INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE – VITALITY MEDICINE OF NEW YORK
Health is Vitality, not simply the Absence of Disease
Our evaluation begins with a complete history; that is important for comprehensive management options to achieve good wellness outcomes. It is important to note that our bodies are an interplay of a network of systems rather than individual parts or organs. A traditional medical specialty model can be often fragmented because of its very nature, but as most patients suffer or need prevention from chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, etc., a more global approach is undertaken. It is important to acknowledge biochemical diversity and individuality while addressing genetic, lifestyle and environmental determinants of health. History of triggers, toxin exposure, allergies, childhood nutritional and food habits, mental health issues, exercise habits and other such key factors can provide insights for future global treatment approach.
Current conventional diagnostic testing such as MRI or colonoscopy screen for gross changes and damage that may have already occurred at a significant level and at a much later stage than when cellular damage manifestations initiate. For example, it may take more that 60% damage in cellular neural sheath for MRI findings to be manifested or years before cellular changes initiate and its manifestation to cancer in a colonoscopy. Although these conventional testing are still used for prevention, symptom and organ specific disease identification and treatment, functional lab testing looks for changes at cellular level and can predict dysfunction much earlier. Cells drive all our human physiology and are where every basic and important function of our body takes place. For our cells to be healthy there has to be healthy mitochondria and energy production.
Cellular dysfunction and physiological imbalances can lead to illness over decades. If this pathology can be measured early on, we can identify many diseases before they cause symptoms. By the time symptoms appear, the disease has already progressed. For example, by the time the symptoms of heart disease appear, the damage at the cellular level has already been going on for years, and sometimes this does not turn up on traditional testing. As a matter of fact, 50% of individuals develop their first heart attack WITHOUT symptoms. Therefore, it is imperative to be proactive, and detect dysfunction at the cellular level early, at a time when preventative intervention can be implemented.
We test energy production, detoxification / oxidation, brain health / methylation, diet / digestion, stress / inflammation and lifestyle/environment and thereby make improvements in global body physiology and biochemistry. This testing is relatively inexpensive with tremendous cost savings, and can result in significant overall improvement in health and vitality. All humans, to ensure good health & vitality need good cell function which can lead to good organ health, system health and ultimately optimum state of health. We emphasize that heavily in our methods of testing and practice to see great results in our patients.
IV therapy and Supplementation can be a powerful and effective treatment option to achieve customized health goals quickly by energizing depleted organ cells as most individuals may lack sufficient nutrition. At VMNY we strongly recommend that the benefits of IV nutrient therapy and supplementation are much greater if we can identify the root causes of any health issue with a detailed evaluation, and follow a healthy lifestyle. IV therapy involves providing 100% of fluids, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients into the bloodstream directly, therefore circumventing the potential problem of poor stomach/intestinal absorption of some nutrients when administered by mouth.
Our IV customized infusions include but not limited to immune boost, energy & performance, weight loss, skin/nail/ hair, beauty, detox, dehydration, hangover, jet lag, migraine, chronic illnesses, peptides and NAD for antiaging)
In some individuals results are immediate, while others may need several treatments before they show significant clinical improvements.
At VMNY, many of our patients come to us with hormonal imbalances, leading to symptoms such as brain fog, weight gain / loss, decrease in libido, fatigue, insomnia, PMS, heavy periods, infertility, erectile dysfunction, depression / anxiety, loss of muscle tone, hair loss, skin changes, acne, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, abdominal bloating, frequent infections and many others. We are experienced with conditions such as Hashimotos’s Thyroiditis, Grave’s Disease, Menopause, Andropause, PCOS, Premenstrual Syndrome among others. By addressing underlying nutritional imbalances, environmental and food toxins, stress management, many of these hormonal imbalances can be improved. For patients requiring hormone replacement therapy, we use only the highest quality bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical hormones, which are plant based, mostly resemble the chemical structure of our own natural hormones, thus avoiding many of the untoward side effects of synthetic hormones. Our protocols are science based, and very effective, with close monitoring.
At VMNY, sexual function is considered to be important to overall health and emotional well-being. When low libido, erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, or painful intercourse hinders a healthy sex life, we seek out the root causes and treat them through lifestyle changes, nutrition, bioidentical hormone therapy, and regenerative medicine if necessary.
The gastrointestinal (GI) system and gut health have a significant interpersonal relationship between digestion, absorption, intestinal permeability, gastrointestinal flora, immune regulation, inflammation, and enteric nervous system. The components of treatment we emphasize include removing, replacing, re-inoculating, and repairing the gut depending on specialized stool testing and other tests. The key is to identify effects of toxins, treat the underlying root cause of inflammation, treat infections medically and ultimately facilitate the re-balancing of gut digestive health and microbiome (good and bad bacteria) using natural methods and supplements. The gut is the second brain.
Our nutrition recommendations are not based on generic symptoms and signs, such as low fat or low calorie diet, but on why there is an imbalance causing these symptoms. The recommendation will depend on food sensitivities, environmental toxins, nutrient deficiencies and other testing to evaluate factors at the cellular and genetic level. Food, diet, nutraceuticals and supplements will help along with other integrative medicine disciplines to address nutrition needs. The gastrointestinal (GI) system and gut health has significant interpersonal relationship between digestion, absorption, intestinal permeability, gastrointestinal flora, immune regulation and inflammation, and enteric nervous system. The components of treatment we emphasize on include removing, replacing, re-inoculating, repairing and re-balancing the gut. This is the key for health, recovery and vitality
At VMNY, we realize that weight loss is not just a matter of eating less and exercising more. The root causes of obesity are a lot more complicated, and include inflammation, environmental and food toxins, hormonal imbalances, stress, nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal dysbiosis, and past emotional / physical trauma. Using a holistic approach to treat these root causes, weight loss is a side effect of treatment, and is sustainable, especially with the support of our experienced health coach. We analyze body composition to ensure that your fat, lean muscle mass, and water content are balanced, and that you actually lose fat and not muscle.
It’s an important concept in functional medicine that an underlying mechanism for depression is inflammation. The SAD or Standard American Diet is high in processed foods, and sugar, and contributes to the development of depression. This article from the Wall Street Journal goes further into depth into the importance of an anti – inflammatory diet in the treatment of depression.
The answer lies in our individualized approach, and treating the underlying cause. Most franchise weight loss centers will either make you buy their pre-packaged meals, and use weight loss drugs, without addressing underlying health issues. With this “Band-Aid” approach, most patients gain the weight right back when they resume eating regular food. Not only do we recommend whole nutritious foods in our meal plans, but ensure that you will not experience hunger and maintain your weight loss. We judiciously use prescription medications to assist with your weight loss as well, but our multifaceted approach has been proven to be successful, and our team will support you through your weight loss journey.
We highly recommend and address as indicated, various stress reduction techniques. Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction is an 8 week program that assists patients who can learn to use their internal resources more skillfully to de-stress, improve medical and psychological conditions, and promote better healthy living. Meditation, yoga instructions, and mindfulness techniques are emphasized and the use of audio-visual material through CDs at home can lead to significant improvement in function.
At VMNY, we have a unique approach to chronic illnesses such as Type II diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, autoimmune disease, chronic allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroesophageal reflux, fibromyalgia, arthritis, depression/anxiety, eczema, asthma, migraines, sleep disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome and many others. Rather than relying on pharmaceuticals, we use specialized functional testing to elucidate the root cause of these conditions at the molecular level, and address them directly. Root causes may include, but are not restricted to, leaky gut, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, food allergies and sensitivities, heavy metal toxicity, inflammation, occult infections, and mold exposure.
Using various modalities including nutritional supplementation, dietary guidance, detoxification protocols, hormone balancing, stress management, mindfulness training, many patients are able to reduce the dose of chronic medications, if not stop them altogether, while reversing these conditions, and improving their quality of life.
Pain conditions are treated with multiple disciplines including medically or surgically. Every pain condition though has an inflammatory profile consisting of the inflammatory mediators that are present in the pain syndrome. The inflammatory profile may have variations from one person to another and may have variations in the same person at different times. The key to the treatment of Pain Syndromes is an understanding of their inflammatory profile. The goal should be inhibition or suppression of production of the inflammatory mediators and inhibition, suppression, or modulation of neuronal afferent and efferent (motor) transmission. A successful outcome is one that results in less inflammation and thus less pain.
Conditions with significant inflammatory profile include arthritis, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, migraine, neuropathic pain, complex regional pain syndrome / reflex sympathetic dystrophy (CRPS/RSD), bursitis, shoulder pain, and vulvodynia. These profiles are derived from basic science and clinical research performed in the past by numerous investigators and will be updated in the future by new technologies such as magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Our unifying theory or law of pain states: The origin of all pain is inflammation and the inflammatory response. The biochemical mediators of inflammation include cytokines, neuropeptides, growth factors, and neurotransmitters. Irrespective of the type of pain whether it is acute or chronic pain, peripheral or central pain, nociceptive or neuropathic pain, the underlying origin is inflammation and the inflammatory response.
Activation of pain receptors, transmission, and modulation of pain signals, neuroplasticity, and central sensitization are all one continuum of inflammation and the inflammatory response. Irrespective of the characteristic of the pain, whether it is sharp, dull, aching, burning, stabbing, numbing or tingling, all pain arise from inflammation and the inflammatory response. Our management options at VMNY, is to address inflammation in the body, gut, and areas of pain whether central (brain, spine) or peripheral (nerves, legs, arms) and use regenerative medicine options to treat pain locally in joints and spine to amplify your own body’s healing response naturally.
We use the first sauna to offer a synergistic combination of far Infrared Saunas and Halotherapy. It is created to engage all 5 senses for a truly transformative experience. TASTE the salty air, SMELL the essential oil, custom blended for our clients, FEEL the warmth of the infrared heat as it envelops your body, HEAR the soothing voice of KSARA professional guided meditation, and SEE the changing lights of the medical grade chromotherapy and red light waves. With thoughtful design, driven to support an elevated wellness experience, ours is a custom-built sauna integrated with the halogenerator and haloprotectant technology to maximize the efficacy of both modalities.
Meet Our Medical Director
Dr. Alexis Gopal is a Board Certified Internal Medicine physician who has been practicing in New York for the past 23 years.
Dr. Alexis Gopal obtained her M.D. at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, followed by residency training at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine.