After Thomas Hiatt’s son was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor, he dedicated his live to developing alternative therapies from organic, natural sources. His interview inspires us to follow our passions regardless of where we are in life, and to challenge ourselves to pursue those passions on a large scale.
What inspired you to become a holistic entrepreneur?
My youngest son was diagnosed with a giant Craniopharyngioma –a super tumor. I was a banker then and I became so involved in the hows and whys of health and physiology that I was hooked. After seeing the ravages of chemo therapy and HRT I dedicated myself to developing alternative therapies from organic , natural sources. Nutrition, supplementation when needed , exercise and fun. At age 50, I was older than most of my professors when I went back to UNC to become a DPT.
I had to take a big step and start my own wellness company.
Tell us about your business or practice.
Initially we started out training athletes and sports figures while providing nutritional advice on building muscle or protecting joints. One of my patients is a type 1 diabetic and he needed special advise on how to train with intensity and not become hypoglycemic. That started my studies into endocrine function, food and physiology.
Six years later we are the leaders in a revolutionary concept for therapeutic nutrition. We formulate transdermal vitamin and nutrient patches that are 90% more effective than oral supplementation. We use liposomal nanosized nutrients and vitamins to penetrate the skin which then are absorbed directly into the bloodstream in minutes. You see Jessica, most foods and supplement are absorbed in different areas of the GI tract depending on its mineral content, solubility and then many have to bind with Intrinsic factor- IF and go to the liver via the hepatic pathway becoming further degraded. Then if the supplement you take is a synthetic or not bioavailable it has to go through a methylation process.
That is problematic for 150 million people suspected of having polymorphism MTHFR. Another challenge with oral supplements is something known as dosage dumping. If our cell receptor is presented with 10 ul of vitamin C it can only receive between 1.5 and 1.75 ul at any one time. The rest is really expensive urine in most cases.
At Health Flex we solved this dilemma by using a timed release matrix and nutrients are released throughout the 24 hours the patch is worn.
As our formulations gained clinical success we were consulted by more and more functional medicine doctors to develop protocols for patients with nearly failed GI function and idiopathic nutrient absorption issues. One patient was losing so much weight she was becoming extremely malnourished. She came to see me and we used our Organic Immune Booster patch that has an array of nutrients and after a month of continuing to lose weight they were going to do a nutrient infusion. When they looked at her blood serum they said she was not deficient in any area and they asked us to formulate a diet that would help her gain weight. Nine months later she has gone from 89 lbs to 110 lbs of lean muscle and is playing tennis again.
What has been one of your favorite moments as a business owner thus far?
Opening up our wholesale private label module. We develop and private label our products for doctors, clinic and healthcare professionals all over the world.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in running your business or practice?
Because our thinking is so outside the box initially it was difficult for people to grasp the concept of transdermal nutrition/medicine. It started with the Greeks as far as the Father of Medicine Hippocrates. The medicinal hot baths were the first transdermal medicines. Pharmakinetis have advanced and research for drug makers saw value in this for second and third generation drugs (the patents have expired) adding credence to our own clinical success.
Another huge challenge for me is trying to learn the retail side. I want everyone that needs superior medical grade supplementation to have access. The cost savings are astronomical, but I have no experience there. I have experience in research, formulation, nutrition, I talk geek and medical professional get it ,but I am working on retail distribution
How have you overcome those challenges?
Overcoming the challenges of different thinking has been one of education and sharing research and clinical success has helped. We are in clinics in Romania, India, South Africa and the US. It is still growing. The challenge of retail distribution is an ongoing process. We are selective about whom we do business with and are not in business to get rich but to help people while making a fair profit.
How do you find new clients?
Social media, word of mouth, previous patients. Nothing ground breaking, however I do believe that God hears my prayers and he sends the tough cases to us.
What have you found to be most effective in securing new clients to sign up for your services?
All of the above
What do you do to keep your existing clients engaged in the long term?
Because our products are consumable we have regular reorders , and as the baby boomers age, I have developed supplements to help fifth off age related macular generation, build strong cognitive minds. We released the first liposomal Turmeric ( nano sized curcumin) with Ginko Biloba, Lutein and organic C,E, and A vitamins. Most people have heard of Turmeric by now and its anti-inflammatory properties, but many even in the nutritional field misunderstand how low its absorption properties are. Our Nutrient delivery system makes highly absorbed and they cross the blood brain barrier. As we release these new products we send samples to our existing patient base along with pertinent research.
As your own boss, what is your best strategy for staying focused and productive during your workday?
I am balanced; I rise early, pray/meditate- catch up on emails, go out to my organic garden with my iPad and listen for ideas and answers while talking to my plants. I put on a Focus factor patch if I need to be really focused and I get a lot done.
If you could start your business over again from the beginning, what would you do differently?
This is not my first business, so I have corrected some earlier mistakes and I use God as my CEO.
What were some of the first mistakes you made that you would tell a new holistic entrepreneur to avoid?
Listen more than you speak
What are the top three business tools or resources you couldn’t live without?
The internet would be difficult, Laser printer, paper.( I write a lot own paper developing formulas and Ideas.)
What has been your most effective method for growing your business?
Under promising and over delivering.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever for done for your business?
Well not this business, but I used a name for a previous business forty years ago that due to being naive did not attract the market I was intending.
In the late 70’s an engineer buddy and I were installing windmills and solar rooms and we called our business, try not to laugh, but we named it Alternative Lifestyles and there were some very confused phone calls.
Most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?
Most memorable place you’ve ever visited?
All of the Hawaiian islands
Last book you read?
Altered Genes ,Twisted Truth ,By Steve Drucker
If you could only have one kind of food for the rest of your life, it would be…
A coconut floating in a pool of fresh fish
What is your go-to breakfast?
My organic smoothie
What do you find most fascinating about the human body?
The link between the billions of genetic microbiomes and the human brain-that guts /brain axis
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
Developing my passion for helping people.
Dr. Thomas Hiatt is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Integrative Nutritionist, Certified Sports trainer and Well Coach based out of North Carolina. You can find out more about him and his business, Health Flex A Wellness Company, at www.drhealthflex.com.