What 25% of my patients have in common

This is a short explanation of adrenal fatigue as I understand it. There is controversy around this term. Some doctors believe there is no such thing as adrenal fatigue. That depends on the definition of it. As a student and clinician of functional medicine, I believe that adrenal fatigue is simply determined by your levels of cortisol and DHEA, which are two hormones produced by the adrenals. It is not complicated. If your levels fall below a certain number, you have some measure of adrenal fatigue. Your levels of DHEA and cortisol are determined by taking a saliva test. In my practice, I diagnose three stages. The first is the least severe and the third is the most severe. About 25% of my patients are on an adrenal repair plan. Here’s why:


These three important health issues are not being addressed by Western medicine:

  1. recovering from fatigue and tiredness (“I would like to have my energy back!”)
  2. healing the nervous systems/coming out of fight or flight (“I would like to feel safe and calm again”)
  3. coming out of chronic stress (“I am run down/ overwhelmed/ busy/ stressed.”)


I have found that about two years of consistent acupuncture treatment can heal adrenal fatigue. (This plan comes with countless good side-effects). But if you add functional medicine and the right supplements (as little as 2-3 products) that length of treatment can come down to closer to six months.


Symptoms highly related to adrenal fatigue are:

-knee problems

-back problems


-can’t quiet the mind or calm down


-menstrual symptoms

-extreme fatigue

-tiredness throughout the day

-blood sugar imbalances like PCOS, diabetes, and insulin resistance

-chronic degenerative diseases

-trauma / PTSD

-hormonal imbalances like menopausal symptoms

-difficulty losing weight

-sleep problems

-thyroid problems

-sugar addiction

-slow recovery time (from physical things like workouts to more emotional things)


If one or more of these describes you, consider taking a saliva test so we can see where your cortisol and DHEA levels are. When we see your results, we can build you back up with safe plant-based hormones. The plan will be customized to your specific energy ups and downs.


Cortisol and DHEA are truly the source and origin of your energy or lack thereof. Functional medicine has been so concerned with adrenal health over the past ten years because functional medicine is all about getting to the origin or root of the issue. The amount of “juice” in your adrenals is the true origin of so many of the functions of your body. Building you back up from the source instead of chasing symptoms is wise, effective, and creates great side-effects.


We are so lucky to have the quality of supplements we have. Amazing healing plants right at our fingertips. We might as well use them to help us feel our best. In combination with acupuncture, we can achieve huge changes. *


Just yesterday one of my patients came out of the treatment room, sat down to check out and reschedule, and just stopped and looked at me and said, “I can’t even begin to thank you for how much I have changed in the past ten months on this adrenal repair plan. My energy is completely back. I can’t believe how much energy I have and how much I get done in one day. And all of my physical symptoms have resolved, too. It’s amazing.”


Life is short and there is no reason to go around feeling bad for years.


-Sarah Thomas, LAc


*Acupuncture can stand alone to treat adrenal fatigue. Functional medicine can stand alone to treat adrenal fatigue. The best results seem to come from the combination of the two.

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