At this holistic happy hour, Lenny Boy Kombucha flows as strong as the preservative-free Olde Mecklenburg Brewery beer, while doctors in sport coats mingle with community members.
In the next room, a musician sings Beatles songs and plays ukulele softly.
It’s not what one might expect to find inside a medical practice, but this is Integra Wellness Center, where a food table is flanked with fresh fruit and vegan desserts.
Holistic happy hour topics at Integra, next to Lowe’s off U.S. 521 in Indian Land, are also less than typical: a neurologist tells potential patients about his autism research study; a family medicine doctor touts the benefits of turmeric along with traditional medicine; and an internal medicine physician discusses the importance of yoga and massage as part of preventative healthcare.
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Residents from Sun City, an age-restricted community for active seniors just down the road, are among the visitors listening to musician Jeff Brown perform and learning about the philosophy of their hosts. Everyone here has one thing on the brain: health.
Well, maybe two things: The vegan Indian food smells delicious.
East meets West
Integra Wellness Center is a medical practice consisting of four physicians focused on finding a balance between Eastern and Western medicine.
Sharing the space with these physicians are providers including massage and physical therapists; a yoga instructor who is an expert in Ayurveda; an organic skincare line that features products safe for oncology patients; and a vegan chef.
Co-founder of Integra, internal medicine physician Amit Shah, said the focus of all of the providers is to put patients’ needs first, thus keeping wellness at the center. At traditional medical practices, he explained, the patient must often travel from one specialist to another for medical consultations. Integra providers come together for the patient’s benefit, physically in the same location but also to determine the best course of action and treatment plans.
“Western medicine will always be here,” Shah explained. “It’s a lot more than prescribing medicine.”
“They (the physicians) don’t want to practice in a bubble,” said Marketing Director Rebecca Jeffery. “They invite and encourage feedback from their peers.”
In fact, research and studies are a big part of the center. Twelve active research studies are currently being conducted, including Dr. Jean-Ronel Corbier’s autism study, which has had a large community interest.
Investigator Brenda Sprinkle came out of retirement in order to help work with these studies.
“It means something to be able to help people,” she said.
Corbier describes himself as a wellness-based neurologist and says he is a big believer in a holistic approach.
“I have found that expanding the range of treatment to include nutritional and other non-pharmacological interventions can make a big difference,” Corbier said. “More and more there is a growing recognition among patients and medical providers alike that using an integrative, holistic and functional medicine approach is the best way to go.”
Not just physician care
Services available for the community include free educational seminars on nutrition, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder, a pickup location for Catawba Fresh Market and exercise classes such as yoga and qi gong.
And of course, events such as holistic happy hours.
In fact, Integra is currently planning a family-friendly wellness event for October. This free event, called Nourish, will allow visitors to connect with the wellness community to learn more about ailments, nutrition, aromatherapy and expertise from health providers.
One of the vendors on hand will be yoga teacher and Ayurveda expert Lisa Moore.
“It is estimated that up to 80 percent of health issues are stress-related,” Moore said. “Mind-body practices like yoga therapy and meditation can strengthen the relaxation response and lower stress hormones.”
Another Ayurvedic practitioner, Chanchal Khosla, will be hosting an educational Ayurveda booth at the Nourish event. According to Ayurvedic medicine, everything in the universe is connected, and good health results from a connection of the universe with one’s mind, body and spirit.
The Ayurvedic concept seems to fit perfectly with Integra’s philosophy. “If I had to sum up what we do in one line,” Shah said, “It would be this: from soil to soul.”
Melissa Oyler: firstname.lastname@example.org @melissaoyler
Want to go?
What: Nourish Wellness Event
When: Saturday, Oct. 8 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Integra Wellness Center, 1040 Edgewater Corporate Parkway Indian Land (next to Lowe’s)
For more information: Call 704-360-8889 or visit NourishWellnessEvent.com
What is Ayurveda?
Yoga's sister science, Ayurveda, is one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems and believes that wellness depends on the harmony of one's mind, body, and spirit, explains Lisa Moore, yoga instructor and Ayurveda practitioner at Integra Wellness Center. It is based on a unique constitutional model and offers dietary and lifestyle practices to address an array of health issues. Wellness plans are unique to each person's mind-body type and support healing at the root cause, Moore says.