Dr. Bernui's Story

As a child I watched my father, a dentist, help many people. He had a special relationship with his patients. They were often very appreciative that he helped them. Whether it was getting someone out of pain, taking care of their routine dental needs, or giving them a cosmetic result that improved their self-image, just his interaction with them made a memorable impact on their lives.

But it was not only the patients' response that impressed me, it was what I saw in my dad - that he was truly glad to be able to help someone. It was the evidence of that relationship and the reward that came from helping another person, that made a future in healthcare appealing to me.

Many of my father's friends were physicians or dentists. I had a fair number of opportunities to interact with them and I always enjoyed their company. When I was a teenager, my family doctor was a doctor of osteopathic medicine. Even though I didn't have to see him much, he always made me feel at ease and I always believed he could help me with whatever problem I was having. He was comfortable and confident, but not arrogant. He was a smart and likable guy.

Every one of these experiences ultimately played a role in directing me toward a career in medicine. When I went away to college, it was with the express intent of getting into medical school.

I chose family medicine as my specialty because I enjoyed seeing a variety of patients with a variety of problems. I also liked being able to develop long-term relationships with my patients. In many cases I was present at the birth of their first child or at the bedside of their dying grandparent. It was a privilege to be given their confidence and trust and to be able to help them with their health care needs.

After fourteen years in clinical practice, I was becoming weary from the increasing numbers of patients I was seeing with complicated, multi-system, medical problems that I could not make well. For someone who prided himself in using as few medicines as possible in a patient's treatment plan, it was becoming increasingly more difficult for me to feel like I was doing a good job. I was following accepted and well-established medical treatment protocols.... It just seemed as though I was adding or changing medicines to control a disease, rather than finding a way to cure it. What was making these patients so difficult to treat? I often thought that there must be a solution. I just didn't know what it was.

For a while I thought improper nutrition was the problem. Then I thought genetics and inherited risks were to blame. Then it seemed clear that emotional and spiritual struggles were the problem. In fact, none of them were the problem, but they were all part of the problem.

I had a patient who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She was around forty years old. She was fit. She ate organic food, exercised regularly, and did everything that I asked her to do to try and help her condition improve. Unfortunately, she kept getting worse. She developed a severe facial pain from the MS and was requiring pain medicine regularly. She was becoming more fatigued and I could see that the pain and the stress of her illness were beginning to bring her down emotionally. I knew in my heart that she could get better, but neither I, nor the specialists that she was seeing, knew how to make it happen. That is when I discovered Functional Medicine.

The principles of Functional Medicine provide an approach that searches for the root cause of illness.

1. Start with what God gave us as normal physiology.

2. Use the pure science of biochemistry.

3. Understand that we are all unique and therefore have different predispositions for disease.

4. Look at the environment and its effect on those predispositions for disease.

With that perspective, the origin of a disease becomes much more clear, and better yet, the chances for curing it become much greater.

Using a Functional Medicine approach, we were able to control my patient's pain without medication. We were able to improve her energy level. She had no further neurological deterioration, and once again, her outlook became bright. As I began to use this approach with many other patients having problems ranging from Autism to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, I began having greater patient improvements than ever before.

For many, this may sound like what they think current medical practice is. Sadly, however, as physicians we are not trained with the idea that we can help patients get well by removing toxins and optimizing cellular function, and instead, we are trained to treat patients with a drug to simply relieve a symptom. Clearly, if we were taught to restore normal physiologic function and enhance the body's ability to heal, such an approach would be superior to any other intervention we might consider.

With this new perspective in mind, I pushed myself harder than I have ever pushed myself in clinical practice. I became passionate about reviewing the effects of environmental factors on an individual's biochemistry and combing the latest medical and scientific literature for clues that would help my patients restore their bodies and heal from disease. After coming to the realization that there were answers for many problems that we had previously considered unanswerable, I became extremely motivated to try and help as many people as possible. Out of that passion and realization, The Center for Restorative Medicine was born.

We opened The Center's doors in February of 2006 and God has blessed us with patients, both from the local area and from across the country. We are located in Hendersonville, Tennessee approximately 20 minutes from downtown Nashville. We would be honored to participate in your care and to help you on the road to real wellness.