INDIAN LAND – With a bachelor’s degree in biology, Rhya Pachin had her heart set on becoming a doctor. But after seeing how diet and nutrition improved her family’s autoimmune and digestive struggles, she found herself drawn to a different career.
Rhya found nutrition to be a powerful, yet often overlooked adjunct to traditional medical care in addressing certain health conditions. She received her master’s degree in human nutrition from Winthrop University, became a registered dietitian nutritionist and opened Carolina Functional Nutrition in Indian Land, where she tackles her patients’ health and nutrition with a functional approach.
“‘Functional’ implies that we are using nutrition to get to the root cause of symptoms in a way that works functionally with the body, recognizing that all the different parts and systems work together,” Rhya said. “Treating one condition or one body system is not necessarily going to resolve a bigger or deeper issue, which often stems from more of a systemic inflammation.”
She provides various nutrition services to adults and children. Rhya said she works with her clients to create personalized meal plans based on their goals and health concerns. She also discusses supplements with her patients, pointing out everything they do or do not need and guiding them in how to select high-quality products.
Rhya provides medical nutrition therapy and elimination diets for clients with specific health conditions. Her specialties are gastrointestinal and autoimmune diseases.
One thing that sets Rhya apart as an RDN is Carolina Functional Nutrition’s nutrition-related medical lab services. Rhya uses lab work to assist her patients in identifying and addressing imbalances.
“Sometimes, we need data to be strategic in addressing the root cause of certain symptoms,” Rhya said.
The data is derived from blood tests, urine samples, stool samples, food sensitivity testing and other types of lab tests. From there, she can truly personalize a plan that will use nutrition to address an issue.
She said many patients come in with a fear of being judged, but she tries to make it a positive experience.
“I always joke that being a dietitian or nutritionist is only second-worst to being a pastor or a preacher in terms of being misunderstood,” Rhya said. “People come in and feel instantly judged. They feel like they have to confess all of their nutrition woes and regrets and sins to me, and that’s definitely not what it’s about. I really try not to appear to be coming from any place of judgment. We all are on a journey and everyone is in a different place when they come here and I like to make peace with that. I will meet people wherever they are.”
Another misconception some people have about nutrition, Rhya said, is that there are no options beyond prescribed medication when it comes to dealing with their health conditions. She said many of her clients are shocked that they never knew about the options out there.
“Don’t get me wrong, medicine is obviously important and prescriptions can be super helpful, but sometimes there are things in addition that can complement that and I feel like sometimes they’re completely missed,” Rhya said. “My clients tell me they weren’t aware of other options or how powerful nutrition can be in getting to the root cause of their symptoms and resolving an issue instead of just managing it for the rest of their lives.”
Getting to help clients solve a health issue for the rest of their lives and helping the community are Pachin’s favorite parts of her job.
“There is no better feeling than coming to work where I am truly helping people and serving a purpose that’s bigger than myself,” Rhya said. “And seeing people feel better is an amazing process that I feel very privileged to be a part of.”
Want to learn more?
Carolina Functional Nutrition is located at 1040 Edgewater Corporate Pkwy., Suite 106, Indian Land, S.C. Call 704-665-9688 or visit www.carolinafunctionalnutrition.com for details.