The Doctor Is Always In: The New/Old Medicine of Dr. Neil Raff
May 30, 2013 06:50PM
● By Kazaray Taylor
Dr. Neil Raff
Neil Raff, MD, considers his clinical approach “the new/old medicine”: he incorporates the best tools and techniques of traditional, functional and alternative medicine. Now Dr Raff has blended the new and old again with his state-of-the-art take on the old-fashioned house call—just one more way his practice lives up to its name, Advanced Medicine of Mt. Kisco.
Your practice is broad-ranging, but your special focus is nutrition, right?
Yes, I do focus on nutrition, because it really encompasses all types of medical issues, from anti-aging protocols to cancer therapy to treatment for immune problems.
You’ve helped a lot of people find an effective natural approach to a variety of health problems. What conditions lend themselves to natural treatments?
Whether the patients suffer from GI problems such as GERD, IBS, colitis or malabsorption, muscle and joint problems such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, or autoimmune or hormone issues, they all have one common denominator: increased body toxins causing excessive, harmful inflammation. Even cancer and heart disease are shown by medical science to be caused by these same factors. Controlling inflammation and effective removal of toxins and pollutants is the gateway to future medical care.
Many of the medications used by doctors have nutritional, natural equivalents. They may not be as strong and powerful, but in many cases these equivalents do a very, very good job, and they have few side effects. For example, there are excellent natural medicines for treating arrhythmia, for lowering blood pressure, and especially for improving lipid profiles—many of the older, natural substances can work even better than the statin drugs.
Another important area is alternative cancer care. I inform people about what is good alternative treatment—there’s a lot of good stuff out there that can be used along with chemotherapy—and I help them avoid the bogus stuff, as well. Unfortunately, medical care is becoming more commercialized, so patients have to become smart shoppers in terms of their health care.
Speaking of which, you’ve come up with a smart idea for your patients—an at-home service that uses Skype or the telephone.
This is something we just set up, and I’m excited about. It’s called our Advanced Medicine at Home program, and it’s an effective, convenient way for both my patients and non-patients, especially those at a distance, to connect and communicate with me. It’s an in-depth medical consultation where the emphasis is more on alternative and functional medicine. The patient sends me all their pertinent information, including their background, medical history, lab test results, and anything they want me to review. We then set up an appointment for five to seven days later, to be held on Skype or by phone from the comfort of their home. Skype offers everything except the actual physical touch, and it substitutes the incredible convenience of not having to leave home, travel, and so forth.
That sounds like a great way to get a second opinion from a medical doctor who’s experienced in both traditional and alternative medicine.
Exactly. I review all the patient’s background information and medical tests, and I have them fill out a questionnaire focusing on their concerns. This gives me a comprehensive picture of what the patient is really all about. The Skype or phone appointment is usually 45 minutes—which is really quite long when you consider that the average office visit with a doctor nowadays usually lasts less than 15 minutes. I review all their issues, and then I give them advice regarding all areas of their concern. This includes alternative medical treatments, what supplements they should take, what diet is best for them, and appropriate exercise programs. And just as important in this day and age, I warn them what types of treatment to avoid. There is an excess of information out there, especially on the Web, and it’s hard for patients to know what’s most appropriate for them—what’s truly helpful and what to stay away from.
Who is your program designed for?
It’s ideal for people who have had many tests and were put on lots of medicine—they may be having side effects and would like a second opinion, a natural approach. It’s also great for older people who might find it difficult to get to the doctor’s office, or for a mother with kids who can’t give up half a day to visit a doctor but just needs some medical guidance.
In fact, “guided health care” is a term used in a Johns Hopkins study to describe just this type of medical advice. The study found that when guided health care was made available to a large group of older people, almost every measurable health variable showed improvement over time. This group had fewer illnesses, fewer doctor and ER visits—anything you could measure in terms of their health or quality of care improved by 30 to 40 percent.
It’s also great for people without medical insurance who have concerns, but no convenient or affordable doctor to give them guidance, especially along the lines of natural and alternative treatments.
So how do people sign up for Advanced Medicine at Home?
They can go to my website, NeilRaffMD.com, and click on the Skype Appointment Requested link and then call the office at 914.241.7030 to set up a specific time. My office will email them the questionnaire. It’s an easy process. Of course we don’t have to use Skype; we can do it as a phone consultation as well.
For computer users, you also offer advice online on BlogtalkRadio, right?
Yes. I have more than 100 programs archived at BlogtalkRadio.com/move2wellness. I’m on the air live Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 to 11:15 a.m. People can call in live during the show and ask a question, or they can email me a question ahead of time.