Trinergy Focuses on Mental Wellness Through Whole Body Approach
Jan 03, 2017 05:40PM
By Sheila Julson
Dr. Aruna Tummala
According to integrative psychiatrist Dr. Aruna Tummala, “When working with problems of a psychological nature, those issues cannot be cured with just a pill. Psychological problems have multiple causes and require a multi-pronged solution,” and that’s what she strives to accomplish through her practice, Trinergy Center for Integrative Psychiatry.
While growing up in India, Tummala always wanted to be a physician and felt drawn to the field of psychiatry while in medical school. She attended Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences in India for her undergraduate medical education. She went on to study at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, a premier psychiatry institute in Bangalore, India.
“I really enjoyed combining psychotherapy and biological therapies,” Tummala recalls. She graduated from the National Institute in 2002 and worked as a junior faculty member for about a year before moving to the United States in 2004 to attend the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she did her psychiatric residency and fellowship in geriatric psychiatry. Throughout her education and training, Tummala was intrigued by the interface between the body and the mind, and she developed a strong interest in combining integrative and holistic principles with psychiatric medicine.
Tummala is board certified in adult and geriatric psychiatry. Following her education at MCW, she obtained board certification in integrative and holistic medicine in 2014, and is currently pursuing certification in functional medicine and ayurveda. This additional training has provided her with the requisite skills to practice “root cause” medicine.
Tummala formed Trinergy in February 2016 to provide an avenue where evidence-based and effective new paradigms of mental health care can be provided. She also works two days per week at Milwaukee Center for Independence with their Whole Health Clinic Group program, where she is developing an integrative psychiatry program similar to Trinergy. Her mission is to change the societal mindset that brain disorders, a result of chemical imbalances in the brain, doom patients to a life of dependency on medication.
“With integrative psychiatry, one recognizes that the body is an interconnected web of systems that help/affect each other all the time. The health of the microbiome, specific genetic vulnerabilities, the gut lining and diet, nutritional deficiencies, endocrine health and immune system imbalances—all affect brain health,” she says. Patients at Trinergy receive a 90-minute consultation, during which Tummala evaluates the source of the disease. “Following the consultation, I help the patient understand the corrective actions to put into place in order to reverse the symptoms of psychological disease.” All this is provided in a “caring, respectful, patient-centered manner, in an atmosphere that has a calm and relaxing ambience,” she says.
Patients are also introduced to healthy lifestyle and diet choices, and to breathing exercises like pranayama—a meditative breathing that helps people become more grounded. The technique can also help reduce high blood pressure and balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. “There is no question that diet and lifestyle are the two major drivers of chronic disease, whether it’s mental illness, or physical, like diabetes, heart disease or chronic pain,” she says.
Trinergy collaborates with Santhigram Wellness Ayurveda Spa, located in the same building. All of Tummala’s patients receive a 30-minute complimentary consultation with ayurvedic doctor, Vaidya Sunita Pandey, who provides guidance and coaching for diet/lifestyle modification and self-care, including massage and detoxification. Tummala also offers monthly pranayama and cooking classes. “I work with my patients to get them to understand who they are from a holistic perspective, and to become mindful of how everyday experiences in life affect them. With proper diet, sleep, exercise, meaningful social connections and mindfulness, people become self-sufficient.”
According to Tummala, there is hope for everyone, and a diagnosis of mental illness does not necessarily equate to a life of medication management. Having her own integrative psychiatry practice allows her to spend as much time with patients as needed and leave no stone unturned. “I can look at the whole mind/body/spirit connection,” she says. “My patients and I become equal partners in their journey to find health, vitality and balance.”
Trinergy Center for Integrative Psychology is located at 12800 W. National Ave., New Berlin. Tummala works at the clinic Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 262-955-6600 or visit Facebook.com/trinergyhealth.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings.