After looking fibromyalgia in the eye and beating it, Angie Chaudoir decided to move from corporate America to a more natural lifestyle.
Chaudoir, 43, who describes herself as a "health adviser," opened Family Holistic Health Solutions, 1360 Baskett St. in St. Clair, this spring. She told The Missourian this week she will be moving her practice to a new location, 1006 South Outer Road, on Aug. 1. The new location, which is between McDonald's and Super 8, is larger and is more of an actual office setting, she said.
Chaudoir said she uses alternative methods of medicine to help individuals treat whatever condition they may be fighting.
"I am trained to help folks find the underlying cause of their disease," she said. "Everything is a disease. We call them imbalances. (When there is something wrong), the organs are just trying to get our attention.
"We use different methods to determine which organs are trying to get that attention," she said. "Then what I do is make suggestions using scientific data to bring things back in balance.
"Ultimately, the body does the healing. I'm just the messenger."
Chaudoir said basically there are three levels where her expertise would be helpful: acute care for minor ailments such as sinus trouble or nausea, preventive care to help keep medical conditions at bay, and serious care where there may already be a diagnosis and the patient is looking for natural remedies as a whole to help fight the condition.
"I find out why something is wrong and where the symptom is coming from," she said. "Then once we figure that out, we treat it naturally."
Chaudoir said as a doctor of naturopathy, she is licensed to use eight different methods to determine those underlying causes. They are reflexology; tongue, nail and face analysis; dental; spinal; massage and muscle; acupuncture and acupressure; iriodology (eyes); and emotional support. She said using one or any of those methods will lead her to diagnose which organ in the body is causing the specific problem.
She said her motto is to be "realistic and practical."
"We don't want to replace doctors in any way, Chaudoir said. "We want to supplement them. We want to empower on how to help using natural ways."
Her business card says that she offers "a realistic and affordable approach to natural health care."
Chaudoir, who recently was certified through the American Naturopathic Medical Association, is a nature doctor (ND), a certified natural health professional (CNHP), a certified nutritional consultant (CNC), a certified health specialist (CHS) and a master herbalist (MH). She earned her degree at Trinity College in Indiana.
Even though she is nationally certified, Chaudoir said the state of Missouri does not recognize her degree.
"It qualifies me to do nothing in Missouri," she said. "But I am certified nationally."
She said currently she has about 1,500 patients. Not all of them are local as she said some people drive two, three or even four hours to see her. But, the local demand for her services became so great that she decided she needed to open an actual office instead of work out of her home. She said she has been in this line of work for about three years.
"I needed to find a place to continue the business," she said. "It was getting too inconvenient to work out of the home. It was getting too out of hand to do this on a part-time basis.
"Since we moved in here (office), it's been phenomenal. I've been very well received here."
Chaudoir spent 20 years as a district manager for a business that covered multiple states. She came to St. Clair with her husband because of his business about eight years ago.
Prior to that, however, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which is a common syndrome in which people experience long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. It has been linked to fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, depression, anxiety and other symptoms.
"There is no known medical cure," she said. "So, we decided to chase an alternative route. Through extensive research, we came across this (natural approach). I knew supplements weren't going to do it alone. I learned how to balance my body, mind and spirit."
She has been married for 16 years and has four children, including twins. After the twins were born, she decided to seek the alternative way of healing.
She said it took her about two years to "feel about 100 percent better," and after about four years, her disease was gone.
"It's not in remission," she said. "It's totally gone. I was healed naturally."
Family Holistic Health Solutions is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday. Chaudoir can be seen on Mondays through an appointment. The office number is 636-629-8444.
"It's about changing lives," she said. "At the end of the day, it's all about changing things in a positive way."