Todd Di Leo, D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) is the owner of the Intrinsic Wellness Clinic, located in the Windfair Professional Center, across Bruce B. Downs Blvd. from Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel (FHWC). Dr. Di Leo is a chiropractic physician and functional medicine specialist.
“In conventional medicine, you have a symptom, you see the doctor, the doctor tells you what medicine to take to stop the symptom,” he explains. “But, in functional medicine, we address why the body is manifesting this symptom. We ask, ‘What is the cause?’ Then, we address that cause.”
Dr. Di Leo has been in practice for 25 years. He earned his D.C. degree from the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, IL, in 1992. He also holds two Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees, one in Human Biology, also from the National College of Chiropractic, and one in Human Kinetics & Exercise Physiology, from the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, in 1989.
He opened the Intrinsic Wellness Clinic nearly a year ago, saying that he’s pleased to be working in his own community. Dr. Di Leo and his wife, Cathy, who is the office manager for the practice, have lived in Seven Oaks with their two daughters for 11 years.
“I typically see people who are frustrated with having to take, ‘another pill for another ill,’” he says. “They’re tired of having five minutes with a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner and leaving the office with a new prescription or another increase in dose, which means now they’re dealing with side effects.” For example, “Maybe they’re sleeping nine or 10 hours at night , but they still feel fatigued.”
He says he can help those people who are wondering, “Why am I feeling this way? What is the root cause?”
Dr. Di Leo says, “My tools are different.” He explains his main tool is lifestyle management, which may mean managing a patient’s diet, stress and exercise, and the use of therapeutic foods, natural supplements and herbs to restore normal body function. He says patients are often willing to make changes, but they need to know how. “We can give them a 10-minute exercise — or maybe even a three-minute exercise — to help them relax, but they need to be educated to know that there are tools that are that easy.”
Cancer Support, Too
In addition to functional medicine, Dr. Di Leo also focuses on cancer support.
“We offer a state-of-the-art blood test that we brought to Wesley Chapel,” he says, noting that there are only about 400 practitioners offering this test in the entire U.S., and none in Wesley Chapel or New Tampa. People with a high risk for cancer can request the test, but more often, he sees patients who have recently been diagnosed with cancer.
“The test detects cancer cells circulating in the blood,” explains Dr. Di Leo, adding that it provides information about the number of cancer cells, and also the type of cells. “The lab does sensitivity testing to test the cancer cells against 50 chemotherapy drugs and 47 natural substances. It determines a ‘kill rate’ of how each substance kills the particular cancer cells in a patient’s blood.”
He says this is great information that patients can take back to their oncology team. While some oncologists will hesitate to leverage these results, because best practices in oncology may favor a different protocol, Dr. Di Leo believes that’s temporary.
“There is so much research happening in supplemental and complementary medicine, that I expect it to come to a point where this will be more mainstream,” he says. “For example, there is a ton of research supporting using mushroom extract to fight cancer.”
For people looking for a more natural and alternative approach, Dr. Di Leo explains that primary care also is part of the scope of the practice at Intrinsic Wellness.
He says an initial appointment with him usually takes at least 60 minutes. “We want to get a complete picture of who you are and what your body’s been through.”
Tina Danielson, who lives in Watergrass, is a patient of Dr. Di Leo’s who has benefited from the doctor’s approach.
Danielson explains that she’s taken medicine for hypothyroid — or an underactive thyroid — since high school. Recently, she had new symptoms, including blurred vision and dizziness, “and just a complete lack of energy,” she says. Her regular doctor said her new symptoms weren’t related, so that’s when she found Intrinsic Wellness.
She says Dr. Di Leo first tried things that didn’t work to cure her dizziness, such as chiropractic adjustments and changes to her diet, but then, “Dr. Di Leo continued to delve into it,” she says, and showed her exercises she could do. “The exercises took care of the dizziness within a few days. I don’t need to do them now, but if the dizziness ever starts again, I can just do those exercises again.”
She also says that the draw to Dr. Di Leo was knowing that he’s committed to finding the root cause of her problems.
“I don’t want to take medicine for the rest of my life,” she says. “I’ve already taken it for 20 years. Now, we’re doing bloodwork and working with my diet to find the root cause of this. I want to find what I can do to get better for the long haul, not just for the next month.”
Dr. Di Leo agrees, and he makes himself available to Danielson and all of his patients. “We are high touch and high availability,” he says. “I give my patients my personal cell phone number and exchange text messages with them.”
Dr. Di Leo also is an active athlete who has competed in Ironman triathlons and marathon road races, including his favorites in New York City and Chicago. He also is a certified strength and conditioning coach and USA triathlon coach.
In his practice, he often sees athletes, especially endurance athletes such as long-distance runners and triathletes.
“I always tell newbies that anyone can do it,” he says. “You need proper guidance and proper nutrition, but it’s worth it because you get an amazing sense of accomplishment. It’s a very elite accomplishment, because only a small percentage of the population actually accomplishes this.”
Dr. Di Leo often speaks to different audiences in settings such as “lunch and learns” and says he is available to talk about health and wellness to cancer survivors or other community groups.
The Intrinsic Wellness Clinic is located at 2808 Windguard Cir., Suite 101. It is open by appointment only. To make an appointment for a free 15-minute consultation, call Intrinsic Wellness at (813) 549-3551. For more info, visit IntrinsicWellnessClinic.com.