Balance in Health
Appointments and fees

The following are our policies for scheduling and payment.

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New patient forms

Prior to your first visit, please print and complete the appropriate forms and bring them to your scheduled visit.

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5 Myths About Massage Therapy

When was the last time you had a great massage?  Research is growing providing substantial evidence of the significant health benefits associated with therapeutic massage.  Finding the right therapist and getting a great massage can seem like a daunting task at first, but not if you know the truth behind some of the most common massage myths that often lead to a less than stellar massage experience.


Myth – Pain is Good

Many people, and even some massage therapists, think that in order to get your money’s worth, a massage should be painful.  For a certain segment of therapist and clients this works, however, consider the following.  Pain is an indication of inflammation and one of massage’s biggest goals is to decrease and alleviate inflammation.  How can a massage be effective if it is causing inflammation?  Granted, in many cases there are specific painful yet necessary measures that need to be taken in order to increase/restore range of motion or realign certain muscular structures.  However, most often this kind of work should be performed by a physical therapist, not a massage therapist.  A trained massage therapist will use a variety of techniques to address trouble areas and that process may be momentarily uncomfortable as tension and lactic acid are released, but ideally such discomfort should be minimal and momentary.   The goal of massage therapy is to help the muscles repair after extensive use, injury or fatigue and relax the body by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system.  None of this can be effectively accomplished through pain.


Myth - The Therapist Always Knows Best

Actually, we hope this one is true, but too often it is not the case.  Which is why you should always ask a lot of questions, especially before your first session, but even after you have been working with a therapist for awhile.  A well-trained therapist will welcome your questions with enthusiasm.  A defensive response is a good sign that the therapist is not as comfortable as they should be explaining a protocol or why a particular muscle is acting the way it is.  A client should never allow a therapist to perform a maneuver that has not been explained thoroughly and if a therapist cannot back up their advice with sources, then the client should be sure to research on their own any claims made.   As a client you should not feel embarrassed to ask questions.  Many times people can feel awkward and avoid this situation, as they do not want to seem like they are challenging the expertise of the therapist.  Again, a well-trained and fully qualified therapist will be more than happy to share with you their knowledge and reasoning behind any modality, maneuver, or advice they offer because they take great pride in educating themselves as well as their clients.


Myth - Female Therapists Can’t Do Deep Work

This is perhaps the greatest myth I have encountered as a licensed massage therapist.  A deep tissue massage is about addressing muscle tissue deep within the skeletal system as apposed to applying a lot of pressure.  Depth has more to do with precision and intention than it does about strength or force.  The deepest work I have ever received was by practitioners with smaller, more nimble and flexible digits.  Not to mention that there are a variety of other anatomical tools that a therapist can use in order to work out the tension in lower layers of tissue.  Never choose a therapist based on gender alone.  There are several far more important qualifications to consider other than whether the therapist is male or female such as training, experience, philosophy and personality.  If you enjoy deep work, be sure to ask for a therapist who specializes in and truly understands deep tissue massage.  And do not be surprised when you are referred to a female.


Myth - You Have to Pay A lot for a Good Massage

This could not be further from the truth.  I have received massages at expensive spas as well as free massages from students in clinic.  There were great and horrible massages in both categories.  It is not as much about the price of the massage as it is about the therapist.  There are a lot of great therapists working at inexpensive massage mill institutions and unfortunately there are a lot of massage therapist located at high-end establishments that have lost their passion, been working too long or simply faked their way through the system.  Just because you pay a whole lot of money doesn’t mean your money is buying expertise, talent and dedication.  In fact, the inflated price you are paying is more likely going towards the rental, decoration and maintenance of the venue rather than the quality of therapist.  In the same respect, If a massage is too cheap, then expect what you are paying for.  Likely you will receive a therapist who is overworked and under paid and that will be evident in the bodywork.  Remember to do your research, ask questions and then follow your instincts.


Myth - Massage is a Luxury Not a Necessity

Therapeutic massage has been around for centuries and has been enjoyed by people of all walks of life and socio-economic levels.  Touch is an important element of the human experience and is essential to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.  More specifically, therapeutic massage has been proven to decrease cortisol levels, increase dopamine levels as well as prevent and rehabilitate injury.   For these reasons, massage is necessary.  It certainly can be luxurious when enjoyed at a spa with decadent perks like terry cloth robes and cucumber water, but it can be just as effective and enjoyable when experience in the comfort of your own home or a small inexpensive private studio.  Either way, it is important to experience massage on some level at least a three to four times a year if not more.  My personal recommendation is every 4 to 6 weeks unless there is a specific condition that calls for more frequent bodywork.


There are as many styles of massage as there are types of therapists who perform massage and places to receive massage.  The most important thing to remember is that research is key.  An informed client is essential for the best possible experience.  Many people are turned off by their first massage experience for one reason or another and never come back to it.  Finding a therapist client match is a process and requires due diligence on the part of the client to not only know what they need and know what they like but also to know where to find it.  The good news is, with a little bit of research and patience; you can find a therapist who will help to alter your relationship with your body.  Massage can and should be an incredible experience that you enjoy often and not feel at all guilty about!

Wishing you Health and Happiness!

This information is provided by Scott Sherven, LMT and your friends here at Aloe Wellness.  Have questions?  We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Mehta, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Keats today.


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Hormone Testing for Wellness

Hormones acting up?  Hormone testing can help identify ways to improve your health.

Hormone imbalances can occur at any age and in both men or women.  Common symptoms include hot flashes, fatigue, hair loss, decreased libido, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, insomnia, irritability and depression.  A common link to all of these symptoms is often stress.  Work deadlines, financial hardships, family arguments or commuting during rush hour are everyday sources of stress.  Although the stressors themselves don’t make people ill, the body’s responses to them may, and this differs for each individual.

In order to appropriately assess hormone imbalances, we need to see how the various hormones interact with each other. So it is important to evaluate the adrenal hormones, which manage stress; the thyroid hormones, which manage metabolism; and the reproductive hormones (eg. testosterone, estrogens, and progesterone).  While a blood or saliva test provides a one-time snap-shot of hormone levels, a more comprehensive and sensitive test, consisting of a 24-hour urine collection, identifies hormone levels as they increase or decrease throughout the day.  Measuring the levels of hormone metabolites, or breakdown of products, in the urine can help determine the risk of developing breast or prostate cancer, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis or diabetes.
Once the results are analyzed with respect to the symptoms presented, a customized treatment plan is developed specifically for the individual.  Treatment options may include a combination of specific dietary and lifestyle recommendations, herbal support and nutrient supplementation.  In some cases, bio-identical hormones may be needed.
While the cause of many symptoms may seem unclear, attaining balance in health can be achieved.  It takes a comprehensive assessment, a personalized approach and a keen eye focused on the interconnections of one’s mental, emotional and physical states.

This information is provided by Dr. Arti Mehta and your friends here at Aloe Wellness.  Have questions?  We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Mehta, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Keats today.


Discover how Naturopathic Medicine can revolutionize your health!

202.966.ALOE (2563)


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Dr. Aminah Keats, Speaking at Healthy Living Expo

Aloe Wellness Integrative Oncology Specialist, Dr. Aminah Keats, will be speaking at the Healthy Living Expo on Sunday October 12 @ 2:45pm

The topic is titled Cancer Prevention.

The location is Rockville Town Square.

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Celebrating Naturopathic Medicine Week

Dr Rhodo Nguyen

A Note From Dr. Rhodo Nguyen, Celebrating Naturopathic Medicine in Washington, DC 

Washington, DC is a very career oriented city.  Meeting anyone in DC starts off smoothly with a “Hi” and then inevitably, the following two questions will be asked:

1 – What do you do?

2 – Where do you live?

Compared to today, practicing naturopathic medicine in Washington, DC ten years ago was not the easiest road to take.  Easy answers to those questions would be a lawyer or executive director of a non-profit organization.

My answer to the first question was commonly met with, “A Naturo-WHAT? You mean, like a Homeopath?” Or worse, “A Voodoo doctor?”

In which case, I would take the opportunity to share my journey and passion in becoming a Naturopathic Doctor — Doctor of Natural Medicine. Words like “holistic” and “alternative medicine” had to be used in order for the idea to catch any interest. I would happily explain that, yes, I did go through a post-graduate medical school program, took board exams and became a licensed physician. The big difference was that the tools in my toolbox are non-toxic, safe, and effective. And oh yes, I focus on treating the underlying cause of a disease.

Inevitably, by the end of the conversation my newfound friend would want me to help optimize the health of their mother, next-door neighbor, and partner who snored incessantly.

Nowadays, with detox diets and kale chips becoming mainstream, the idea of naturopathic medicine is not so foreign.  Focusing on the intention of wellness and prevention is catching speed. In fact, on September 19, 2014, Congress passed a resolution recognizing the second week of October as Naturopathic Medicine Week.

Naturopathic Medicine Week is happening NOW! What does this mean?

This week is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the benefits of naturopathic medicine with those you know and love. Share your health success stories with your friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Tonight, the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians (DCANP) is taking the opportunity to celebrate Naturopathic Medicine Week with the DC community through a screening of More Than Honey at West End Cinema. The documentary highlights the connection between nature, the environment, our food chain, and importance of a small but impactful creature: the bee.

Because after all, last time I checked we are not on this planet alone. We are indeed a global, holistic community. Our one action sets a rippling effect in a pond of energy that is connected to others.

I send off to those who are reading a wish for great health to be realized through the power of Naturopathic Medicine!


Dr. Nguyen


This information is provided by Dr. Rhodo Nguyen and your friends here at Aloe Wellness.  Dr. Nguyen specializes in Naturopathic & Homeopathic Medicine as well as Craniosacral Therapy and Colon Hydrotherapy.  Have questions?  We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Nguyen today.


Discover how Naturopathic Medicine can revolutionize your health!

202.966.ALOE (2563)


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5 Tips for Getting More Energy

 Do you struggle to get out of bed in the morning? Do you yawn your way through the afternoon, struggling to stay awake at your desk only to be wide-awake at bedtime? Some simple lifestyle habits can have a tremendous impact on how you feel.  These five suggestions may help you understand how a few lifestyle changes will lead to more energy. 


GET ENOUGH SLEEP  – Between 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended for most people to operate best.  This helps with energy during the day and optimal health as well.  Sleep deprivation creates more hunger inducing hormone ghrelin and less appetite suppressing hormone leptin.  This causes an inability to process glucose, more insulin resistance, a spike in afternoon cortisol levels causing increased heart rate, blood pressure and blood glucose.
EAT BREAKFAST - Ideally one hour upon rising. Complex carbohydrate, some protein and some fat.  Breakfast fires up our metabolism for the whole day! Eating breakfast may reduce your hunger later in the day, which may make it easier to avoid overeating. When you skip breakfast, you may feel ravenous later and be tempted to reach for a quick fix — such as vending machine candy or doughnuts at the office. In addition, the prolonged fasting that occurs when you skip breakfast can increase your body’s insulin response, which in turn increases fat storage and weight gain. In fact, skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of obesity. A healthy breakfast refuels your body and replenishes the glycogen stores that supply your muscles with immediate energy.

GET THE RIGHT MIX OF NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS - Consume healthy carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats with every meal and snack. An example for breakfast might be, cooked whole grains (complex carb), topped with walnuts (protein and healthy fats). For your mid morning snack, an apple (complex carb) with peanut butter (protein and healthy fat), at lunch a salad (complex carb) topped with chicken (protein) topped with a good quality olive oil (healthy fat). Getting the idea? Less processed foods. Less chemicals, additives, preservative to tax you system.  Our bodies operate best on natural foods. Eat more balancing foods, less extreme foods. Raise the overall quality of the food going into your body.

KEEP YOURSELF FUELED, LITTLE MEALS GET BIG RESULTS - Don’t skip meals. Don’t go more than 3-4 hours between meals or snacks; blood sugar levels will drop too low and so will your energy. Eating large meals dumps huge amounts of fuel into your system all at once with the excess stored as fat whereas frequent smaller meals deliver manageable amounts of energy over the course of the day.

SLOW DOWN BREATHE & CHEW YOUR FOOD WELL  –  This creates ideal digestion and assimilation of food. It will also help get more oxygen into your blood for more energy. Prior to your meals or snacks, stop whatever you are doing and focus on your food prior to eating.  Then take 3-5 deep belly breaths just prior to eating that will slow you down and create optimal metabolic and digestive efficiency.


This information is provided by Cheryl Mirabella, M.A., NHC and your friends here at Aloe Wellness.  Cheryl is our resident nutritionist and lifestyle coach and is available every Monday from Noon to 5pm or by appointment during the rest of the week.  Have questions?  We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Cheryl, Dr. Keats, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Mehta today!

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Fight Cancer with Adequate Sleep

Did you know that obtaining 8 hours of sleep each night is essential for maintaining optimal health?


This has been evidenced particularly when sleep is achieved between 10pm and 6am.

With the hustle and bustle of modern day American life most of us only sleep an average of

6 hours or less each night. Research studies have shown that consistently staying up until

midnight doubles the risk of several cancer types, particularly breast, prostate and colon cancers.

Inadequate sleep also increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.


Why is sleep so important? One major reason is because of our super sleep hormone, melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland of the brain, particularly at night. It helps

to regulate our sleep-wake cycles and is inhibited by light and stimulated by darkness. As

melatonin levels begin to rise at night we begin to feel sleepy and once we fall asleep, the levels

increase significantly. However, in order to ensure optimal secretion it is important to sleep for

at least 8 hours each night and establish a dark place of rest. Lighting from lamps, street lights,

computers, and television can potentially reduce the amount of melatonin released from the



Research studies have shown the following benefits from melatonin:

• Inhibition of cancer development and growth

• Enhancement of immune function

• Antioxidant effects that protect our cells from DNA damage


The tips below can help to promote adequate hours of sleep as well as improved sleep quality:

• Stick with the same bedtime and wake time each day. This helps to regulate the sleep-wake


• Avoid napping during the day. This can cause difficulty with falling asleep at night.

• Restrict stimulants such as caffeine.

• Exercise regularly to promote good quality sleep, preferably in the morning or early afternoon.

• Ensure that your bedroom is free of noise and light and that a comfortable temperature is

maintained. Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom, i.e. laptops, cell phones, etc. Consider

wearing an eye mask to ensure darkness.

• Establish a soothing pre-sleep routine, i.e. read a book, take a warm bath, listen to soothing


• Eat protein at dinner in order to balance blood sugar levels. Poor or disturbed sleep can result

from a drop in blood sugar


Obtaining adequate sleep is an important addition to maintaining optimal health. Proper length and

quality of sleep are equally important. Be sure to implement the suggestions above and communicate

with your naturopathic physician for further guidance in improving sleep cycles.


This information is provided by Dr. Aminah Keats and your friends here at Aloe Wellness.  Dr. Keats is the newest member of our practice and specializes in cancer support.

Have questions?  We invite you to call 202.966.ALOE (2563) to schedule a complementary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Keats, Dr. Nguyen or Dr. Mehta today.


Discover how Naturopathic Medicine can revolutionize your health!

202.966.ALOE (2563)


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Naturopathic Medicine Week – October 6-10, 2014

JOIN US OCTOBER 9th at 7pm

Deadline Approaching –  
Click Here for Tickets!!!

Celebrate Naturopathic Medicine Week with this Special Movie Screening!

CLICK HERE for more information!

Event Info:

More than Honey

West End Cinema

2301 M St NW

Washington, DC 20037

October 9, 2014 at 7pm

Tickets can be purchased at

CLICK HERE for more information!

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End of Summer Update

Click Here for Special Aloe Wellness Updates!





Stress Less” Program Click here for more info!


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Don’t let the Flu get you – Ten things you can DO!

This year’s flu season has hit early and hard. Turn on the TV or radio, and it’s likely you’ll be scared from going outside.  Hiding can be an option if you work from home, but for the rest of us, the best we can do is to be ahead of the game by putting a little energy and focus into strengthening our immune system.

We’ve put together a list of ten easy things you can do (which might bring back old memories of your mother – and sometimes moms do know best).


  1. Drink your water: About 70% of the human body is made up of water. Maintaining hydration is key to ensure all the cells in your body can function properly. This includes those cells in the respiratory tract called cilia, which help to keep your lungs clear of mucus, bacteria, viruses, and dead cells that don’t belong there. A good rule of thumb for proper water intake is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water. Eg: 150 pound person would aim for 75 ounces of water per day.
  1. Wash your hands: A quick 20 second hand washing with regular soap and warm water is one of easiest things you can do to help prevent the spread of germs and from picking up viruses or bacteria from other people or contaminated surfaces. Cold germs can survive for up to 3 hours outside the nasal passage. Always wash hands before eating and after going to the bathroom. Avoid using anti-bacterial soaps as they might contribute to increased bacterial resistance.
  1. Eat well: Fruits and vegetables provide a host of nutrients and antioxidants, which are nature’s natural defense system. Remember the old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. There might be some truth in that. Also great during the winter season is eating vegetable and bean soups or stews, which are warming and provide nutrients, fiber and protein.
  1. Chew your foods: Chewing your foods well allows for proper digestion and absorption of your nutrients. Healthy gut function is important because roughly 75% of immune cells reside in the gut. Avoid eating foods that are rich and difficult to digest, or foods that you know you are intolerant to.
  1. Reduce the refined sugar: Now that the New Year is here and the holidays are behind us, it might be easier to stay away from the baked goods and sugary treats. Sugar suppresses the immune system, making it harder for you to fend off those pesky viruses and bacteria. Reducing sugar might also help to reduce those inches off your waistline. Sources of sugars or simple carbohydrates also include fruit juices and refined grains such as white flour. Keep in mind that alcohol is also a common hidden source of sugar and is a definite tax on the immune system.
  1. Move your body with regular exercise: Exercise enhances circulation, stimulates and strengthens the immune system and helps to lower stress. Exercise may also help you keep your new years resolution!
  1. Not-So-Basic Vitamins C and D: Both vitamins are essential in the prevention and treatment for colds or flus. Vitamin C can be taken at 1,000mg, 2-3 times daily. For vitamin D, it is essential to get a simple blood test to see what your levels are, considering the impact vitamin D has on bone health, neurological system and the immune system.
  1. Contrast showers:  This might be one for the willing. Contrast showers are a really great “nature cure” recommendation using the basic therapeutics of hot and cold hydrotherapy. Shower as you normally would. At the end of your shower, turn the water to cool and briefly (15-30 seconds) expose trunk and limbs to the cold stream. This works to tighten the blood vessels, which pumps the blood back to your heart and lungs for recirculation. It can be very invigorating and is excellent for your immune system.
  1. Rest: Yes, this means it is ok to power down and sleep (doctor’s orders). Getting enough sleep (7-8 hours each night) allows the body to take advantage of the rest and relaxation hormones that help to replenish and rejuvenate the body. Lack of sleep has been associated with a suppressed immune system and an inability to mount a proper response to bacteria or viruses, as well as an impaired ability to heal or recover from wounds or illness. Also, ignoring the early warning signs of illness and continuing to work until you “drop” allows the pathogen to multiply.
  2. Reduce Stress: Most people deal with a host of stressors that often occur several times a day, such as getting stuck in traffic, meeting difficult deadlines at work, getting the kids to school on time or arguing with family members. Constant exposure to stress hormones suppresses immune function. A few ways to regularly help reduce the stress response are: deep belly breathing, meditation, exercise, yoga and engaging in fun, social activities. Don’t forget to laugh!

In the unfortunate event that you do fall ill to the flu, keep in mind that a visit to the doctors at Aloe Wellness will help you feel better sooner.

- Dr. Nguyen and Dr. Mehta

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Staying Well During the Dog Days of Summer

Summer time is easy…or is it?  Yes, many of us are on vacation, and visions of long days sipping lemonade on the porch while the kids chase fireflies in the yard sound nice. However, summer can be a time of health challenges as well.

Travel stress, dehydration, sunburn, insect bites, allergies, and insomnia all increase during the hot weather months.  As the temperature and humidity climb, our desire to exercise often plummets and spending time outside in the heat can be draining.  Who really wants to go for a run when the air feels like a wet sponge and it’s hard to breathe?

When you add high humidity to high air temperatures, heat indices climb, making it feel much hotter than it really is, since perspiration doesn’t evaporate as readily in humid, hot air.   Hydration is key.  That means drinking water, and plenty of it.  A good rule of thumb is to divide the body weight in half and that is how many ounces the typical person should drink daily (obviously, if it is hot outside and you are sweating a lot, you will need more).  So if a 150 pound woman wants to calculate her water intake needs, she would require 75 ounces of water per day at a minimum (that’s about 9 cups, or a little more than half a gallon of water per day).  Keep in mind more water is needed if you are more active, or spend more time outdoors where you sweat more. Excess sugar intake and coffee consumption also further contribute to dehydration.

Adding lemon, cucumber, mint, or other cooling flavors to water makes it more enjoyable to drink.  We typically recommend drinking cool water, not iced (unless it is so hot outside that ice is too good to pass up).

If you hydrate well, the rest of the summer doldrums are more manageable.  Sunburn is a particular worry during the summer, and nothing can ruin a vacation faster than a nasty burn from too much UV exposure.  Sunburn is a sign of inflammation.  Eating foods that have natural anti-inflammatories will help prevent sunburn.  These foods contain carotenoids such as lycopene (tomatoes, watermelons) and beta-carotene (carrots) and consuming them during high sun-exposure months is effective and protecting the skin from UV damage.  Obviously, staying out of the sun or using a good SPF is crucial, but fruits and veggies are a natural and internal aid to protect us from sun damage.

Summer should be a fun season, with plenty of leisure time for most people.  Making sure you drink plenty of water and protecting yourself from sun damage are important strategies to enjoying the summer and staying well.

–John Moore, LAc

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