There’s a note of irony with Muhammad I. Raja, MD, and his passion for vintage scents. As a geriatrist in our Richmond market, some of his patients might be experiencing a decline in their ability to smell as part of the aging process. But Dr. Raja’s nose still knows.
“I have quite a collection of perfumes, including vintage and more current ones. Ask my anything about perfumes,” Dr. Raja shares.
Whether musk, woody, gourmand or chypre, he enjoys identifying and even suggesting signature scents for friends and family.
“If anyone compliments my perfume of the day, or seems to be interested in perfumes, I do make suggestions based on their personality, skin type and their likes of different notes,” he adds. “I keep in mind cost, affordability, quality and longevity.”
In identifying perfumes, Dr. Raja reveals the key is not being “nose blind” due to sinus disease or chronic sinusitis. Like wine and other tastings, he says the more you are exposed to different notes, the better you start comparing.
He suggests not exposing your olfactory receptors to any perfume for a long time, especially when choosing perfumes, because receptors get saturated and you can becomes nose blind. Smelling any other stronger smell such as coffee or mint can cleanse your receptors.
Personally, Dr. Raja likes notes of oak moss, bergamot and pineapple mainly in summer, and notes of leather, tobacco and patchouli in winter.
“My goal is to smell good in the summer by staying fresh and clean, and smell good in winter by staying warm without annoying people around me.”
Dr. Raja doesn’t only exercise his senses. He’s also passionate about healthy living and being a physician.
“My ideal day off is waking up, having a great cup of tea or coffee, working out at the gym, enjoying a delicious but healthy lunch and taking a nap. And that’s because naps are healthy for the body of course! I also love hanging out with my family and watching TV or a movie together.”
Outside of work, Dr. Raja likes to stay fit with workouts and running. In his free time, you might find him at the gym. He competed in Richmond’s Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K before the COVID-19 pandemic and is considering a run at it again this year.
Affiliated with our ministry since 2022, Dr. Raja was referred by a friend after working as a hospitalist in both Richmond and northern Virginia. He went to attend medical school in Pakistan and worked there for a few years, then moved to the U.S. From there, he completed his internal medicine residency in New York as well as his fellowship in geriatrics in Norfolk.
Being a physician is a lifelong dream for Dr. Raja. He says he always wanted to be a physician, and geriatric care became his deep interest.
“I always admired what doctors were doing ,and how they were always helping people in need and how critical their skills were,” he says. “I wanted to be in a position to help people on a daily basis.”
As a child, Dr. Raja would always get affectionate responses from family as well as community elders and formed special bonds with them. He chose geriatrics because of his deep interest and love for seniors.
“I found them the most vulnerable in the community and the most in need of help while they grow older and become frail.”
And his reward? Dr. Raja says nothing beats seeing a patient get happy about feeling better!
“Sometimes as humans we feel pretty down and wonder if we’ll ever recover. It’s a great feeling to see patients amazed that they did recover and offer gratitude for how we’ve helped them.”
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