Our Holistic Practitioner
Meet Thomas Kuciejczyk-Kernan, MD
Dr. Kuciejczyk-Kernan, known to most of us as Dr. Kernan. joined Grace Hill Health Centers (now Affinia Healthcare) in 1989. He graduated from medical school at Saint Louis University, and completed his residency at Cook County Hospital. Dr. Kernan believes that every person should have access to primary health care services.
Over time, Dr. Kernan has cultivated his approach to medicine. “I began training in mind-body medicine in 2001 and the experience was personally and professionally transforming,” says Dr. Kernan.
He continued training in mind-body medicine and became certified. In 2010, he joined the faculty of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and in 2012, became board certified in Integrative & Holistic Medicine.
Dr. Kernan strives to provide the best medicine has to offer, which has led him from family practice to integrative medicine (IM). With executive level support, Dr. Kernan has been able to expand Affinia Healthcare’s scope of service to include holistic medicine, adding natural therapies to its pharmacy formulary and functional testing to its lab service.
“Even though our patients face important resource limitations, there is so much they can do, because the most powerful dynamics for healing lie within ourselves, and can be mobilized by a healing partnership. It is especially satisfying to work with people who have been stuck in a downward spiral of complex chronic disease … and see them recover wellbeing,” says Dr. Kernan.
Though patients benefit working with their body through nutrition and movement, they gain even more from working with their minds to relieve the systemic imbalance of stress, develop mindfulness to enhance self-awareness and self-direction, address the dynamics underlying patterns of unhealthy behavior, improve effective thinking and emotional expression, and nurture healthy relationship and spirituality.
He accomplishes this most effectively through his Mind-Body Skills Group – a full implementation of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s evidence-based model. For 10 years, Dr. Kernan has facilitated a structured series of 10 weekly, two-hour, small-group visits of experiential learning in mind-body self-care skills.
“Through this process my patients acquire skill in four practices which induce the hypothalamic relaxation response (attention-focused diaphragmatic breathing, autogenic technique with skin thermal biofeedback, safe place imagery, and mindfulness meditation), and six forms of meditation, including three active techniques (shaking and dancing, rapid deep breathing through the nose, tai chi),” says Dr. Kernan.
At each session, the learning experience transforms a patient’s relationship to self, opens a well of internal resources for healing, and empowers them to accomplish the changes they need to make in their lives to reduce harms (physical, mental, relational) and improve self-nurturance in all dimensions. In this way they become their own agents for healing!