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medicine, plus complementary practitio- ners, work together to provide the total care an individual patient needs. “Any problem on one level affects all levels, so we assess patients on all three with whatever tools we have,” he says. While conventional medicine may be able to treat structural problems well and biochemical problems to a certain extent, it falls short on the energetic level. That’s when it’s time to expand the team, counsels Yang. “‘Know yourself’ is the watchword. Get to know what to use and when to use it. It’s the practitioner’s job to educate patients in this way.” Dr. Andrew Weil, renowned as the


Wellness Dream Team Take Your Health to the Next Level


Build Your Own by Kathleen Barnes C


onventional doctors too often dis- pense vague, boilerplate health advice, urging their patients to eat a healthy diet, exercise and take helpful supplements. Some are lucky enough to also be directed to detoxify their body and manage stress. That’s typically the best most people can expect in terms of practical advice. It is rare to receive specific, individualized answers to such burning questions as:


What is the best diet for this specific problem or my body type?


Which exercise will work best for me—yoga, running, tennis or some- thing else?


Why do I feel stressed so much of the time, and what can I do about it?


What supplements are best for me, and which high-quality products can I trust?


Complementary natural heal- ing modalities can address all of these


12 Hudson County NAHudson.com


queries and more. Finding the right mix of treatment and preventive measures requires some creativity and self-knowl- edge. The experts Natural Awakenings consulted maintain that it is both desir- able and possible to assemble an afford- able and effective personal health care team that focuses on optimum wellness.


Integrative Approach “We need to understand the value of an integrative approach because no single modality treats everything,” says Dr. Jingduan Yang, the Philadelphia- based founder and medical director of the Tao Integrative Medicine. By way of example, he maintains credentials as a physician, a board-certified psychiatrist and an internationally recognized expert on classic forms of Chinese herbal medi- cine and acupuncture.


Integrative practitioners see the hu- man body on three levels, Yang explains: structural; biochemical; and bioener- getic, a form of psychotherapy. Ideally, he says, conventional and integrative


father of the integrative medicine move- ment in the U.S., has remarked, “If I’m in a car accident, don’t take me to an herbalist. If I have bacterial pneumonia, give me antibiotics. But when it comes to maximizing the body’s natural heal- ing potential, a mix of conventional and alternative procedures seems like the only answer.” Dr. Shekhar Annambhotla, founding director and president of the Associa- tion of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America, turns to the integrative realm of ayurvedic medicine for healing and wellness. The 5,000-year-old Indian healing tradition incorporates lifestyle changes, yoga and meditation, detoxifi- cation, herbs, massage and various other individually targeted healing modalities, depending on the patient’s diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.


Customized Team “Wellness is a team effort,” advises inte- grative medicine specialist Dr. Vijay Jain, medical director at Amrit Ayurveda for Total Wellbeing, in Salt Springs, Florida. It’s not only a matter of knowing what needs the practitioners will address at specific times, it’s also knowing who can help when the going gets tough. “Mod- ern medicine has the edge for early de- tection of disease,” Jain notes. “However, Ayurveda is excellent in determining the earliest imbalances in the mind and body that eventually lead to disease.” Most experts consulted agree that a personal wellness program should include a practitioner that acts as a gate- keeper and coordinates a care plan to meet individual needs. Jain recommends


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