I am Dr. Chaitanya Puri. I am a trained family medicine physician, medical massage therapist, and constant seeker of all things health and wellness. Let me explain. My passion for changing the landscape of how we look at and treat our own health changed when my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at the young age of 38. Thought to be a 'disease of aging', Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive, neurodegenerative disease, traditionally managed by pharmaceuticals with minimal surgical options, without a cure.
Parkinson's disease turned up at our door unexpectedly and was a most unwelcome visitor that decided to stay. Since then, I have made it my mission to search for and implement optimal health practices for me and my family by combing through research and clinical anectodes and now, I bring that to you.
A little background on First Hands Health as a business...
A hallmark of Parkinson's disease is generalized muscle stiffness which resulted in a significant amount of pain for my husband which was not relieved with medications. Using my background in osteopathic medicine where I received specialized education in soft and hard tissue manipulation, I was able to provide him muscular relief with regular application of soft tissue techniques, alongside his medications.
I decided to get professionally trained in massage therapy and am a professional member of the American Massage Therapy Association. My treatment modalities include Swedish massage, deep tissue, myofascial techniques, and craniosacral to target pain due to pregnancy/postpartum, chronic medical conditions, and for stress reduction.
I launched First Hands Health, LLC in 2018 to focus on how the power of touch can improve the health of patients and also caregivers of all kinds, who give so much and often neglect their own wellness, time and time again. I also believe that knowledge is power and spends much of my time educating myself on lifestyle changes and researching diagnoses specific to my patients.
Then what happened...
A global pandemic hit the world in early 2020. I stopped practicing therapeutic massage as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of this viral respiratory illness. Being in a closed room, even with masks, with prolonged physical contact with patients and clients did not seem to be a prudent choice for me and my family. My clientele was often elderly with chronic illnesses, many of which put them in a high-risk category to developing aggressive symptoms of COVID-19.
While that part of my practice was shuttered, I could still not avoid continuing my own education, researching and learning more about all sorts of diagnoses, and also finding a path to optimal health for me and my family so that we can avoid becoming ill with COVID-19 ourselves.
I pivoted to a commitment to share that research, knowledge, and any actionable items with anyone who wants to learn. So, my goal with FHH is to educate and empower anyone out there to live a more healthful life.
I live in northern VA with my dad-joke-cracking husband and three objectively smart and wildly funny children. When not working, I can be found around town running random errands for said children, engrossed in a book or health documentary, or laughing with a friend at a witty (likely sarcastic) joke.
Brown University, Family Medicine Residency, Chief Resident, 2004
New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathy, 2000
Boston University, a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, 1997
Georgetown University, Attending Family Medicine Physician, 2007-2008
Arlington Free Clinic, Attending Physician, 2008-2012