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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Santhigram Wellness Fosters Health and Vitality Through Ayurveda

Aug 31, 2017 12:28PM ● By Sheila Julson

Dr. Aruna Tummala

After practicing psychiatry for well over a decade, Dr. Aruna Tummala, the owner of Trinergy Center for Integrative Psychiatry, was feeling frustrated by the current focus in the field: chemical imbalances and medication.

Her quest for a better understanding and treatment for mental illness led her to train in integrative and holistic medicine. There she re-discovered ayurveda—the world’s oldest medical system that uses a patient-centered approach in which lifestyle and environmental factors inform health.

Through education and holistic remedies, the ayurvedic lifestyle empowers patients to gently shift from habits that manifest disease to actions that manifest health. Tummula wanted to share what she had found, so she and her husband decided to open an authentic ayurveda clinic—and Santhigram Wellness, in New Berlin, was born. The experience has rejuvenated Tummala, who has recognized herself as not just a psychiatrist, but as a holistic healer.  

As Tummala began to explore and learn the subtleties of ayurveda, she quickly realized that she needed an experienced and highly qualified ayurveda doctor. Enter Sunita Pandey, a vaidya (the Indian term for doctor) who was in Milwaukee due to her husband’s job posting. After interviewing her, Tummala realized that Pandey was the right person to lead Santhigram Wellness.

Pandey grew up in Udaipur, a city in the state of Rajasthan in northwestern India. Her father, Vaidya Medhavilal Sharma, was a highly respected ayurveda vaidya himself who worked at Madan Mohan Malviya Government Ayurvedic College. He used ayurveda to successfully treat Pandey’s mother who had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Pandey was impressed by how well her mother responded to ayurvedic treatment: today in her 60s, she remains symptom free, healthy and highly functional.

Pandey recalls helping her dad with his practice, even in her early teens, due to her keen interest in ayurveda. She took it upon herself to ride her bicycle to his clinic in order to greet patients and check them in

Vaidya Sunita Pandey
Vaidya Sunita Pandey
before he arrived, so that they wouldn’t have to wait.

“Nobody told me or forced me to do that. I was the only one of my five siblings who took on the responsibility of helping at the clinic,” Pandey recalls. She connected further with the principles of ayurveda by diligently studying ancient textbooks and helping her father craft herbal formulations. Pandey still considers her father her mentor and consults him for advice. With her father’s guidance and support, Pandey completed her undergraduate education in ayurvedic medicine at Madan Mohan Malviya Government Ayurvedic College.

After finishing her post-graduate education in panchakarma (an ayurvedic detoxification science), Pandey worked at an integrative orthopedic clinic for five years before coming to Milwaukee.

Pandey and Tummala have formed a solid professional partnership, and both are happy to offer ayurveda to the community. Pandey treats many conditions including autoimmune issues, gut problems and Lyme disease through ayurvedic concepts: food as medicine, healthy diet and lifestyle, and panchakarma and ayurvedic pharmacology with natural herbal formulations. Santhigram also offers spa services including facials, henna hair dye treatments and classes in pranayama, a meditative breathing technique.

Pure foods and products free of chemicals translate to good health, so Santhigram Wellness hosts ayurvedic cooking classes, which introduce people to the kinds of foods they should be eating for maximum health, as well as how to prepare them. “Santhigram is completely green and clean,” says Pandey. “We don’t use chemicals for cleaning, and we don’t have carpeting, only rugs with natural jute fibers. We minimize the use of plastics.”

Santhigram promotes empowerment through education and self-awareness. Pandey is always thrilled to hear her patients say that they are doing better. “I don’t get this kind of satisfaction by eating or going out or from any other thing,” she enthuses. “I think I have the best job.”

Santhigram Wellness is located at 12800 W. National Ave., New Berlin. For more information, call 262-955-6600 or visit

Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings.

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