Though millions of Americans are already using integrative, alternative and natural medicine, the confirmation of the benefits is still newsworthy. The Huffington Post recently posted an article on their top 11 integrative medicine breakthroughs in 2011.
According to Prevention magazine, we are in the middle of a “health care revolution.” More traditionally trained doctors are recommending holistic and alternative therapies.
In 2011, the top awards went to acupuncture, yoga, massage, and meditation for providing stress relief, boosting of the immune system and decreased back pain among many other benefits. Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, the man credited with introducing integrative medicine to America was asked to comment:
“Nobody paid attention to me,” says Andrew Weil, MD, of his early efforts some 5 decades ago.
Dr. Weil was a botany major at Harvard University and studied the medicinal properties of plants and the mind-body connection. He is the founder of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona–the world’s leading provider of integrative medicine education. He also created the first combined family medicine/integrative medicine residency in the country. Although conventional medicine is beginning to embrace his ideas, this wasn’t always the case.
“Integrative medicine is so sensible and so the right thing that I am surprised it has taken this long for the rest of the world to catch up with me,” he says. Dr. Weil explains why he believes integrative medicine is crucial for solving America’s health care crisis in this interview.
This year integrative medicine became a larger part of conventional medical school curricula. The University of Arizona recently created a four-year-track that allows students to supplement their traditional training with a focus on integrative medicine.
“It’s a really big step that the college of medicine was willing to say ‘This is important. This is no longer fad, and we will recognize it,’ ” Dr. Victoria Maizes, executive director at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
Also noted was the appointment of Dr. Dean Ornish to President Obama’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health. Dr. Ornish is the founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. The appointment suggests that the government is interested in the role that complementary medicine can play in promoting public health.
Dr. Ornish commented in a HuffPost blog:
“When you make healthy diet and lifestyle changes, most people find that they feel so much better, so quickly, it reframes the reason for changing from fear of dying to joy of living.”
All the more reason to incorporate a healthy diet, 8 hours of sleep, yoga, meditation, and natural medicine into your life in 2012.