Hi, I'm Chaitanya Puri. In a nutshell, I'm a former family medicine physician, turned medical massage therapist, turned seeker of all things lifestyle medicine. You see, my passion for changing the landscape of our we look at and treat our own health changed when my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at the age of 38. Thought to be a 'disease of aging', Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive, neurodegenerative disease, traditionally managed by pharmaceuticals, without a cure.
This thing that entered our world was a most unwelcome visitor that decided to stay. I made it my mission to find optimal health for me and my family by researching all things related to chronic illness and optimal health.
A little background on First Hands Health...
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 at the American Massage & Bodywork Institute in Vienna, VA (just outside of Washington, DC) and is 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 also have a special interest in serving the pediatric population with conditions such as, but not limited to, ADHD, anxiety, alopecia, depression, and acute injuries. For children, living with chronic illness can take a toll on their mental health and emotional state and many find that adding therapeutic massage into their treatment plans offers a tremendous amount of benefit.
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 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