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Medicine done differently

Dr. Renae Mayer takes a holistic approach to wellness

When a patient comes to see a doctor, what can he or she expect? With the usual 15 minutes allocated for most appointments, doctors are at a disadvantage to grapple with a range of maladies, much less help a health-conscious person optimize advice. 

“’Healthy’ is not merely the absence of disease. It is the presence of wellness and a sense of well-being,” assures Dr. Renae Mayer. With that concept as a basic philosophy, Dr. Mayer has opened Lifestyle Medicine, Inc., 5801 E. 41st St., a practice with a tagline in its name: “Medicine Done Differently.”

The concierge approach to medicine is experiencing increased demand, notes Dr. Mayer. People are seeking ways of addressing prevention of chronic disease and wanting to correct underlying causes. 

“Patients want a relationship with their physician where they have accessibility, longer appointments and education regarding the status of their health,” she advises. To facilitate that, her new practice affords same day or next day 30-minute appointments and a holistic approach to wellness. 

“I am seeing a lot of younger people, even some 20-year-olds, who know their parents’ generation and grandparents’, the fast-food generation, have a lot of problems,” says Dr. Mayer. For emphasis, she quotes Food Revolution Network’s Ocean Robbins, “If you eat the standard American diet, you’re going to get the standard American diseases.”

Dr. Mayer draws expertise from 10 years of cancer care. “I think it was my work in cancer practices that really put it all together for me,” she says. “I really saw all the effects of cancer. Medical literature indicates that 40 percent of cancer cases and deaths are related to lifestyle-associated risk factors and more than that for chronic diseases. That’s pretty shocking.”

Before attending medical school at the University of Oklahoma, she studied pharmacology in graduate school. Part of her master’s and PhD studies looked at the endorphin/enkephalin system. “After learning these substances were released during acupuncture treatments, I began to closely review the acupuncture literature, research and conditions treated,” she recalls. Large cancer centers such as Memorial Sloan Kettering and MD Anderson were offering acupuncture as a treatment modality. That led her to enroll in and complete the Harvard Medical Acupuncture course. She currently uses acupuncture at Lifestyle Medicine to address such conditions as chronic pain, neuropathy, Bell’s Palsy and infertility.

Says Dr. Mayer, “My research background drives me to what’s new — is it valid, has it been vetted? We don’t use it just because it’s out there, but because it is out there and it is good.”

Lifestyle Medicine incorporates DNA nutritional testing to identify an individual’s genetic disposition to potential diseases. The testing looks at genetic alterations associated with heart disease, inflammation, immune system alterations, healthy weight management, oxidative stress, vitamin D, B12 and CoQ10. A personalized nutrient plan based on an individual’s unique DNA becomes part of preventive care.

During this COVID era and in general, Lifestyle Medicine limits the number of patients in the office at any one time. There is no waiting room. Dr. Mayer also sees patients through Tele-medicine appointments. She gains the most satisfaction through her career, she says, in “developing relationships with patients who continue over the years.”  

Seeking wellness, Dr. Mayer, concludes, is about patients believing that they own their own health, and that wellness depends on knowing one’s body. “You live in it from the day you are born until the day you die, so it’s important you learn about it,” she stresses. “So, you find a physician who is willing to educate you. There’s that partnership where we communicate and educate. We help people understand their bodies better.”

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