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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

Functional Medicine at the Center for Holistic Medicine in Carlisle

Mar 02, 2015 10:30PM ● By Erin Lehn Floresca

Katarzyna (Dr. Kathy) Ferraro, M.D.

Katarzyna (Dr. Kathy) Ferraro, M.D., owner of the Center for Holistic Medicine, in Carlisle, practiced emergency medicine for more than 10 years, but when her second child was born on the autism spectrum, her career took a turn. “Modern medicine didn’t help, so I went the holistic route and saw dramatic improvements in my daughter’s health,” she says. “After that, I developed a passion for integrative and functional medicine. It focuses on a healing and wellness model versus the disease model.” She went on to become a functional medical practitioner and certified medical acupuncturist, and now combines allopathic and integrative medicine to help improve her patients’ quality of life.

Ferraro sees a diverse group of clients with a variety of health concerns and chronic medical conditions. A typical first office visit consists of a one-hour interview, including a physical exam. “We discuss everything from physical symptoms to dietary interventions, budget concerns and whether lab work is necessary,” says Ferraro. “I especially like to focus on lifestyle interventions—diet and nutrition, exercise and beneficial supplements. Often, just a change in these things makes a significant difference in one’s health.”

Ferraro then makes follow-up appointments as necessary. “We look for the root cause of medical conditions, which frequently lies in nutrition, stress and a weakened gastrointestinal tract,” she explains. “I like to empower my clients with knowledge so they are inspired to make the lifestyle changes that are needed for a vibrant life.”

Ferraro especially loves working with autistic children. “I’m very passionate about it because of my experience with our own child,” she says. “We make sure to provide an open, comforting environment for them.” Ferraro notes that children on the spectrum usually have underlying metabolic conditions. “With that in mind, we offer full biomedical evaluations and individualized treatment plans. Each child has their own unique nutritional needs, and responses to these interventions can vary.”

In addition to treatment, Ferraro also believes that appropriate environmental conditions can make a big difference for her patients on the spectrum. “This includes their school and home life, community involvement and behavioral interventions like Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy,” she says. “Nutritional intervention is also important. A glutenand dairy-free diet can be a very beneficial starting point for these children.”

Ferarro’s passion is fueled by her patients’ response to treatment. “When I see someone making real progress— like a child who is beginning to talk— that’s very rewarding,” she says. “I love seeing my patients living fuller lives.”

The Center for Holistic Medicine is located at 9 Brookwood Ave., in Carlisle. For more information, call 717-243- 0616 or visit

Erin Lehn Floresca is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

October 2019