Dr David Borenstein is the founder of Manhattan Integrative Medicine and the New York Stem Cell Treatment Center. I interviewed him on his work and where integrative medicine is heading. Integrative medicine is becoming cutting edge in its exploration of useful approaches to make a difference in people’s lives.
I asked Dr Borenstein how he came to practice integrative medicine. He found that during his traditional medical school studies the focus was on traditional allopathic medicine. There was little consideration or exploration for the additional benefits that other non-drug treatments, technologies, and philosophies could bring to a treating a condition.
In his practice, he uses a broad comprehensive approach to investigate a patient’s ailment. Getting to know his patients, listening to them, and understanding the symptoms are the starting points for his treatment protocols. He treats the whole person.
Dr Borenstein’s areas of specialization do not exist in isolation – patients are diagnosed and treated in an integrative manner to promote both the overall recovery and continuing good health. Integrative medicine to him is using the combination of allopathic medicine in conjunction with other methods to get to the “root cause” of the issue.
To illustrate his approach I asked him about how he treats a specific presentation such as hypothyroid issue and a patient with a more elusive challenge with fibromyalgia.
In the hypothyroid case, the classic approach is to get a TSH and T4 blood test. If the physician sees they are outside the perceived accepted range then T4 is prescribed. Dr Borenstein’s approach is to also check T3, reverse T3, Hasimoto’s antibody test. Based on the overall patient analysis then a treatment regime is established that works best and safely for the patient. Treatment options can include natural desiccated thyroid (Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid), Cytomel (T3), slow release T3, compounded thyroid medications, and synthetic thyroid medications, including the hypo-allergenic, liquid levothyroxine capsule Tirosint. For patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, they have developed innovative programs to help lower antibodies with diet, supplements, and cutting-edge Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) therapy.
Fibromyalgia is more of a challenge because there is no one way to diagnose the condition. The complaints are vague and most physicians don’t know what to do with this presentation. In his practice, he has found that Fibro patients can have sleep, hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, or chronic infections. The approach is different for each patient.
Because of his broad approach, I probed him further about how yoga plays a role in health. He believes that yoga is a fabulous way to “turn off the switch and relax.” In today’s world we are too active and our adrenal glands are always on. We work hard, our diet is not good, we sleep less than our grandparents – all which result in a decline in health in the long term. He promotes yoga as a way to de-stress, breath deep and be in the moment.
Finally, I was curious about his research into stem cells. This is clearly a cutting edge approach in integrative medicine. Dr Borenstein isolates a patient’s stem cells from their own adipose tissue. This is new compared to using bone marrow or the controversial embryonic stem cells. Adipose tissue have a great number of stem cells and are easier to obtain. He isolates them and gives them back to the same patient. He is part of a global research team to determine the strength, frequency and duration of treatment for effective stem cell protocols for various conditions.
You can certainly get a sense that integrative medicine is beginning to understand and treat conditions that have eluded traditional allopathic medicine. Treating the root cause instead of the symptoms of disease takes more time and effort on both the patient and physician. The outcomes are proving to be better. With the efforts of physicians like Dr Borenstein in stem cell research and other modalities, you can feel that great things are about to happen.