SensoryWellness, an occupational therapy and reflex integration practice, has recently added integrative nutrition to its menu of services. Co-founded three years ago by Danielle and David Amster, SensoryWellness believes in treating the whole person, enabling clients to live their best life. Danielle has been practicing OT for nearly 20 years and specializes in treating teenagers and adults with sensory processing dysfunction. David recently joined the practice, offering a holistic approach to wellness through nutritional guidance and management.
David earned his BA in math from Yeshiva University and an MS in clinical nutrition from Maryland University of Integrative Health. He is a certified nutrition specialist (CNS) with an expertise in chronic health challenges that include IBS, gluten and other food sensitivities, autoimmune disorders and blood sugar regulation.
Most of David’s clients have experienced chronic health issues often connected to digestive problems, as well as physical symptoms related to anxiety, and other emotional difficulties. In many cases, they have already visited an array of physicians, yet experience little to no improvement. David’s first order of business upon meeting a client is to properly evaluate the situation so that he can determine the correct plan of action. “Digestive disorders can present themselves in a variety of ways, requiring some serious detective work,” said David. He understands that each person is unique and has symptoms that can often be vague and undisclosed.
For some, altering one’s diet can resolve an issue quite quickly. In more advanced cases it is sometimes necessary to try different methods to address a chronic health challenge. Either way, research shows that digestive health has a huge impact on a person’s wellbeing. “The body is a dynamic biochemical engine and what we put into our bodies has a huge impact on our own health,” David explained. Having a solid nutritional foundation serves to alleviate many of the problems his clients are suffering from.
According to David, what you eat can affect more than just the digestive system. Autoimmune disorders, anxiety and moodiness can be directly related to food consumption, he said. “Think of your body like a car; if you fill it with good fuel it will run smoothly.”
Part of the process is educating clients in modifying their lifestyle. The goal is long term, said David, who wants his clients to feel better and create a strategy that will set them up for success. Each new client undergoes a 90-minute assessment during which David examines the issues at hand and can then customize a tactical plan. Keeping in line with his approach, the initial evaluation further includes a minimum of two follow-up appointments to allow for optimal planning and implementation of the plan of action. Over time minor adjustments might be needed in order to properly identify the problem and develop the solution. At SensoryWellness the hope is to create a long-standing relationship with clients and support them throughout their restorative journey.
The Amsters believe clients progress far more when both the clinical and biochemical issues are addressed. “In many senses we work with parallel systems in the body: Danielle focuses on getting the neurological system in order and I work to balance the biochemical aspects of the body. We work to strengthen the natural patterns and biochemical pathways of the body in a way that leads to long-term healing,” said David. He adds that they frequently work with other related professionals, such as mental health professionals, to create the most supportive team possible, enhancing each client’s progress toward his/her personal goals.
Working collaboratively has produced excellent results for many of their clients. People who come in with clinical issues benefit from the reflex integration that Danielle specializes in, while David handles the digestive issues and nutritional challenges. The combined approach has a hugely synergistic effect on the healing process, proving that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, said David. Clients feel more connected from a sensory standpoint, and from a nutritional standpoint they feel better as well.
While they share many of their clients, David treats individuals of any age who exclusively require nutritional intervention as well. For more information, email [email protected] or call 201-421-6346.
By Andrea Nissel