Most of the top medical schools in the U.S. now have programs in Integrated Medicine. These programs focus primarily on how Lifestyle influences health. The goal is for the student to have access to the knowledge of eastern medical systems (prevention) as well as western (curing disease). There are many reasons this knowledge is important but following are a few facts to consider:
- Integrated Medicine is primarily concerned with prevention and western medicine concerned with curing disease. Both aspects of medical theory are exceedingly important.
- 80% of all disease is directly caused by Lifestyle factors.
- Nutrition influences the expression of genes.
- 50% of Americans suffer from a chronic disease: these statistics are constantly rising as the population ages.
- There are 250,000 deaths annually because of the deleterious side-effects of pharmaceuticals
- Costs are spiraling out of control. Health care cost 2.4 trillion in 2009. We need to prevent illness!
- The incidence of depression is rising and current research shows the anti-depressants work (in most cases) no better than the placebos.
- 40% of the world’s population uses alternative therapies and Americans spent 27 billion out-of-pocket dollars last year on alternative therapies.
- Eight states have laws giving well-trained alternative practitioners the license to practice.
Until recently the major lack in western medicine was a focus on prevention. The western definition of health has traditionally been the absence of disease. Presently our population is becoming re-educated and we are learning that health exists on a continuum. In other words, through prevention we can maximize our physical health and in so doing increase mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
The word Ayur is a Sanskrit word meaning “health” and the word Veda is also Sanskrit. It means “knowledge.” We say “everything that works is Ayurvedic!” This ancient practice of medicine teaches us how to live our lives vibrantly by creating good health every step of the way. It is the world’s oldest form of natural medicine. It is the tree of knowledge from which many popularized therapeutic interventions have grown.
Ayurveda defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. Health is not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. This ancient science offers the epitome of a holistic approach to living life with zing. We can think of Ayurveda as Mother Nature’s spokesperson, giving instructions on how to weave threads (our daily actions) into a vibrant tapestry (our physiology). Ayurvedic precepts form the basis for Integrated Medicine.
We are rapidly approaching a major change in how medicine is practiced in our country. Hospitals and doctors have begun and will continue to employ consultants who are well-trained in prevention.
Prevention is never one-size fits all. Each of us is unique and the specifics on how we prevent illness from knocking at our door must be personalized. Patients will have the privilege of receiving individual assessments and recommendations which are unique to them.
In our book Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way Sandra and I write about how to achieve and maintain wellness. Our book is replete with questionnaires to help you to determine your particular imbalances and suggestions for Lifestyle changes which might be helpful to you. We think you would enjoy reading our book even if depression is not an issue you struggle with. Depression is but one symptom showing that health is not optimal. Perhaps you have a different symptom. You can still profit from reading Healing Depression. This book is about achieving perfect health. Can’t we all do a little bit better in that area?
Our health is in our own hands. This is an exciting and empowering concept. The top medical schools now recognize the influence of Lifestyle on health and are training their students to be aware. Prevention is where it is at! We hope you pick up a copy of Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way as it will help you to enhance your education about prevention, health and happiness.