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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

The Leading Edge of Total Recovery

Feb 29, 2016 10:48PM

A Spotlight on Dr. Gary Kaplan

by Robin Fillmore
Long established in the greater Washington, D.C. region as a doctor, researcher and best-selling author in the world of integrative health, Dr. Gary Kaplan has helped countless patients, both local and from across the country, find new hope when confronted with chronic pain and illness. Since opening his McLean-based clinic in 1985, the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine has been on the leading-edge of research and treatment for a wide range of conditions. The team at the center uses an integrative approach to correctly diagnose and treat patients successfully, many of whom have seen dozens of other doctors and specialists to no avail, before coming to the Kaplan Center.

This integrative approach includes, in addition to the medical doctors who specialize in women’s health and family medicine, physical therapists and acupuncturists, a nutritionist and therapist, as well as a meditation teacher. According to Kaplan, this comprehensive model of care is the key to delivering wellness to their patients. He notes, “It really takes a village. It is unusual that a single practitioner could manage the myriad issues that are going on with these patients, who really need a team that is in close communication and understands and appreciates the strengths of each practitioner. Being able to do that has been very helpful to our patients.” In addition to diagnosing and treating patients, the center serves as a hub for educating the community with classes and workshops on a range of health and wellness-related topics.

Kaplan’s interest in integrative medicine and the treatment of pain formed when just out of his residency at Georgetown in family medicine. He was seeing many of patients with chronic pain and treating them with more conventional practices. At that time, he also became active in the integrative medicine community and was asked to join the American Board of Holistic Medicine. Kaplan has gone on to serve as the president of the Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation and on the board of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture. He remains involved at Georgetown Medical School in the role of Clinical Associate Professor and has helped to create the integrative medical programs for the school.

Kaplan notes that ”chronic pain, chronic fatigue, migraines, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety and PTSD —these are all symptoms of something that has happened in the brain that has caused it to move into an inflammatory state. We are also seeing it in people who have multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. These are all manifestations of inflammation of the central nervous system.” By uncovering the underlying causes that lead to these devastating diseases through this neuroinflammatory model, targeting effective treatment is possible.

Recognized for his Rodale-published best-seller Total Recovery: A Revolutionary New Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Pain and Depression, Kaplan is known internationally for his research on chronic pain and illness, depression and anxiety disorders. The breakthrough, which is detailed in his book, is that these conditions are actually symptoms of underlying inflammation of the nervous system.

The book and the research behind it have been inspiring physicians across the country to incorporate this model of healing, as well as providing a fresh approach to integrative medicine. As Kaplan lectures worldwide, he has the opportunity to present the research along with the understanding that an integrative approach to care provides the best hope for the patient’s health. While there are many tools that an integrative physician may have, including acupuncture, herbs and homeopathy, simply trying a treatment until it fails is not effective nor helpful for the patient.

“For me, it has always been about evidence-based medicine and bringing the best of what we can do in conventional medicine—and marrying that with an integrative approach—that makes the medicine that much more powerful – that much more effective,” notes Kaplan. Initially trained as an osteopath, he saw the value of a wide range of treatment options and sought training in acupuncture. Additionally, Kaplan is board-certified in family medicine and pain medicine.

Location: 6829 Elm St., Ste. 300, McLean. For more information about Dr. Gary Kaplan and the work at the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, visit




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