Aegle Healing Center in Water Mill is named after the ancient Greek goddess of radiant good health. Owner Tapp Francke Ingolia pretty much epitomizes the health goddess.She grew up in Sagaponack and met her husband Lawrence Ingolia at the Hampton Classic in 2001 when she was working as a fine arts photographer, and they now have two boys George, 7, and Sam, 5. She has a regal stance, bright blue eyes, glowing skin, a clear head and energy for days.
It wasn’t always like that though.
“It all started with me being very sick with Lyme,” Ms. Ingolia said in her office recently.
After her first pregnancy, her life spiraled out of control. “It was total confusion and total exhaustion,” she said.
She got lost in familiar places, couldn’t stay awake for more than an hour at a time, and at times, couldn’t stand up. She was down to 105 pounds (yet people told her she looked incredible) and couldn’t eat enough to gain any weight.
“I went down the rabbit hole,” she said.
She never saw a tick, bite, or rash yet a Lyme test came back “weakly positive,” and she was given doxycycline.
“This is amazing,” she told herself after two weeks on the antibiotic. Her high was short-lived, as her symptoms returned with a vengeance.
“Nobody would touch me,” she said, “Thus began this intense journey.”
She made three trips to the ER where she was yelled at and told her symptoms were “all in her head” and to “consult a psychiatrist.” She was sent away with antidepressants and pain medication.
“They just don’t know what to do,” she said.
Until she got to the Morrison Center in New York City, where she finally came across a doctor who would listen to her.
“I was very lucky to find Dr. Morrison,” she said, “He totally saved my life.”
Dr. Morrison now sends his patients to Ms. Ingolia for detoxification. In those cases, the certified nutrition and wellness counselor acts as a treatment coach.
“People are lost,” she said. “Your head is so foggy. You can’t think yourself out of a paper bag.”
Although half her clientele have Lyme, Ms. Ingolia sees a broad range of people. Some are healthy and just want to stay that way and others are chronically ill with ADD, ADHD, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Many of them end up on an anti-inflammatory diet.
She starts with a saliva test to see what foods people can break down and then puts them on a diet their body can handle. “That’s the beginning of the journey,” she said.
The test has to do with the methylation cycle, which can be interpreted in many different ways. Ms. Ingolia looks at how her clients process nutrients. “I’m really just looking at food,” she said.
For example, the $100 DNA test may reveal a person has a gene mutation that makes it hard to digest animal protein, creating a situation where fermentation in the gut stops. By now, we all know that 80 percent of our immune system is in our gut. “If your gut is destroyed, you are vulnerable to every other disease,” she said.
A sign on the counselor’s desk reads, “colon reflorestation introduction of healthy intestinal bacteria supplement,” perhaps warning new clients the microflora in their gut is about to be rebuilt.
She’s also a big proponent of helping the body produce its own glutathione. Glutathione, the “master antioxidant,” helps the body detoxify but is not absorbed in pill form. Eating foods such as avocados, high in vitamins C and E, is the best way to boost glutathione production.
People with chronic conditions usually have some underlying immune deficiency. People with chronic Lyme usually have issues with toxic overload. Their bodies hold onto the toxins and glutathione helps the body detox naturally. They also have low body temperatures.
Aegle Healing Center has an infrared sauna that heats the body from the inside out, creating a natural fever. By consistently raising the body’s temperature, the sauna helps the body to fight pathogens and purge toxins out of muscles. The heat increases blood flow, heart beat and speeds up the lymphatic system, decreasing inflammation and loosening up painful joints.
Each 20 to 30 minute session costs $50 or $350 for ten sessions. “We have a shower here so you don’t have to do that whole dance,” Ms. Ingolia said.
She also counsels clients to alkalize their system (eating raw nuts help) and to take in as little toxicity as possible.
Use deodorants free of parabens. Choose a natural laundry detergent instead of Tide. Instead of using Windex, use white vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice to clean surfaces in the home. Use metal or glass containers instead of plastic for all food, including in your child’s lunch box and when you go to the market.
“I think of this as a teaching center,” she said, “The goal is to be completely independent of me within six months.”
Most employers would run in the other direction if a prospective employee admitted they had a chronic illness, but Ms. Ingolia plans to only hire people who have been chronically ill. She wants all of her clients to have the sympathetic ear of someone who really understands and listens to them.
To keep herself healthy, she gives herself coffee enemas and castor oil packs, which help keep the liver clear of congestion, another hallmark of chronic conditions.
“I never want to go back down the rabbit hole again,” she said, “I want to help people come out as much as possible.”