Inner Peace, Outer Glow: Ava’s Holistic Health Transformation at 40

bhrt hormone replacement therapy patient

Ava has always been a seeker, someone keen to carve out her own path and experience life in all its fullness. Today, you might find her spending time with her sons, practicing yoga or dancing to Pink Martini, her favorite music Latin station. But 15 years ago, you would have found her in a very different place.

That version of Ava was taking refuge in a Northern California retreat center. Her mother’s recent passing had left her grappling with grief and uncertainty about the future. “It leaves an incredible hole in your life,” she says.

Her stay at the retreat center would be the first step in a years-long journey from heartache to health. It would take her through revelations about the link between mind and body, across the doorstep of the Young Naturopathic Center for Wellness, and eventually, to a new understanding of what it means to be well.

Seeking Peace

“The grief was overwhelming after losing my mom. I needed a way to frame that loss, to place it into perspective so I could heal,” Ava recalls. “That’s why I went to the Hoffman Institute.”

The Hoffman Process, founded in 1967, helps participants build emotional intelligence. Over the course of a week-long residential retreat, participants learn to identify negative behaviors, moods and ways of thinking that developed unconsciously in childhood. It’s a deep dive into self-awareness and recognizing the unhelpful patterns that have been passed down through generations.

“You can be at your physical best, but if you’ve got hang-ups from your childhood or your mental health isn’t great, then you’re going to get in your own way,” Ava says. “We all come to a point in our life where we think, ‘I might have some baggage to clean up.’ You recognize what you are carrying and try to adjust so you can move forward in a healthy way.”

She credits the Hoffman Process with helping her untangle the web of her grief and find a sense of peace and stability. “It was a great opportunity to get the emotional side of the house cleaned up,” she says. “But there are two components to health: mind and body.” 

She decided it was time to direct her energy toward improving her physical health.

Seeking Answers

Ava was in her 40s, and like many women of a similar age, she knew things were changing. “My hormones were upside down. My cortisol levels were crazy from stress. My body felt off, but I couldn’t put my finger on why,” she says.

She noticed her temperament shifting and her energy levels flagging. “I was feeling really edgy and grumpy, and I didn’t like that,” she says. “It’s not who I am. My boys were young, and you don’t want to be a snappy mom. You want to be a soft place for them, no matter what.” 

On top of the hormonal changes, Ava was feeling pressure from her high-tech Silicon Valley job and turbulence in her marriage, as well as the physical strain of having children later in life. “Your body just isn’t the same at that age. I didn’t feel confident in my clothes or comfortable in my skin, and I wasn’t used to that. I have always felt pretty comfortable in my skin,” she says.

She was disappointed in the solutions doctors had offered so far. She’d been seen by physicians in multiple specialties, and even navigated an incorrect endometriosis diagnosis, but no one had the holistic mind-body-soul approach she was looking for.

“I wanted to find a doctor I connected with, and I knew there was more out there from the medical community than I was getting,” she says. “I needed to be looked at on a deeper level.” When a friend recommended the Young Naturopathic Center for Wellness, Ava wasted no time scheduling an appointment.

Seeking Guidance

Ava felt intuitively that she was on the right path as soon as she met Dr. Young. “I want to work with someone I like, and Dr. Young makes you want to be her best friend,” she explains. “She’s warm and welcoming and funny, and you feel like you can tell her anything. Immediately, there was a connection.”

Beyond her amiable personality, Ava was drawn to the sharp intelligence she saw in Dr. Young. “She’s wickedly smart. I knew I was in good hands,” she adds.

As a naturopathic doctor (ND), Dr. Young draws from both natural and conventional medicine. NDs practice with a holistic philosophy that emphasizes the body’s intrinsic healing power, a patient-centered approach to treatment and the interconnectedness of physical, mental, emotional and environmental factors.

Central to naturopathic medicine is the belief in preventing illness through proactive measures and a focus on uncovering root causes rather than treating symptoms. This requires a deep dive into individual susceptibilities and all 12 systems of the body.

Ava’s experience started with the Optimal Wellness Check. This comprehensive series of tests and panels revealed hormonal imbalances, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, and risk factors for breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. “Going through a typical MD doesn’t give you that kind of detail,” she says. 

It was exactly what she’d been looking for.

Seeking Balance

Ava began bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). Within a week, the dense clouds of brain fog lifted, sleepless nights turned restful and the irritable edges in her mood softened. The treatment also helped her regulate her weight and slow down the visible aging of her skin. It felt like she was no longer in a battle against her body.

“When Dr. Young was able to get those levels down, it was a huge relief,” she recalls. “It was like going from the Tasmanian devil to a golden retriever.”

Hormone therapy isn’t a one-time solution but an ongoing process of adapting to your body’s changing needs. She returns to YNC every six months for labs to check her levels, and Dr. Young adjusts her recommendations as necessary.

Ava has learned invaluable information in the process. Much like her time at the Hoffman Institute provided insight into the inner workings of her mind, YNC has given her insight into the inner workings of her body. “If my testosterone is low, I’m in a mental haze. If my testosterone is too high, I get amped up like an angsty teenage boy,” she offers as an example.

To other women on similar journeys, Ava emphasizes the importance of being informed. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health and well-being. What matters is approaching your health decisions from a place of curiosity and clarity. 

“When it comes time, you can choose hormone replacement therapy and reap the benefits of leveling yourself out. Or, you can choose to age naturally, knowing you may have to endure a bumpier ride,” she says. “You want to be educated about your options so you can make an informed decision for yourself.”

“And make sure you have a doctor who really knows what they’re doing, like Dr. Young, because hormones can be complicated!” she adds.

Seeking Strength

It’s now been more than a decade since Ava walked through the doors of YNC. “I’m always learning and trying things,” she says. “I love IVs. I did hCG years ago. I eliminated the foods that came up on my food sensitivities panel.” Her health ventures range from the cutting-edge (like cell therapy and peptide therapy) to the classic (quitting a smoking habit that began in middle school). 

As Ava has evolved, so have her treatments. She began experiencing neck and back issues in her late 40s and felt she had, as she colorfully describes it, “old lady bones.” She underwent a procedure in Oregon to ease her neck pain by damaging the nerve fibers responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. It worked, until it didn’t anymore.

In 2019, she was diagnosed with osteopenia. By 2020, it had escalated to osteoporosis. Ava was on high alert. It wasn’t just about discomfort anymore; she had a degenerative condition to confront. She continued BHRT to support her bone health, and on Dr. Young’s advice, she began a targeted supplementation regimen and exosome IV infusions.

“Exosomes are like an army of soldiers who have no mission,” she explains. “They heal and repair wherever they’re needed, whether it’s bones or ligaments or muscles or tendons.” 

Ava’s treatment approach might seem out-of-the-box, bypassing conventional osteoporosis drugs for a mix of natural therapies, but her results speak louder than any skepticism. In February 2023, during a DEXA scan to measure her bone density, her technician revealed a stunning development: “You reversed your osteoporosis. That’s unheard of.” 

Seeking a Fresh Perspective

Ava is now in her late 50s, and in some ways, she feels better than ever. “I’m eating cleaner than I’ve ever eaten. My hormones feel more balanced than they did in my 40s. I don’t have aches and pains like I used to,” she says. “It’s amazing that the older I’m getting, the less pain I have.”

She continues to visit YNC for a dedicated health regimen that includes IVs, peptide therapy, cell therapy and BHRT. The discomfort she used to feel in her body has been replaced by gratitude. “I know more about myself now. I can assess what my body needs, and I’m a lot more patient and kind with it,” she says.

Ava’s experience with YNC has taught her the importance of advocating for yourself, of knowing when something is “off” physically or mentally, and of refusing to settle for feeling less well than you deserve.

“I hear from a lot of women that you have no choice but to keep plugging away, even though you’re not excited about much and you feel drained,” she says. “It really bothers me when someone says, ‘This is just how it feels to be 50.’ There’s so much you can do to feel optimal at any age.”

Her time with YNC has also underscored the profound impact a reliable and collaborative medical partner can have on your journey to wellness.

“You hire a financial advisor for your money. You hire a real estate agent to sell your house. With Dr. Young, you’re hiring a healthcare strategist to create a roadmap for your health,” she says. “Trust your doctor, and be engaged and be proactive with the process.”

Seeking a New Chapter

Ava’s journey hasn’t just changed her personal health; it’s shifted her conception of wellness entirely. 

“Naturopathic medicine has given me a new way of life. Why would you balance just one system when there are twelve systems in our body?” she questions. “I can’t see myself feeling satisfied with other forms of medicine anymore.”

Her belief in the mind-body connection and the importance of addressing health inside and out has only strengthened. “It’s about how I feel emotionally, mentally and physically. Do I have energy? Did I sleep well? How’s my mood? These are the indicators of true well-being for me,” she muses.

So, what does Ava envision for her future? More proactive wellness. More dancing to Pink Martini. More cherished moments with loved ones. “In your late 50s, your priorities shift,” she says. “It’s not about the hustle anymore. It’s about family, friends and genuine happiness.”

From the hills of the Hoffman Institute, to the holistic healing of YNC, Ava has learned to embrace the challenges and joys of every passing decade. She has unearthed a new understanding of what it means to be well, and in doing so, has built a life of vitality, joy, balance, abundance and gratitude. She is now setting her sights on her most ambitious goal yet.

“My new goal is longevity,” she says. “I tell Dr. Young that I am going to live to be 100 and that it’s her job to get me there.”

Are you ready to begin your own journey toward health and vitality? Discover your path with the Young Naturopathic Center for Wellness. Call 408-761-6781 or contact us here to request your complimentary consultation.