How We Work
Once you call us for an initial consultation for any of our holistic restorative programs, we set up an appointment for you to meet with one of our practitioners. We review your health concerns in an initial no cost, no obligation confidential discussion to see if we can help you. We then explain what we need from you to get the process started, the costs associated with our programs, what testing we need, and what medical practitioner you will meet with next. We are a team of medical professionals that will collaborate on your case when needed so that you will get a comprehensive, individualized, evidence-based approach to managing your health concerns. We are more than happy to accommodate a patient’s busy schedule and work with patients outside of the local area.
Meet Dr. Lovegrove
Dr. Patrick Lovegrove is board certified by the American Board of Family Physicians. A graduate of Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine, his 15 years of clinical experience includes Family Practice, Anti-aging, Holistic Internal Medicine, Pain Management, Aerospace, Sports and Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Lovegrove was born in Staunton, Virginia and graduated from University of Virginia where he majored in Biology. He received a Medical School Scholarship from the United States Air Force. He graduated from Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He then entered Family Practice Residency in a unique joint program with St. Louis University and the 375th Medical Group at Scott Air Force Base. After finishing his residency in 2004, Dr. Lovegrove chose to serve his country with the Air Force as a Family Practice and Emergency Room Physician at Osan Air Base, Korea (outside of Seoul). He then accepted his selection to the Aerospace Medicine Program in San Antonio, Texas. Later that year, he moved to an air base in Germany called Spangdahlem where he joined the 81stFighter Squadron as their “Flight Surgeon.” He continued to serve his country during multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan, England, Portugal, Italy, and Qatar where he was honored with Accommodation and Meritorious Service metals with an oak leaf cluster for his service. In 2007, Dr. Lovegrove moved back to the U. S. soil here at Charleston Air Force Base where he continued to practice Family, Aerospace, Anti-aging, and Holistic Internal Medicine.
In 2008, Dr. Lovegrove founded Merge Medical Center as a unique medical practice in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina specializing in Holistic Internal Medicine, Functional Medicine, Preventive Medicine, Anti-Aging, Pain and weight Management modeled after medical centers out in the Western part of the United States and in Europe. In 2011, Merge Medical Center affiliated with ACN Wellness– Centers for Integrated Medicine of Vienna and Ashburn, Virginia to expand its treatment capacity up the East Coast. In 2012, Dr. Lovegrove was recognized by the National Academy of Medicine as having earned the President’s Award For Excellence.
Dr. Lovegrove started his practice of holistic internal medicine since his first year of medical school in 1997 by reading Dr. Andrew Weil, MD’s book, Spontaneous Healing (New York Times Best Seller). Even though he was going through traditional medical school training, he continued to foster that education with a complimentary, alternative medicine mindset. He since has studied and learned from renown medical doctors who also are authors/educators in functional medicine such as Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Amy Myers, Dr. Gregory Petersburg, Dr. Neal Rouzier, Dr. Sangeeta Pati, Dr. Jonathan Wright, Dr. Eric Braverman, Dr. Alan Gaby, Dr. Mark Houston, Dr. William Davis, Dr. David Perlmutter, Dr. Walter Crinnion, and Dr. Daniel Amen.
Dr. Lovegrove believes that holistic medicine should be integrated with conventional medicine in a scientifically based model to achieve the best results for patients. He addresses a patient’s complaints to find the root cause and customize a regimen to fix it long term as oppose to using only traditional medication that just suppress symptoms. Dr. Lovegrove utilizes orthomolecular and genetic laboratory testing to customize a regimen for patients based on their unique body’s chemistry, imbalances, and deficiencies. In addition to utilizing traditional prescriptions, some of his treatment recommendations may include nutraceuticals, herbs, vitamins, Bioidentical hormones, dietary or nutritional changes, customized stretching and exercises, a detoxification plan, spinal analysis, osteopathic assessment, lifestyle or behavior modification, life coaching,mind-body techniques and stress response management.
Meet Deborah Manke
Deborah Manke, MS, HNP, ANP-BC, is a Holistic Nurse Practitioner, Board Certified in Adult Primary Care and Holistic Nursing, a graduate of New York University. Her clinical involvement in private practices and hospital work spans over 30 years. She is also an Advanced Therapeutic Touch Practitioner, Reiki Master and Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist, in addition to conducting meditative healing sessions given privately, in-hospital, community-wide and at retreat centers. She serves as a Network Leader for the American Holistic Nurses Association providing holistic opportunities and meetings for both caregivers and the public. Her holistic practice encompasses functional medicine testing, treating the individual’s immunologic, digestive, inflammatory and hormonal balance with predominance towards autoimmune and chronic diseases.
Prior to starting Merge Medical Center, she worked in an Integrative Endocrinology Practice in New England serving patients from Maine and New Hampshire to Pennsylvania. Her practice approach shares a traditional biomedical paradigm with conventional providers yet delivers an integrative medical approach merging traditional conventional medicine with holistic. Her treatment focus is not limited to detoxification, allergy/sensitivity testing, genetic testing, nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, homeopathy and other healing approaches. She has extensive treatment experience with various forms of psoriasis, including erythrodermic pustular psoriasis. Additional clinical experience while living in Sao Paulo , Brazil created an opportunity for diverse holistic health care within disparate, multicultural populations.
Deeply honoring the holistic self, individualized medicine is the heart of her practice model. Every person is unique in their healing capacity, nutritional state, toxic burden and stress management. Wellness is directly linked to a balance within the psychological, neurological, digestive, immunological and spiritual systems. The body has the innate ability to repair and heal given time, identification of the root problems, detoxification, restoration and internal balance benefiting long term health and happiness.
Meet Dr. Steidinger
Dr Steidinger is a 1998 graduate of Life College of Chiropractic. He is a married to Kathy and they have two young sons CK and Patrick. As a teenager he had issues with allergies and asthma that began when he was 12 years old. He started getting chiropractic adjustments when he was 19 and it took his asthma from an 8 out of 10 to a 2 out of 10. Modifying his diet took his asthma from a 2 out of 10 to completely resolved. It turned out that he had misalignments of his thoracic spine that were putting pressure on the nerves that went to his lungs. There was nothing wrong with his lungs but his brain could not communicate with his lungs to properly regulate them. Getting adjusted took the pressure off the nerves that went to his lungs and allowed his lungs to work right. Eliminating the things he was allergic to stopped an overproduction of mucus in his body. This changed his life as he had been on the medications for over 7 years. He decided to dedicate his professional life to helping people heal holistically. He approaches each patient by treating the cause of their illness, not just masking their symptoms, and thus really finding the cause of their problem.
This is just another example like the thousands of other cases that Dr. Steidinger has seen over the years in his career. In his own case, his body’s dysfunction showed up as a series of symptoms that are labeled asthma. A symptom is a sign from the body that something is wrong, and that something is not working right. A problem in one part of the body can cause a symptom in another part of the body. No one will ever get lasting healthy change by addressing the symptoms, as the only lasting healthy change is done by addressing the cause of the problem. And that is what Dr Steidinger’s treating philosophy is and what he tries to do for every patient. Dr. Steidinger gets to the cause of the disease in a patient’s body and removes the interference so the body can heal itself. True health is obtained so the patient can live their life to the fullest and have the time, energy, and vitality to be there for their family.
Subluxation or a bone sliding out of place and pressing on the spinal cord and nerves affects the patient’s whole nervous system. The nervous system is how the brain controls and regulates the trillions of cells that make up your body. If you have a problem in your nervous system it could show up as any number of symptoms. In Dr Steidinger’s case it showed up as Asthma but really what was his problem? Pressure on his nervous system and a poor diet.
Chiropractic works well on patients of all ages, from checking a newborn’s spine for birthing trauma(very common unfortunately) to caring for a geriatric patient. Generally the younger you are and the more active you are, the faster your results. Children usually respond quickly and we have gotten great results with children with colic, chronic ear infections and behavioral issues. Most people think Chiropractic is just for people with neck and back pain. While it is very effective for that, Chiropractic is really for sick people who are not healing and have chronic persistent symptoms.
Dr Steidinger is an expert at correcting and maintaining the spine, sports injuries and nutrition. He is trained in Diversified, Pettibon, Pierce, Sacral Occipital Technique(SOT) and Thompson. He is one of less than 100 doctors invited by Spinecor to be trained to be certified in their spinal correction scoliosis brace. He really cares and is dedicated to helping his patients.
Career highlights. Worked with the Jets Team Chiropractor for first year out of school. Co- founded a clinic that eventually grew to 31 locations inside of gyms and health clubs in 6 different states. It was during this time Dr Steidinger became an expert at helping patients lose weight and get in shape. He got to work with thousands of people one on one and learn what it takes to guide a patient to their goals.
Meet Neda Smith
Neda Smith, mother of two, received her training in 2007 as a Holistic Health Coach from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, an affiliate of Columbia University in 2007.
She originally pursued this path of learning to achieve a healthier life for her family. When her son was diagnosed with a speech disorder she felt compelled to seek a holistic pediatrician and was intrigued by the doctor’s interests in her son’s eating habits, bowel movements and immune system.
What did these things have to with her son’s speech delay? She soon discovered by making some simple but necessary dietary changes she was able to assist her son in making progress with his delay. She took her passion for a healthier lifestyle through nutrition and made it a career by working with individuals and families incorporating a sensible, clean and healthy eating choices based on her patient’s bio-individual needs.
Neda’s passion did not stop there. She understood the importance and relationship between diet and living healthy but she questioned further the reason why certain symptoms were present and what caused these malfunctions and their root cause. She pursued additional education as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner in 2011 at The Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Institute, to be able to test and evaluate the causes of these malfunctions. Her enthusiasm was so strong that it flowed naturally into mentoring other students who shared in her passion.
She now works closely with each patient to determine the root causes of their health issues and ailments. She provides her patients with detailed natural methodologies to help them lead a more nutritional and balanced lifestyle in today’s modern world. These techniques are shared through her one-on-one coaching.
Meet Dana Pappas
Meet Geri Zatcoff
An inspired and inspirational healthy living professional for over twenty years, Geri is a Certified Nutritionist, Fitness Expert, Educator and Consultant. Geri’s own journey to physical and mental wellbeing includes recovery from binge-eating disorder; back injuries sustained in an Amtrak train derailment; and most recently, cancer. Her passion for food and its’ importance to optimal health began when she lived in Italy and became immersed in a culture whose obsession with fresh and unadulterated food is unparalleled. It quickly became her obsession.
Upon returning from Italy, Geri earned a master’s degree in Exercise Science & Wellness from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. As the Senior Director of Fitness & Wellness at the Westport Weston YMCA in Westport, CT she managed all adult fitness and wellness programming for over twelve years. In 2000, after attending a Functional Nutrition Conference in Clearwater, FL, she became obsessed again, this time with the functional model of health and how food and nutrients affect the body at the cellular level. She returned to school at the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, CT earning a master’s degree in Human Nutrition. She left the YMCA in 2006 to start Zatcoff Wellness, where she offered personal fitness training, nutrition counseling, wellness coaching and corporate wellness initiatives.
Geri’s personal story of reclaiming her health coupled with thousands of hours of course work, study, training, coaching and counseling makes her uniquely qualified to guide and support clients. An avid rower, Geri is a published feature writer on fitness and nutrition. She appeared regularly on News12CT, has been featured in Westport Magazine and in the Westport News.
Meet Ashley Harwyn
Ashley Harwyn PA-C, is a Board Certified Physician Assistant certified in Family Medicine and Women’s Health. She graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2013. Since then she has worked in a wide range of roles with an emphasis on Family Medicine, OBGYN, Sexual Dysfunction Therapy, and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. She moved here from Maui and has lived in several different places around the world; bring a unique perspective to her medical care. In addition, Ashley has had the good fortune to attend medical mission trips to Uganda, Nicaragua, and most recently Vietnam. It is because of these experiences, touching the lives of those in need, that she found her true passion for healing.
Ashley Harwyn’s goal is to provide expert and compassionate health care to those in need of medical attention. Everyone deserves quality care, no matter their background or financial situation, and she takes great pride in her holistic approach and treatment philosophy; incorporating health, diet, physical, and emotional approach into her diagnosis and treatment plan. Knowing her patients and their quality of life, and not just their illness, allows her to serve her clients more accurately and intimately. Ashley’s greatest talent is that she has always been able to make people feel at ease and content, regardless of their current situation.
Regardless of any specialization, primary health care is the foundation. Her balanced and holistic approach, combined with the expertise and support of Merge Medical Center, helps unify all of our combined medical specialties, resulting in the best possible care to our patients. Ashley strives to have a long lasting positive influence on those that she treats, and is always humbled by the faith placed in her to heal each patient.