Irina Logman encourages optimism.
Growing up with a mother who worked as a family doctor, she spent her childhood (in what was then a part of Russia) observing the act of healing in action. That inspired her to be pre-med in college, until she began thinking about getting to the root causes of disease. She started to feel that, as much as she respected Western medicine, an entire portion of a person’s well-being was getting overlooked.
Ultimately, she received a B.S. in Health Sciences from Hunter College and a master’s degree from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, becoming deeply enamored with traditional Chinese medicine and the power of acupuncture and herbs. That led her to launch her integrative New York City clinic, Advanced Holistic Center, which balances the benefits of Western medical treatment with the softer, gentler approach of Eastern modalities. Today, she has four locations throughout Manhattan.
Here, Logman talks about how staying positive and embracing change can actually benefit your health:
Live The Process: What did growing up around medicine teach you about what it means to heal?
Irina Logman: I’m from a small city in Ukraine, where my mother was a family doctor in the city clinic. I remember hanging out in her office and seeing all her patients waiting to get treated by her. They always left with a look of relief on their faces, and I always noticed how much respect and gratitude they had for her.
Outside of clinic hours, my mom was assigned the job of house calls for patients who were too sick to come to the office. There was no fancy technology to rely on, so all she had was a stethoscope, thermometer and blood pressure cuff. I can remember her checking the pulses of her patients and using tongue depressors. You don’t really see doctors doing that these days, but guess what? Chinese medicine doctors do it, and that’s what I do today!
Looking at and listening to the patient is the basis of traditional Chinese medicine (or TCM) diagnoses. That is what I grew up with: When my siblings or I were sick, we stayed home and were under strict quarantine. No germs were allowed to be passed to family members or schoolmates. I, myself, ask my staff to stay home and rest if they’re sick, because that is what I’m accustomed to.
There was a downside of being the daughter of a physician, though. I had access to the best and latest pharmaceuticals, but no one talked about the side effects back then because no one knew what they were. At about 10 years of age, I got sick with pneumonia, and was treated with an antibiotic that was commonly used. It did, in fact, help to treat my pneumonia, but, a few weeks later, my ears started ringing and my hearing was off. It turned out that the antibiotic had ototoxicity and permanently damaged my auditory nerve. Of course, I was happy to not die from pneumonia, but the severity of the side effects of the medication got me thinking about alternatives.
LTP: You were pre-med before transitioning into Eastern medicine. What inspired that shift?
IL: I had an amazing microbiology professor at Hunter College, who was tough but fair. During one of our lectures, she said that most diseases are self-limiting and that, if you leave the disease alone, the body will fight it. At the time, my dad was battling cancer, and his life was extended not by chemo, but by an experimental immunotherapy drug called Interleukin. It was a very different concept from what we are used to hearing from the drug industry. That got me thinking even more!
My son was born and would get sick often. Every time I took him to the doctor, there was nothing specific they could offer. I went from one doctor to another—none offering anything different. Most of the available medications were designed to mask the symptoms and might actually prolong the disease by pushing it in deeper.
From a runny nose to sinus and ear infections, it broke my heart to see my baby stuffed and congested. That all changed when I decided to study Chinese medicine. There were plenty of options within Chinese Medicine that were able to help: cooling the body when it’s too hot, warming when it’s too cold and even transforming dampness or phlegm, while supporting the body’s energy or protecting its yin or yang. It seemed to me like the future. Later on, it became very clear that Chinese medicine is not just the future; it is has been practiced by the Chinese for a very long time. Cultivating energy or qi gong is the most basic form of exercise. The way to prevent disease is by eating foods that balance your body and drinking herbs to boost your qi.
I tried different modalities. Acupuncture seemed to be the most effective one; as I could feel a huge difference after every treatment. Something happened to my nervous system every time I got off the treatment table. I felt like I was floating and nothing bothered me—even my screaming kids at home.
LTP: How has Advanced Holistic Center grown and evolved from its inception?
IL: By the time I graduated from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, I realized I wanted to give patients the best of both worlds as far as Eastern and Western Medicine. My sister was an established breast surgeon by then and was conservative with pain relief prescriptions. My OBGYN was also conservative, but would suggest ginger tea for nausea, which I thought was a great idea—and mixed Eastern medicine with Western.
In Chinese medicine, emotional imbalance is the cause for internal disease. Fear hits the kidney, and the kidneys govern the bones responsible for development and aging. Anger effects the liver and the liver governs tendons; worry effects the spleen and the spleen governs muscles and is responsible for the transformation and transportation of food and fluids. (It should be noted that this is not a Western ideology of the spleen.)
So, I asked myself, “How do we balance emotions?” It is, of course, very hard to control one’s emotions and suppressing them isn’t good either—then I discovered Kabbalah. Kabbalah is really the deepest level of healing, which addresses your consciousness. Changing your belief system is what will get to the deepest level. It is a known fact that people who are optimistic get healthier faster.
I started a practice, which kept getting busier and busier, until I was not able to handle the volume of patients by myself, so I brought assistants on board. I hired acupuncture students to help me around the office. They proved to be amazing people with passion for the medicine, which led me to trust them with my patients. As they began to graduate, we started to amass a solid team of highly skilled practitioners.
Each person practicing with me has the highest qualifications and provides the highest standard of care. We are each able to use our own unique methods for patients. Every patient gets a program designed specifically for them. We use all modalities that TCM offers and more. We teach a lifestyle; we don’t treat the symptoms of a disease. We care for patients and their families, and we are accessible before and after treatments. It should also be noted that we do support Western practitioners when more aggressive treatments are necessary, as we are definitely team players.
LTP: Aside from acupuncture, do you have other products or rituals that keep you feeling balanced and healthy?
IL: Yes, I do! I get up an hour early and drink celery juice with lemon every morning—well, almost every morning. I meditate daily, and I read or listen to the “Energy of the Week.” I exercise often and don’t get injured as much. I am Jewish, but am not religious, though I do follow the spirituality of Kabbalah teaching. I cannot say enough about how it helped me to transform my life and the lives of my patients.
I love DoTerra oils—I use them on myself and my patients. I also don’t wear synthetic clothing, for the most part. I like cotton, silk etc. Your body is not able to breathe otherwise.
I love jewelry that has meaning. Everything has energy and good-quality objects have higher vibrations; poor-quality objects have lower frequencies. I keep crystals in my lab coat to help with enhancing the treatments and protecting my energies. They were a gift from my fabulous assistant, Angela.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
IL: Being in balance. When times are good or bad, or I am healthy or sick, being able to embrace the change, learn lessons and grow strong is essential. Being able to step outside of yourself and your needs to help others is what it’s all about. Being able to give and share happiness is a choice.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
IL: Life is a process—the process of transformation. You must commit and just go for it. Embrace the change, even if it involves pain. The sky is the limit. Dream big. It’s your life. You can make it anything you want. We all have our own paths. Go for it!