Ever heard of a skin shrink? Or a holistic dentist? Such doctors are part of a creative breed of specialists striving to fill holes in our fragmented healthcare system. Their focus is on the underlying causes—physical and emotional—of health problems; instead of surgery or a drug, they might prescribe hypnosis or yoga. Meet four innovative practitioners and learn what their fields can do for you.
"When it comes to back pain, we believe medication is mightier than the scalpel." —Gregory E. Lutz, MD, New York City
Chronic back pain sufferers tend to choose one of two options: alternative medicine (like acupuncture) or surgery, says Lutz. "Physiatrists bridge the gap between those two extremes." Their goal is to help patients heal with minimally invasive care, using physical therapy, drugs, and biological treatments that stimulate the body's immune system to repair degenerating discs. About 95 percent of Lutz's patients are able to avoid an operation.