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Targeting Lyme Disease with Integrative Medicine

Jul 04, 2016 04:57PM ● By Marlaina Donato

Robert Mauss, D.O.

Targeting Lyme Disease with Integrative Medicine

More individuals are diagnosed annually with Lyme disease than breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. The bite from a deer tick may be tiny, but the bacteria they carry can invade the brain, joints, muscles and heart. “The bacteria create a great deal of inflammation, and targeting inflammation is crucial in treating Lyme disease successfully,” says Dr. Robert Mauss, of Gettysburg Osteopathic Family Health, PC. “Primate and canine studies have shown that the presence of the bacteria can persist in the tissues long after treatment with antibiotics.”

Traditional medicine approaches acute Lyme disease with antibiotics, but for many patients that still experience symptoms, an integrative approach can be an option. “Inflammation is perpetuated and toxicity is compounded by lifestyle and improper diet, especially sugary foods. Diet is huge,” emphasizes Mauss.

Lyme disease is commonly associated with severe joint pain, headaches and fatigue, but lesser known neuropsychiatric Lyme disease can also occur, which affects brain chemistry. Symptoms associated with this form can be life-altering and may include disabling anxiety, panic attacks, depression, severe mood swings, loss of concentration, impaired memory and psychosis.

Mauss has concluded that Lyme disease is an epidemic, often unrecognized during the average doctor visit. His passion to help his patients has led him to create an individualized approach to Lyme disease using osteopathy and functional medicine. Osteopathy is sometimes confused with chiropractic, but the two are distinctly different. An osteopath is a fully licensed physician practicing in all phases of medicine and prescribe medication when needed. “If a person can tolerate antibiotics, I will prescribe them. However, if a person is intolerant to medications, I’ll recommend herbs which have a better side effect profile and are as effective as pharmaceuticals,” says Mauss.

Osteopathic manipulation addresses the whole person and focuses on the gentle release of soft tissue structure for circulation and cellular nutrition. “Cranial osteopathic treatment can foster excellent results when managing joint pain associated with Lyme. Working with a seemingly unaffected part of the body can have an effect on other areas of the body,\; for example, the knees,” explains Mauss. Combined with the in-depth diagnostics of functional medicine, his approach also employs nutrition and supplements, which can play a vital role in the maintenance of Lyme disease.

Unlike the typical seven-minute exam in a doctor’s office, a patient can expect a different experience under Mauss’ care. New patients receive a 90-minute consultation to discuss medical history, present symptoms and previous test results, physical and structural exams and recommendations for functional medicine tests, if needed. Follow-up visits are tailored to individual needs. “Functional medicine and osteopathy dovetail in treating Lyme and align perfectly,” says Mauss. “I like to give my patients a say in their own treatment plan.”

Gettysburg Osteopathic Family Health is located at 2311 Fairfield Rd., Ste. E, in Gettysburg. For more information, call 717-334-2233 or visit

Marlaina Donato is a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

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