Power in Prevention: Why This Doctor Made the Shift to Functional Medicine

Margaret Floyd Barry

October 20, 2022

Alumni Spotlight with Dr. Rachel Yan, DC, NTP, & RWP

Dr. Rachel Yan always knew she’d have a career in the health and wellness space. Growing up, she spent summers in ERs, doctors offices, and veterinarian clinics learning about the important work of helping others get well. She entered college as an undeclared PreMed major, assuming that was the one and only option she had for a career in healthcare.

But, during college, Dr. Rachel was introduced to a chiropractor who changed the way she thought about health and wellness. “It was the first time I had encountered the concept of root cause care,” she says. She quickly pivoted her career plans and, by the age of 24, had received her doctorate in chiropractic medicine. She went on to start her own practice, arming individuals with the resources and tools to take care of their body before it was too late. 

That’s actually where Dr. Rachel’s story starts…


A few years into her practice as a chiropractor, Dr. Rachel started to notice that some clients weren’t getting well, no matter how deep their work together was: “Some of my clients got great results from chiropractic treatments, while others just weren’t responding. They might feel better for a day or two – maybe a week – but then their issues would come back. I was starting to feel like a ‘bandaid’ fix, which was in total opposition with my mission to provide root cause care.”

As she dug deeper, Dr. Rachel started to notice a key difference between those who got lasting results vs. those that didn’t – the individuals whose bodies weren’t accepting her chiropractic manipulations simply didn’t have the physical integrity necessary to maintain balance. “One of the most common issues I saw was adrenal stress. It made a huge difference in how some clients were reacting to treatments. Be it stress, poor sleep, poor diet, or other factors, their bodies simply weren’t in the right state to accept the benefits of their treatment.”

It was around this time that Dr. Rachel found Restorative Wellness Solutions, which changed everything – for Dr. Rachel and her clients. 


As a student in RWS’ inaugural class, Dr. Rachel knew what she was learning would transform her work. She just didn’t realize how big of a transformation she was in for…

“RWS helped me go from learning concepts intellectually to actually translating them into actionable steps I could use in my practice. I was able to incorporate learnings from class into my work with clients immediately. And, the clients I was working with were loving this new approach.” 


One of the things that drew Dr. Rachel to RWS was the ability to identify and correct imbalances before they become a medical emergency. In her work as a chiropractor, she often saw clients who had well-established health issues. They were suffering from some type of pain or discomfort and were coming to her for a fix. But, what if she could help individuals prevent these issues in the first place? “With RWS that was finally possible,” says Dr. Rachel. 

The more preventative Dr. Rachel’s approach became, the better her clients’ results were. In fact, the more she incorporated the testing and protocols that she learned in RWS into her work, the more she realized the real root cause approach was functional medicine – “My heart wasn’t in chiropractic care anymore. It took me some time to realize this because my whole life was built around what I did, so shifting away from chiro was huge. It was scary. And, I had to do a lot of personal development work. But, it was absolutely worth it.”


It’s been almost 10 years since Dr. Rachel made the shift from running a chiropractic practice to building a thriving functional medicine clinic – a decision that was certainly successful, even if the path didn’t always feel that way. “Who the heck do I think I am to run this practice? To be speaking out in this way? These are the questions that were keeping me stuck,” says Dr. Rachel, adding “It required a complete shift in my identity. I had to work through a lot of limiting beliefs. I did a lot of trauma healing and lineage work, and really focused on acknowledging my own self-worth.”

Establishing an online presence to support her growing 1:1 in-person practice and her budding online programs presented challenges, too – “I had a lot of insecurities around being seen. I was scared of being inconsistent in what I was saying or being called out by more experienced practitioners,” says Dr. Rachel, “Coming back to my mission and the impact I wanted to make helped me work through these fears.”

A lot of practitioners can relate to these same feelings. So, what helped Dr. Rachel break free? 

Personal development work: Dr. Rachel cites coaching and therapy as being critical in her transformation. Even as an accomplished doctor of chiropractic care, she felt imposter syndrome moving into the functional medicine space. Confronting her limiting beliefs helped her move forward and come into her own. Connecting with other female practitioners and entrepreneurs has been instrumental, too. “I made a point to connect with other entrepreneurial women who had big goals like me. There are people out there who are on the same path as you, so seek them out,” says Dr. Rachel.

Living what she teaches: “You need a lot of entrepreneurial stamina to do this work – especially online programs,” says Dr. Rachel. She makes it a point to live out what she teaches her clients, constantly asking “If I’m saying it, am I doing it, too?”. This accountability and commitment to practicing what she teaches helps her refine her approach, making her work with clients more effective.

Focusing on sustainable shifts: Dr. Rachel does not aim for perfection, but instead looks for outliers she can tighten up to support more sustainable shifts – for example, moving her coffee up an hour or going to bed 30 minutes earlier. “It’s easy to get caught up in a crazy 8 pattern of an all or nothing reward system. This is something I help my clients break away from and I make a conscious effort to avoid, too. Instead, focus on small changes you can make over time that add up.”

“The disconnect from conventional medicine to functional medicine isn’t as big as it seems from the outside. Making the shift into your power as a practitioner is totally doable,” says Dr. Rachel. 

If you’re ready to make the shift, apply for our Level 1 class, Mastering the Art & Science of Gastrointestinal Healing. Like Dr. Rachel, you’ll learn practice-changing skills that you can start applying immediately to help your clients resolve their current health issues and prevent new ones from developing. 


Dr. Rachel Yan is a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and Restorative Wellness Practitioner and founder of Precision Empowered Health – a functional medicine clinic that offers in-person 1:1 work with clients in Denver as well as online programs to support individuals worldwide. You can connect with Dr. Rachel online at @drrachelyan

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