Dr. John R. Principe is the founder WellBeingMD®, a comprehensive internal medicine, holistic and wellness-oriented practice based in Palos Park, Illinois. With over thirty years of experience as a primary care physician, Dr. Principe takes a revolutionary approach to health, combining conventional and holistic methods with an emphasis on primary prevention, functional health, and bioenergetic balance.
A graduate of Rush Medical College in Chicago, Dr. Principe started his first practice in 1987 to serve the community in which he was raised. Though he took a patient-centric approach in those early days, he ran what could largely be considered a conventional practice. Yet two decades later, Dr. Principe found himself deeply unsatisfied with his work. He recalls:
Until 2008, I offered patients conventional treatments, but nobody ever seemed to get better. I could help them manage diseases but not reverse them at the root cause. I knew couldn’t go on practicing like that any longer.
In 2008, Dr. Principe decided to switch gears and pursue his life’s other passion: cooking. He enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America where he took a class called “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives” taught by the legendary Harvard medical professor, Dr. David Eisenberg. The class married medicine and the culinary world, and ultimately inspired Dr. Principe to return to his practice—this time, with a revolutionary idea in tow:
While taking Dr. Eisenberg’s class, I realized that in all my medical education, I never had any training in nutrition or living a healthy lifestyle. That’s when I had an epiphany: I needed to reinvent myself and my practice to teach people how to live healthily. By 2010, he turned part of his office into a healthy demonstration kitchen where he gave hands-on cooking lessons, teaching patients how to make things taste good, and, most importantly, how to make nutritious food for themselves.
Thus, WellBeingMD was born. Today, Dr. Principe’s innovative practice foregoes the traditional seven-minute doctor visit for an integrative methodology that includes principles of internal medicine as well as nutritional counseling, wellness programs, and bioenergetic balancing. By approaching health from this angle, Dr. Principe can help patients to not only treat their medical conditions but to reverse illness by focusing on what is often the root cause of so many health issues—an unhealthy lifestyle.
Above all, Dr. Principe achieves this by emphasizing education. After patients meet with Dr. Principe, they don’t just leave with a diagnosis; they leave with the tools, knowledge, and inspiration to live a healthier life. At WellBeingMD, patients have access to unique resources and can take a wide range of classes on everything from cooking a healthy meal to reducing stress to improving their energy levels.
In addition to empowering patients to take their health into their own hands, this social learning environment, Dr. Principe notes, has an added benefit. “Adults tend to learn better in social groups,” he said in a TEDx Talk he gave in 2012. “The dynamic of creating wellness, the chemistry of wellness, is ignited by group interaction.”
Through this groundbreaking approach to primary care, Dr. Principe has helped hundreds of patients overcome their medical problems since founding WellBeingMD in 2010. Nine years later, he remains in the vanguard of the wellness movement. As a leader in his specialty, Dr. Principe stays focused on cutting-edge trends. He noted:
We’ve always been on the cutting edge. In the near future, I believe the mind/body dimension and holistic medicine is going to come to the forefront. We’re already incorporating things such as bioenergy techniques and mind/body integration for stress reduction and improvement in overall health. I also plan on doing more online teaching so I can meet people where they are. If you’re a mom and have a job and it’s hard to make an appointment, wouldn’t it be amazing if you could have a visit with the doctor before you leave for work in the morning?
Recently named a top doctor by Chicago Magazine, Dr. Principe has no intention of resting on his laurels. Looking to the future, he aims to continue innovating his practice with the goal of providing ever-better care to his many patients.