Dr. James Gardner, MD

History of a Unique Internal Medicine, Emotional Wellness and Cosmetic Care Clinic


When Dr. Gardner and his wife, Patty Tseng, started their private medical practice in 1997, Dr. Gardner realized that he was now free to develop his clinic in a way that reflected his talents, interests, and feeling about what it means to be a physician and healer. Patty, university trained in accounting, hospitality/hotel management, and fashion design, was also free to create an office space and select a staff that reflected her taste and sensibilities, making patient comfort and satisfaction her primary goal. In 1999, Patty earned her certification as a Medical Assistant with over 2000 hours of direct patient care and hands-on experience with injections, phlebotomy, taking vital signs, setting up and assisting in office surgery, and performing many in-office tests, including the 12 lead EKG, 24-hour Holter Monitor, Pulmonary Function Test, urinalysis, and the TB skin test.

With his roots being in outpatient general and family medicine, Dr. Gardner made primary care the foundation of his practice. He continued treating his patients for chronic disease and urgent care problems while offering executive-level preventative care and comprehensive health assessments. As his Yelp reviews attest to, Dr. Gardner has a reputation for finding answers and functionality-based solutions for difficult-to-diagnose problems and difficult-to-treat chronic and degenerative conditions, such as post-Lyme syndrome, fibromyalgia, cancer, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, to name a few. He especially values efficiency and availability, pointing out that “When you are suffering and anxious about your health, you need answers and a game plan in place as soon as possible. It is reasonable to see a generalist first to design your work-up, decide if you need a specialist, and give you some answers and relief today. Most of the time we can work in existing patients within a day.”

In addition to primary care, Dr. Gardner decided that his new clinic would continue to offer a comprehensive list of skin surgery procedures and expand into minimally-invasive cosmetic care. Due to his medical school training in dermatologic and plastic surgery and his previous 10 years in clinical medicine, Dr. Gardner had already performed thousands of skin procedures, included cosmetic removal of skin cancers, fatty tumors, warts, tags, moles, and other skin lesions. He then gradually added cosmetic procedures to his clinic services, starting with Botox, dermal fillers, and rejuvenation lasers, taking particular pride in his patients’ satisfaction with their cosmetic outcome.


In addition to his primary care and cosmetic care services, Dr. Gardner became focused on helping his patients overcome emotional health problems that were limiting their quality of life. He wanted to provide information that would help patients to understand the overlapping layers that create emotional imbalance and show them how to self-design a strategy for recovery based on this knowledge. Believing that everyone should be responsible and proactive in finding their own path to wellness with the help of their medical professional, he wrote and published three books over a ten year period: Overcoming Anxiety, Panic, and Depression; New Ways to Regain Your Confidence (2000), Phobias and How to Overcome Them; Understanding and Beating Your Fears (2005), and The Anxiety Toolbox Program (2010). These books give a multitude of paths to emotional stability, including Western medical treatments, herbal and homeopathic remedies, helpful lifestyle modifications, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

As his medical and cosmetic practice grew to over 4,000 patients, Dr. Gardner pursued his studies in anti-aging medicine and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures with nationally known specialists across the country. He became certified in Smartlipo laser-assisted liposuction under local tumescent anesthesia in 2008. Since then, he has performed hundreds of successful laser-liposuction procedures in his office with no complications. He finds these especially effective on the lower face and neck, abdomen, male breasts, flanks, and thighs; both to tighten the skin and to achieve a better shape and contour of those “problem areas” you can’t work off with exercise. He refines his sculpting procedures using radio-frequency Velashape III technology. His laser skin rejuvenation has been enhanced by more recent technology additions, including IPL, Erbium laser peel, Laser Genesis with Yag, and eMatrix Sublative. He designs each procedure to his patient’s individual needs, addressing multiple problems at the same time, including brown spots, broken capillaries and Rosacea, acne and acne scars, wrinkles, and unwanted skin growths. These procedures also regenerate new collagen and natural filler production, making your skin look younger as it clears pigment irregularities, tightens, and smooths texture problems.


In 2013, Dr. Gardner opened a new chapter of his medical and cosmetic journey by integrating the latest advances in anti-aging and regenerative medicine into his general practice. Realizing that he could help his patients more by improving their biological functioning and restoring the natural intelligence of the body through hormonal optimization, he was the first physician in Northern California to implement the bio-identical hormone pellets program of natural, plant-based bio-identical estrogen and testosterone pellet implants. This simple, 10 minute office procedure fully restores youthful levels of these vital hormones to men and women of all ages who are experiencing the debilitating symptoms of menopause (women) or andropause (men). These natural hormones (as opposed to synthetic hormones made by the pharmaceutical industry) have been implanted in hundreds of thousands of patients over the last 30 years with no evidence of increased risk for heart disease, stroke, blood clots, breast or prostate cancer, or cancer of any kind. And the benefits are comprehensive: return of deep, restorative sleep cycles; improvement in energy, sex drive, orgasm, and erections; better mental focus, concentration, and memory; enhanced muscle tone and lower body fat percentage, with improved endurance and stamina; reduced joint and muscle aches and pains associated with aging; more youthful and vibrant hair, skin, and nails. In addition, studies show a 70% reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease with pelleted hormones, and an average of 8.3% increase in bone density per year. Many type II diabetics see a reversal in their insulin resistance and no longer need medical treatment. In fact, Dr. Gardner has seen a large percentage of his patients reduce or no longer need statin drugs, blood pressure medication, and anti-depressants, especially if these problems started after age 35.

Then, early in 2014, Dr. Gardner became interested in a fermented plant-based anti-oxidant and liver-support supplement from Japan that helped a very ill patient of his recover from a near-death situation caused by neuroborelliosis, a late and debilitating form of Lyme disease. He learned more about the natural, lactobacillus-fermented rice stalk supplement and it’s inventor, Dr. Kokichi Hanaoka, Ph.D., the membrane scientist who invented Essentia electrolyzed bottled water, from Ed Alexander, CEO of the company that produces it. He then met with Dr. Hanaoka privately with the help of a translator to understand his theories on the mechanisms of action and his experience in helping patients in Japan with liver problems, fatigue, failure to thrive and cancer. After their meeting, Dr. Gardner agreed to help investigate the medical health claims of the product now known as Esperer.fca. He is also in the process of writing the story of Dr. Hanaoka’s discovery and the studies that support it’s benefits.

In December, 2014, Dr. Gardner became trained in the MisJu absorbable suture lift procedure, a quick office procedure invented in Asia to lift the mid face, jowls and jawline and the neck. He also developed a supervised weight loss program using injectable HCG and weekly lipotropic injections to safely loose 15-30 pounds in a 30-day cycle. HCG is the placental hormone that causes the mother to release fat from fat cells for the growth of the baby. It can be used by men and women alike to fool the body into thinking you are eating too much when you are actually eating much less than usual. So, instead of metabolism slowing down as it does with traditional deprivation diets utilizing increased exercise and lower caloric intake, HCG causes metabolism to speed up, so you lose weight without feeling hungry or tired. Best of all, the weight stays off and doesn’t easily “yo-yo” back up. Another addition in 2014 was a new treatment called Sermorelin, an injectable peptide hormone approved by the FDA for stimulating our pituitary to produce safe, natural levels of our own growth hormone, as it did when we were younger. This is particularly effective for the insomnia and exhaustion seen in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia patients.

Each year from 2010 to 2014 inclusive, Dr. Gardner has been voted to the 415 “Top Doctor” list for by his colleagues in the medical field. In 2013, Dr. Gardner was voted Cosmetic Surgeon of the Year by the National College of Physicians. He continues to reinvent his clinic by searching for new and more effective ways of restoring his patient’s youthful appearance, strength, and mood. This holistic approach involves understanding the interplay and interdependence of mind, body, and spirit. His slogan, “Feel Better, Look Great, Live Longer” speaks to this “big picture” view of his patients. In the near future, Dr. Gardner hopes to add stem cell treatments to his clinical services to help treat neurodegenerative diseases, connective tissue and autoimmune disorders, and degenerative joint conditions. He will be partnering with Cell Surgical Network (stemcellrevolution.com) in this endeavor.

Dr. Gardner has been a member of the staff at Marin General Hospital since 1990 and has long been affiliated with the medical schools of Stanford University and UCSF, teaching medical students and physician assistants in the outpatient setting. Outside of his medical and cosmetic care practice, Dr. Gardner enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife and son, reading and writing, gardening, swimming, and hiking. He is very grateful for the tireless support of his wife, the comic relief provided by his son, and the guidance and encouragement from his father, brother, five sisters, in-law family, and his many mentors and teachers