Your health isn’t just about what foods you eat or the medicines you take. It’s about everything that you come into contact with, and that includes what you put on your skin and the materials you handle every day.

For Dr. Aly Cohen, founder of Integrative Rheumatology Associates in Monroe Township, the integration of Western and Eastern medicines is the key to solving our most nagging health issues ‒‒ weight loss, diabetes, migraines, arthritis, and so on. Her holistic approach to rheumatologic conditions and other health issues is rooted in the traditional medicines of the east that have proven effective for thousands of years, yet anchored to state-of-the-art, science-based medicine of the west.

Cohen received her medical degree from MCP/Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia and earned her certification in integrative medicine from the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew Weil. Cohen applies Weil’s increasingly popular approach to medicine, which takes the entirety of a patient’s experience and lifestyle into account.

Health, Cohen says, is not about prescribing pills or selling miracle cure-alls. It’s about the whole person, from their stress levels, co-morbidities, and medications, to what they eat and even the very substances those foods come wrapped in.

Certainly the field of holistic health has its share of charlatans and hucksters, and Cohen works hard to counter the image many people conjure whenever someone uses the word “holistic.” She sells no vitamin supplement packages through her office, nor any other products or plans that boast miraculous curative abilities. But for those who are listening to her message ‒‒ that you are what you eat, touch, breathe, wear, and experience ‒‒ the integrative approach is the only way to go.

Much of modern medicine is not fully listening yet, Cohen says. Major medical centers at which she has lectured have not applied her recommendations, particularly when it comes to nutrition ‒‒ which, incidentally, makes up a mere five hours of any medical student’s entire schooling. “Western medicine,” Cohen says, “is slow to change.”

But a measure of patience is central to integrative medicine. Cohen herself spent seven years slowly eliminating the products and materials ‒‒ from Oreo cookies to PBA plastics ‒‒ that slowly leech away at our health. Change takes time and optimal health takes time. But it’s absolutely never too late to begin, and the results can be astounding.

Integrative Rheumatology Associates treats patients through a combination of nutrition, medical management, appropriate supplements, and education about a person’s personal environment. Did you know, for example, that there are some 87,000 chemicals on the commercial market and that there is almost zero oversight into how they are used in fabrics, materials, cosmetics, and even food packaging?

You can check out Dr. Cohen’s information and services to cut down everyday chemical exposure at TheSmarHuman.com….follow Dr. Cohen’s health tips on Facebook: The Smart Human and on Twitter: @thesmarthuman.”

Cohen also helps provide moral support for those looking to live better and healthier in a world not yet ready to listen. It can be tough to make lasting change when those all around you continue with their long-established habits. But once you start seeing the results of integrative medicine, there will be no doubt in your mind that you made the right choice for your life.

Dr. Aly Cohen, Integrative Rheumatology Associates, 312 Applegarth Road, Suite 110, Monroe. 609-662-5212 .www.alycohenmd.com.

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