The most precious thing a person can have these days is their health. Eastwest Integrated Care treats everything from chronic pain to behavioral health conditions. The core foundation of this practice is an integrated blend of conventional psychiatric care and complementary medicine, to provide treatment that goes beyond easing symptoms. A variety of therapeutic modalities are offered, including psychotherapy, acupuncture, nutritional counseling and mindfulness, as well as cutting-edge virtual reality therapy.
The philosophy of Drs. Lucy Surya, DAOM, LAC, IBHP and Herald Surya, PMHNP-BC, ARNP, MD is that overall health and well-being can be attained through the proper balance of exercise, nutrition and care of the mind, body and spirit. Educating people on mindfulness, healthy eating habits, and an active lifestyle is an essential component of their practice. This experienced and dedicated husband and wife team strives to help clients achieve their optimal health.
In their words: “We treat each person as a whole, a unit of mind and body, and we give our patients the tools for the development of healthy behaviors and skills for effective self-care that they can use throughout their lives.”
What tips do you have for a healthy diet?
Nutrition for us is not about a specific diet; it is about everything we incorporate into our bodies daily. It includes foods and drinks, the air we breathe, the books we read, the music/news we listen to and the TV content we watch.
Detox the body from processed/junk food. Avoid food and beverages that come prepackaged in boxes, cans, bags or frozen food. Choose a wholesome diet based 100 percent in natural food such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, water, herbal tea. Keep in mind that how we prepare the food, where we eat our meals and our emotional state when we eat, play a big role as well.
Breathe. Breathing clean air in the proper way has a big impact on our general well-being, and that includes avoiding smoking, vaping and air pollutants. Instead, practice simple breathing exercises (pranayama) daily.
Detox the mind by avoiding violent news and TV shows, mindless books, songs with negative lyrics, etc. Understanding that everything we see and hear has an impact in our brain can help us find a way to switch toward more positive inputs: self-help books, educational TV shows and documentaries, music with beat and positive lyrics, etc.
Mindfulness 24/7. Being mindful of how we nurture our mind and body can help us make the right choices—mostly when we need to keep ourselves free from alcohol, tobacco and drugs, since they affect both our body and mind.
How do acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) help us heal?
TCM teaches us that the body and the mind (Shen) can be harmed by external factors if we fail to maintain healthy habits and adequate nourishment. They can also be harmed by internal factors, especially excessive negative emotions.
Research studies have provided a more scientific explanation about the benefits of acupuncture. They show that neuromodulation can be achieved with acupuncture by correcting blockages or imbalances in the nervous and endocrine systems, promoting a protective effect against the stress response. It also enhances the immune system, promoting an effective response to external pathogens.
What is Tui Na massage?
Tui Na is a form of bodywork based on TCM. This therapeutic massage engages the body on a deeper, energetic level by tapping into acupuncture points and channels to balance and/or boost the body’s vital energy (qi). We use Tui Na to “seal” the acupuncture treatments and our patients love it. Some benefits include muscle relaxation, relief of mental and physical fatigue, relief of pain and reduction of tension and anxiety.
What is Virtual Reality (VR) therapy?
VR is an immersive therapy that blends traditional talk therapy, biofeedback and exposure therapy by having clients engage and interact with virtual 3D environments where they can experience psychological and emotional responses in a safe and controlled manner. The main objective is to reduce the mind’s reactivity and to build resilience, so when confronted with similar situations in the real world, the patient can respond in a constructive and purposeful manner. VR therapy can help people process trauma, memories and emotions more deeply, leading to an impactful healing.
RHIO Program is a unique program trademarked by Eastwest Integrated Care. What is it and how does it help someone discover a more purposeful life?
RHIO (Rediscover Health from Inside Out) program is basically a mindfulness bootcamp that covers some of the main aspects of our lives: relationships, nutrition, exercise, intellect, spirituality, environment, emotional intelligence and social connection. This evidence-based group therapy has the main objective of gaining insight about ourselves, others and the world around us, while learning mindfulness and how to incorporate its practice in
our daily life.
Several research studies have demonstrated the positive effects of the practice of mindfulness; it strengthens our immune system, reduces stress, lowers our levels of cortisol and improves sleep. It also promotes neuroplasticity so our brain can create new, healthier neural pathways, as well as increasing our focus,attention, memory, creativity and innovation.
What role does exercise play in keeping the body healthy?
About almost 2,000 years ago Dr. Hua Tuo, a legendary surgeon from the Han dynasty in China, wrote, “People are like water; water that moves and flows freely is clean and healthy, but water that is stagnant breeds pestilence.” He believed that a lethargic body would become ill more easily.
The benefits from an active living are several: helps us getting healthier, increases our chances of living longer, makes us feel better about ourselves, reduces the chance of becoming depressed, improves sleep, help us stay in shape and strengthen muscles and bones, help us stay at or get to a healthy weight, it is great for socializing and most importantly, it is fun.
What is the greatest reward you get from working with patients?
It is our profound belief that the greatest impact is established during the interaction between the practitioner and the patient. Our experience has taught us the importance of connecting with every patient by actively listening, and how much the outcomes can improve when we practice kindness and compassion toward the person in front of us. A smile after the treatment is the best reward.Eastwest Integrated Care is located at 7440 N. Oracle Rd., Bldg. 4, in Tucson. Connect at 520-308-5289 or EastwestWell.com. See ad, page 9.
Suzie Agrillo is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Magazine. She focuses on writing about the arts, inspirational people and the human connection, and she enjoys reading all things true crime. Connect at [email protected].
Debunking Common Myths About Mental Illness
by Lucy Surya and Herald Surya
Myth #1: ‘The label stays with you forever.’ Healthcare providers must play a role in shifting the paradigms on vulnerability, weakness and the use of undermining labels. They have an important task to outline the significance of understanding that de-stigmatization starts with the individual. Instead of saying “I’m an addict,” try saying “I have an addiction.” Instead of saying “I’m bipolar,” say “I have a bipolar disorder.” A condition does not define who we are.
Myth #2: ‘I can figure this out on my own.’ Expressing our emotions and thoughts before a stranger is an action that is understandably intimidating. However, the choice to share certain aspects of our life with a healthcare provider and seek their unbiased guidance, underpins both a person’s commitment to mental well-being and the understanding of limitations.
Myth #3: ‘Mental illness does not get better without medication.’ Knowing what treatment options exist, can help people find the right type of help for their unique needs. Some of the different available options include psychotherapy, creative or expressive therapies, group counseling and mindfulness-based therapy.
Myth #4: ‘I’m not crazy. So, why would I need treatment?’ This misbelief relates mental health with madness; however, behavioral health care is equally suitable for a person with a manic episode, or for someone with depression and anxiety. A behavioral healthcare provider can offer an unbiased yet critical perspective of a situation, encourage people to identify warning signs or symptoms and help those undergoing treatment to prevent the problem from worsening. These actions can promote a prevention-oriented mindset and foster a more resilient individual.
Myth #5: ‘My physical condition has nothing to do with my inner thoughts and emotions (or vice-versa).’ The World Health Organization states that “there is no health without mental health”. We have observed that patients with depression often have worse physical health than those without depression. It can work the other way as well; people with any physical disease tend to feel more psychological distress than do healthy people.
Myth #6: ‘My psychiatrist/psychologist/medication will give me all the answers I need.’ Over-exaggerated trust and complete dependence on external resources (e.g. a healthcare provider, a medication, a specific therapy) can be misleading. The physician’s job is to offer guidance and to teach tools, a medication is used to ease symptoms and therapy is an adjuvant in the healing process, but the choice is the individual’s. It is their health, and they have control in its course.
In the world of mental health treatment, to recover means not to completely get rid of all emotional or mental health issues, but instead to learn about the challenges one faces, work to manage them and cope with them in a healthy manner.