Manifest Offers Natural Prescription Plus Inspiration for Better Health

Lori Poelstra

People who come to Manifest Mind Body Medicine seeking a natural, integrative approach to better health won't just find expert guidance in Lori Poelstra, M.D.—they'll also find a source of personal inspiration. That's because Poelstra, the center's medical director, has used the same natural approach to foster her own physical and emotional health as she balances her multiple roles of doctor, entrepreneur, wife and mother of four young children. 
"The greatest change to my life came after integrating Ayurvedic and yogic principles, and Primordial Sound meditation into my life," she says. "I feel so much more at peace, as well as happier and healthier. I have the strength and ability to work and deal with life’s issues so much better and easier now. I appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world with more intensity. It has transformed my life, and I am forever grateful to have been introduced to these ancient principles and techniques."
When Poelstra opened Manifest Mind Body Medicine in Destin in January, she and her husband, spinal surgeon Kornelis Poelstra, M.D., already owned The Spine Institute on the Emerald Coast. They launched that practice four years ago, and it quickly expanded from one office to three—Destin, Fort Walton and Crestview—and from three providers to seven, plus 27 employees. "We are still adding and growing," Poelstra says.
 While The Spine Institute offers comprehensive medical and surgical techniques, Manifest Mind Body Medicine has a complimentary, broader mission: to help people help themselves, by providing knowledge and the tools for growth, health and success. Those tools include offering Ayurveda and Primordial Sound Meditation instruction workshops, Primoridal Sound Meditation group practice sessions, one-on-one Ayurvedic counseling, Vedic/life counseling, as well as acupuncture, and chakra quartz bowl vibrational/sound healing.
Natural healing practices rooted in indigenous medicine have been a passion of Poelstra's since she was a teen.
"In high school and college, I was drawn to Chinese medicine, herbal remedies for health and healing, and learning about other cultures," she says. "In college I was privileged to do research in the Peruvian Amazon, learning from the shamans and local people about herbs, and their medicinal healing practices."
She went to medical school because she loved science and she loved helping people, and becoming a doctor would allow her to do both. But her medical school and post-graduate training were traditional, and she didn't revisit alternative medicine until she began struggling with significant health issues herself. That's when she decided to try integrative techniques to complement her current, westernized treatments.
"Once I experienced the tremendous, life-changing results myself, I wanted to continue my education and share this with the community to help them as well," she says.
So Poelstra continued her study of alternative medicine at the Deepak Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, earning certifications in Perfect Health Ayurveda and Primordial Sound Mediation instruction, and the Ayurveda Healing Institute in Santa Cruz, California, where was certified in Vedic counseling. 
Her specialized training makes Manifest Mind Body Medicine stand out among local medical practices, she says. "Our business is unique because of the in-depth knowledge, diverse background and personal experience that I am able to bring to our clients and patients. We are the only Chopra-certified center in the area. We strive to bring the most up-to-date, evidence-based knowledge and treatments that are rooted in ancient, time-tested tradition."
Poelstra credits those traditions not only for helping her restore her health, but also for helping her stay healthy and balanced through a singularly challenging time in her life.
Building a medical practice from the ground up meant leaving academia—she had been an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine—and learning about business, contracts, finance, accounting, legal issues and personnel management. And her evolving focus on integrative medicine meant she was also constantly furthering her education. "It was a tremendous amount of research, learning and hard work," she says.
She did all these things while being her children's primary caretaker, without the benefit of extended family in the area.
"My husband tries his best to help as he can, but he's even busier than I am," she says. "It has been very challenging as a woman to balance a career, business, children, marriage and myself, but I wouldn’t change a thing."
Poelstra follows a simple, natural prescription for life balance: meditation, yoga and healthy Ayurvedic eating. She also tries to maintain mindfulness and gratitude, which in turn leads to happiness and success.
"My philosophy of life is to live in the present moment, which is the only thing we ever have. When we dwell too much in the past, we can create anger, and if we live too much in the future, we can experience anxiety. My personal mission is to live mindfully; to constantly strive to recognize and fulfill my purpose in life; and, most important, to always be thankful for everything that comes to me—the good and the bad."
So far it's been good. Poelstra's husband and their children, who now range in age from 6 to 12, have grown into a supportive team, and Poelstra knows she can count on them as she continues to expand her skills and practice. Eventually she wants to focus more on children, teaching them about healthy eating habits and lifestyles, mindfulness, and meditation from an early age.
"I receive a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I am contributing to my community and helping to make other people's lives a little better," she says.
Manifest Mind Body Medicine is located at 155 Crystal Beach Dr., Destin. For more information, call 850-974-9242 or visit
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