These were the words I heard as I searched for answers to a litany of mysterious and seemingly relentless symptoms. For nearly 15 years, I suffered from fatigue, brain fog, muscle pain, palpitations and a profound feeling of sluggishness. This colored every aspect of my existence. I went from doctor to doctor and did numerous tests and procedures that revealed “nothing clinically wrong”. This lasted through college and all the way up through the beginning of graduate school. As a matter of fact, for a period of time I had to drop out of my program and take several months off as my hair fell out, my heart palpitations increased and my anxiety began to spike. It was during this critical time that I decided to see a Functional Medicine physician in Berkeley, CA. This particular physician was able to take a deeper look into my labs and a close look at my symptoms where it was revealed that I was actually suffering from autoimmune thyroid disease and leaky gut. After my diagnosis, I was profoundly relieved and my symptoms began to abate, but little did I know that was when the real work would begin!
It was this experience that solidified my interest in the world of integrative and complementary medicine. It became my mission to uncover mysterious symptoms and complex issues and find their root cause. I decided to go outside of the mainstream medical paradigm, a place that I knew very well. My father was an emergency room physician and an internist. My grandfather was an OB-GYN. I grew up surrounded by a library of medical textbooks. I understood mainstream medicine as the truth, however it had profoundly failed me. I knew that I needed to pursue a medical degree that had a different view of health and life. It was from there that I decided to attend the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, CA.
I spent thousands of hours with patients at the AIMC clinic as well as West Berkeley Family Practice and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. It was in these settings where I helped people with a wide array of health issues, from smoking cessation, to fertility, to cancer. I developed an even deeper interest in complex autoimmune cases and I welcome those who are seeking out answers to chronic conditions. As a believer in integrative medicine, I utilize the ancient medicine of China as well as modern, evidence-based medicine known as functional medicine in my practice. This East meets West approach is a perfect system under which the practitioner can seek answers to health questions while staying rooted in a holistic paradigm.
I obtained my B.A. in psychology from San Francisco State University in 2000. As a college student, I worked toward understanding the human psyche and mental health. This was the springboard from which an interest in total health emerged. My work with people with HIV/AIDS in the late 1990’s in San Francisco also helped to underscore the importance of understanding a multi-pronged approach to total health that includes implementing lifestyle changes, nutrition, exercise and surrounding oneself with a loving, healthy community of people who support these goals.
Hello. I’m Rainey Straus, a combo right-brained left-brained thinker. You’ll find me where rigor meets woo-woo and purpose meets play. I see wellness as a constantly evolving practice that leads to living our best lives. My super-power is distilling the complex down to the essential. My why is to help you uncover your innate creativity as a tool for transformation. Together we’ll design achievable and personally meaningful wellness goals that lead to lasting change.
Of course, I have my own wellness story too. After 25 years of screen time as a designer in tech, my body began to break down. Muscle, nerve and joint pain, brain fog and digestive distress all seemed to come on around the time I started a new job that had me traveling from California to Washington, D.C. Initial treatments included a cocktail of medications, physical therapy and the possibility of future surgery. I had the sense that I was being patched up just enough to return to battle. I was lucky to connect early on with an integrative physician who treated the whole of me and sent me off to Spirit Rock to mediate. Inspired and supported, I reclaimed responsibility for my own health.
I’m also a dancer, yogi, traveler and flow junkie. I have an MFA from California College of the Arts, training as a wellness coach from the Mayo Clinic, the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy and 25+ years of experience as a practicing designer. I’ve worked with companies like Abbott Diabetes Care, GE Healthcare and the VA to develop experiences that grow wellbeing and deliver better patient care.