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Natural Awakenings Chicago

Raby Institute Debuts: Integrative Aesthetics Program for Customized Skin Rejuvenation Treatments

Jul 26, 2016 07:15PM ● By Carrie Jackson

As one of the leading centers for integrative medicine in the Chicago area, the Raby Institute uses the best available medical treatments and procedures to provide effective health, wellness and treatment plans. The Institute’s newly launched Integrative Aesthetics Program helps support that mission by providing non-invasive laser treatments that yield dramatic results in as little as 15 minutes. “The lasers are safe and effective, and fit with our medical model, which encourages the body to heal itself,” says Raby administrator John Ruhl.

            The Institute is one of the first in the Midwest to offer these lasers. The PicoSure laser is effective for tattoo removal and skin rejuvenation such as minimizing brown spots, sun damage, fine lines and acne scars. It works by creating a small tear, or trauma, in the area. “This encourages the body to heal itself by producing more collagen and elastin,” says Ruhl. The SculpSure laser, used for body contouring, destroys fat cells around what the patient identifies as problem areas, commonly the stomach or sides. The Mona Lisa Touch laser treats pain and dryness associated with vaginal atrophy. “All support the body’s natural healing process instead of adding foreign substances, and can contribute to a patient’s overall improved quality of life,” says Ruhl.

            Dr. Dominic Patawaran, one of the integrative medical providers at the Raby Institute, is impressed by the efficacy and speed of the lasers. A typical treatment lasts 15 minutes and can be done on a patient’s lunch break. “We’re a fast-paced culture, and people don’t have time to take a week off of work. There is minimal pain and almost no side effects, so patients can immediately get back to their normal schedule.”

            The Raby Institute has a strong focus on strengthening the body’s natural detoxification process; Patawaran and the other doctors work with patients to support detoxification before and after the laser procedures. “We might suggest a patient take milk thistle or curcumin to support the liver during treatment or use massage to flush out the lymphatic system and encourage waste removal, since the lasers essentially are damaging unwanted tissue,” says Patawaran.

            Dr. Katherine Thurer has been an integrative gynecologist at the Raby Institute since 2010 and says it’s remarkable to be able to offer something so effective to her patients. She’s seen transformative results with the Mona Lisa Touch. “The hardest part of being a doctor is telling a patient that you can’t help them. Before the Mona Lisa Touch, patients who had symptoms of vaginal atrophy such as dryness and pain during intercourse and urination had to either use a hormone or a temporary topical lubricant. The laser works quickly, and with no side effects,” says Thurer. A typical candidate has symptoms of vaginal dryness or pain with intercourse. It’s also ideal for women with a history of breast cancer or that carry the gene for breast cancer, or women that don’t want to use hormones. A usual treatment involves three sessions lasting about five minutes each.

            Besides the physical relief, Thurer says that her patients report more joy and satisfaction in their relationships after treatments. “Many patients stopped having intercourse because it was so painful. Now they are able to experience all the things they want to do again, which makes them happier and more fulfilled overall,” she says.

            Patawaran stresses that these treatments are best used in conjunction with a balanced diet, regular exercise and other healthy lifestyle practices. “The new lasers are another way for us to help patients meet their wellness goals. We take a look at their reasons for wanting treatment and make sure they’re not just looking for a quick fix. Getting a procedure done can help align a patient’s physical wellness and aesthetic wellness, and can also help boost their confidence,” he says.

            “We encourage preventive medicine as much as possible and work with our patients to modify their diet and exercise habits to support their optimal health. These lasers are complements to that; it’s for people who are already healthy, but want a little aesthetic boost to help meet their goals,” says Ruhl.

The Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern is located at 500 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 2100, in Chicago. For more information, call 312-276-1212 or visit See ad on page 25 and in the Community Resource Guide.


Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and staff writer for Natural Awakenings Chicago magazine. Connect with her at