Approaching your Health

The root of health is hale or whole. As an integrative health physician, I agree with the World Health Organization’s broader definition of health: “Health is not only the absence of infirmity and disease but also a state of physical, mental and social well-being.” The purpose of medicine, then, is to restore wholeness. To do so requires an investigation into all factors that may be interfering with healing. Knowing that impediments may arise from body, mind, spirit, and emotions means that when I sit with a patient, I take a broader patient history.

I ask a wider of questions than are typically asked in a conventional medical history.

  • “What is most important to you at this point in your life?”
  • “Tell me about a typical day”
  • “Imagine that a decade has gone by, what would you like to have accomplished”
  • “What gives you a sense of joy?”
  • “What are your strengths”

This broader set of questions creates a framework for a broader set of treatment options. I seek to understand my patients’ beliefs, honor them, and weigh them as we discuss treatment recommendations.  This is the frame for integrative medicine. I believe that there are multiple routes to healing. An integrative practitioner possesses a larger toolbox and is cognizant of many treatment options beyond pharmaceutical approaches. But integrative medicine is not simply about learning to use new treatment options. It is about a different way of being with a patient.

Community Wellness Resources

Lifestyle

Making food magic: fresh from Andy Weil’s new cookbook!Cooking with Andy Weil and chef Rebecca Katz

Lifestyle choices have an enormous impact on our health and sense of well-being.  What we eat, how we move our bodies, the ways in which we deal with stress all impact how we feel.  It also impacts how long (and how well) we live.  A 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine article aptly title “Healthy living is the best revenge” found that four behaviors could prevent 78% of chronic disease:  93% of diabetes, 81% of heart attacks, 50% of strokes and 36% of all cancers!  The four behaviors were:

  • not smoking
  • exercising 3.5 hours a week
  • eating a healthy diet (fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and low meat consumption)
  • keeping a healthy weight (BMI <30)

The diet is consistent with the Mediterranean or anti-inflammatory diet and the exercise matches levels found in many studies.  How closely does your lifestyle match these recommendations? Are there changes you might like to make?

 

Reclaiming the feminine principle in medicine.  Here is a wonderful talk by one of my mentors Dr Rachel Naomi Remen. Rachel teaches using amazing stories from her childhood and professional life.  If you have never heard her, you are in for a treat.  And if you have been taught by Rachel, it feels like sitting at her feet all over again!