Serena Williams' Doctor On Athleticism & Naturopathy

by Ronke Idowu Reeves
One of the keys to being a successful athlete is to surround yourself with the right practices, habits, and people both on and off the court. Just take it from six-time U.S. Open champion Serena Williams, currently ranked #1 in the world in women's singles tennis — she’s a client of naturopathic doctor Suneil Jain.

Dr. Jain is a medically-trained licensed doctor who specializes in naturopathy, using natural medicine and therapies as his primary treatments. As a naturopathic doctor, Jain educates patients on healthy lifestyles and instructs on how food can be medicine. His prescriptions are tailored to strengthen your innate self-healing power, and include herbs, supplements, homeopathy, and exercise.

Z Living spoke to Dr. Jain about the treatments his celebrity athletes enjoy (his other clients include NBA player Josh Childress and pro-golfer Nicole Castrale), and the benefits of naturopathic treatment, no matter what fitness level you're at:

Which naturopathic treatments do you use for your celebrity clients?   
We offer a wide variety of naturopathic therapies for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, premature aging and sports injuries.  Our practice focuses on the whole body, so each and every treatment takes that into consideration. It’s not unusual for a patient to be hooked up to a detoxification IV while enjoying an organic homemade facial—with acupuncture needles placed in specific points to enhance both therapies!

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What are some areas that modern medicine method screenings miss that naturopathic medicine is able to immediately identify?
Most yearly blood tests fail to identify the risk factors associated with chronic disease, so despite passing their “executive physicals,” many of our celebrity clients start with different types of functional lab testing. We look at possible intracellular nutrient deficiencies (magnesium tends to be the #1 most common nutrient deficiency), heavy metal and environmental toxicities, enzyme, and microbiome function, along with available genetic testing to get a sense of where the person is in their current state of health and what they might be vulnerable toward in the future. (Photo courtesy Dr. Suneil Jain)

So how do you infuse a patient’s food and nutrition as their medicine?
We create a personalized anti-inflammatory diet based on food sensitivity and allergy elimination, blood and metabolic typing, and nutritional deficits. We might use a combination of different modalities including botanical medicine, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, various IV nutrient therapies including ozone and UV light therapy, or microneedling—using a dermaroller or microneedler over areas of the skin.
What remedies would you recommend to the everyday athlete, like runners or yoga practitioners?
A great way for any athlete to maximize their internal performance should always start with a personalized anti-inflammatory diet. The specifics would be based on testing that incorporates a wide variety of fresh vegetables, healthy fats, and clean protein. Externally, a functional movement screening could assess and identify any potential area of musculoskeletal weakness that could result in injury or decreased performance.

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Why should people see a naturopathic doctor? How does it improve and enhance one's health beyond or in conjunction with modern medicine?
Having a naturopathic doctor as part of your health team is crucial and creates a unique balance in one’s care because we’re educated in both Eastern and Western medicine. While there’s a time and place for modern medicine, its focus is too often reactionary. Modern medicine believes once something breaks, you fix it. Naturopathic medicine tries to prevent it from breaking, and if it does break, gives you the least toxic tools to help the body recover. At times, that might include a pharmaceutical drug. But naturopathic doctors recognize that symptoms are the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. If we don’t pay attention to those symptoms or just make them temporarily disappear and don’t address the root cause, it could lead to chronic inflammation and disease. Naturopathic doctors evaluate the whole patient and make lifestyle recommendations along with appropriate nutrient intervention that help prevent chronic disease and slow down the aging process for your lifetime.

Dr. Suneil Jain is the medical director of the Rejuvena Health & Aesthetics Clinic based in Scottsdale, Arizona. It has become one of the leading wellness and healthy aging practices in the United States.

WATCH on Z Living: Change The Day You Die, where each week, one lucky person will get the chance to rewrite their future and start living a much healthier life. See a sneak peek here.

Tell us in the comments: Have you ever consulted a naturopathic doctor? What kind of experience did you have?

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