After a career in traditional Western medicine, Dr. Smitha Nair M.D. became interested in providing a more holistic medical approach for her patients — one where she could spend quality time with them and get to the root causes of their problems.
Dr. Nair discovered integrative medicine and in 2017 opened the doors to her own office: Aura Integrative Medicine in Gettysburg.
Nair uses a focused, holistic, and natural approach, seeing female patients of all ages with many different health concerns. “I use food as medicine, that is the core thing”, she explained. “The conditions I see are mainly gut related – any digestive concerns — bloating and all of those related conditions. Autoimmune conditions are also something I commonly see – thyroid issues, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes – all of these.”
Having studied both traditional and integrative medicine, Nair well understands the differences between them. Nair said the first difference is time. In her integrative medicine practice, Nair is able to spend seventy-five minutes with her patients just for their first visit. This is much longer than a traditional doctor appointment.
“It is a more elaborate intake form, where I actually look at not just the patient’s medical history, but their relationships, stress level, and their lifestyle is key. The lab testing we do is more root cause analysis than just saying ‘Okay let’s fix it with a pill, put a Band Aid over this symptom type of treatment'”. She is able to look at her patients’ conditions more fully, get to know the patient to find out why they are truly feeling the way they are, and discover how they can change if they want to.
Nair said many people across the world are talking about the importance of gut health and maintaining a healthy diet and sleep schedule and that she emphasized the importance of each of these for her patients. “Gut health is the root cause for sure, because there is a lot of research nowadays where the microbiome plays a huge role in how chronic illness happens. Healing your gut is so important to your overall health.”
Along with gut health, Nair focuses on mindfulness and meditation. Nair said women today are frequently so focused on what is going on around them and keeping up with the things needed to do in their daily life they don’t remember how important it is to take a break, to take care of yourself when you need it.
“Stress plays a huge role in chronic illnesses, and the cortisol level causes inflammation in your body. Just by reducing that stress, by doing breathing exercises and guided meditation, this has an impact on your overall health and will reduce that overall inflammation,” said Nair.
Nair also has a mindfulness based stress reduction certification, and recommends mindful meditation to patients while guiding them to the resources that will help them. “Many women I have seen feel so much better with these lifestyle changes,” she said
In addition to her practice at Aura Integrative Medicine, Dr. Nair has an active role in the local community. She works for Care Here in Hanover as her second part time job, where she sees the employees of the nursing home. She is a member of the women’s networking group “Business Women Influencing Gettysburg.” Also, she is on the board of the YWCA of Gettysburg. She currently lives in Gettysburg with her husband Dr. Raj Makkenchery and three children.
Dr. Nair is taking new patients virtually. For more information, please visit the AURA website.
Katie is a Junior at Gettysburg College majoring in sociology. She has worked as a tennis coordinator, camp counselor, and elementary school intern. Katie has participated in the Gettysburg College Model UN Club and the Emergency Medical Service Club. She has also assisted the college public relations vice president and is chairwoman of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. Katie has also played on the college field hockey team.