Functional Medicine: Treating The Root Cause Of Disease With Dr. Aarti Soorya

Functional Medicine: Treating The Root Cause Of Disease With Dr. Aarti Soorya

OYM Aarti | Functional Medicine

 

Many people have been through the wringer of moving from one doctor to another just to find a cure for their diseases, thinking that the answers are in the allopathic world. If you found yourself in the same position, then maybe the answers you are looking for lie elsewhere, particularly in functional medicine. In this episode, Timothy J. Hayes, Psy.D. interviews Dr. Aarti Soorya, a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who combines her conventional medical training with leading-edge concepts and integrative functional medicine. With an approach that includes treating the root cause of disease through lifestyle interventions, nutrition, and mindset, she shares with us how we can tap into these three to find the healing we seek. She talks about the importance of connecting the mind to the body, the power of breathwork, and having a healthy diet. Don’t just numb away the pain. Listen to your body and be ahead of the curve with functional medicine. Learn more in this conversation.

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Functional Medicine: Treating The Root Cause Of Disease With Dr. Aarti Soorya

Dr. Aarti Soorya is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who combined her conventional medical training with leading-edge concepts in integrative and functional medicine. Her approach includes treating the root cause of disease through lifestyle interventions, nutrition, and mindset.

Welcome. Thank you for joining us here.

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

I wonder if you could start us off by telling us a little bit about how you got started on this path and what drives your passion in it?

For me, the path began before entering medical school. I was always fascinated with looking at the body as a whole. That concept always made sense to me. Before I went to medical school, I did some research at the University of Michigan in their Integrative Medicine department and I loved it. I felt like, “This is such comprehensive treatment.” It was nice to see patients improve in their mood, the way their outlook in life and how they were approaching life in their day-to-day situations. That was always in the back of my mind. The advice at that time was to go to medical school and then after, do some training in integrative or functional medicine. I did that and forget about it when you get caught up in training.

When I was in residency, I was always into the wellness stuff. I couldn’t get enough reading about it. My last year of residency, I freaked out because I was like, “I am not enjoying this.” I felt like we were not treating a patient comprehensively. They would come to us and then it was pretty much of med management at that point, because you’re only given so much time and you couldn’t delve deep into someone’s issues or get to the root cause of why they were having some of their issues without getting your clinic backed up. I went to Google and then I started researching integrative medicine programs. Finally, I decided to pursue functional medicine and that led me to joining a clinic here in Ann Arbor, Michigan and have been loving treating people, looking at them as a whole.

Do you have a specialty that you focus on or is it that you’re focused on the functional medicine approach?

I was formally trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation. That was looking at spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, strokes, musculoskeletal disorders and then I went in further to training in functional medicine, which looks at nutritional deficiencies, issues with lifestyle, hormone balance. It’s an unusual combination of training but mostly doing functional medicine.

As a primary care physician for most people?

If you're not nutritionally sound, you're probably not making it quite as well as you should be. Click To Tweet

I would be more of as an adjunct to people keeping their primary care doctor because I wasn’t trained in primary care. For me, I get to do the work behind the scenes where I’m looking at people’s nutritional status and getting to the root that way. What are their hormones doing? Why are they having high blood pressure? Why is their mood off?

What’s the primary set of factors that would trigger somebody to be referred to you? Is it more one category of symptoms than another?

No. For people who come and see a functional medicine doctor, usually they have been through the wringer in the conventional setting where they’ve gone doctor to doctor and haven’t gotten any resolution of their symptoms. Here, we get to take the time to look comprehensively at what is causing their issues in the first place. We see a bunch of stuff as mood, hormonal imbalance.

You have to do all of the stuff that the allopathic medical people wouldn’t have to go through all of their medicines and have everything failed before they come and start looking for the cause.

They don’t have to do it. They can come straight to me. The problem is people don’t know that this is an option for them. We’ve been very conditioned to think that the answers are usually in the allopathic world. People usually have been through the wringer from their own volition or searching for more answers, and then they find out about functional medicine. It isn’t a common term yet for people. It’s growing, but it’s not quite there yet.

We certainly would like to have that be, especially in the mental health field. There are many people who get bombarded with medications and warehouse for so long before somebody finally says enough is enough. If you start with a holistic or integrative or functional medicine approach, you’re much more likely to get good results much more quickly. Do you get a lot of referrals for people with mental health issues?

Absolutely. Mood is probably one of the biggest things that we see in our clinic.

Where do you begin with someone when they come in with a mood problem?

It’s still the basics of how we look at everything in functional medicine. You do urine testing to see what is their nutritional status, or we’re looking at B vitamins and minerals and are they detoxifying well? If you’re deficient in B6 or iron, you cannot make your neurotransmitters, which help you feel good in your body. We’re looking at the basic building blocks, amino acids. If you are deficient in all these things, and you’re trying to take a medication, most of them are SSRIs that people may use, reuptake inhibitors. You’re assuming that you’re nutritionally sound, but if you’re not nutritionally sound, you’re probably not making it quite as well as you should be. First, where are the basic building blocks of your body? Are they there or not there? Subsequently, we’ll look at your cortisol profile throughout the day.

OYM Aarti | Functional Medicine
Functional Medicine: In our society, we tend to negate. Especially in allopathic medicine, we’ve disconnected the mind from the body.

 

In our modern day, people will call this adrenal fatigue, but it’s more what it’s called hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal dysregulation. This is where we’re combining the brain and the body. It is connected. I would tell you most people in our modern day have hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal dysregulation. One is trying to reteach the system how to behave. You can be using herbs to bring people back out of fight or flight. A lot of us live in more into balanced parasympathetic state. Meaning, rest and digest. If your system is constantly running, it’s hard to repair. The basic premise is what are the stressors breaking down your system? You’ve got to fix those stressors first, address them so that your system can be balanced.

You’re looking mostly at the physical stressors, the absence of certain nutrients or the inability to process certain nutrients or the balance between certain nutrients. As a psychologist, I work more with that. What am I doing with my mental processing to create the sense of stress?

We’ll look at physical stressors, but we also screen for emotional stressors. People have a lot of stories that have brought them to where they are at trauma. Trauma is huge, and I always tell people, because I think in our society, we tend to negate, especially in allopathic medicine. We’ve disconnected the mind from the body. I tell people, “Any emotional stressor or trauma has the exact same effect on the body.” It will dysregulate you. The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal access, as much as an infection would, as sleep apnea would, as an actual physical trauma, like an accident would, you have the same effect. You still have to fix that trauma or deal with it, work through it, which is something that it’s your expertise.

As you said, they’re not separate. We have this interweave and there are all kinds of people who come to me and they do good work in the therapy sessions. They feel better. They’ve got a different way. They look at their life and then they go home and it all falls apart. That’s when I like to refer to someone like you to help these people look at what’s the lifestyle. I was on your Instagram channel and you had a thing about how to create miracle grow for the brain. Can you give us a little fill in for that?

Miracle grow for the brain is brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and the ways to help that nourish and grow is through lifestyle practices. That’s what I’m fascinated with. That’s what I love because I think it’s powerful. I’ve experienced that from my own self and breathwork. I think breathwork is one of the most powerful tools that you can have to center yourself and get to train your nervous system to be more in a parasympathetic state or a more balanced state. Things like high-intensity interval training in a short amount of time, but you’re pumping up your mitochondria. Your brain is filled with mitochondria. If you’re feeding them and fueling them, you’re going to feel better. You’re going to become more resilient and it’s good for your body and your muscles. Any soothing activity is going to help create miracle grow for your brain. A good diet, fasting, can in the right person be a good way to help feed your mitochondria to become a little bit more resilient. I’m fascinated with that stuff.

It’s exercise, sleep, meditation, breathwork, and sunlight. I run into people and they say, “The sun is bad for you. It will give you skin cancer.” Address that a little bit, please.

Morning sun is very therapeutic for you. The UV light is not going to be as intense, so it’s not going to disrupt your skin function and predispose you to skin cancer. With that, exposing yourself to light can help give the signal to the brain and the hypothalamus, the region called the suprachiasmatic nucleus that then trains the rest of your organs, “It’s this time of day. I need to release these hormones. I need to release these neurotransmitters.” It’s a free drug, essentially. Most of us are inside too much that we’re not being exposed to that.

We’re seeing the effects on our mood, motivation, fatigue and energy levels. Sunlight is a nice drug where you expose yourself in the morning and then also, if you can in the evening, because those rays are different and your body can sense it. If you have a circadian rhythm, you are then able to repair at the right time. If you’re constantly disrupting that, you feel groggy. If you don’t feel as good, you can see if you’ve traveled to someplace and you have jet lag, you feel off. We were meant to live in rhythm with nature. We’ve disrupted a lot of that with our modern technology.

Many people are isolated from it. I know I have several people that struggle with the seasonal effective disorder and they don’t have access to a safe or healthy way to get outside in the morning or in the evening. I’ve seen a number of people who’ve benefited from the full spectrum, light boxes as a second level. The recommendation is, get yourself outside in the morning and get yourself outside in the evening. I do have people who have seen some consistent results if they can get themselves to apply that light.

People don't realize how powerful breathwork can be. Click To Tweet

Small habits and small changes that they made.

They can be reading a book or even watching TV. I don’t watch TV, but I’m engaged here and the lights over here coming at me. It’s not like I have to be staring at the light and have everything else isolated. It’s not a meditation where I have to sit in complete silence for twenty minutes. Is there a particular kind of breathing that you recommend? You mentioned breathwork.

Simple breathing technique can be the 4-7-8, which I think you’re probably familiar with where you inhale for four counts and then hold for seven counts and then exhale through your mouth for eight counts. Whenever the exhale is longer than the inhale, you’re now training your nervous system to become more parasympathetic. I think that’s powerful and easy for people to do. It’s free and you can do it anywhere. The more you train yourself, the more you’re going to see, “Things that would cause me stress before I’m holding a little bit more steady.”

I recommend people do that. When I got introduced to the 4-7-8 technique, it was through Dr. Andrew Weil and his recommendation was that this is powerful for disrupting anxiety. He advised that people only do it once or twice in the beginning. What I’ve taken to for decades now is to tell people, “Comfortably fill your lungs, pause for a couple of seconds, maybe 2 or 3 counts, and then resist the exhale so that it’s 4 to 8 times longer than the inhale.” Whatever size your lung capacity is, you’re not trying to go for 30 seconds, just going to make the exhale 4 to 8 times longer than the inhale and for the same reason, because it initiates that parasympathetic response. It’s the breath I can’t take when I’m being chased by an angry person or running up a flight of stairs.

I also came across another therapist who had talked about a little tube necklace, and it’s got a little Japanese emblem on it. It’s a reminder. When you breathe through that, without trying to blow like a whistle, you’re not trying to pressure the air out. You’re gently relaxing through. It makes the exhale extend longer than normal and it does that calming. If you do that kind of breathing 4 or 5 times a day, and then your regular day-to-day life, not just when you’re stressed, after a few weeks, you’re going to build a muscle memory for that. The next time you comfortably fill your lungs and hold it for a couple of counts, your body is going to say, “Tim wants to relax,” and you’ll start to feel that cascade and then you have a tool.

I think people don’t realize how powerful it can be. I’m a big fan of breathwork.

Any more you’d want to say about the breathwork or different types of breathing?

There are different breathing techniques that you can do. There’s yoga breathing technique. Another one that works well is alternate nostril breathing. You can inhale through one nostril and then you close it off with your ring finger. Exhale through the other one, and then inhale through your right and then exhale through the left. What this is doing is bouncing both sides of the brain and essentially both sides of the nervous system. That was also something that has worked well for me. I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping. This is been extremely powerful in bringing my nervous system a little bit more balanced. I would say whatever works for someone. You might have to do a little trial and error, see which one you’re going to do, and then do that. There’s no one perfect breathing technique. These are very common ones that do work for most people.

I say the same thing to people, “Do what works for you.” Some people have a mind that gets invested in the counting and, “Am I doing it right? What number was I on?” They create stress rather than calm. I tell people to be focusing on the sensation when you slow it down. When you slow your system down intentionally, as you said, it initiates that parasympathetic response and that’s instrumental in boosting the immune system and getting all of the rejuvenating processes going. They’re sitting there in your body anxious to work. They want the right materials and enough energy and enough consciousness so they can clean your system and get you ready for the next adventure.

OYM Aarti | Functional Medicine
Functional Medicine: A good diet fasting can, in the right person, be a good way to help feed your mitochondria become a little bit more resilient.

 

The other thing that can work is if people like to sing, that helps activate the vagus nerve, which is calming, and humming even. You don’t have to be a singer but belt out some tunes. That can be helpful in soothing the nervous system.

We’ve got breathing, sunlight and the idea of going to someone like you, who can help assess what’s the nutrient balance or deficiency in my system. What other areas do you look at with people?

We’ll look at hormonal balance as well. A lot of people do saliva testing, that can also show where your neurotransmitters are. It’s very validating for some people to see that testing. Do I think everyone needs it? Not really. I think it’s very validating for a lot of people to see, “I’m struggling in this area. It’s not in my head. There’s something tangible.” Looking at your cortisol profile throughout the day can be very helpful because some people have a dysregulated cortisol profile. Cortisol is like the sun, so it should start high in the morning and then flow nicely down as the evening comes on. Some people start tanked and then they spike, so that is a dysregulated cortisol profile, or people are wired and tired.

Based on that, you can start to assess and do the proper treatment to help bring that into balance. One point I forgot to make earlier was that your hormones and your neuro-transmitters, all of that is connected. When you’re in fight or flight all the time, which most of us are in this modern day, that up-regulates your cortisol. Cortisol is the alarm system for the body. You’re sensing fear. We’re interpreting it like we’re supposed to run away from a tiger because we’re still wired ancestrally. When your cortisol is high, you are then also upregulating your norepinephrine and epinephrine to run away from the tiger. We were only meant to do that for short periods of time. Now, in our modern day, we’re doing this wait 24/7. It’s depleting to the nerves, hormones, neurotransmitters. Figuring out what are the stressors and then subsequently addressing one by one so that you can come back into balance.

I was flashing on the thoughts about what I think is a very good YouTube video. It’s a documentary titled Stress, Portrait of a Killer. It’s available for free on YouTube, the whole documentary. It talks about a lot of the things that you talked about and the more we can become conscious of it. The other thing I like to do is to turn people on to resources that don’t cost them anything to look into it. One of them is the Emotional Freedom Technique, tapping its way to give yourself an acupressure treatment for anything that bothers you physically, mentally or emotionally. I’ve lost track of how many years now I’ve been teaching that to every one of my patients who’s willing to learn because I know a couple of techniques that use the acupressure meridians in my therapy office. When I discovered this years after I was doing that work, they can do it free at home and the creator put an 80-page PDF on the internet for free. It tells you exactly what to do. One of the things we have in common is that we’re trying to teach people things that empower them to create their own interstate and a healthier interstate.

To give you an example, the goal, when you come to work with a functional medicine practitioner is not to see them forever. It’s to come back into balance and then leave with tools that are going to keep you healthy and resilient long-term. The idea is that it’s not something you’re constantly going to need to work at with someone. You will get there. You have the power within you.

Do you have a story that would illustrate a transformation or a success that someone had in working with you that wasn’t at all addressed with all of the usual medications?

I had one patient. She’s in her 50s and she was having a lot of hair loss, fatigue, and wasn’t feeling well. She went to her conditional doctor and said everything was normal on their lab work. When she came to see me, I was already thinking she’s probably got hormonal imbalance, possible thyroid issues. The thing with functional medicine is that you’re going to look a little bit more in depth. We did full screening with inflammation markers, ruling out auto-immunity, which she ended up having for her thyroid. That was missed for years in the conventional setting because they don’t necessarily screen for that. With our modern day, autoimmunity is on the rise. Making sure we were ruling out any other autoimmune conditions and then her hormones, and then looking for other stressors in her life.

For her, she was part of this community where she felt like an outsider. There was a lot of stress going on with that. She also had mercury fillings in her mouth that were leaching into her system. There was emotional stress and physical stress, sleep apnea as well. She had multiple stressors that we started to tick off one by one. Emotionally, the stressor that with her community, she finally decided, “I need to let this go and move on,” and she did. You could start to see when we rechecked her blood work, we started addressing the sleep apnea and the mercury fillings that she had. You retest her blood work. Her cholesterol, inflammation markers, autoimmunity markers are going down. She was starting to naturally come into balance once we started to support her body nutritionally, emotionally hormonally, it’s a beautiful story where you tack every system. Systematically, you will see the results. It takes a little bit work on the patient’s part.

Your gut is your first line of defense from the outside world. Click To Tweet

You said the autoimmune disorders are on the rise in our culture for cultural reasons. What factors would you say are driving the increase in autoimmune disorders?

A lot of it begins in the gut. The immune system lies in the gut. If you have a leaky gut, your gut is your first line of defense from the outside world. When you take food in or you’re breathing in something, it’s all coming down and then it’s coming to the gut and then it’s being excreted out. Now, if you’re constantly being bombarded with bad stuff, it’s going to start to make the gut wall more leaky and now stuff is leaking into the bloodstream that shouldn’t be there, thus causing an immune reaction because your immune system is like, “What is this in the blood? I need to attack it.” Things that can cause leaky gut can be stress. Big stress can cause leaky gut, core processed foods, not eating enough vegetables like fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the gut.

There’s a lot of research coming out now is the microbiome. It’s the big thing everyone is talking about. The microbiome is a collection of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi in your gut. The more diverse it is related to improved or overall better health, but because our diets have become restrictive, people are going on these crazy fad diets. It’s starting to shrink the diversity of the microbiome. When you shrink the diversity of the microbiome, you’re now showing up with symptoms. It can be hormone balance or food sensitivities or mood issues or hormonal imbalance, you name it. Concentrating on what they do in the blue zones, which are like the healthiest living population, the more diverse your diet, the better, the more fiber and plants that you’re eating, the better, having some community maintaining a circadian rhythm, like the things that the healthiest living populations do, we should be trying to emulate that because they got it figured out.

When I was looking on your website, I saw that you have those blue zones highlighted on this world map. To me it looked like they were centered around the equator. Did I miss something or are most of them in that equator region?

A good chunk of them are around that area. Maybe Loma Linda might be a little bit higher up, but trying to diversify is probably a big thing about creating a diverse microbiome.

Diversify in what? In the various foods that you eat?

Yes, because then you’re getting all the phytochemicals and the nutrients from every single plant that you’re eating. That way, you’re fulfilling the nutritional needs that we might have. Right now, everyone’s in a rush that you may not be diversifying as much as you should be. That’s why they say, “Eat the rainbow,” because then you’re getting your combination of all the nutrients that you need.

One of the problems is that we aren’t taught what food is. We’re taught to eat things that come in a bag or through drive out window. I remember several stories about people that would go into these low-income areas and they had no kitchen utensils. They had no way to make a meal. They didn’t have any knowledge of it. They’d started to introduce the basics of, foods are things that grow in the ground or grow on a tree and that’s it. Everything else that you eat is okay, but first fill up with foods, fruits, vegetables, the whole grains, beans. We’re clearly on the same page, except that most of the time, when I run into people and they’re at that breakpoint level for stress, they’re doing any of that. Every little bit they can do to increase their variety of food intake and a little bit of exercise, breathing and outside time. Quite a bit of the internal management, whether it’s the EFT tapping or the breathwork or canceling goals, it isn’t hard to take somebody who’s at the brink back quite a bit if they’re willing to change some little things.

There are studies that show that ten minutes outside can help start to bring your cortisol levels down. We were meant to be outside and we’re not. It’s going to cause some stress in our body. I had a full clinic and I was feeling it because it was all telemedicine. I was like, “I need to get outside after it was done because I’m feeling very anxious.”

OYM Aarti | Functional Medicine
Functional Medicine: Working with a functional medicine practitioner is not about seeing them forever. It’s really just to come back into balance and then leave with tools that are going to keep you healthy and resilient long-term.

 

I’m glad you mentioned that telemedicine. We’re doing these interviews and people are finding out about people like you, but unless they’re in your area in Michigan, they can’t get access to you. Do you do much with people through distance, either telemedicine or could people 2 or 3 states away or more get access to you, have the blood work or urine analysis sent to you and then work with you through a telemedicine?

We could do it as a console basis. I could tell you what blood work to get. That way you can run it by your primary care doctor who would order it because it’s going to go through insurance. Unless you’ve physically come to see me, which you would only have to do for the physical, the rest can be done in telemedicine, but if that’s not an option, we could always do it as a consult basis where I could guide you and then telling you some recommendations and then work systematically through that as coach.

Do a tag team with the primary care physician who could order the tests. After that, you can do the analysis of those tests and guide someone as to the steps they might take to get on a healthier path. What area of your work might we not even have touched on yet that you want to make sure and tell us about?

I work very closely with a registered dietician because that is her expertise. I have patients see her as well so that they’re getting the full, complete knowledge base on how to cook or where to even begin if you don’t cook so that you’re setting yourself up for success. I’ll do the medical stuff, but food and the way you prepare your food is important to your overall health. I have a patient see the registered dietician as well so that we’re getting all aspects of the care taken care of. You don’t feel overwhelmed either.

Is that an ongoing relationship with the dietician or an initial consult?

It can be an ongoing relationship. It depends on the patient because some patients have already high level of understanding if they are already good, she’ll be like, “I don’t need to see you more than once,” but for some people they need a little bit more coaching and she’s there. We also have a patient health educator who serves as a coach to help keep people on track. If they need supplements, how to implement them, or if they’re having difficulty with a supplement, then she can help troubleshoot that. We have a full team so that you’re well taken care of. The idea is not to be on supplements forever. I’m not a fan of that. I think it’s there for a reason. Use it as a tool. When you’re done with your treatment, you have like a simple plan that you might need, a multivitamin or a vitamin D for a while. Things that most people are deficient in that we can’t keep those levels up.

If somebody can’t make it to where you are and they want to find somebody in their insurance, what kinds of search words or terms would you guide them to look for if they want to define somebody who’s educated the way you are?

We mentioned Dr. Andrew Weil before. He has a whole training program for physicians. He’s at the University of Arizona. There’s a search engine there. You can look through the Institute for Functional Medicine, IFM.org. You can look through for a practitioner that way in your area, as well as A4M that is another big functional medicine training program that they help train physicians or other practitioners. There are different ways. If those don’t work, you can search functional medicine or integrative medicine in your area and then you can easily find a practitioner.

I hope it’s getting more popular. I had somebody in my office that told me they’re seeing an integrative specialist who’s only about an hour away, which was a relief because a lot of people have to go farther than that. Any closing comments?

Food and the way you prepare them is so important to your overall health. Click To Tweet

If you have any symptom, address it. Look at it as your body’s way of telling you that something is off balance. Don’t push it to the side. Don’t wish that it will go away. Be proactive because it will set you up for overall long-term health. There’s always a light. Don’t give up hope. If you’ve been failed by conventional therapies, there are definitely other ways that you can get better.

I think about free resources. There’s an interview that Krista Tippett did with Dr. Mark Hyman and two other people. It’s about functional medicine. If you go to OnBeing.org, this is from back in December of 2015. All of them had serious medical problems that the allopathic community could not help them with. Two of them were medical doctors and they all came through them with the functional medicine or alternative or integrative medicine. Each of them started their own clinic. That’s a great resource, a good place to start. Don’t lose hope. There are all kinds of things out there. I love the idea of listening to the symptom as a communication from your body, rather than something you want to numb out or run away from.

That’s we’re conditioned to think. If you have pain, what do we do? We suppress it but take a step back. It’s there for a reason. It’s alarm for your body.

Thank you for spending this time with us. I greatly appreciate it. I look forward to any leads you might give me about other people you think would have a good message to share.

I can’t wait to share some people with you.

Thank you. I appreciate your time.

Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Dr. Aarti Soorya is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who combines her conventional medical training with leading-edge concepts in integrative and functional medicine. Her approach includes treating the root cause of disease through lifestyle interventions, nutrition, and mindset. Known for being ahead of the curve, Dr. Soorya’s career path in integrative medicine began long before attending medical school. As a research intern for the University of Michigan’s Integrative Medicine Program, there she observed firsthand how a comprehensive whole-person approach led to profound and life-changing results for the patients she worked with.

During her hospital years at Washington University, she received numerous accolades, including her role as Chief Resident Physician and Resident of the Year for her work ethic, leadership qualities and excellent bedside manner. She believes healthy people are happy people and happy people change the world. She loves supporting individuals on their health journeys so that they can contribute to the world what they were meant to contribute. You may find Dr. Soorya on Facebook and Instagram @Dr.ASoorya.

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About Aarti Soorya

OYM Aarti | Functional MedicineDr. Aarti Soorya is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, who, alongside the rest of the Natural Balance team, combines conventional medical training with leading-edge concepts in biomedical-functional medicine. Her approaches include holistic prevention and alternatives, detoxification, physical modalities, nutritional therapy, herbs, chelation, and medications (when needed).

Dr. Soorya wears many hats in our clinic including co-leading our nationally-recognized Precision Medicine and Advanced NeuroCare programs and supervising patients undergoing neurofeedback, hyperbaric oxygen, sleep studies, IV therapies, and numerous other clinical activities.

Known for being ahead of the curve, Dr. Soorya’s career path in integrative medicine began long before attending medical school as a research intern for the University of Michigan’s integrative medicine program. There she observed firsthand how a comprehensive, whole-person approach led to profound and life-changing results for the patients she worked with.

Recognizing the complex needs of her future patients, Dr. Soorya subsequently made mastering the intricacies of functional medicine a priority by enrolling in the Institute of Functional Medicine’s rigorous training program and seeking board certification.

During her hospital years at Washington University, Dr. Soorya received numerous accolades, including her role as chief resident physician and “Resident of the Year” for her work ethic, leadership qualities, and excellent bedside manner.

Presently, Dr. Soorya’s passions lean towards supporting our clinic patients and using her numerous layers of training to inspire hope, health, and happiness in the many patients who come to our clinic from all over the country.

Dr. Soorya is an integral member of the Natural Balance team. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, Indian classical dance, travel, and yoga for her own personal development.

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