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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

Center for Holistic Medicine Blends Medical Worlds

Jul 29, 2013 08:08PM ● By Nancy Somera

“Dr. Kathy”

Before opening the Center for Holistic Medicine, in Carlisle, Katarzyna Ferraro, M.D., FACEP, ABIHM, known as “Dr. Kathy” by her clients, spent 10 years as an emergency room doctor treating everything from cuts and broken bones to life-threatening injuries and ailments. Her life changed, however, with the birth of her second daughter, who had significant developmental delays. When her pediatrician was unable to offer treatment options or interventions, Ferraro began to explore alternative therapies.

Eventually, her daughter was diagnosed with autism and Ferraro became passionate about integrative approaches for this disorder. She worked with nutritionists, attended conferences through the Autism Research Institute and received certification as a medically trained acupuncturist. She also recently completed training through the Institute for Functional Medicine.

Ferraro decided to open the Center so she could use her medical training and experience as a parent to assist and offer hope to other families dealing with similar disorders. “The best opportunity for healing, health and wellness comes from removing the things that are causing problems and replacing the things that are missing,” explains Ferraro. She uncovers clues in a comprehensive and methodical manner by taking a detailed history and physical exam and looking for nutritional depletions in the body, environmental toxin exposures, signs of inflammation and allergies. After a full examination, she often will order routine or advanced laboratory testing. Ferraro uses this approach to guide therapeutic interventions such as dietary changes, nutritional supplementation and outside therapy services.

“All kids are on their own growth path, so it is often difficult to quantify improvements, but when I’m treating a withdrawn child with a spectrum disorder, and one day he just comes right out and asks his father to play, something that he’s never done before, I know we’re making progress and a difference in lives,” says Ferraro.

Additionally, the Center for Holistic Medicine sees adults searching for solutions to their chronic medical problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, food sensitivities, digestive disorders, fatigue, low energy, thyroid disorders, stress and anxiety. Ferraro begins with a thorough checkup, using her emergency medicine training to catch any serious conditions that may need immediate traditional medical attention. “It is important to recognize when someone is having a stroke or other life-threatening illness,” she says.

Then she listens to her patients describe their symptoms in greater detail, so she can get to the source of what is going on. “Our patients really feel like they are being heard and all their symptoms are accounted for and thoroughly discussed,” says Ferraro. “Here we keep looking for different ways to help people, often without the use of traditional pharmaceuticals, and have become a place for people to turn when no one else can seem to help,” she adds.

Location: 9 Brookwood Ave., Carlisle. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 717-243-0616 or visit

Nancy Somera is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings.

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