Interview

Payal Bhandari, M.D.

What is at the core of your philosophy of healing?

My philosophy is that healing requires two major perspectives. First and foremost, healing is a holistic experience which requires attention to the body, mind and spirit working synergistically together. Secondly, there is a temporal aspect of healing which embraces the acute management of symptoms accompanied with long-term healing.

Healing occurs when one understands the root causes and embraces the mind, body and spirit.

As a board-certified family physician, I was trained to primarily focus on symptom management. Through my integrative functional medicine training and clinical experience over the past sixteen years, I have learned to take a holistic approach to listen to the symptoms of the body and what causes them. Healing occurs when one understands the root causes and embraces the mind, body and spirit.

One of your strengths is boosting the immune system through a healthy diet. Please tell us more about this.

More than 85 percent of the immune system is within the digestive tract. If we support the digestive tract through diet, we take good care of our immune system.

What is at the heart of your diagnostic approach?

I ask the following questions to define my diagnostic approach:

  •  What is the patient’s baseline?
  • What are the specific health issues the patient is facing?
  • Where can this person’s optimal health be?
  • What is occurring between the patient’s baseline and the health issues he or she is facing?

Patients often feel better quickly and are empowered to continue making positive lifestyle changes which can effectively transform their health.

Studying the patient’s symptoms, medical history, physical exams, vitals, and diagnostic tests, the root cause of the health issue at a cellular level is more clearly understood. I then define a personalized treatment which focuses directly on the underlying problem. Patients often feel better quickly and are empowered to continue making positive lifestyle changes which can effectively transform their health.

What sets your practice apart from others?

As medical director of Advanced Health, an innovative medical practice in San Francisco, I provide highly personalized, comprehensive care that transforms patients right after the first visit. In a high-techmmedical environment, I practice integrative holistic medicine. This incorporates the best scientifically proven strategies in conventional, complimentary and preventive medicine.

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Stress Relieving Remedies

Essential Oils

Using essential oils for aromatherapy has been found to be a safe and effective treatment for anxiety. To calm your body and stress levels, try chamomile, basil, frankincense, peppermint, bergamot, or lavender essential oils. Add a few drops to your bath, dab some on your pillow, or massage a few drops between your palms and wrists and simply inhale. Lavender oil has especially been known to help with anxiety and sleeping problems.

Breathing Exercises

These help control the body’s reaction to stress and, in turn, activate the body’s relaxation response. Incorporating breathing exercises into your daily routine can help you effectively manage anxiety, improve concentration, blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle relaxation.

Take Advantage of the Daylight

Make sure you get enough exposure to sunlight every day, especially morning sun. Open the curtains as soon as you’re up, drink your morning beverage outside. Go out for breaks during the day and exercise outside.

Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

Routine

Get into a bedtime routine, doing the same thing every night. This will tell your body it’s time to wind down. You can either have a lukewarm bath or shower, listen to music, or read a light-hearted book to help you relax your mind and body. Avoid electronic devices such as watching television or reading a book on a Kindle or phone at night. The light emitted from electronic devices prevents Melatonin production and disrupts our sleep cycle. Each half hour before 12 a.m. that you go to sleep is equal to 1 hour of quality sleep gained. Try to go to sleep by 10 p.m. whenever possible.

Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day, even during weekends. Consistency rewires the body’s internal clock and promotes better sleeping.

Get Comfy. Make your bedroom a place of comfort and relaxation. Let it be a place for only sleep and sex. Keep your bedroom’s temperature cool, well-ventilated, and quiet. Try using an air purifier and/or opening up the windows to help better ventilate your room. Wear earplugs or turn on a white noise machine to keep the room quiet. Dark curtains or blinds can help keep light out. Alternatively, wear an eye mask when you go to sleep. Choose a comfortable bed and bedding. If you have pets in the house, make sure they don’t disturb you during the night.

On Your Nightstand

I always have warm water by my bed along with a relaxing meditation book. Electronics are usually forbidden since they aggravate sleep quality. If I am feeling stressed, I will take Integrative Therapeutics’ Cortisol Manager, 1 to 2 capsules just before bed. This will modulate stress hormones, keep blood sugar stable, and better protect the immune system.

Paypal Bhandari is the founder of Advanced Health, a leading integrative medical practice in San Francisco.

Katie von Strasser

Katie von Strasser is a former ballerina with a background in fashion and art. She is a devoted advocate for people with disabilities. Katie has a passion for travel and all things beautiful.
She resides in San Francisco with her family. (Photo by Darryl Nitke)

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