Gut Health Doctors Maryland

We work with our patients to heal the gut and restore good health. Good gut health is key to reducing hormone imbalance, inflammation, stress, and food sensitivities.

Your Gut Is Your Second Brain

Our practice believes enhancing your vitality is possible through holistic lifestyle changes. Integrative medicine focuses on the relationship between your mind, body, and soul. We are mindful of this significant union when supporting your path to whole body wellness. 

Our healing-oriented therapies combine complementary and conventional medicine to promote whole body health and wellness.

Did you know that what goes in your gut can directly affect your mood? 70% of our immune cells are in our gut.

There are actually more nerve cells in the overall digestive system than in the peripheral nervous system. Major neurotransmitters found in the brain including serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine, and nitric oxide are in the gut as well. Poor digestive health can lead to mood disorders and other neurological disorders.

Our practice believes enhancing your vitality is possible through holistic lifestyle changes. Integrative medicine focuses on the relationship between your mind, body, and soul. We are mindful of this significant union when supporting your path to whole body wellness. 

Our healing-oriented therapies combine complementary and conventional medicine to promote whole body health and wellness.

How Treatment Works

We work with our patients to heal the gut and restore good health. Good gut health is key to reducing hormone imbalance, inflammation, stress, and food sensitivities. Inactivity, poor diet, hormone imbalance, poor gut health, stress, exposure to environmental toxins, and nutritional imbalance can all contribute to obesity.

During your initial consultation, Dr. Rao and her experienced team will take time to listen, learn, and order diagnostics tests that complete a comprehensive picture of your health history and condition. Once we have diagnosed the cause we will create a personalized treatment plan to start healing the gut. 

Our treatment plans often include a variety of alternative therapies, diet adjustments, exercise advice, and conventional medicine treatments when required.

More Helpful Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

Gut Health Doctor FAQ's

What types of conditions do gut health doctors treat?

Gut health doctors treat a wide range of conditions related to the digestive system, including acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and liver disease.

What can I expect during a visit with a gut health doctor?

During a visit with a gut health doctor, you can expect to have a consultation and physical exam, as well as potentially undergoing tests such as endoscopy or colonoscopy to evaluate the digestive system. The doctor may also ask about your medical history and any symptoms you are experiencing.

What are the treatment options for gut health conditions?

Treatment options for gut health conditions can vary depending on the specific condition and the underlying cause. Treatment may include medications to control symptoms or treat infections, dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, or surgical interventions in more severe cases.

What are some ways to improve gut health?

Ways to improve gut health can include eating a balanced and varied diet rich in fiber, staying hydrated, reducing stress, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

What is an Integrative Medicine Approach?

Integrative medicine combines conventional medicine and alternative therapies to enhance a patient’s vitality, focusing on whole body wellness. An Integrative Medicine physician will address the root cause of your illness and not just treat the symptoms. By determining what the root is, you and your practitioner can devise a health plan to successfully treat the disease. At Shakthi, we take into account other factors in your life that may be preventing the root cause of your illness or disease from fully healing. We work closely with our patients to address their immediate health needs while developing a personalized wellness plan that encourages whole body wellness. You can learn more here.

What are the benefits of integrative medicine?

Integrative medicine’s biggest benefit is the fact it looks at the patient as a whole individual and addresses the root causes of illnesses by doing so. I went along with this though integrative medicine promotes a symbiotic and collaborative relationship between the doctor and the patient. This means that there is better communication. Another great benefit is that it utilizes every therapy possible to ensure that the patient gets the treatment that is perfect for them.


Where are you located?

We have two locations in Mount Airy and Elkridge Maryland.

Why is integrative medicine not covered by insurance?

Over the past decade or so, integrative medicine has been becoming more and more popular. Because of this popularity, there has been an increase in doctors that practice it. But even with all this popularity unfortunately insurance does not cover integrative health care. The lack of coverage from insurance companies is solely because integrative medicine often encompasses treatments that these health insurance companies degenerative treatments. Because these treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy, infrared sauna, and many others are all deemed alternative they are not covered.

What costs are involved? 

We offer two options:
• Yearly Membership
• A La Carte

How do I make an appointment?

You can expect your first visit with Dr. Rao and our team to be more comprehensive than anything you have ever experienced. Our practice is not a revolving door, we won't just visit with you for 5 minutes, hand you a prescription and send you on your way. You can expect the initial visit to last approximately 60 minutes. In that time, Dr. Rao will spend time with you, listen to your history, ask questions, hear your concerns. We put great emphasis on the listening and hearing part of the consult. It is vital in developing a strong doctor, patient relationship and is the only way we can help you get on the right path to healing. After your consult, we will order your testing. Depending on your specific needs a number of tests will be administered. Testing is tailored to each individual. Schedule Appointment Here.

What are five alternative medicines?

There are many different types of alternative medicines but many of them can fall under one of the five main alternative categories. These categories are homeopathy, eastern medicine, naturopathy, and Ayurveda. Within these five types so there are many variations and so choosing one that works for you all relies on what exactly you're looking to gain from choosing alternative medicines.

What does Shakthi Mean?

Shakthi (Shuk-thee) means Strength, Empowerment, and Agent of Change.

Shakthi Digital Guide

At Shakthi Health and Wellness we offer a la carte and yearly plans that are more comprehensive and often cheaper than traditional insurance plans.

What To Expect

Gut Health Specialists

Meet Our Doctors

Our team is composed of skilled medical professionals who are highly knowledgeable in integrative therapies to help heal and restore your gut. 

Our Specialized Health Care model provides patients with in depth consults with each appointment without the restrictions of time limits and jumping through insurance hoops. Our gut health doctors in Maryland, Dr. Jyothi Rao and Dr. Sudhir Rao, have the same medical training, licensing, and certifications any other physician would have working in other healthcare models 

Jyothi Rao


Dr. Jyothi Rao is the founder of Shakthi Health and Wellness Center. She has over 20 years of experience with integrative, holistic, alternative, and complementary approaches to medicine. Dr. Rao believes knowledge is empowerment and focusses her practice on whole body wellness, and disease prevention

Sudhir Rao


Dr. Sudhir Rao is a board certified doctor over 20 years of experience with traditional medicine and alternative medicines for chronic pain.  he developed a strong interest in Functional and Integrative Medicine to treat chronic illness after a personal experience with limitations in traditional medicine.

Our Doctors

What Is Integrative Medicine?

Your Gut Microbiome

There are trillions of microorganisms and skin. These microscopic bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other living things are also called microbes and a good amount of those live in your intestines, in particular the large intestine pocket called the cecum. 

Within this microbiome, thousands of different species of bacteria live and each of them plays a different part in how our bodies function. These bacteria due to their home in your intestines play a part in the digestive system. They are paramount when dealing with absorbing and using nutrients. They play a role in everything from your metabolism to your immune health, to your body weight.

Though they have a huge effect on the way our body systems work, that is not the only place the gut microbiome plays a role. It can also affect cognitive functions and mental health. There are a lot of different factors that can play a role in how many bacteria and what type are hosted within our gut microbiome. Just like with our treatment plans you have to look at everybody's gut microbiome as a unique feature of them.

This uniqueness comes from the uniqueness of everyone's gut microbiome comes from the development process. The gut bacteria Biome begins to form very early in life some even say while still in the womb. Once you have been born though many things influence the types of bacteria that you begin to develop and grow in your gut. 

Factors that could play a role and the creation of your gut microbiome are your parent’s health and genetics, the type of birth (vaginal or cesarean), and if you are breastfed. Your gut microbiome though as you age continues to be affected by your environment and lifestyle. As you age things like genetics, diet, stress, and illness all can affect the health of your gut microbiome. 

Overall this microbiome weighs up to about 5 pounds and functions as an extra organ that helps our body function properly as long as it is healthy.

Why is Gut Health So Important?

Gut health is important. After all, the microbiome plays an important role in the gut-brain axis as well as other vital organs like the heart and pituitary gland. 

The gut and the body's nervous system communicate by utilizing several different pathways and nerves. The gut microbiome is responsible also for helping with the control of inflammation and the creation of different hormones and compounds that can alter brain health.

Gut health also plays a role in controlling reactions to stress. Along with having the ability to help control these reactions the gut microbiome through its relationship to the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal gland also plays a role in energy creation and thyroid functionality. That means that if it is imbalanced one can have problems with fatigue, and even how effective their immune system works to stave off infections.

Speaking of infections your gut microbiome partners with your immune system as well to help fight off infections. The guide itself contains a thin wall and beyond that are cells that your immune system uses to tell what is in your gut. These cells are an important part of your body's process to have proper responses to bad bacteria. 

The gut microbiome when healthy plays a vital role in all of those as well as in your heart health and skin health. It is the partner to your immune system and many other systems that maintain your body's proper functionality.

Signs Your Gut Health is Not Good

Just like with every system in your body your gut can find itself out of balance. This is what we call dysbiosis and can be caused by a ton of different things. Some of the most common reasons for your gut microbiome to find itself disrupted or out of balance are:

  • stress
  • medication
  • poor diet
  • illness
  • being overweight

Identifying whether you have poor gut health can be tricky as many of the symptoms are tied to other health concerns. But if you have any of the following signs the doctors at Shakthi Health and Wellness could use their integrative medical practices to develop a treatment plan to get you back on your path to Wellness. 

Here are some of the signs that could mean that your gut health is not so good:

  • Those with an unhealthy gut may experience stomach distress. This includes everything from gas to Constipation to diarrhea. This is because the unbalanced gut has difficulties processing food and getting rid of waste.
  • Craving sugar incessantly could be a problem. This could further exacerbate the imbalance in your gut because too much sugar can potentially kill off good bacteria and reduce the diversity in the gut could potentially kill off good bacteria and decrease the diversity of that bacteria in your gut. This will lead to inflammation in your body.
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss without any change in your eating habits or physical activity levels could be a sign of an imbalance in your gut. This often leads to your body's ability to regulate blood sugar, store fat, and absorb the nutrients from your food being hindered.
  • If you find yourself having trouble sleeping or are constantly tired your gut microbiome may have a part in this.
  • Food intolerance is a big sign that your gut is imbalanced. Food allergies are caused by your immune system and when you begin to have food intolerances it is widely accepted that this is due to poor bacteria quality in your gut microbiome.

Treatments to Improve or Repair Your Gut Health

The most important way that you can improve or repair your gut health is through diet. Our doctors will create a treatment plan that is focused on high-fiber foods like whole grains and cruciferous vegetables. Finding ways to use a diet to help promote a healthier gut is the very first step but it is not the only thing you can do to treat an unhealthy gut microbiome.

On top of a dietary plan, our doctors will also guide you through other important complementary and alternative treatments that when working together with the traditional treatment of dietary change can have a huge impact on your gut health. Here are some of the other ways that you can improve or repair your gut health:

  • High levels of stress are hard on every aspect and system of your body. And that includes your gut. So utilizing stress management and mindfulness techniques can be a great tool to help with your gut health. Things like meditating, the use of essential oils and other herbal remedies, or even yoga can all help.

  • Sleep is so very important to the proper functioning of every single system in our body. By not getting enough sleep you can be really affecting your gut health.

  • One way to improve your overall health is by making smart choices especially when eating. Sometimes when you're eating quickly that can't happen. That means eating slower could potentially help reduce any digestive distress and that is always going to improve your gut health.

  • Hydration is key in every aspect of your body's systems functioning properly. But in regards to getting healthy, drinking enough water will help diversify the bacteria. This does depend on the type of water you're drinking but the more water you have the more different types of bacteria you will house within your microbiome. Along with this, staying hydrated helps other processes like your bowel movements be more regular and that is always going to keep the waste and toxins from growing within your gut microbiome.

  • Prebiotics and probiotics can also be super helpful prebiotics and probiotics can also be helpful as a way to improve your gut health. Prebiotics are helped prior biotics are foods that can help grow good bacteria and probiotics are actual live good bacteria.

About Us

We believe in practicing medicine that focuses on whole body health. As integrative medicine doctors we focus our on root cause of your poor gut health with comprehensive treatments that actually heal the body rather than just masking the symptoms of your illness. 

Helpful Resources

February 5

You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

May 26

Why is Microbiome Vital to Your Health?

Why is Microbiome Vital to Your Health?

August 7

Vitamin D Linked to Brain Health!

Vitamin D Linked to Brain Health!

July 28

Unraveling the Gut-Brain Connection: Functional Medicine’s Focus on Gut Health

Unraveling the Gut-Brain Connection: Functional Medicine’s Focus on Gut Health

November 18

The Skinny on Artificial Sweeteners

The Skinny on Artificial Sweeteners

Digital Guide

A comprehensive guide to our services, providers, and locations.

Patient Testimonials

Patient Testimonials

previous arrow
Susan Doyle

I started by seeing Dr. Sudhir Rao for my Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome. I had an accident in July 2010 that caused nerve damage in my ankle. After treatments and surgery, it spread up the entire left side of my body. The only way to describe how you feel is by saying you’re a human pinball machine ? you just never know where the pain is going to be that minute. I had asked about acupuncture because someone had told me that it worked for them. I was at the point of trying anything to lessen the pain because it was getting worse every day.

Anonymous Patient

I am actually a relatively healthy 50-year-old woman. I try to eat well and exercise, but I (like many) felt the creep of age in the form a subtle pounds and decreasing energy. Dr. Rao helped point me in the direction of the correct detox program for me (Core Restore!) as well as the supplements I needed to boost my metabolism and increase my energy! I still need to eat what works for me and avoid the things that don't, and I still have to exercise every day, but my clothes fit better and I have more energy!!

- Shakthi Patients

Anna Smoot

I came to see Dr. Rao with symptoms of chronic fatigue, abdominal pains, depression, and weight gain. I had seen a couple other doctors and they had found that I had very high inflammation levels and over 15 food allergies/sensitivities. They wanted me to just take prescription drugs, but I wanted more than a quick fix. I wanted my health and my life back! When I scheduled the appointment, I was surprised how by helpful Kelly was on the phone. I didn’t know the details of my insurance coverage and Kelly offered to call my insurance for me. I’ve never had anyone at a doctor’s office do that before.

Debbie Helman

After visiting the Shakthi website and reading other patient testimonials, I was curious about the wide variety of treatments that were available. I have a very slow metabolism, was fatigued, had insomnia, back pain, and just didn’t feel as well as I wanted to in general. I had more allergic reactions and respiratory issues in the preceding months before coming to see Dr. Jyothi Rao. I had completed three courses of prednisone while under the treatment of my traditional doctor and was fed up with that cycle and was looking for another path.

- Debbie Helman

Linda J.

I was given the gift of Dr. Rao's integrative specialty care for Christmas in 2016. I didn?t take advantage of it until March of 2017. My mindset at the time was negative. I had heard about changing eating habits and I felt that I liked the foods I was eating and I was nearly 70, so why change now? After meeting with Dr. Rao and hearing her suggestions, I said I would take it one small step at a time and see what happens.

I was in the worst shape of my life

I was in the worst shape of my life with depression and anxiety. I had given up. Shakthi provided me with a manageable plan that included supplements, diet, and an exercise program that has transformed my body and given me a new outlook on life. Perhaps the most surprising outcome was learning how to be healthy and have a good relationship with my body. I am now more productive, energetic, and focused. The fog that had been clouding my thoughts has lifted.

- Shakthi Patient

next arrow

What To Expect

How Treatment  Works

Our doctors and staff take time to get invested in your health and well-being. We've taken a step back from mainstream medicine and are challenging the norm. Everyone's healthcare needs are different. You are different. We believe patients shouldn't settle. Our practice is not a revolving door. We listen, and most importantly, we hear you.


Appointments are conducted on an as-needed basis. Patients can expect appointments to be more thorough and focused on their needs. As integrative speciality care doctors, we see a limited number of patients which means each of our patients receives dedicated care without the concern of being “rushed” our of an appointment.

Diagnostic Testing

We offer patients scientifically backed health assessments to better understand the root causes of their health conditions. We evaluate any disruptions to your health and body to develop effective wellness plans to optimize your vitality. To learn more about the specific tests we offer visit this page here

Costs Involved

Patients receive personalized and tailored care in exchange for a flat fee. Overall cost will be discussed during your initial consultation. Each subsequent appointment will not need to be individually paid for. All patients receive unlimited access to their physicians which leads to better overall health and wellness.

Choose A Plan

Are you ready to make long wait times a thing of the past? View our plan options below:

Find A Location

Shakthi Health and Wellness Center is proud to offer patients access to Integrative Speciality Care services in Mount Airy and Elkridge, Maryland. Patients can comfortably enjoy a spacious and soothing lobby before being taken back for their appointments. Our exam rooms provides patients with a tranquil environment to promote emotional and physical healing.

In our office you will also find our Shakthi Kitchen, our state-of-the-art sport performance facility, our Infrared Sauna, and our Biomat and Acupuncture room. 

As a Shakthi patient you will have access to these facilities through our premium plan or you can choose to access them individually via our A La Carte offerings.

Enter your text here...

Contact Us

Our Locations

Our patient care coordinators are available to answer questions Monday - Friday from 8:30 am - 5:00pm.

Mt Airy

2702 Back Acre Circle

Mt. Airy, MD 21771


6816 Deerpath Rd Elkridge, MD 21075

Get In Touch!

Main Phone

(301) 703-5067

Main Phone

(301) 703-5067



Fax #

(301) 703-8880

Fax #

(301) 703-8880

Skip to content