Aug 12, 2023

Malathi Acharya

Dr. Malathi Acharya is the Founder, Chief Medical Officer of Ayur Integrative Medicine – helping people achieve optimal health by addressing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of well-being. She is a skilled clinician with over 25 years of medical experience, utilizing a combination of Western and complementary treatments to create personalized plans for her clients. ┬áHer expertise in combining diverse treatment options ensures not only enhanced control over your health but also a greater sense of ease throughout your journey.

Episode Highlights

  • (0:00:00) – Nitin Bajaj welcomes Dr. Malathi Acharya to the show
  • (0:00:16) – Malathi is an integrative medicine expert and entrepreneur
  • (0:01:46) – Ayur combines traditional medicine with modern science in a very evidence informed way
  • (0:03:48) – Malathi started practicing integrative medicine recently
  • (0:08:29) – As an entrepreneur, what is your biggest challenge that stands out
  • (0:11:57) – On the flip side of challenges come opportunities. What’s that one most exciting opportunity you’re targeting
  • (0:13:44) – One moment where things did not work out as planned became a lesson
  • (0:16:10) – Focus on the process and not on the result, your husband says
  • (0:18:53) – Travel is my way of reconnecting with nature, I think
  • (0:20:44) – The foundations of our health lie in our daily choices, Malathi says

Show Transcript

Transcript - Full Episode

Nitin Bajaj: (0:00:00) – Hey, everyone, welcome to the industry show. I’m your host, Nitin Bajaj. And joining me today is Dr. Malathi Acharya. Malathi, welcome on the show.


Malathi Acharya: (0:00:10) – Thank you, Nitin, I’m excited to be here with you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:00:15) – Great to have you here. Let’s start with who is Malathi?


Malathi Acharya: (0:00:20) – I’m an integrative medicine expert. I help people with chronic illnesses take back control of their lives and give them back the hope that they can lead a full and satisfying life. And I also help healthy people with their health goals, achieve their health goals and age with vitality. I am a daughter. I’m a sister, wife, a mother to two wonderful young boys, young men, actually, and a very loyal friend. I’m a physician entrepreneur who had the courage to follow her heart even when it took me down paths less trodden. That’s me. That’s Malathi.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:01:17) – Thanks, Malathi, for sharing. You know, as I said, I love the aging with vitality, but what I love more is the fact that doing what you do, loving it so much, and given your passion, you had the courage to leave a comfortable job that pays really well, to dive into the crazy world of entrepreneurship just because you can serve more people. So not to steal your thunder, but I would love to learn more about Ayur, what the mission and vision is, and more importantly, why do this? And why do this now?


Malathi Acharya: (0:02:00) – So Ayur’s goal is twofold. One, empower healthy people with the knowledge and the skill sets that they need so that they can stay healthy and age gracefully. And that’s important also. It’s also people with chronic illnesses, often they feel a loss of control. Everything is taken away from them. Now it’s all a question of doctors and medicines, and I have to follow someone. But an integrative approach helps them feel that control take back. There are things that I can do for myself that will make me feel better. Yes, the doctors and the medicines are very important, don’t get me wrong, but there are things that I can do. So the integrative medicine is a multidimensional approach. It combines traditional medicine with modern science in a very evidence informed way, in a very systematic, tried out way. It’s important for us to know what’s harmful and what doesn’t work. So the evidence informed way comes in there. And the mission of Ayur is to bring that expertise to the people in the Silicon Valley. So that’s Ayur.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:03:23) – Thank you. That’s really, again, you know, thank you for doing what you’re doing, because you could have continued doing and practicing what we call traditional medicine here, the mainstream. But you’re choosing the path less traveled, because you know that’s the truth. That’s what we as a community need, especially in today’s age and time. Tell us about. I know you started on this journey recently. Tell us about the impact you’ve been able to accomplish so far and what you have seen, what you have learned in this journey.


Malathi Acharya: (0:04:04) – So you asked me, I want to elaborate a little more of why now? About three years ago, my older boy was in college. My younger son was getting ready to go to college. And as a mom, a working mom for the first time, I found that I had a little more time to focus on my professional life. And moms, no matter what profession or what work they do, they would understand this situation where so far, the last two decades of the life was focused on family and children. And now, wow, I have a little more time. And what I found was that I was not finding any meaning or purpose in the way I was practicing medicine. So I started looking for alternate options, and I was exploring all options I had. And I came across this fellowship at integrative medicine fellowship at Andrewvale center for Integrative Medicine in Arizona. And one of the things that always at the back of my mind was I had a patient panel of younger people. And often, I mean, I have heard this so many times. Initially, I would be flummoxed by this, but I kept hearing, is there anything we can do, doctor naturally, or change our diet, that will help us? Yes. In the traditional medicine, we do focus a lot on diet. We know the good things of changing the diet. But I know that people would ask me for, I have acid reflex. Can I change anything in my diet specifically that will help? And I wasn’t able to give them that answer. So that was at the back of my mind. And I joined this fellowship, and the philosophy of medicine resonated deeply within me. So, integrative medicine focuses on not just the physical, but the mental, emotional and spiritual well being. And it brings together, it combines not only traditional, the western medicine, but other alternate systems. Why not? I mean, why should we not use things in other systems that have worked for people? So I reached a point where I wanted to do this. I didn’t need to do this, but I wanted to do this, and I wanted to practice the way that the medicine that I thought was the best on my own terms. And that’s why I did it. Now, also, it’s a legacy, right? All of us want to leave a legacy and to other physician moms mid career when they reach a crisis and they are stuck. If you want to make a change, do it because you’re worth it. Moms in other professions, you are worth it. So at any time you feel that you need to make a change, go for it. And a legacy to my children and future generations. If Amma can do this after she turned 50, he can do this. Or Malathi auntie did it. The reasons are very simple, but I wanted to do what I want to do. I launched my practice in March. I opened doors in May. Right now I’m a solopreneur. What would really to get this to a point in the next six months where I am able to offer my expertise to help people thrive in this stressful environment or to help someone struggling with a chronic illness, it would give me immense satisfaction.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:07:51) – Malathi, again, kudos and congratulations on taking this huge step and being a role model for several others that might be out there thinking, if this is for me, if I’m too young or too old or have so many questions, right. We are always thinking and in many cases overthinking if we should do something that we truly believe in and thanks for showing the way. Just jump in and things will sort themselves out. We’ll have to work, we’ll have to be focused, but that’s what we do. So as you’re on this journey, I’m curious to hear amongst the many challenges, what is that one big challenge that really stands out?


Malathi Acharya: (0:08:42) – For years, I honed my skills as a knowledge and skills as a physician, right? Got it down. Then in the last three years, when I decided to take this turn, I armed myself with more knowledge and skills. I did the fellowship. I trained in medical acupuncture. I certified in hypnosis. I got my wife. So I was like, I’m all set, right? But I was wrong. Now I had to learn this whole new skill set as an entrepreneur to be successful. So that is the biggest challenge I’m facing. There is tremendous learning that I’m going through. There’s a lot of pain. Growth is painful, so I’m feeling the pain. But I’m confident. I’m confident that I will be able to overcome this challenge.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:09:33) – That is an amazing spirit to have.


Malathi Acharya: (0:09:37) – Success. The success that I have felt, that I have already experienced is intangible. And I’ll tell you, I would wake up in my past life. I would wake up in the morning, on a Monday morning, and all I would hope for is a Friday evening, Tuesday morning. Oh, my God, when is Friday evening going to come? That’s how I lived my life. From Monday morning, I lived my life hoping for a Friday evening. And come Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday goes away in a jiffy. Right. And then it’s the same thing. Now I wake up every morning happy. A lot of challenges. I mean, there are things that I’m doing. Physicians are not used to asking people for help. There’s a lot of challenges. There are lots of things to do. There’s a lot of learning. I have to hustle. I have to ask. But I wake up every morning happy and feeling in control of my life. So that is a success that can’t be measured objectively, but I experience it every day.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:10:48) – That is so beautiful and so really well put. And one has to experience this. And I was just talking to another Entrepreneur earlier today, and we talked about entrepreneurship is one of those roller coasters that you have to ride it at least once to even know if this is for you, because people can talk about it, but you have to experience it yourself. And I can resonate with that happiness of having to move or having moved from those Monday morning blues and feeling so desperate and get to the Friday evening. But, yeah, as an entrepreneur, you conquer every day. It’s yours.


Malathi Acharya: (0:11:32) – Every day is an achievement, and every day is an achievement. I wake up with happiness and smile that, okay, this is what I’m going to do, and I’m going to do the best I can. What I didn’t realize was my life was going right. My 49th year, week one, gone. Looking for a Friday. Just dunk. So that’s the greatest realization I’ve had.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:11:56) – That’s really amazing. Now, on the flip side of challenges come opportunities. What’s that one most exciting opportunity you’re targeting?


Malathi Acharya: (0:12:10) – It is actually growing my practice. It’s actually taking my practice to actually helping people, making a difference. And it’s a cycle that replets itself.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:12:30) – Yes.


Malathi Acharya: (0:12:31) – Right now I’m in the process of marketing, learning how to getting the word out. That’s my agenda right now. But I look forward to, again, the relationship between a physician and a patient, or rather a physician and a client. I’m moving away from calling them patients anymore. It’s a label that nobody wants to have.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:13:00) – I agree.


Malathi Acharya: (0:13:02) – It’s a very renewing relationship.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:13:06) – Yes.


Malathi Acharya: (0:13:08) – So that is what I look forward to. I’m not there yet, but.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:13:14) – Yeah, and I know you will be there because you have the right intent, you have the right approach, and you’re looking at it in a holistic way, which is really what we need, because medicine in and of itself cannot heal you, because we know the downsides.


Malathi Acharya: (0:13:35) – The power of healing is actually within us. There’s a lot of power of healing that is within us that we have to fight.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:13:42) – Yes, I agree. Now, I would love for you to take us back in time and talk about two moments, one where things did not work out as you had planned and it was a failure and became a lesson, and another one which exceeded your expectations and became a success beyond your imagination.


Malathi Acharya: (0:14:09) – Um, so there was a point in, in my, in my career, I’m a person who likes to do different things. So as a doctor, seeing patients is one aspect, but there are so many other things that we can do. And for me to keep my brain and mind engaged, I need a variety. And in the career, in the place where I was at that point, I was trying my best to find those opportunities, and the doors were not opening for me, and I was really trying my best to change myself, to fit in through those doorways. I was trying a lot changing myself. It took me a while to step back and say, hey, what is going on here? Maybe I need to change and I need to do something different. Rather than trying to fit into the mold, I need to come out of the mold and do something different. It took me a while, but that time was not a very pleasant. It’s not one of the most pleasant times when you’re really in dissonance with yourself and want something. So on looking back, I wish I had realized it sooner, but however, I also look upon that period as a gift, because it happened for a reason. And if I did not have that situation, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now. So wasn’t a failure, exactly, but it was a situation that was not working to the way I wanted. Yes, success. I mean, I am amazed at the metamorphosis that I’m undergoing.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:16:17) – Yes.


Malathi Acharya: (0:16:20) – I. It is. It’s. I mean, employed, you know, a job is different. You have a steady income, steady paycheck, everything is steady, you don’t need to think about. But being an entrepreneur is very different. And I’m amazed at the way I have changed. And I know there’s a lot of ways to go, but I deeply understand what my husband has always said for years, that it is focus on the process and not on the result. So I am proud of that. I think all of us have to be proud of what we do and what we have achieved. Yes, achieved in our own eyes. There are external parameters that you have to be accountable. You have to. You have to take stock. Okay, what is how? But there’s also in our eyes, these little achievements. I have a long way to go, but I’m really happy where I am.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:17:27) – Again, very beautifully put. And words of wisdom there. Focus on the process, and it’s one step a day. You take a step, you reflect, and we keep improving. 1%, 2%. And before the end of the year, we’ve grown significantly.


Malathi Acharya: (0:17:50) – I celebrate little successes when I send an email out to someone I never knew, asking about things, asking them for help.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:18:01) – Yes.


Malathi Acharya: (0:18:01) – Oh, my gosh. I mean, I celebrate that because I would have never done it last year.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:18:06) – It’s very transformational. Right? That mindset. It’s a paradigm shift, as you said, going from the comfort of, hey, this is my job. I’m only going to focus on this box to going and having to figure out every single detail. And I joke, as entrepreneurs, we go from sweeping the floor to making everything.


Malathi Acharya: (0:18:27) – Yeah. Every little thing, right? Yes. Every little attention to detail, but control. It’s the control, right?


Nitin Bajaj: (0:18:39) – Yes.


Malathi Acharya: (0:18:39) – That’s why I also said I use the same words when I talked about people with chronic illness, loss of control.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:18:49) – Yes. So true. I’d love to hear from you. What do you do for fun? What’s your reset? What’s your break? That’s something that takes you away from this and create your own space.


Malathi Acharya: (0:19:06) – I love to travel, and we traveled a lot as a family. And I initially thought, oh, it was just a thrill of seeing new places. What I realized in Covid, when travel was really in a bit, travel was pretty shut down for a year and a half or two, was that going to new places, looking at the sights, the nature, the sights, meeting people, breathing the air, hearing the sights and sounds, they gave me a deep sense of spiritual satisfaction. I think it was my way of reconnecting to nature, and I didn’t realize it until I couldn’t travel. And I missed it. And it was like, it’s just not going. But that was my connection to nature. So I now recognize travel as my way of reconnecting with nature. So that’s really something that always resets me. It’s looking forward to seeing new places coming back. And those memories, those sights and memories of those places keep me peaceful and happy for a long time. So that’s the power of travel for me. That’s what travel does. I also love reading books, and I have a favorite chair in my sunroom where I sit next to my plants, which have been my babies. My sons left to college and reading a book, so I love reading.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:20:42) – That’s beautiful. Malathi, I want to take this moment and invite you to share your one line life lessons with us.


Malathi Acharya: (0:20:52) – The foundations of our health lie in our daily choices. It’s as simple as that. Choices of what are we going to eat? When are we going to eat? When am I going to eat my meals? When am I going to sleep? How many hours of sleep am I going to get? Am I going to exercise today? Am I going to indulge in mindfulness activities? So the foundations of our health are in those little choices that we make daily, and the choices can make us or break us. So choose wisely. Refined and processed foods are the greatest threat to our health. So avoid them like a plague. What else? Exercise is not an excuse for unhealthy food options. I often hear people, oh, I exercise. I ran for an hour today. I jogged 5 miles so I can eat this pastry. It’s not because that pastry has tons of refined sugar that increases your insulin level, makes the insulin resistance worse and sets you in a path of inflammation. So exercise is not an excuse for unhealthy food choices. Being systematic beats being a genius. Whether being a good physician, whether being a successful entrepreneur, it’s not some really remote research that somebody’s doing in some lab that’s going to make me successful as an entrepreneur. It’s just being systematic and doing those simple things. So everywhere being systematic beats being a genius. What else? This one, I’m going to paraphrase sir William Oslor. So William Osler is considered the father of modern medicine. And I’m going to paraphrase the saying a little. He said a good physician treats the disease, but an integrative physician treats the person who has the disease.


Nitin Bajaj: (0:23:11) – Love it. That’s awesome. Malathi, thank you for sharing these one line life lessons. And also thank you for sharing your journey and your story with such vulnerability for being so transparent as you’re going through these transformations challenges, but also keeping your eyes on the North Star and getting up every day excited, conquering not just the day, but the challenges around you. Again, thank you for doing what you do is a good challenge to have and it’s good to have someone like you fighting the real fight and helping the community and this generation make healthier choices. Thanks a lot.


Malathi Acharya: (0:24:02) – Thank you. Nitin, I really enjoyed our conversation. Thank you.


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