East Meets West
Atlanta Integrative Medical Center customizes its approach to wellness.
No extreme is ever good for your wellbeing. Whether it’s a strict juice diet, a weekly meal plan of triple decker burgers, heavy pill popping or abstaining from any medication, extreme scenarios aren’t going to do a body good in the long run.
Dr. Tim Nguyen, founder and board certified physician specializing in integrative (a blended Eastern and Western approach) and holistic medicine at Atlanta Integrative Medical Center (AIMC) on the Westside, believes the same goes for medicine and that there’s room for both. “An Eastern approach is to look at the full picture, including lifestyle choices and diet, and to get back to nature wherever possible. A Western approach is very strong when you are sick and need medication or surgery,” he explains. Here, we chat with “Dr. Tim” about his practice that combines modern-day, cutting-edge methods with centuries-old, holistic therapies to assess patients’ health.
Did your family background influence your approach to medicine?
I was raised in Saigon in an Eastern culture that promotes disease prevention. I learned from my mother about growing food in the garden, cooking meals with lots of vegetables, eating in moderation and staying active outdoors. These are baseline, healthful practices for everyone, no matter where they live.
What inspired you to open AIMC?
One big thing I learned at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, and after, during medical training at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, is that Western doctors are giving out too much medication. What about thinking why someone needs blood pressure medication, for example, and working on ways to prevent patients from taking more and more medication down the road? I want to help people live a better life. We offer disease prevention, allergy testing, medical treatment, weight loss programs, yoga classes, acupuncture, massage and meditation all in one location.
Tell us about your high-tech initial health assessment.
In my initial consultation with a patient, we use the InBody Analysis. The patient stands on a machine similar to a scale that uses an eight-point tactile electrode—like the heart EKG. It can precisely measure individual body components, including fat and muscle, water levels and metabolic rate, as its current moves from one area to the next. We also test antioxidant levels through a biophotonic scanner. This uses a laser to scan the skin on one hand to determine carotenoid and antioxidant levels. The information collected can be helpful in assessing if you are getting enough antioxidants in your diet.
What would the next step be if there were a red flag on the health assessment?
My recommendations are all individualized. What’s right for you isn’t necessarily what’s right for the next person. So I might send you to see our in-house nutritionist to discuss getting your weight down. Or if it looks like you have dietary or environmental allergies, you might need a simple blood and skin test to determine severe, moderate and mild allergies. If you were not absorbing antioxidants well, we’d want to do a complete metabolic test to check out your kidney and liver function, metabolism and electrolytes.
Who’s an ideal candidate for your immunotherapy treatments?
Our immunotherapy supports people who have chronic diseases, immunodeficiency and autoimmune disorders, such as chronic irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Seventy percent of your immune system comes from your bowel and gut health, so we work with a compound pharmacy to put together custom, immune-boosting IV treatments to get a patient’s vitamin levels up.
What’s next for AIMC?
We have been working with manufacturers to provide our own vitamin supplements in house. Since you never know what you’re getting when you buy vitamins off the shelf, we want to provide a pure supplement with very little additive.
ATLANTA INTEGRATIVE MEDICAL CENTER
1891 Howell Mill Road, 30318
STORY: Karina Antenucci
Photos: Jamie Annarino