Holis­tic care: We talk “life­style” medicine with a lo­cal physi­cian and ad­vo­cate.

Dr. Rose Ku­mar aims to meld the best of tra­di­tional and com­ple­men­tary medicine.

Milwaukee Health - - DEPARTMENTS - By TOM TOLAN

Dr. Kal­pana “Rose” Ku­mar worked for years in what she calls “cor­po­rate medicine” – a hos­pi­tal pri­mary care clinic – but had trou­ble with the im­per­a­tive to max­i­mize in­come for the hos­pi­tal with short ap­point­ments and mul­ti­ple hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions. She felt the prac­tice pre­vented her from re­ally con­nect­ing with her pa­tients. Since leav­ing that sys­tem, the In­dia-born in­ternist set up the Pe­wau­kee-based Om­mani Cen­ter for In­te­gra­tive Medicine, where she com­bines stan­dard medicine and nu­mer­ous com­ple­men­tary prac­tices: acupunc­ture, home­opa­thy, reiki, yoga, psy­chother­apy, nu­tri­tion coun­sel­ing and mas­sage ther­apy. These ther­a­pies are per­formed, of­ten at Om­mani, by pro­fes­sion­als she’s vet­ted, and she em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of know­ing their cre­den­tials. She sum­ma­rizes her ap­proach as the “Four Body Sys­tem” – ar­gu­ing that health care shouldn’t treat just pa­tients’ phys­i­cal bod­ies, but also men­tal, emo­tional and what she terms “en­ergy” bod­ies. Ku­mar spe­cial­izes in treat­ing women with men­stru­a­tion-re­lated prob­lems, es­pe­cially com­pli­ca­tions of menopause and pre-menopause; 85 per­cent of her clients are women. Here, Ku­mar ex­plains the value of com­ple­men­tary medicine.

MilMag: Are peo­ple in this area be­com­ing more open to com­ple­men­tary medicine?

RK: It is gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity, and part of it is in­for­ma­tion on the in­ter­net. And peo­ple are wis­ing up and not trust­ing the tra­di­tional medical sys­tem any­more, so they’re go­ing else­where for their health care. I think part of what I’m do­ing is ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple who come here as to what are the strengths of tra­di­tional medicine

and the im­por­tance of it, and where can a com­ple­men­tary medicine as­sist?

MM: Are there ail­ments that re­spond well to com­ple­men­tary medicine, ei­ther alone or in tan­dem with other ap­proaches?

RK: Some of the great­est suc­cesses I’ve seen in com­ple­men­tary medicine alone: menopausal symp­toms in women. Acupunc­ture, for ex­am­ple, is ex­tremely suc­cess­ful in bal­anc­ing women’s bod­ies, at least their symp­tom man­age­ment. Anx­i­ety is an­other one, where mas­sage ther­apy, reiki, acupunc­ture are very good. Home­opa­thy is re­ally good for chronic ill­ness that stan­dard medicine is re­ally bad at, such as chronic eczema, skin con­di­tions, asthma. Mus­cle pain, fi­bromyal­gia, chronic fa­tigue, those are some of the ar­eas, even chronic pain. For peo­ple with PTSD, EMDR, which is a tech­nique for eye move­ment de­sen­si­ti­za­tion that’s ex­tremely suc­cess­ful.

In terms of com­bin­ing the two, what I find is that [for] peo­ple who are un­der­go­ing cancer treat­ment, [it’s a] fab­u­lous com­bi­na­tion with acupunc­ture, mas­sage, reiki and the meds that they’re on. These prac­ti­tion­ers are just fab­u­lous at help­ing them with their anx­i­ety and the fear. Just hav­ing some­one touch you, and have that kind of con­nected care, it just doesn’t hap­pen with your on­col­o­gist, or in the tra­di­tional medical ap­proach.

MM: What are some of the most per­va­sive health prob­lems you see in your prac­tice? RK: The gen­eral prob­lem in our so­ci­ety right now is a re­ally bad gut. Tak­ing a broad-spec­trum pro­bi­otic, clean­ing up your diet, and mak­ing it more plant-based, and re­ally min­i­miz­ing al­co­hol use. And get­ting plenty of ex­er­cise. If peo­ple did that, half the prob­lems would just dis­ap­pear, be­cause a lot of prob­lems in our so­ci­ety are life­style dis­eases. MM: You spe­cial­ize in treat­ment of menopausal symp­toms.

What would you rec­om­mend to read­ers re­gard­ing life­style changes they could make to help al­le­vi­ate these prob­lems?

RK: The first thing is min­i­mize or cut out al­co­hol. Al­co­hol kind of oc­cu­pies your liver, and then once the liver is oc­cu­pied, all sys­tems are go­ing to be slug­gish. The sec­ond thing is, I’m al­ways try­ing to get peo­ple to move more to­ward a plant-based diet. When women start switch­ing over to a plant-based diet, they just feel a lot bet­ter. The weight starts com­ing off, they feel bet­ter, they can think bet­ter.

When I get women on this kind of a life­style, their fam­i­lies’ health changes, so it’s like four for the price of one. They’re cook­ing for their fam­ily. Their hus­bands are los­ing weight, their choles­terol [lev­els] are drop­ping, the women are feel­ing bet­ter, and not just to feel bet­ter but to re­ally age bet­ter.

MM: Mil­wau­kee, with its drink­ing cul­ture, is prob­a­bly a hard place to preach quit­ting al­co­hol.

RK: If I can do it here, I can do it any­where. And I’m do­ing it. Peo­ple who drink ev­ery day have stopped drink­ing, just by ex­per­i­ment­ing. I tell them, don’t take my word. Just stop it for two weeks and see how you feel. They don’t go back, be­cause they feel so much bet­ter.

Health 2018

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