Affinity Wellness Offers Alternative to Traditional Medicine

Published on 30 November -1 in Business
Deborah Bostock-Kelley (author)

Deborah Bostock-Kelley

Dr. Michael Austin

Dr. Michael Austin

With 15 years of experience in emergency medicine, Dr. Michael Austin, D.O. decided he’d treated enough of the aftermath of health issues. That was the driving force ten years ago to go into functional medicine.  His goal is to help patients get off medication and to optimize their health. 

Dr. Austin, functional medicine doctor and founder of Affinity Wellness in Carrollwood is an expert in discovering the root cause of health issues – not simply medicating the symptoms.

 “We work on preventing illness and restoring people back to optimal health,” he explained. “Being told your labs are normal is not the same as being optimal – there’s a big difference. We know the optimal range where the body works its best. Just fitting you into a normal range is inadequate for healthy optimal body function.”

The key proponent of functional medicine is to find out what’s going on in the patient’s body. While traditional medicine will put the patient on medicine to treat the symptoms, functional medicine looks for the reason why a person is experiencing the symptoms in the first place.

“We look backwards and we try to find out what’s not working or what’s changed – because you weren’t like this before and now you have this issue. Once you fix the underlying problem, all the other associated issues can go away.”

After the patient has completed an intensive, detailed questionnaire, the doctor will go over your reason for the visit. Unlike traditional medicine where you may be lucky to get 10 minutes of the doctor’s time, Dr. Austin allots over an hour consultation with new patients. Though the practice does not take insurance, you may be able to submit a claim with your insurance company. Blood work is directly billed to your insurance. The initial visit is $225.

Oftentimes a poor diet which can cause Leaky Gut is revealed to be the main culprit in many health issues and chronic illnesses.

The philosopher Hippocrates once said, “Let the food be thy medicine and thy medicine thy food.” Today, in the fast-paced, instant-gratification world of processed and toxic pesticide-laden foods, the statement could easily be revised to read “let the food be thy poison and thy poison thy food.”

“You have natural God-given foods and you have man-made unnatural foods. If you eat unnatural things, you must expect that unnatural things are going to happen to you. The more plant-based – the more organic fruits and vegetables, the healthier you are going to be.”

Leaky Gut can lead to multiple autoimmune disorders and masquerade as digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, depression, weight problems, and other serious conditions. It’s been found in association with chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, irritable bowel, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, psoriasis, lupus, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, Huntington’s, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, among others.

Dr. Austin held up a flyer of a road diverged with healthy foods on one side and fast food and junk food on the other. He explained, “This is what you have to think about every time you eat. You’re either feeding disease or preventing it.”

Consuming foods laden with excessive gluten can increase the risk of Leaky Gut.

Dr. Austin said, “The problem is the excessive use of gluten in food.  Consuming gluten will cause the opening of tight junctions in the gut. Our guts have cells in them linked together by tight junctions. When you eat and drink, these tight junctions protect you and the body decides what you take in. When these junctions become loose or leaky, things you consume are now able to get through to the other side, where you have 80-90% of your immune system. This then triggers the immune system which can be the start of the autoimmune issues.”

Dr. Austin is also a proponent of avoiding milk.

“Cow’s milk is nothing like human breast milk. It includes enzymes that can actually harm you, plus you don’t know what the cows have been fed. There’s pesticides as well as them being given hormones to produce more milk. That sometimes causes mastitis so now they’re on antibiotics which gets into the milk,” he said. “We are the only creature on earth that drinks another creature’s milk past infancy. Even cows don’t drink it after a certain time period.”

In addition to functional medicine services, Affinity Wellness also offers a weight loss program, Botox and medical marijuana treatment.

Even weight loss is looked at from a functional medicine perspective. Dr. Austin wants to know what’s causing the weight gain. He’ll look at things such as hormone, thyroid issues, inflammation and other body stresses and treat accordingly. He also uses the ProLon kit, a Fasting Mimicking Diet, invented by Valter Longo, PhD who has done extensive research and clinical trials on aging and fasting.

Botox is used cosmetically to smooth frown lines between the brows, smile lines and to remove crow’s feet in patients.

For patients in need, Dr. Austin can prescribe medical marijuana that works on the body’s natural Endocannabanoid System and offers at the office, non-psychoactive CDB oil to help manage pain and other conditions. Medical marijuana can be prescribed for 10 eligible conditions for patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, Parkinson's Disease, HIV, AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Crohn’s Disease, and ALS, though Amendment 2 allows doctors to certify patients for medical marijuana if diagnosed with, "other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class or comparable to those enumerated."

No matter what service he is providing, Dr. Austin is focused on treating the cause of the problem, not just masking the symptoms.  The back of his business card summarizes functional medicine: Virtually every complex, chronic disease is preceded by long-term disturbances in functionality. Most of the disturbances can be addressed; some can be completely restored to optimum function, and others can be substantially improved.

“We judge our success by making you feel good again and our goal is to get you off medications. We don’t want to wait for something to happen. We want to prevent it.”

Alliance Wellness is located at 6611 Gunn Hwy, Tampa. Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 8-5pm, Tuesday and Friday 9-6pm. Affinity Wellness is offering $50 off initial weight loss consultation and $9 per Botox unit for new patients. Learn more at

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