The difference between the Atma Clinic healthcare experience and a conventional doctor's office is evident the moment you enter. The reception area is a calm, welcoming space with soothing colors, a trickling water fountain, and plants galore. The treatment rooms have cozy furniture compared to the more traditional cold, sterile space. Perhaps most telling is the time spent talking with the doctor—on average, 60 minutes versus the typical 15-minute shuffle-through.
The clinic's philosophy is to promote health instead of just treating illness. This happens by combining conventional Western medicine with Eastern medical traditions such as herbalism, energy healing, and Chinese medicine. Their patients come in for a wide variety of reasons, from seeking help for the side effects of chemotherapy or finding the cause behind an autoimmune disease to just wanting to stay in the best health possible. Several families have signed up as well.
Dr. Neela Sandal, M.D., founded the clinic to bring a more comprehensive approach to medical care to his hometown. He graduated from Cornell University (B.A. with Distinction, Biology) and the University of Kansas (Doctor of Medicine) and completed a medical residency in Family Medicine at the University of Arizona. While there, he also studied Integrative and Functional Medicine through the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine.
"I see myself as being a broker in the middle," Sandal explains. "An MD who also understands Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine and appreciates that those are philosophically distinct ways of thinking about health that are hard to integrate. So, we must think about all of this as a big integrated concept, and that's why I personally really like the term integrative medicine. We want to see the big picture of human health."
Since most health insurance plans will not cover this type of treatment, Atma developed a membership model similar to what you'd find at a gym or wholesale shopping chain. This method helps keep the costs affordable while providing members access to the clinic's team of specialized practitioners. The belief is that good healthcare results in less healthcare utilization. Patients have the flexibility to seek out the clinic for just primary care or visit often for more in-depth health treatment.
Sandal says, "Our goal is to be of service. We want to help people with their healthcare, and I think about each of my clients as individuals, as does all my staff. I am very open to discussing our approach with people. We offer a free 30-minute introductory visit for anybody who wants to come in just to shoot the breeze and say, 'Hey, I have this. How would you approach this?' Then, we can talk about their specific healthcare. I think people are often surprised by how personalized and thoughtful we can be. We've designed a system here that allows us to give excellent, thoughtful, personal healthcare."
To learn more about Atma Clinic's approach, go to AtmaClinic.com. Sandal also has a YouTube channel with videos explaining his way of joining conventional medicine with the best techniques from alternative healing traditions. You can watch them on YouTube.com/@NeelaSandalMD.