.
[0:05:26.7] KM: What’s that word mean? What was that? What is that word? Say that again.
[0:05:30.1] HR: Circuitous. It doesn't go from one place to another to another, it goes on these journeys and you end up in a place.
[0:05:37.1] KM: That's your life.
[0:05:38.3] HR: It's the journey, that's right. It's all of our lives. It's the journey.
[0:05:41.1] KM: You have the longest resume of anybody I think I've ever read outside of General Wesley Clark.
[0:05:49.2] HR: Probably the curviest journey as well. Lots of different stops along the way.
[0:05:54.8] KM: All right, let's start at the beginning. Let's find out how all of this came to be, then we'll move into what integrative – holistic integrative medicine, functional medicine and western medicine means, each one of them, how we can mesh all of these together to improve our health and lifestyle.
I first met you when I heard you speak and you have a strong opinions about our diet, our habits, the power of prayer meditation, touch therapy, about food as medicine and about blending all of these aspects with western medicine, because after all, you're a scientist a scientist.
[0:06:27.6] HR: A scientist and an observer; observer of what makes humans human, of our condition. There's an art to medicine and there's a science to medicine and we have to use both of those components. Then there's the unknown of medicine. We think we know way more than we actually do about how the human body works. Many of our providers are far more certain than the data would suggest they should be.
[0:06:52.5] KM: Interesting.
[0:06:53.5] HR: We have to take that into account. We have to include in our understanding of how a person works and what creates their health. We have to take into account all the facts that we know, but we have to also recognize that those facts change over time and they are just the tip of an iceberg. The human condition is far more filled with mystery and things that are not understood, than it is with things that we do understand.
[0:07:19.1] KM: I've never thought about that.
[0:07:21.1] HR: That's one of the reasons why the whole idea of choice and the whole idea of what you think about and how your mind works and how it interacts and cascades into your body, flows into your body, how your spirit works and the connections you have in the world around you, all of that also flows in to our body, it turns our genes on, it turns our genes off and it helps to contribute to either illness or wellness.
[0:07:45.6] KM: When did you come to this realization? Your geologist, your –
[0:07:49.7] HR: I started off as a paleontologist, a micropaleontologist.
[0:07:53.0] KM: Is that dinosaurs?
[0:07:54.6] HR: Well, micropaleontology is plankton. Yes, it's the other end of the spectrum from dinosaurs. They were really big and these things you look at under a microscope. My thesis was the Planktonic Foraminifera of the South Atlantic in the Oligocene Epoch.
[0:08:11.9] KM: What the hell does that mean?
[0:08:13.2] HR: What was that mean? Really, it is laughable isn’t it? I get that reaction all the time.
[0:08:19.3] KM: Sounds awful.
[0:08:19.5] HR: It’s just quite the subspecialist, even within paleontology. I know what it means to take this information and bring it down into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces. When you do that, you get a lot of information about a specific thing, but it doesn't mean that you understand how the oceans work, or the mountains work, or how the planet works, or how humans work. That is part of my journey into healing was the idea that I had known so much about something so specific and I had lost the beauty of the earth, because I was a geologist. That's what my initial degree was in. Paleontology is what my master's degree was in.
In rediscovering the beauty of the earth, and I have to tell you here in Arkansas is one of those places where I rediscovered it. When I was 8-years-old, I was digging for crystals in hot springs, way before the crystal craze started.
[0:09:10.9] KM: You’re kidding.
[0:09:11.5] HR: Not at all. This was the place where Louisianians came if we wanted to experience elevation. We came to Arkansas. It was the closest set of mountains you can find to Louisiana, to New Orleans. I fell in love with the earth and rocks here in Arkansas and hot springs. Coming back to that it's like, wow, look at the mystery and the majesty of the earth. I know a lot about it. I can interpret a lot about it, but there's so much more. It's such a bigger thing. The culture that honors that is native culture; Native American culture. They honor walking their path on the earth and recognizing nature and recognizing the seasons and how it all comes together and how it fits with the culture of the community and the life of the individual.
In that awareness, I came to the place of shamanism. Shamanism was actually my first step on the healing path.
[0:10:11.2] KM: How old were you?
[0:10:12.8] HR: How old was I? 22.
[0:10:15.3] KM: You’ve graduated from LSU, or from I get – I don’t know. Where did you get your –
[0:10:17.9] HR: Washington University.
[0:10:18.9] KM: Okay, Washington University. You get a job in California.
[0:10:22.2] HR: My job in New Orleans initially.
[0:10:25.3] KM: That's when you start looking into shaman – did you say shamanism?
[0:10:29.5] HR: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
[0:10:31.7] KM: How did you end up in California?
[0:10:33.4] HR: That was a job later. I went from working in the oil and gas industry where I was looking for oil reserves down the deep Gulf of Mexico. Then I moved out to California to follow some folks and went into hydrogeology, the geology of water. Then from there, went into cleaning up water and into the hazardous waste field, cleaning up oil, or any other chemicals from soil, groundwater and air.
[0:11:02.0] KM: When you were there, you became a masseuse.
[0:11:04.5] HR: Mm-hmm. I went to massage therapy school continuing this path of understanding and experiencing and being with the human condition and the human body. Massage, I had originally trained in New Orleans, but actually went and got certified in California. Ultimately, I sat on the West Virginia Board of Massage Therapy when I went for my residency in West Virginia.
[0:11:24.8] KM: Later.
[0:11:25.7] HR: Later. Yeah. It all fits together.
[0:11:28.6] KM: It did. I didn't realize you started being – I didn't know there were shamans in New Orleans. I don't know why, but I always think about that as maybe more in California. You’ve began to understand yourself and want to do more than just study science. You've gone to California, you're continuing your degree with your career and you've become a masseuse acupuncture?
[0:11:51.4] HR: Acupuncture came later on. Acupuncture came after I actually became a physician. It is one of the best things that I ever did learn. Now I am a medical acupuncturist, not a traditional Chinese medicine acupuncturist. Those individuals spend as long in school as medical students spend in school. I am a person who knows how to use acupuncture within the framework of medicine, so just to be clear.
[0:12:17.3] KM: Okay. You're out there and you all of a sudden say, “I've got to go back to medical school.” Was there a life-changing moment that you're like, “I'm moving back to New Orleans. I'm starting medical school.”
[0:12:26.0] HR: There was. I actually got deferred from medical school twice. I had talked to the folks when I was still in New Orleans before I moved to Californian and I'm thinking about this. What would it take? I didn't have any biology. No biology courses in college.
[0:12:43.4] KM: A geologist doesn’t have any biology?
[0:12:45.0] HR: No, but I had paleontology. Paleontology and this is how I explained it, I said paleontologist is just the biology of dead things. I said if you can get a 10 on your MCAT score, we’ll accept your paleontology as biology credits. I had to go and do that twice. I had to work at it, all right? If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. I worked at it. I got it. They remembered the deal. They accepted me.
Then for two years in sequence, I was having such a good career opportunity in California, I deferred admission to medical school. They said and it's pretty unheard of. They said, “Now you can come next year.” Then they said it again, “You can come next year.” The third time, I was ready to say, “I may not do this.”
[0:13:30.9] KM: Because you were loving your job in California so much.
[0:13:33.2] HR: I’m loving my job in California. I came to a family reunion at Mount Nebo. Yes, Arkansas comes into the mix again. Arkansas is a place I come back to all the time. We were in Mount Nebo, I had been listening to this program that build more years did; one of the first programs about holistic medicine. As I'm driving up to Mount Nebo and Highway 7, beautiful scenery, right? Just there with nature thinking, “Okay, I don’t know. Should I do it? How do I want to do this, right?” I mean, I really want to embody natural medicine and natural healing, but I also want my voice to be able to be heard.
I still really liked what I was doing in California; very successful in that career. I went up there to Mount Nebo. I said, “Something being is going to have to happen to me to make this change.” One of the first things that happened was my nephew ate a mushroom and had to be rushed to Little Rock to have his stomach pumped out. That was not big enough. That medicine had saved the day there was not big enough. The next day, somebody actually drowned at the pool and was brought back with CPR. Not big enough. The third day, a big thunderstorm came up over the mountain, struck the cabin that the whole family was staying at and three of my relatives got struck by lightning. Usually, God speaks to you in lightning strikes when you're not listening, but that was not big enough. Not big enough.
[0:14:59.5] KM: No. My gosh.
[0:15:02.1] HR: I told my mama, this was going to have to happen. If this happened, I'd go to medical school. I went back to California. I went back to where I was living. The dog that was there that I was living with, it actually jumped up and bite me in the face. Really, I needed to go get stitches. Five hours earlier, I told my mama something's going to have to jump up and bite me in the face to go to medical school.
[0:15:22.2] KM: You mean five hours before your dog bit you in the face?
[0:15:24.2] HR: I said exactly that.
[0:15:25.3] KM: I just got goosebumps.
[0:15:26.8] HR: I said exactly that.
[0:15:27.9] KM: You’ve been struck by lightning.
[0:15:30.1] HR: Family members had. Nevertheless, it happened really close to me, right? It's like, “Okay, I get the message.”
[0:15:35.7] KM: Something’s going to have to –
[0:15:36.4] HR: This is something that I have to do. This is not a choice that I can make. This is a choice – this is my life's work. This is my path. I need to go to medical school.
[0:15:46.3] KM: No kidding. That is your shaman side of your brain working there baby.
[0:15:50.5] HR: That is. When you choose any path that you're on in life, when you choose to step on it, then God shows you the way.
[0:15:59.4] KM: That is so true.
[0:15:59.9] HR: If you do not listen, then he still shows you the way, right?
[0:16:04.4] KM: To shake your tree. Bite your face. Sends a lightning bolt. Drowns your neighbor, or what was the first one?
[0:16:12.0] HR: The mushroom. The poison mushroom. Yes. I asked anymore for danger to my body as a sign. I don't do that. We've done it once, we don't need to do it again.
[0:16:24.0] KM: Wow. This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with the uber interesting Henri Roca III, Dr. Henri Roca III who practices and teaches the methodology of functional medicine, holistic medicine, integrative medicine and western medicine and listens to the universe at Central Arkansas Veterans Administration and at his North Little Rock private practice, One Medicine Wellness Services. We’ll talk about the issues facing veterans and how he's using integrative functional medicine in their treatment and how some of these treatments might work for us. We'll ask him what he believes is the number one thing we should do to get healthy and some common mistakes we all make in our diets and lifestyle habits. We'll be back to get healthy and informed after the break.
[0:17:08.4] KM: Flagandbanner.com is so much more than a flag store. Dress up your address, plan a perfect party, or throw some pillows on your porch. Bring in your old US flag and get $5 off a new one. Hurry down to the flagandbanner.com Downtown Little Rock open Monday through Saturday.
[0:17:26.7] JM: You're listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400, Kerry McCoy founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed, starting with door-to-door sales, then telemarketing, to mail order and catalog sales, and now a third of their sales come via the internet. This past year, Flag and Banner added another internet feature, live chatting.
Over time, Kerry’s business and leadership knowledge grew. As early as 2004, she began sharing this knowledge in her weekly blog. Then in 2009, she founded the nonprofit Friends of Dreamland Ballroom, and in 2014, Brave Magazine was launched. Today, she has branched out to the radio with this very production, podcast and live stream on Facebook.
Each week on this show, you'll hear candid conversations between her and her guests about real-world experiences on a variety of businesses and topics that we hope you'll find interesting and inspiring. If you'd like to ask Kerry a question, share your story, or underwrite any of her past or present shows, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or message her on flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page.
Back to you, Kerry.
[0:18:48.9] KM: Thank you, Jayson. You're listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I'm speaking today with Henri Roca III like Roku. It is actually like Roku, but it’s Rocca III, who is one of only a few doctors in the nation that practices and teaches the methodology of integrative medicine, holistic medicine, functional medicine and western medicine. He is currently on staff at Central Arkansas Veterans Administration and at his own clinic in North Little, Rock Arkansas aptly named One Medicine Wellness Services. Before the break, we talked about how Henri went from being a geologist – what you call it?
[0:19:27.3] HR: Paleontologist.
[0:19:27.9] KM: Paleontologist, to a life-changing event that just jumped up and bit him in the face. That’s inside jug. If you didn’t hear it, you’ll have to go listen to the podcast later. Also how has life just weaves in and out of Arkansas. He's actually from Louisiana, lived in California, but through the years his life has just – like I said, back and through the –
[0:19:54.1] HR: One of the great things is that in all of this weaving, this medicine, the medicine that puts everything together, that's why the business is called One Medicine Wellness Services, because eventually, all of these different forms of healing are going to just be one medicine. We're just going to have it all together.
[0:20:11.9] KM: When are we going to do that? I wish you’d’ hurry up that one.
[0:20:13.9] HR: Well, it’s happening now. I mean, it's – compared to –
[0:20:16.1] KM: You’re one of few doctors that believes all that.
[0:20:18.8] HR: Well, this is true so I don't need to believe it, but it is true also that it isn't pervasive. It's not across every system. Almost every system now has some idea of integrative medicine. You were asking what are these different things, right? Integrative medicine is when you're putting many different components of other healing techniques and perspectives together. That's using chiropractic, or acupuncture, or massage, or yoga, or Tai Chi, or different energy things, or working with nutrition, working with spiritual approaches, all of these things being brought together to help the individual toward wellness.
[0:21:01.3] KM: Integrate all these things together.
[0:21:02.4] HR: Integrate them. All of these pieces, but it’s still pieces being brought together. The wonderful thing about my training, I think of people as if they are a crystal, right? When you look at a crystal from one perspective, you only see one face. If you have many perspectives to look at that person through, it's as if you see many of the facets of the crystal. By doing that, you get an idea about how the whole works. If you only look at an individual through one particular lens, whether that's a conventional medicine lens, or a Chinese medicine lens, or Ayurvedic, or homeopathy or whatever it may be, then you're screening all of your information through that lens.
If you can see the person from many different perspectives, you have a better chance of seeing the whole person. That's holistic when you see the whole person; their mind, their spirit, their body, how their community interacts, how they interact with their community, how they sleep, even issues around financial wellness. Everything that goes on with the person contributes to how that person exists in reality in this moment. Everything that they've done over the course of their life turns their genes on and off toward either illness or wellness. That's the holistic perspective.
[0:22:19.8] KM: That was integrative. What about the functional medicine?
[0:22:22.7] HR: Functional medicine is when you're saying, “Okay, well instead of looking at all of these different descriptors, all these symptoms, and let's just treat the symptom. Let's treat this it is, or that osis, or whatever it is.” What we do in conventional medicine is we identify those things, we give them a name and then we work to treat them with usually medication. Let's look more deeply. Let's look at how all of these things may be related to some core processes that are not in balance and how those processes, those functions contribute to all of these symptoms being created. Let's look even more deeply than that and say what drives those processes to be out of balance? What kinds of choices, what kinds of things have happened over the course of that individual’s life? What kinds of genetic predispositions might they have that lead them in this direction?
[0:23:16.0] KM: Genetics would fall under the functional medicine?
[0:23:18.6] HR: Genetics falls into functional medicine. Life choices, life experiences, life exposures fall into functional medicine.
[0:23:24.7] KM: Functional medicine looks at your life and how its evolved and what you're doing in your habits. An integral medicine looks at how to take all these different applications of acupuncture and diet and integrate them all into your life?
[0:23:42.5] HR: Integrate them into your life, integrate them into a therapeutic plan to help you bring your life back to a better place of balance. Functional medicine helps you understand what is out of balance. If you use the metaphor of the stove, right? You are a pot and you got a lot of stuff boiling, then what are your choices? You could put the lid on the pot, ratchet it down like a pressure cooker. That's what we do when we put medicine on symptoms. We just try to cap it off, right? But the fire is still burning.
The process that's driving that symptom is still going. You may have shut off one symptom, but it's going to pop up someplace else. Functional medicine works to understand what's in the pot and understand what's driving the fire and work to turn that fire off. When you turn that fire off, those symptoms resolve largely on their own.
[0:24:35.9] KM: We don't just treat the symptoms. We go to the root of the cause.
[0:24:38.3] HR: The root of the root. When you think you have the root of the root, then you ask the question why and see if there is an even deeper root.
[0:24:47.6] KM: It sounds like a lot of psychology goes into this.
[0:24:51.6] HR: Every chronic disease is a psychological challenge.
[0:24:54.8] KM: Really?
[0:24:55.4] HR: Really. Every chronic disease is something that has been created largely, something that's been created by a behavior somewhere along the way. Any behavior is a question of how does a person's mind work? What are they compelled by? What’s been reinforced in their life? Those are psychological questions.
[0:25:17.3] KM: I remember when I was watching you speak, a girl said something about her eating habits and something – I don't remember exactly what she said, but she attributed her youth having sweets was a reward for her as a child and comfort for her and that she was having a hard time breaking away from the comfort of eating chocolate. Like you said, the root came from so far back as a reward from her parents.
[0:25:51.8] HR: That's exactly right. That's why you need to understand the entire history of a person. Very often in conventional medicine, we do something called the history of the present illness. If you let people talk about it without stopping them, they'll talk about 90 seconds at most. Do you think that that's the summation of everything you need to know? No. With conventional medicine, we're often very happy with just a few pieces of information; when did these symptoms start? When did it get worse? Does it get better? Then you work to treat the symptom.
Here it's like, so what contributed to the creation of that situation? There you may have to go back way deep in life. You certainly have to know what the family history is. It gives you an idea about the genetics. You have to know what the intrauterine history is. When your mom was –
[0:26:40.1] KM: What does that mean?
[0:26:40.6] HR: - carrying you, when you were in utero, when you were a little baby in the womb –
[0:26:45.6] KM: It goes that far back?
[0:26:47.1] HR: - what was going on with your mama that may have changed how your genes work through the course of your life? Did she get antibiotics? Was there a lot of stress? Did she smoke? Did she use any other substances?
[0:26:59.8] KM: All that for a daughter.
[0:27:01.2] HR: There you go. Yeah.
[0:27:05.0] KM: I smoked and was under a lot of stress.
[0:27:08.1] HR: It changes how genes get turned on. In that critical time, that's a critical time, of course we all know that. In that critical time, some of those genes get turned on and they don't get turned off. If you were exposed to very low levels of toxins –
[0:27:20.1] KM: Can you ever turn it off?
[0:27:22.2] HR: - sometimes when those genes get turned on early in life, it looks like you can't turn them off. The best thing you can do is to learn how to cope with that. To learn coping strategies that help you work around that. Now if those genes are turned on like when you're five or six, it looks like those things can be turned off. Early in life, things get hardwired at a point.
[0:27:46.5] KM: All this, you came to – you decided you were going to come back to Arkansas and you went to the VA and you try to get a medical license here at Arkansas and you talked exactly like you're talking now. They just thought you were a quack.
[0:27:59.9] HR: I don't know what they thought, but they initially –
[0:28:03.1] KM: Tell us that story.
[0:28:03.7] HR: - thought – Well, I’ll tell you a short version of that story. They initially thought that maybe they didn't want this kind of medicine practiced in Arkansas.
[0:28:11.8] KM: It’s a nice way to say it.
[0:28:14.7] HR: With the help of national folks at the VA and with the help of folks at UAMS, both of whom they asked to speak to this idea of do we really need to educate our medical students in integrative, holistic and functional medicine? Is this something they need to know? Clearly, every time a human being in this state or anywhere on the planet uses a vitamin, a supplement, or an herb on their own, that individual is trying to practice biochemistry. They're trying to figure out how their body works and to use natural things to help them to a better place of health.
The answer is absolutely, we need to train our medical professionals in how this system works, so that we can understand where our population is coming from. Everybody is trying to work to improve their health. Now there's different kinds of information out there. People find information in different ways and it's not always a very efficient thing that they choose to do. Nevertheless, everybody's trying to do it.
[0:29:18.0] KM: You did get your job at the.
[0:29:20.7] HR: I had that job before the license. Yes.
[0:29:23.3] KM: You had the job before the license. Then you got your license and now you're – you’ve been here since 2013.
[0:29:29.3] HR: Yup. Mm-hmm.
[0:29:31.2] KM: Tell us about the issues facing veterans and how you're treating PTSD and chronic pain and getting him back into this society and our aging veterans. There's so much to talk about veterans.
[0:29:40.3] HR: Really. There’s so much to talk about there, but I'm going to broaden it out, because I was brought in to work on issues around pain. Now this is before the nation was aware of “the opioid crisis,” right? The opioid crisis is something that's only about two-years-old in terms of the way that the media talks about it. It was smoldering. It was there for a long time and not by the fault of any individual who was using narcotics, right?
I mean, people would say, “Hey, help me with my pain.” The medical system in order to help with pain, their approach is well, let's suppress pain. Not let's understand it, not let's try to reverse it, not let's try to give people skills so that it won't be severe in their life, but let's suppress it. We have this list of medications to suppress pain. Those were the opioids, narcotic medications. Out there for years and years, the brain makes its own narcotics and then chemistry found out ways of creating it outside the body and we could give it to ourselves, if that makes sense. That's been out there for years and years, decades and decades, the process of we're just going to suppress it. You don't have to feel it. It's okay. We don't care why it's happening. We can make you not feel it. Now that was never the wisest way, but we didn't have the perspective to understand that within the medical profession.
The medical profession did it, but they didn't know that they were doing something quite as bad as what it turned out we were doing. This was a problem smoldering for years and years. There are parts of the population that tend to have more pain than other parts of the population. Certainly, those people who have issues with trauma tend to have more issues with chronic pain.
Now that trauma can be a trauma early in life. Individuals who have early childhood trauma neglect mental, physical, sexual, any abuse early in life, tend to have more challenges with pain if they experience something that creates pain. Certainly in our veteran population, there is a lot of opportunity for trauma. Not everybody who has trauma has problems with chronic pain. It's not a one-to-one thing, but there is often an association.
The challenge is not how do we suppress it. That is never the challenge. Now if a person is in a really terrible place, or a dangerous place, then you have to control blood pressure, so that you don't stroke out, right? That is a suppression. I am totally supportive of that approach. The better approach is what can be reversed? Is there anything that can be reversed? What functions are out of balance that can ultimately be worked on from the individual’s perspective to bring it back into balance, so that this glass, if you think of pain is like a glass that is some degree filled, how do we keep from filling it from the top? How do we keep from continuing to put stuff in? That is the idea of the way that I approach pain in any person.
[0:32:57.7] KM: You give them acupuncture? I mean, you're trying to get them off of hydrocodone, so how do you –
[0:33:06.2] HR: I’m smiling. You see, I was smiling.
[0:33:07.5] KM: I know. Why are you grinning at me like that?
[0:33:08.7] HR: I’m smiling, right? Because –
[0:33:10.6] KM: It’s not that – there’s no simple answer.
[0:33:12.6] HR: Well, there’s no simple answer, but even that thought is how do we take pain away, right? I mean, that's what got us into the problem.
[0:33:19.9] KM: There I did. That’s exactly what I was doing.
[0:33:22.0] HR: It got us into the problem of like, “Okay, well give him a narcotic.”
[0:33:24.0] KM: You want to teach them to live with it?
[0:33:26.4] HR: Well, there is teaching to live with it, but there is also the idea of how do we reverse what can be reversed? Which is not a question of taking it away, not a question of suppressing it. It's a question of rebalancing things, so that that glass becomes less filled, if that makes sense.
[0:33:46.3] KM: You repair it. You're not treating the symptoms again, you're treating the problem.
[0:33:50.1] HR: Trying to understand what's driving the problem. For every individual, that will be a different possibility, right? We call it all pain, but –
[0:34:00.4] KM: Well, I know but the number one thing is you're going to tell people to do, lose weight, and they're not going to do it. Or exercise and they're not going to do it. I mean, we just as humans, Americans are just trained to take a pill for it.
[0:34:14.3] HR: Well, that is true. You asked folks the question, where has it gotten you? Most people will tell you not where they want to be.
[0:34:23.2] KM: They are receptive to changing their lifestyles?
[0:34:26.5] HR: Not because anyone is ever told to do it. Whenever you tell anybody to do something, you evoke the two-year-old in every one of us. What happened when we were two when someone told us to do something? The answer is no, right? Just like you said, “No. No, no.” It's never you need to do this. There's lots of opportunities here, what are you ready to do?
People are often thinking about what they might do, but they're wondering if is it the right thing to do, or do I have to do it alone, is there support to do this, is there somebody to help me do this? When you give someone a lot of opportunities, a lot of options to choose from and a lot of support to go in the direction that they choose, then you can get sustainable change. Here's a question for you. Is pain a thing?
[0:35:14.8] KM: For me?
[0:35:15.6] HR: In general.
[0:35:18.0] KM: I mean, yeah, it's a thing. I mean, it is a thing. Is it a tangible thing? No, but it is a real thing.
[0:35:25.1] HR: Sensation is a thing. Pain is an experience. Silence, right? I mean, that's shocking.
[0:35:34.4] KM: I’m trying to think about that.
[0:35:35.8] HR: That's a shocking thing to say, right?
[0:35:37.8] KM: Pain is an experience.
[0:35:40.0] HR: Pain is not one thing, because if we say pain is one thing, that implies that it is something and it is something predictable in each person who experience it. If we think that pain is a thing, it leads us to the thought that well then, we just need a pill for this thing, which was the problem before. We thought that pain was a thing, we had a pill, the narcotics, we said throw it at everybody, regardless of what's going on with them and that'll help everybody, right?
What we find out is addiction and death and people become tolerant to it and need higher dosages. It isn't the same for everybody. Pain is an experience. It's an experience based on having this sensation that people would find uncomfortable, maybe want to move away from, but it isn't just the sensation. It's all the things that can contribute to pain. Maybe those are hormonal. Maybe it's nutritional. Maybe it has to do with information, or toxins, or infections. All of that gets thrown in there right now. That's not the pain. Yet, if you see pain as a thing, you never think to look more deeply and say, “Okay, well let's unwind that, because it isn't really one thing. It is the final common interpretation of a whole series of things that are going on.”
Then you throw the interpretation in there, what's the interpretation? It's everything you've ever experienced that's caused you pain and all the things are concerned about because of it, whether it's dysfunction, or not being able to relate to your family, or not being able to keep a job, it's all of those worries and anxieties and fears come into the picture. All of that is balled up, messed up and jumbled up into all of these other inputs that come from the body. Then you interpret it and say is it something that I can live with or not live with? Do I need to avoid it? How am I going to avoid it? Do I pursue medication to avoid it? It's an experience. It's an interpretation.
[0:37:41.3] KM: Pain is an experience.
[0:37:42.7] HR: If you see pain as an experience and an interpretation, there's a lot of opportunity to actually work to reverse components of it. To help people refine how they choose to view it. Very often, if this continues on and on and on and it grows into this big, old not this huge snowball rolling downhill, then people start to avoid any kind of sensation, because of fear that the sensation will be strong enough that it will cause their previous experience.
[0:38:16.1] KM: Then you don't live life.
[0:38:17.3] HR: You don't live life. Your primary relationship comes to be with that sensation and not with the people you love. You get separated from God. You don't go out into nature. Yes, you live in a hole.
[0:38:29.9] KM: Become occlusive. You see it all the time. All right, this is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with Dr. Henri Roca III, who practices and teaches the methodology of holistic medicine, functional medicine, integrative medicine and western medicine at Central Arkansas Veterans Administration and at his North Little Rock private practice, aptly named One Medicine Wellness Services.
We’ll continue learning with the smart man how we can blend our mind, body and soul into a more healthy and productive life and we'll be taking calls. First, I want to remind everyone we're broadcasting live every Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. central time on KABF 88.3 FM the voice of the people and flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page. That after one week of every show’s airing, a podcast is made available on all popular listening sites and YouTube. We'll be back after the break with the phone number.
[0:39:26.4] KM: Flagandbanner.com is so much more than a flag store. Dress up your address, plan a perfect party, or throw some pillows on your porch. Bring in your old US flag and get $5 off a new one. Hurry down to the flagandbanner.com Downtown Little Rock open Monday through Saturday.
[0:39:43.6] JM: Arkansas Flag and Banner is proud to underwrite Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. This weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners firsthand insight in starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk-taking and the commonalities of successful people shared in a conversational interview with Kerry.
Along with this radio show, flagandbanner.com publishes a free bi-annual magazine called Brave. First published in October in 2014, this magazine celebrates and inspires readers through its human interest in storytelling.
The Department of Arkansas Heritage recognized Brave magazine’s documentation of American life and micro-fishes all additions for the Arkansas state archives. Free subscriptions and advertising opportunities for the upcoming spring 2019 edition are available at flagandbanner.com by selecting Magazine, where you can read previous stories and learn about advertising opportunities.
Back to you, Kerry.
[0:40:44.4] KM: Thank you. You’re listening to Up In your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I'm speaking today with Dr. Henri Roca III, who is one of only a few doctors in the nation that practices and teaches the methodology of holistic integrative medicine, functional medicine and western medicine. He is currently on staff at Central Arkansas Veterans Administration and his own clinic in North Little Rock, Arkansas aptly named One Medicine Wellness Services. If you've got a question, you may make a comment on flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page, or send – or you can send me an e-mail if you want to at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can write this number down and call –
[0:41:28.0] JM: 501-433-0088.
[0:41:31.2] KM: Jayson, give it again.
[0:41:32.2] HR: 501-433-0088.
[0:41:38.0] KM: We were just talking at the break about what you said before the break, which was that I can't hardly even repeat it because it was abstract for me, but it came down to the fact that pain is – we've been thinking of pain as a noun.
[0:41:52.3] HR: As a thing, as a specific thing. Usually people think of it as the pain, which means like a proper noun. Just like you would have a name for your wife, or your husband. The pain tends to accompany you.
[0:42:11.4] KM: We’re already getting a phone call. Hello caller, you’re on the air with Up In your Business with Kerry McCoy. Do you have a question for Dr. Henri Roca?
[0:42:20.0] Caller: Yes, I have a question and it’s self-serving, a positive comment. I’m a veteran, I’m a Vietnam veteran and I’m a PTAD. I have voiced – mentioned a doctor
[inaudible 0:42:37.1] pain clinic, Dr. Elaine with many innovative things, but for this one we’re heeding one a time with doctor, I don’t
[inaudible 0:42:48.1] pain that I’m experiencing.
[0:43:30.8] HR: Just talk to your primary care provider and they can work to refer you into the platelet-rich Prolotherapy as you're talking about, that's the injection stuff, or into acupuncture services in physical medicine.
[0:43:43.6] KM: You have a general. Go ahead.
[0:43:47.0] Caller: There’s an issue with that, because
[inaudible 0:43:48.8] they just don’t hand that information, I didn’t even know that the VA was doing acupuncture. I get referred to someone after
[inaudible 0:43:59.4], I get sent to UIPDF. Of course, well people let me try get them back into working again and at level. Had no essential
[inaudible 0:44:09.3]. I asked that doctor about the acupuncture. There’s a few
[inaudible 0:44:14.7] that said, “We don’t do that.” So what department are you in?
[0:44:19.8] HR: The acupuncture occurs both in primary care and in physical medicine and rehab. You can talk to either of those departments.
[0:44:28.5] KM: I’ll put Dr. Henri Roca’s information on flagandbanner.com’s website, so that you can find his contact information and dig deeper. This is a longer conversation than we can probably make in the next 10 minutes.
[0:44:42.0] Caller: Absolutely.
[0:44:42.7] KM: All right. I'll put it on flagbanner.com’s website and you can get in contact with you.
[0:44:46.5] Caller: Thank you very much.
[0:44:48.0] KM: You're welcome very much. Thank you caller for that call. I know people get lost in the VA and they can't figure out where they're supposed to go.
[0:44:56.1] HR: In any system.
[0:44:57.1] KM: Any of those big systems.
[0:44:58.5] HR: It is wonderful, everything that the VA has to offer. Just like any system navigating it becomes almost a second career.
[0:45:08.7] KM: It does, doesn’t it?
[0:45:09.5] HR: Mm-hmm. I don't know how anybody survives a conventional healthcare system. If you go into the hospital, you need somebody there who can talk the language, or you are more subject to do it, then you are served by it.
[0:45:22.0] KM: That’s interesting to think about. All right, let’s talk about opening your practice. You have One Medicine Wellness Services, it is the name of your practice. What's the website for that?
[0:45:32.1] HR: drhenriroca.com.
[0:45:35.0] KM: Henri is spelled like Henry with an I.
[0:45:37.4] HR: It's the New Orleans version. It is the French version. H-E-N-R-I. Last name R-O-C-A. Where else in this country could you have a name as both French and Spanish and still be entirely American?
[0:45:51.4] KM: Henri. H-E-N-R-I. When he came in, I called him Henry. He said, “No, no, no, no, no, no. I’m Henri.”
[0:45:58.7] HR: Yes, that’s the real thing.
[0:46:00.1] KM: You’ve heard me slip a few times, because I’m totally American. I’m not civilized as –
[0:46:05.4] HR: Well, New Orleanians are totally American too.
[0:46:07.5] KM: I know. I know. They’re a nice blend of French.
[0:46:10.8] HR: Of course, most people think we’re not, but we really are.
[0:46:14.0] KM: They’re a nice blend of French. They've got some very unique French things about them.
[0:46:21.3] HR: Yeah. We've just never been owned by the English. That’s it. That’s the differentiator.
[0:46:25.5] KM: Henri, H-E-N-R-I. Roca, R-O-C-A.com?
[0:46:29.7] HR: Mm-hmm.
[0:46:32.2] KM: At your clinic you say this, “We provide individual and corporate personalized proactive, predictive medical evaluations and treatments focused around –” Let me start with those. We provide individual and corporate, personalized, proactive, predictive medical evaluations and treatments focused around natural interventions that help folks. I love how you put folks, toward their best health. I think we’ve talked about that a little bit when we described functional medicine?
[0:47:07.6] HR: It is functional medicine. That is a description of functional medicine. Personalized, proactive, you don't wait for a disease to occur, right? Nothing drives me more crazy than a person who you can see in looking at them their family history, their choices in their lives and you can see that they are on the road to diabetes. Yet in our usual healthcare system, very often we wait until they can be diagnosed with diabetes to tell them. It can be years and years and years before any lab changes that you can predict that they're on the diabetes highway.
[0:47:46.7] KM: When you do lab work, you don't do the traditional lab work, do you?
[0:47:49.3] HR: I do all the traditional lab work, but often check some additional labs, additional labs that help me be more predictive, that help understand what's going to be happening to a person and help to identify some of those functions that may be out of balance; things about metabolism, things about inflammation, things about toxicity, even before they become a problem in the person's life. We want to optimize wellness. We don't want to just say, “Oh, you're good enough today. Let's wait until later when we have something to intervene on.”
We want to say, “These are some processes you might want to think about and these are some ways to do it. This is your choice. If you want to work toward wellness, this is a great time to do it. If you want to wait and use up that wellness and eventually lose the resiliency and develop illness, that is also your choice.”
[0:48:41.0] KM: If I come to your clinic, which my daughter did and she loved it, because she suffers really bad from allergies and you said exactly what you talked about earlier in a segment before. She probably can't completely get rid of them, so she's got to learn how to manage them. I don't know what the first thing was that you had her do. What is the first thing if I was to come to your clinic and say, “This is my issue. What should I do?”
[0:49:11.3] HR: Well, on the website is an intake form that people can fill out, which is usually very helpful for the individual. It starts to broaden their perspective on the kinds of things that may be important. There are questions that people don't usually ask, that they often have to ask parents or loved ones and find out what happened on early on in their childhood. Everything is important. Everything that's happened leads you to where you are now and can be a piece of what can be unwound, so that you get to a better place. That's one thing that people can do before they arrive.
The first thing we do is we take a very detailed history, very detailed. The family history is pretty usual within medical practice, that’s usual. Then the uterine history, very rare. We're talking about early childhood, middle childhood, late childhood, early adulthood, all of these things that may not be related to what the complaint is is very important. We identify what the individual wants to get out of the service, so what's their goal, right? I mean, once I hear their history, there may be other things that are apparent to me, but we want to deal with what the individual came for.
My challenge is to put it altogether, so that we understand how all of these other things are relating to what the individual came for. The approach is something that we call health coaching. In other words, it's much more focused on empowering the individual to make decisions and changes. Now if something, like I said earlier, high blood pressure, you control that. You are very directive, you need to take this. I will do that if it's urgent or emergent.
What's much more common is that we have time. We have time to work on these things and it will take time for these functions to get back to a better place of balance. The question is not about my telling a person what to do. The question is, this is what I call a possibility conversation. If we understand how a person winds up in this place quite literally and there is a constellation, a whole bunch of possible ways out, I can help identify which ones I think will be the highest yield, so that if you work at it, you get the best results most quickly. Ultimately, it's the individual who chooses what they're ready to work at.
[0:51:33.7] KM: How about the power of prayer?
[0:51:36.3] HR: Absolutely essential. Now when I talk to folks about their spiritual tradition, it's not about their religious tradition, because everybody has a different religious tradition and whatever your religious tradition is is fine by me. It is whatever you choose it to be. What I'm concerned with is how do you connect to whatever you perceive as your higher power? How are you connected to a larger community? Some folks don't even see that connection. They are who they are and they are the end all and be all. That's fine. There's a particular way of working with individuals who have that perspective, so there's no one excluded from the process.
We know that when people are connected to community, we know when people have a prayer practice, have a religious practice that the health outcomes for those folks are better overall. Their life expectancy is better overall. To be part of a faith community is a protective health experience for folks.
[0:52:41.0] KM: What about the power of laughter?
[0:52:43.7] HR: Let me talk about prayer, because the power – because prayer is so important and a lot of people, they do what's called petitionary prayer, right? They're asking God for things. My question to folks is well, do you ever pause and be in a place of silence, so that you can hear what God has to say back? That is the most important piece of prayer. I like to put it in those words, because everyone can translate that into their own perspective, what that means for them to be able to be quiet and prayerful and contemplative and reflective and loving in that space to hear whatever can come back. That is a tremendously healing component of prayer.
Laughter. Laughter is amazing, right? Laughter is one of those things that can control pain, because laughter induces the body to release the hormones that the body makes itself to control pain. Laughter is an amazing thing. It can relieve stress, relieve tension, it can take you out of any stressful moment that you're in and it doesn't have to be spontaneous laughter, like somebody tells you a joke, tells you a funny story, or you watch The Three Stooges, or something funny on TV. You can do something called laughter yoga, where people just start laughing. People got all silly crazy little laughs. Before long, people are literally belly laughing, not because they're making themselves do it, but because they start making themselves do it, and because they're with a group of people and all these other people laughing in all weird ways, you end up laughing spontaneously and deeply. When that happens, it lifts your spirit, it relieves pain, it helps you sleep, it is a wonderful therapy. Laughter yoga is a great way to get to it.
[0:54:42.5] KM: We didn't get to reflexology. We didn't get to –
[0:54:46.4] HR: There's a zillion things.
[0:54:47.5] KM: - diet, exercise. There are so many things we didn't get to, but I do love your quote. Everything that has ever happened to you, every choice you have ever made brings you to the health you have today. I want everybody to know that I'm speaking with Dr. Henri Roca from – what’s the name of your clinic again?
[0:55:02.8] HR: One Medicine Wellness Services.
[0:55:04.5] KM: One Medicine Wellness Services. He is also online at drhenriroca.com, right? You’ll be able to find all his contact information at flagandbanner.com. We’ll put links to everything and definitions to all the things that he said today, because he said so much. I have a gift for you. It’s a desk set, flags, imagine that?
[0:55:26.2] HR: Thank you.
[0:55:27.5] KM: Look, it’s got the US, because of course, we're all Americans.
[0:55:30.8] HR: Right there in the center. Oh, my God. Look, it's all the flags that I've been to. Bravo.
[0:55:36.3] KM: You recognized them all. California, Louisiana and Connecticut, because you’ve taught in Connecticut.
[0:55:40.3] HR: Yes, that is absolutely fantastic.
[0:55:43.2] KM: It’s a cute set.
[0:55:43.7] HR: I can’t wait to put this on my desk. This is great.
[0:55:45.7] KM: Thank you so much for coming on. We’re out of time today. I just want to tell everybody that I’ll be gone next week and we’re going to have a rerun. It's going to be a great show. I want to thank all our listeners for spending time with us. If they think this program has been about them, they're right, but it's also been for us.
Thank you for letting us fulfill our destiny. Our hope today is that you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring or enlightening. That it whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence, or your life. I'm Kerry McCoy and I'll see you next time on Up In your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:56:24.2] JM: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. If you missed any part of the show, or want to learn more about UIYB, go to flagandbanner.com and click on Radio Show, like us on Facebook or subscribe to her weekly podcast wherever you like to listen. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week with links to resources you heard discussed on today’s show. Underwriting opportunities available upon request.
Kerry’s goal is to help you live the American Dream.