Top NJ Functional Medicine Practitioners: Getting to the Root of What Ails You!
Meet Cheryl Schmid, AFMC-SLP & Elana Mundorff, LCSW, AFMC, PHom
Photography provided by Mark De Hanes
Name: Cheryl Schmid, AFMC-SLP
Family names: Brian (husband),
Gemma & Riley (daughters)
Company name: The Well Chat
Your position: Founder, Practitioner
Phone number: 9179229448
Business address: zoom
Social Media: @Thewellchat
(Facebook, Instagram, TikTok)
Name: Elana Mundorff, LCSW, AFMC, PHom
Family Names: Curt (husband), Tyler (son), Mackenna (daughter)
Company Name: Optimal Wellness Naturally
Your Position: Founder, Practitioner
Phone Number: 908-765-8833
Business address: Zoom
Social Media: @Elana_Mundorff
(Instagram, TikTok), Optimal Wellness Naturally (Facebook)
How long have you lived in the area?
Cheryl: 13 years.
Elana: 17 years
Tell us about your family:
Cheryl: We moved here from the city when my girls were two years old. We sought a safe, lively downtown with a strong sense of community and walk-to-town ability. We got it all in Westfield! In addition to my career as a Functional Medicine Practitioner, I am also a Speech Language Pathologist, and at one time worked in almost every school in Westfield. My husband is in finance, and my girls are happily attending Morristown Beard High School this fall where they partake in track, cross country and volleyball, respectively.
Elana: My husband and I moved to the area 17 years ago and have built our lives here. In addition to my Integrative Health consulting business, I have been a Psychotherapist in private practice for over 20 years serving the local community. My husband is a local Physical Therapist and we have two amazing children. My daughter, an avid reader, is in 3rd grade, and my son who loves history and gaming, is thrilled to be in his final year of high school.
What do you like best about the local area?
Cheryl: I love that our walk to town is through such a gorgeous park (Mindowaskin) and the variety of shops available once we arrive, is more than we could ask for from a small town. It’s a friendly, fun town and we’re grateful to have found it.
Elana: I love the sense of community and the friendliness of neighbors. The combination of a small town feel with the conveniences of so many shops and businesses offers the best of both worlds for my family.
Describe what your practice does.
Cheryl: I work with folks who have been through the wringer (and through many doctors and specialists) with their health dynamics like chronic gut issues (IBS, SIBO, reflux, GERD, bloat), autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, histamine overload, sinus/congestion, infertility, acne and more. I do specialize in gut health but that has far reaching effects like everything mentioned above. This is because every organ/tissue/cell in the body requires nutrients & therefore gut health and the ability to well digest & absorb, get the spotlight in chronic disease.
Elana: So many people are struggling with mental health conditions and either don’t want to take medication or want to reduce their reliance on it. I help people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, panic and other mental health issues to uproot their condition and find true healing and resolution through natural modalities including functional medicine, homeopathy, lifestyle changes, and mental health and mindset strategies. I treat the whole person and dig deep to figure out what is really causing their struggles.
What is the process to work with you?
Cheryl: Some clients go right to the 3 step process of 1) fill out my health history form (found at Thewellchat.com), 2) send any labwork they have (to email@example.com) and 3) I then reach out to schedule an appointment. Some opt for a free phone call prior to beginning the process. Either way, before our appointment, I spend ~1-2 hours researching & puzzle piecing the health history with the labwork. During the actual appointment, I dig deeper by getting needed clarifications, provide a rapid relief protocol & prioritize any further testing that may prove helpful (comprehensive stool testing, food sensitivities, hormones, micronutrients, full thyroid panels, SIBO, etc) and I do provide these tests to my clients. Most appointments are held via zoom, It’s pretty seamless.
Elana: Those who are interested in working with me are asked to fill out a brief application form through
OWNaturally.com where they can also set up a free 15 minute Health Strategy Call. If the fit is right, clients then fill out an in-depth health history form and send any labwork prior to our Initial Consultation, during which we do a deep dive into their symptoms, past and current treatments, and history to understand the dynamics at play with their mental health and to create a plan for health as we work together to uproot their mood imbalances. Sessions are held virtually, and specialty labs are included.
You both have significant experience. How did you come together to partner on this initiative? Give us the background.
Elana: We met in a local “crunchy mamas” group when Cheryl ran out of oregano oil and asked where she could get some at that late hour. I told her I was on my way home from work and could bring some by as I saw we were practically neighbors. We stood on her porch talking for hours after realizing our shared interests in natural healing & functional medicine. We both achieved the highest certification our school offers called AFMC certification (read more about that below) and now are helping people both in our individual practices and together in our master program (see below).
What should the neighbors know about living a healthy lifestyle?
In general, folks should know that there is no universal diet or supplement protocol. What works for one may have dramatic negative effects for another (some of our sickest clients eat the “healthiest” diets). Simply put, no single approach or intervention works for everyone. People need to know that we often need to go beyond diet & supplements and consider:
a balanced nervous system
optimal lab markers vs just within-range markers
Supplement quality & absorption ability can make all the difference
Prioritize gut health & eradication of overgrowths
Mindset matters because the body follows the mind
You are NOT what you eat. You ARE what you readily digest & absorb & many things can interfere with that process
What type of patients come to your practices?
We always say that no one comes to us first, commonly they have exhausted a few GI’s, GPs, physiologists, therapists, psychiatrists, maybe a rheumatologist, endocrinologist, dermatologist as well.
What got you interested in functional medicine and alternative healing approaches?
Cheryl: This was my experience before turning to functional medicine (FM) 15 years ago. When a FM practitioner was able to reverse my 4 autoimmune diseases, chronic GI issues like gastritis, SIBO, candida, multiple food sensitivities, dysautonomia, chronic bloating, acne, pre diabetes, etc (yes, I had multiple forms of dis-ease) I had to become one myself! BTW, all of the above has been 100% reversed. All.
Elana: I suffered from eczema, migraines, SIBO, IBS, hives, mast cell overactivation, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and multiple food sensitivities for years, going from specialist to specialist that offered me one prescription after another to “manage” all these conditions. I started down the natural healing path, found functional medicine and homeopathy, and finally began to truly heal and RESOLVE these issues. Reversing chronic mental health conditions and physical ailments naturally is absolutely possible.
Most common misconception about functional medicine?
A common misconception is that Functional Medicine Practitioners are basically nutritionists. This is not true! We explore more than just the impact of food on health. We look at food intake, nutrient deficiencies, lifestyle, environment, toxins, mindset, nervous system balance, stress management, and gut health, including the ability to absorb and utilize nutrients. All this in order to get to the root of health concerns and mood imbalances.
What is something that always surprises your clients?
What surprises our clients is the devil in the detail around labwork, and nutrient drains from common dynamics & medications. For example, did you know that:
Statins & beta blockers deplete CoQ10 (causing leg, muscle pain & fatigue)
PPIs deplete B12 and Magnesium (causing fatigue, constipation, headaches, neuropathy, anxiety and more!)
Excessive vitamin D depletes Magnesium (see above)
Birth control pills deplete B6 (causing less detox ability, anxiety, nausea & more!)
We are trained to find the “devil in the detail” and provide the workarounds based on bio individual needs. Another issue that surprises clients is that the quality of supplements matter. There are synthetic versions versus bioavailable versions that make a difference in the body’s ability to effectively utilize the supplement.
What is your specific certification in the area of Functional Medicine?
This is a valuable question because people don’t realize the importance of asking this hard question to the practitioners they hire. Functional medicine is not yet a licensed profession and therefore one may have only taken a 2 week or 2 month or 2 year course and call themselves a functional medicine practitioner! AFMC certification is actually the highest certification The School Of Applied Functional Medicine provides and we both have achieved that coveted status: What does that mean? See below!
AFMC is the difference!
(Applied Functional Medicine Certification):
RAISING THE STANDARD OF
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE TRAINING
The coveted AFMC denotes a 4 year commitment of rigorous training in advanced functional medicine sciences and validated application through clinical case studies. Through intensive study of chronic disease etiology, functional physiology, and evidence-based intervention, along with hands-on clinical practice, practitioners who achieve the distinguished AFMC title are uniquely qualified to provide individually targeted strategies that address the multi-faceted nature of today’s complex health dynamics.
Do you work separately or together?
There are options! We definitely work separately in our areas of expertise. Cheryl is the Gut Health expert & Elana is the Mental Health expert. There is an option to work with us together, for those struggling with both mental & physical health. The bidirectional communication between the central nervous system and gut microbiota, known as the gut-brain-axis, has been well established. Working on these systems as a whole, can provide progress beyond what is possible when addressing them separately. Through a unique and ongoing collaboration, we offer our Platinum Program where we team up for a deeper dive into the drivers of gut and brain health imbalances and work together to devise a comprehensive protocol that addresses both body and mind.
So whether you are interested in working with only one of us or you’d like information on the Platinum Program, we are here and ready to help. We are local and passionate about getting to the root cause of your health and mood concerns.
Follow us on social media or reach out to get started on your health journey today!
How can neighbors learn more about your practice?
Reach out by emailing, calling, or following us on social media.
Would you like to be featured in an upcoming issue?
Please feel free to send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.