The doctors and staff did a good job identifying my problem areas.

“I came here feeling not well – sore muscles and joints, constantly sore intestines and upset stomach. I no longer knew what to do to get myself well.

 The doctors and staff did a good job identifying my problem areas, addressing my concerns and giving me ways to improve my health with nutrition, hormones and exercise strategies. HealthNOW Medical gave me hope for change.



The HealthNOW Method has helped me turn my life around!

I started working with Dr. Rick Petersen in the fall of 2005 after attending a seminar he presented at my company. I had problems sleeping, was very overweight, and suffered from high cholesterol and blood pressure.

 With a program of lab tests and a specialized diet called the modified elimination diet, Dr. Petersen diagnosed a gluten sensitivity (which I had never known about nor suspected), and a bacterial infection, H.Pylori (didn’t know about that one either!), and put me on a program to restore my health. By adopting the weight loss plan that HealthNOW utilizes, I lost 40 lbs. and brought my weight down to an optimal level for my height.

My blood pressure also normalized and my cholesterol dropped 77 points in 9 months without taking any medication.

 I have more energy than I’ve had in many, many years and I feel like a new person.

 More than three years after starting the program, I now go rock climbing twice a week, do yoga exercises each week, and everyone I meet exclaims “You look great, have you lost more weight?” My body composition is improving and I have actually started to gain some weight, this time in the form of muscle instead of fat.

 I have learned to select natural, real foods that are compatible with my nutrition plan, and don’t miss at all the things I no longer eat.

 In short, the HealthNOW Method has helped me turn my life around.
 Thanks very much.

— C.H.

Thank you doctors!

Thank you for changing my life. Indeed, saving my life.

I had discovered through a laboratory test that I had antibodies to gluten in 2003. For the last seven years, I had very carefully avoided gluten. I learned all the unsuspecting places gluten might be found, and I have been very careful to avoid them. Since avoiding gluten, the sharp, stabbing pains that I had in my lower abdomen have gone away, but I was still extremely fatigued. Fatigued to the extent that I took an early retirement from work, I underwent a sleep study which did not find any major problems, and I would limit my car travel to just a few miles from home. It felt as if someone had drained all the blood from my body. Also, each annual physical would come up with a finding of progressively lower total white blood cell counts.

In 2009 and 2010, I saw both Dr. Petersen and Dr. Mousseau. They had me take a stool test checking for parasites. As strange as that might sound because I had not been backpacking or traveling to third world countries and I had no complaints of diarrhea, I followed their directions. Amazingly, the results came back positive for a parasite called Cryptosporidium. They explained that this parasite is common on food and in the water. It frequently does not bother people who do not have a reaction to gluten and who have normal immune systems, but people who are sensitive to gluten can have irritated intestines that allow the parasites to stay and make a home. Although it was challenging, I took the medication they prescribed, and right away my energy levels jumped about five hundred percent. I now feel like I have normal energy levels.

There is just no way to say “thank you for giving me my life back.” What a gift these two doctors have to unravel very elusive issues that can make you feel like part of the “walking dead”. Dr. Petersen and Dr. Mousseau, thank you a million times.

— B.W.

I have learned that I’m gluten intolerant so I’ve modified my diet to eliminate gluten.

I came to HealthNOW Medical to merely gather information about ways to alleviate extreme fatigue I’d been experiencing. For more than 10 years, I experienced a number of issues ranging from digestive to neck and back problems to just an overall bad/uncomfortable physical state.

Now not only am I almost 100% symptom free, but I’ve learned about triggers, such as gluten, that cause my body to react negatively. I have learned that I’m gluten intolerant so I’ve modified my diet to eliminate gluten. I was a heavy coffee drinker, and I learned that caffeine was affecting my adrenal glands, which was causing my fatigue.

Overall, I feel like a normal human being!!!! It’d been so long that I’d forgotten what it was like to feel “normal” and pain free. This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the folks at HealthNOW Medical.

I’m very glad it’s now handled!

“I was suffering from some pretty severe intestinal problems when I first came in. This had been going on for over a month, with no help from the over-the-counter medications. This resolved in a very short time after I first arrived. 

I also learned that I had H. Pylori, and did the recommended treatment for that as well. This was an ‘invisible’ (to me,anyway) issue, but one I’m very glad is now handled.

 Thanks to the great staff (all of you!) at HealthNOW!”


I have energy I never knew existed!

When I first heard about Health Now, it was because a cousin was researching information related to her thyroid. She started listed off all of the symptoms that she had related to her thyroid that had cleared up when she removed gluten from her diet. I had never had my thyroid tested, but as I listened to her talk I was amazed at how many symptoms she said cleared up that I had lived with and always thought was normal. I decided to talk to my doctor more in depth, and to ask about those symptoms further, as well as a host of other symptoms. I had terrible allergies, that just had gotten worse and worse as I got older. Several family member had allergies, so it was “normal” to me. I woke up every morning with hives, and was on a cocktail of different prescription and OTC allergy medications just to keep my symptoms at bay enough to be functional. I also had significant IBS symptoms, which had me in and out of the bathroom on a regular basis, even keeping extra clothing at work “just in case.” To top it all off I had bizarre unexplained muscle twitches that were sometimes accompanied with sharp pains, and I was constantly tired (except at night when I should have been sleeping). I also had low blood sugar and low blood pressure and sometimes anemia… as I made my list of symptoms for Health Now, I actually felt like a bit of a train wreck, but I am getting ahead of myself.

I was tested for thyroid issues, after arguing with my doctor that I wanted the test done (despite the fact that both of my grandmothers, my mother and 9 of my aunts are diagnosed with hypothyroid), and I had gone gluten free in the mean time because of the results that my cousin saw. My thyroid test came back as normal, but that didn’t explain why I felt the way I did, and now I knew it wasn’t normal.
 Going gluten free, a lot of things cleared up. The pain I had with the muscle twitches went away within a couple of weeks (and that had been significant). I also wasn’t spending nearly as much time in/out of the bathroom. Those changes in and of themselves gave me hope.
 Then my cousin said she was going to make a trip out to CA to HealthNow.

I read “The Gluten Effect” and saw myself in so many of the issues. It was a bit extreme perhaps, but I decided to join her after I spoke to Dr. Vikki. I didn’t want to bounce around from doctor to doctor locally trying to figure out what was going on. I decided I would be better off making the leap to go to the clinic, and then once I knew what I was looking for, I could try to find a more local doctor.
 There were three of us that were seen at the clinic, and the staff was great, arranging everything so that we could all be seen, crammed into just a couple of days. We did some of our testing from home before we went to make sure that there were results at the clinic when we first got there. There was no need to convince us that gluten free was the way we needed to live, even without test results, but the results confirmed what we knew.
 We all had some similar issues, but some different ones as well.

I happen to have had some pretty intense hive reactions to a whole host of antibiotics, and I showed positive for a couple different parasites, which are generally treated with antibiotics. Dr. Carrie took extra time researching the different possible treatment methods for the parasites, and my antibiotics. She presented a couple different options to me, and we took a calculated risk on the antibiotics, some I had never had, in different families from those I have had a reaction to.
 Going back home, I continues to work with Dr. Rick over the phone. After starting the antibiotic course, my allergies started to lessen. The parasites I had were known to cause those types of reactions in people. Also my IBS issues nearly cleared up entirely. Tweaking my supplements my muscle twitches also ceased, and I began to sleep through the night. Things were so much better than they had ever been, but things were still not where Dr. Rick thought they should be.
 After a stool retest, we found that one of the parasites had not gone completely away. We added supplements for that, and I continued to support my poor adrenal glands that had taken quite a beating from the gluten. At the end of that treatment, I was feeling so exceptional, that we decided not to retest for the parasites, because there was no indication that there was anything going on.

I started this process with HealthNow 8 months ago. I have been gluten free for 11 months. I can honestly say I have never felt better. I have not taken ANY allergy medication in about four months, which is beyond exceptional for me, AND I work outside during the summer! The spring allergies that made everyone miserable barely touched me, and that was while I was still treating the parasites. Now I am working in the dust, mold, pollen environment and I am doing so much better than anyone that I know that doesn’t have “allergies.”
I am no longer worried about where the bathroom is, or living off of supplements for my IBS symptoms. I take a multivitamin and listen to my body. I can tell if I have been exposed to gluten, and though I went through a period where I was hyper sensitive, I seem to be on the other side of that now as well. I do not believe the lie that I can “cheat” or that “a little doesn’t matter.” It just isn’t worth the cascade of symptoms that come flooding back to me that I can feel for the next 3-4 days, and I KNOW it lingers for 3-6 more months in my system wreaking havoc on my adrenals. I have energy I never knew existed. I fall asleep and stay asleep, feeling rested and wake before my alarm in the morning.

Since I know that CA is a bit too far for me to have a regular doctor (I am in WI), I had to seek out a local doctor, and I found one that is savvy to all of this, and has been willing to work with me to transition my primary care and other concerns to their clinic. I don’t think I ever would have found them though, without the vigilant education I received from the doctors and staff at HealthNow. Really, my trip to Health Now gave me a new lease on life, and I feel better now than I ever remember feeling before. It really was a godsend to me.

I am very grateful to the staff who have given the gift of health back to me.

Before coming to HealthNOW Medical Center I was controlled by food, hungry all the time, not feeling full once I ate, craving carbohydrates and getting into a circle of eating sugar and then trying to go off. I also had trouble concentrating, my memory was weak and I had trouble sleeping, being overly tired at the end of the day.

I had most of these symptoms since adolescence. Since I was treated with Adrenal support vitamins and for gluten intolerance, I feel free of my symptoms. I can sleep more soundly, I remember the notes on the piano, I have more stamina and….da-da…have lost and kept off 16 pounds!

I now eat only foods without gluten, sugar and dairy, keep up my activity and rigorous exercise helps even more. I try to small meals, often, and depend more on nuts and fats such as avocado and goat cheese to satiate my hunger in between meals.

I am very grateful to the staff who have given the gift of health back to me.


— C.P.

This is the first time that I can truly say a course of treatment has literally changed my life!

I was first referred to the HealthNOW Medical Center in the spring and while I’ve only been actively receiving treatment for 30 days, the results have been amazing.

 This is the first time that I can truly say a course of treatment has literally changed my life. I have been a chronic sufferer of airborne allergies, sinus problems, migraines, stomach disorders and severe back, neck and shoulder pain. While I have used prescription medication virtually all my life to control the related symptoms, I’ve never found any treatment to relieve the underlying problems. The team at HealthNOW was the first group of medical professionals to actually find the underlying cause of my symptoms!

Since following the course of treatment prescribed, including a gluten-free diet, vitamins, supplements and regular chiropractic appointments, virtually all my symptoms have disappeared in 30 days or less.

 When first arriving at the clinic, I was on three types of allergy medications a day, along with prescription migraine pills and the occasional painkiller for my back aches. After starting treatment, I stopped using all my medications and have found no need to even keep them in my purse or cabinet.

 You really don’t know what a good day is until you have one again after years of pain and problems. The treatments and consultations I receive at HealthNOW are painless and productive. I have searched for a group of medical professionals who actively wanted me, the patient, to be involved in my own course of treatment. Dr. Rick and Dr. Dean are the first doctors to allow me a seat at the table, so to speak.

 While my treatments involve permanent lifestyle changed including saying goodbye to wheat products forever, this is a small price to pay for the amazing changes in how I feel, how I’m able to function and the overall quality of my life.

Do You Need Sedation for a Colonoscopy?

I’m not a fan of invasive procedures, nor am I a fan of anesthesia. Here at HealthNOW Sunnyvale Functional Medicine Center, we advocate the most natural and least invasive treatment possible. But, obviously, there are certain things for which one has no choice. I don’t think childbirth is one of them (in most cases) but I have always thought colonoscopy = sedation… Until yesterday.

A family member of mine is also not a fan of drugs or medical procedures. Her husband is quite the opposite, although my influence has resulted in him changing his diet and taking some supplements that he agrees have made a huge difference in his health. When it comes to certain things, he is unrelenting and has been adamant about his wife receiving a colonoscopy. What worried her the most was the sedation, and she set about to find out if it was truly mandatory. Just goes to show you that if you never ask the question, you’ll never find out the answer.

While only representing 1% of all colonoscopies done in this country, it turns out that performing the procedure without anesthesia IS done. Probably the biggest problem you’ll have is finding a doctor willing to do it. And you DO, based on my research, want to find a doctor who does the procedure without anesthesia regularly as they will have skills that you want. Understanding how a patient ‘feels’ when not out cold, is something you want when an apparatus is being snaked up your colon…especially around the corners!

Anesthesia not only has risks, it’s expensive and there is some research to support it can cause memory problems later in life. Anecdotally I can tell you that my mother had surgery two years ago (anesthesia was mandatory as it was spinal surgery to repair an old surgery) and she was mentally never the same afterwards. The surgery was a ‘success’ but her memory and quality of life have certainly suffered. Yes, that’s completely anecdotal, but there is data available supporting such findings.

As a clinician at HealthNOW Sunnyvale Functional Medicine, I was excited to hear about this option for colonoscopies. Below I have included some excerpts from the email my family member sent me after her experience. There’s nothing like hearing it from the ‘horse’s mouth’ so to speak.

“To all of my friends who said that I was insane for wanting to have a colonoscopy without sedation, I have one word for you… “WEENIES”…. that’s what you all are. After spending the day before the colonoscopy in the toilet, I can tell you that the most courage you need for this entire procedure is to drink the vile liquid required to clean out your colon. After you get over that, the procedure itself was a breeze.

“I reiterated to my doctor that I did not want any sedation, and the entire time I got to watch the procedure on the big screen. He told me everything he was going to do as he was doing it and complimented me on the fact that I had such a beautifully clean colon. There was a total of 3 seconds of discomfort when he made a turn in my colon, but that’s it.

“During the procedure you feel some pressure, but if any of you have ever had an enema, it felt exactly the same. Frankly, going to the dentist is far more painful than what I experienced.”

“So the good news is that I am fine. He took out two very tiny polyps, but otherwise said it was one of the nicest colons he has ever seen. So maybe all of that organic food has been a good thing all of these years. When I got home, my tummy did feel a little sore, but after I passed some gas everything was back to normal.”

“I highly recommend doing this procedure awake. It’s interesting to see and know what is happening to your body at all times. Having never done this before, I have no idea what all the fuss is about doing it sedated. Personally, there is no need to be sedated for this test—save it for something way more important.”

So there you are. If you have concerns about anesthesia, which I think you should have, it’s nice to know that this procedure doesn’t actually require it. I would be happy to share the name of my family member’s doctor, but she lives in Las Vegas.

I do think it would be worth the due diligence to find someone with anesthesia-free experience. It’s better for your body, your brain and your pocketbook! And, of course, the best assurance of a healthy colon is the quality of what you eat, avoiding foods you shouldn’t eat, a healthy probiotic population and the avoidance of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, etc.

We specialize in healthy GI tracts here at HealthNOW’s clinical nutrition department. While we can’t make any guarantees, as it not legal, I can tell you that we are very confident in our ability to improve the health of the digestive tract— the MOST important system of the human body, second only to the brain and nervous system.

Do You Have Any Digestive Complaints?

If so—contact us at HealthNOW Sunnyvale Functional Medicine for a FREE CONSULTATION. Call (408) 733-0400 to schedule. We are located in Sunnyvale, CA. If you are not local to us, our DESTINATION CLINIC treats patients from across the country and internationally. We will help you find the underlying root cause!

To your health,

Dr. Vikki Petersen
IFM Certified Practitioner
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What You Don’t Know May Be Killing You!”

It only took ten to eleven months of physical therapy and better nutrition to get’em fixed.

Thank you all, doctors and staff, of the HealthNOW Medical Center. I am indeed very grateful for the professional help and the guidance that you have provided.

 About 15 months ago I arrived at the center, just a few weeks short of my 54th birthday. What I brought with me was a list of complaints that was long and, even then, still growing.

 The gluten antibody tests were not conclusive in my case, but with the preponderance of symptoms that I was having, I was more than willing to commit to a gluten and dairy free diet.

The health seminars which I attended at the center were also informative and extremely helpful: Over the past year I have undoubtedly eaten healthier than during any other year of my life as an adult. I mean, who would have thought that people actually ate foods like raw broccoli on a daily basis?

Below I’ve listed many of health issues that I had been facing for 25 years:

That’s how long my hips had been giving me trouble. Almost always there was discomfort, sometimes there was actual pain, but they were always problematic, especially when going up or down stairs. There were times when my hips hurt so bad that I could barely walk. It only took ten to eleven months of physical therapy and better nutrition to get’em fixed. I don’t even feel them any more.

18 years: That’s about how long ago I began to realize that I was having problems with dairy products. After years of trying every brand of lactose enzymes, I concluded that I’d have to give up on milk products, though the answer to “How could this happen?” escaped me completely until I learned more about gluten intolerance from the HealthNOW seminars. I’m still eating dairy-free at this time, but who knows, maybe there’s a gluten-free cheese pizza in my future somewhere, waiting just for me…

15 years: That’s how long I’d been complaining to doctors about stomach and indigestion problems. I had tried every antacid and acid blocking medicine available, both over-the-counter and prescription strength acid blockers. At HealthNOW, it took less than a month to discover and zap the nasty little H.Pylori bugs, and the positive effects of clearing out the bacteria were almost immediate. I take DGL now for occasional stomach upset, but even at that, I’ve only needed the DGL two or three times in the past year. What an unbelievable difference this single improvement has made to my general disposition!

 Hypoglycemia started darting in and out as I began to eat more and more (bad) carbs. I don’t know how many pounds of chocolate or bottles of beer I went through in an average week, but both had become a substantial part of my diet. Cycles of “carb stuffing” (to satisfy my low blood sugar and my ever-complaining stomach) began to accelerate in frequency. Insomnia became the norm. Waking up more tired than when I went to bed, days often dragged on and on.

Somewhere during those fifteen years I began to have the most ferocious migraine headaches. The “good ones” would just be a day or so, but the bad ones lasted for centuries. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had developed food intolerances to chocolate and citric acid, and at least one food preservative. Are there medals or awards for a fait accompli of having consumed 1/4 ton of chocolate in a ten year period? The good news is that I haven’t had a migraine, or any other kind of headache, in many months now.

When I arrived at HealthNOW I was started on an adrenal support supplement program. That program, in conjunction with pre-bedtime behavioral changes, helped immensely. Still, it took several months before I actually settled into a fairly normal sleep pattern. I get 7 1/2 hours of very good sleep every night now. and I can empathize with zombies now.

8 years: I had developed cysts on the palms of my hands and the bottom of my feet. Wearing leather shoes was out of the question. Tennis shoes had enough “give” such that the insoles would actually form around the cysts, so the cysts weren’t too bothersome. One of the cysts on my left palm had hardened, and it was a major source of irritation, depending on what I was doing. The cysts on my palms cleared up about 4 months into the gluten-free diet, and the cysts on my feet took another two months to disappear. My palms are still a little bit tender in places, but even that tenderness is almost gone now. Salute!

5 years: That’s about when the bad nightmares started (as if there is such a thing as a good nightmare); probably from malnutrition and low blood sugar. I won’t even tell you about the nightmares. I continue to take a fairly comprehensive array of nutritional supplements, and I’m oh so thankful that, like all of the other major problems that I was experiencing, the nightmares are long gone.

1-2 years: My overall digestion took a turn for the worse around that time-frame. My digestive process had gotten to the point where I could not eat anything containing fructose, including fresh fruit, without major gastrointestinal upset. The cause turned out to be a second ugly bug that had invaded my innards. The antibiotics that zapped the H. Pylori worked wonders on these bugs as well. After repopulating with probiotics for several weeks, my digestive system finally settled back to normal. Whew! Really!

6 months: Besides the problems that I was having with my hips, I was beginning to have problems with a number of other joints. In previous years I had sustained sports-related injuries to my left knee and left shoulder. My left arm began to feel as if it wanted to separate from the shoulder on its own. My left big toe would pop out of joint at times, just from walking. My left thumb would pop out of joint when I reached out to grab an object. The thumb pop didn’t bother me much, but the toe pop was somewhat painful. I don’t actually remember when the thumb and toes stopped being mean to me, but I seem to recall that I was about six to eight months into the gluten-free diet. My left shoulder is still something of a problem, although my arm no longer tries to separate from the shoulder. I now believe that this is a familial, genetic issue, as both of my brothers are also experiencing shoulder problems. My left knee is now about 90-95% healed, which is a whole lot better than the 50% range when I arrived.

The Physical Therapy staff have been absolutely great, both in their applied therapy seasons and in teaching me how to attack the myriad physical problems that I was experiencing.

 For years there were other signs of things amiss in my body. For no apparent reason my lower back would go out of whack two or three times a year, starting back in my 20′s. I used to see a single hive appear on my left arm, always in the same place. Twice I had been diagnosed with a skin disease called pityriasis rosea. Cold hands and freezing feet persisted during the winter months. But last winter I only had about three “cold days”, and I’m willing to bet that I’ll see more improvements this coming winter.

I know that gluten slipped into my diet several times during the first couple of months. I learned from those mistakes. It did take a few months to get my wife on board with the changes. I can’t blame her though since I had asked her to make many changes as I searched for “the cause” over the past years. Now my wife and oldest daughter will inform me directly if they’ve prepared food which is “Dad approved”. And that is pretty cool. Probably the most difficult aspect of trying to eat right, was that it took close to eight months before the cravings for sweets and chocolate and beer disappeared. After that, the diet became a whole lot easier to sustain. I still occasionally have salty cravings, but these too are almost gone.

Yep, I’m feeling pretty darned good these days. And I do want to say, once again, thank you all!!
— D.T.