Mark Hyman, James Gordon and Penny George —
The Evolution of Medicine

A transformation of medicine is underway, a transition from a science of treating disease to a science of health. Mark Hyman is a family physician and a pioneer in the new discipline of functional medicine. James Gordon is an expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression, anxiety, and psychological trauma. Penny George became a philanthropist of integrative medicine after she experienced cancer in mid-life. Before a live audience at the University of Minnesota, they discuss the challenge and promise of aligning medicine with a 21st century understanding of human wholeness.

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is the director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for functional medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center. He’s a practicing family physician and a best-selling author.

is the founder and executive director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and a clinical professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Georgetown Medical School.

is the board chair of the Penny George Institute Foundation, which supports the work of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health in Minneapolis, the largest hospital-based integrative medicine program in the U.S.

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If you could stand in someone else's shoes... Hear what they hear. See what they see. Feel what they feel. Would you treat them differently? A video that speaks to the connections we all need.

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The student winners of a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches look at a tour of the National Museum of American History's exhibition, "FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000."

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We have an extraordinary push toward Functional Wellness, and would love for Dr. Hyman to be a part of it.
We don't say Medicine, as our MD is an Acupuncturist.

I have followed Dr. Hyman since 2004, when he was my Doctor for a week at Canyon Ranch, Mass.

I am a Board Certified Nutritional Counselor, and present his program to all my clients. My approach is the same...get back in the kitchen and eat food that actually comes out of the ground. We promote his diet, Pegan.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this broadcast, as it reflects what has been forgotten. In regards to this particular subject, I think that we are on the right track when discussing the human connection, and transformation of conciousness, and food as medicine. I do think a good perspective has been walked around, and maybe that is because it is difficult to fully understand. I am speaking of spiritual dissonance. If we look at all the ills in our society today, weather physical, mental, or spiritual, we can trace it back to spiritual dissonance.

We are spirits having a human experience, and somewhere along the way, we forgot that, and became humans seeking spirituality. It was mentioned that how we treat each other is the first step, but I think that if we can be aware of our spirit selves, and aware of the spirit of others, our treatment of them will naturally shift back toward a deeper connection with one another. We have come accustomed to treating the human, and trying to judge the human. The human condition is an illness that causes spiritual dissonance. If we treat each other as fellow spirits, not humans, and begin to see each other that way, that alone is a healing power.
As a spirit we are powerful, but as humans we are powerful as well. If we are unaware that we are spirits having a human existence, could it be possible to create these illnesses within ourselves, and each other due to the lack of knowledge of the power our physical thoughts can have over our spirit.

It was also mentioned that our medicine today stems from our spiritual healing history. The divide between science, and spirit needs to shift into a connection of the two. We can transform our physical mind, and body by approaching it from our spirit selves. If we maintain that we are humans looking for that healing spiritual component, we will never make it over these hurdles. The dissonance comes into play when we look through the physical mind trying to connect to a spiritual life, and can probably be relieved if we approach the human experience through the spirit self which is who we are at the core. I could be wrong, but this approach has healed me many times, relieved me of issues dealing with mental health, physical pain, and the way I perceive, and treat others.

This broadcast was amazing because it is exciting to see that the conversation is shifting toward the most important aspects of who we are, and how we can be healthy together. We are connected, and it feels good to know that science is making its way toward the spirit.

Medicine is not something that I think about daily or have much curiosity in. Of course there are plenty of people who study it or use it in their work or daily lives and that is not me. From Dr. Hymans episode I truly opened my eyes to something completely different and not something I am totally interested in.

Mark Hyman is a family physician and truthfully a expert in the healthy lifestyle and medicine. He talked about how what we eat can change the littlest things about our body as well as the importance and change of medicine over time. I was inspired by this discussion because he talked a lot about diabetes and that is something my family currently suffers from. He talked about what eating sugary foods can do to you all the way to eating healthy foods. I never realized how much your body loves eating healthy foods. Just that tiny apple a day really can change your level of happiness in many different ways.

I think that his speaking would be very beneficial in schools around the world so that people can realize how eating different things can really impact their futures.

Such a lovely and important episode. Thank you so much for bringing the topic of health and wellness to the show. As a yoga therapist, these are the topics that I deal with every day in my work. As a minister, I found the conversation about spirituality and health absolutely beautiful. I would love for the show to explore yoga therapy as a healing modality with more intention. You should explore the work of Gary Kraftsow. He would be an incredible guest for your show. Thanks for all that you do! Be well.

I listened to the Evolution of Medicine conversation on my PC. I planned on going to the Center for Mind/Body training in MN in October, but was unable to attend due to a family emergency. I'm a transformational coach, and plan on using some of the information and ideas from this conversation with a divorce support group that I facilitate; and a session I'll have next week to help people handle the holidays with less stress and more grace. Thanks for a wonderful program.

A stroke at age 58 has been a blessing for me. The Dr's cookie cutter approach put me off and I began to study. My new diet has been a transformation in many unexpected ways. In six months my changes in mental and physical well-being has amazed me. Fat burning and listening to NPR.

I want to hear more about these subjects. I've been battling a chronic pain issue for 16+ years and only recently started to uncover a path to healing through both western and eastern medicines. I'd love to hear more specific stories of these practitioners successes and experiences. I'd also love to hear more about what Penny's work is in Minneapolis, where I live.

Thanks for the great work!

I thought this program was excellent and will share the link so that my friends can improve their health and wellness. I've been on the Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease and am very health and thoroughly enjoying life. Healthy eating, excercise, stress reduction, and serving others (purpose) are keys to living.

If someone had said to me - you have Type 2 Diabetes - but you can treat it with a low carb high fiber diet. I would have been healthier 5 years earlier. Doctors might say - you can treat it with diet and exercise and this medicine, but they stress the medicine. You can just about fix yourself following a low carb high fiber diet. I have a bean soup that I have a lunch every day - my numbers are way better. I even went to a dietitian too. I don't think she understood diabetes.

Cooking has been a life time ritual for me. I knew cooking my own food was physically healthy but I now realize the ritual is important for my mental health. Stopping and enjoykng a moment in my day. I hope to continue doing this and share it with everyone on my life.

I get up every Sunday a.m. to join you in the quiet of my kitchen, my ritual of going "to church". I am nourished by your conversations in deep and profound ways. I am a practicing R.N. with tendencies toward being an artist, and a perpetual curiosity for the edges of what we know, and hope for our collective capability for pushing out into paradigm shifts, and opening the vistas of the new continents of thought, of compassion, of living well. I have just passed through a phase that lasted for several years, inspired and compelled to get to KNOW "How do we Heal? How can I facilitate this?" A student of the human experience, I care about what makes us most whole. Thank you for the contributions you definitely make as we encounter ourselves.

I was quite taken with this whole episode - the topic, the knowledge and sincerity of panelists, their passion for good food and people connections! I'm looking into functional medicine with a vengeance as a result. Thank you!

Functional medicine is not medicine.

Penny George's reference to a chaplain's visit seems an unfortunate slam. It was never explained and should have been edited out.

Firstly I really enjoyed the combination of todays guests...Krista is so superbly skilled at drawing out the essences of the topics under discussion and I thank her very much.
However today I was struck by the almost casual acknowledgement that NUTRITION was not part of a Western doctor's training!
I have suspected this on the occasions I have asked for guidance in combating particular health issues..."Oh, just eat a good diet in moderate quantities" As a mother who enjoys cooking, I've always felt that the food which fuels our bodies is crucial to our health
and that, depending on our personal condition, there must be real guidelines to help alleviate ( or cure) health issues with diet?
I have of course learned from experience some helpful ploys, but time, so often very important, has been wasted, when a doctor's training in Nutrition could have provided quicker benefit. And I myself acknowledge the many cultural traditions and variations which makes this a huge field of study.

in 1988 I worked in a factory that handled nutrasweet and became extremely ill. I had chronic fatigue syndrome and lost my engineering career. I went back to university and pursued my Doctorate in engineering management and began using my diet and yoga and spirituality to transform my life. Still my healing took nearly 8 years. I married and had a child, became a professor and struggled with 3 day migraines for many years, as well as fatigue and confusion and many other symptoms. Doctors would either say I was not treatable or tried to add medications which if I tried they made me sicker. Eventually I felt I was healed and pursued my second degree black belt in tae kwon do. However, my ex husband felt that my healing was a problem because I was also changing back to a cabable confident person so he tried to fix that by medicating me without my knowledge. Eventually I filed for divorce and during that last year of our troubled married he decided that my death was preferable to divorce and began poisoning me with barium (rat poison). (yes I know this is crazy sounding, but we had a water softener and I was the only one who drank water..he drank only diet mt dew or milk...I also had this confirmed with a three day urine collection and tested for heavy metal which showed high levels of barium in my urine...this doctor was shocked but did not know what to do for me. ) I now suffer with numerous allergies and hives which have dissipated over time but as I write I am seeing with only one eye because yesterday I ate something (not sure what although I know many of the triggers, I often encounter food contents in restaurants or away from home) that caused a reaction. It is clear that food is very affective and effective in my health, but also spirituality. In 1990 I became a christian scientist because the doctors clearly could not help me and because why not, it can't hurt. I used meditation and prayer as well as fasting and mostly raw diet. I am now highly allergic to mold, penicillin, soy and gluten, canola. As you can imagine it is tough to find food I can eat if I leave my house. Doctors these days,when I seek help, try to get me to take both allegra and zyrtec together. I have tried this remedy twice and both times it has incapacitated me with severe kidney pains for three days. Clearly doctors are not understanding my issues nor are they interested in listening to my own investigations into what helps and what does not. I recently left a very stressful job due to circumstances of the organization's financial decline but also a very hostile boss who made me miserable. During that 6 year "imprisonment", my blood pressure rose to 135/90 and I gained weight but I had also begun doing triathlons. When I left i received a leave of absence which I used to train for an ironman race and start a business. After completing this race and deciding to become a consultant instead of trying to work for another terrible boss, my blood pressure is now 106/65. However I still struggle physically at times and am having trouble putting spirituality and meditation back into my life...feeling as though God abandonned me multiple times in my life....why was I poisoned by my husband, menaced by a boss? However, I know it's an important part of my life and your radio show today reinforced the need that I feel is there. I awoke to the radio show and participated in the soft belly interlude. I felt my body relax and the internal connection between my spirit and my body and my mental state very quickly. So hard to stop the intensity and fear response that became my motivator and impulse for so long. Thank you for the broadcast. I will return to my meditation and yoga, reincorporate it into my life. I'm not sure what my future will be at the moment. I'm doing okay in earning from consulting but not great so there is an underlying fear about my future and how well I can survive. I can take an early withdrawal from retirement if necessary so I won't starve or live in a box, but frankly when I had CFS that was a fear and I lived very close to that edge for nearly 3 years. All this is so tied into my health and what I think about myself that I agree that health is a multifaceted system which cannot be gained by simply treating symptoms of pain without treating the mental and spiritual adjustments we made when pain arises. Sort of like back alignment when you hurt your foot...we bend ourselves around a pain or a problem in way that must also be addressed to return to a completely healthy life.

As a devoted listener to Speaking of Faith and subsequently On Being, I look forward to Sunday mornings. I would often bring up insights from the show in my Quaker Meeting. Now, I often find myself turning the show off after a couple of minutes of listening. That was true this weekend’s show entitled "The Evolution of Medicine."

As a high school student in the early 1970s, it became evident to me that meditation and healthy diet were components of a program of good health. As a teenager, discovering that adults do not seem to have the basic understanding of how humans work and their relationship to nature is disturbing and confusing. So, now, when I hear kudos going out to doctors who in their small way are incorporating knowledge that was available to a 17 year old back then (before the internet), I am less than encouraged.

After high school I got a good education in economics and, after that, a grounding in business principles in graduate school. By my mid-20’s (the early 80’s), it became clear to me that doctors are in the business of treating sick people. That sounds obvious until you look at what being of the business of treating sick people means from a revenue standpoint: the more sick people, the more money to be made. Add to that the fact that doctors have formed a guild that artificially restricts access to medical services in order to make them more valuable and expensive, and you have the reason doctor’s don’t, for instance as mentioned in the program today, learn much about nutrition. They are not in the business of preventing illness, they are in the business of treating it. They have colluded with other members of the medical industrial complex to not only tap into the treasure trove of the government coffers to enrich themselves at the expense of their patients, but in doing so have facilitated the healthcare crisis. They have systematically disempowered and lessened the credibility of their competitors, the holistic and traditional health care providers, and starved them of the government funding and widespread social support that they would need to elevate basic health, delivered in an affordable way, as a priority in this country.

Euphemistically celebrating the fact that some enlightened doctors have embraced principles that were obvious to a working class 17 year old in 1973, and who are trying to make a difference in the world now, creates a false sense of hope that commercial medicine is the path forward. That message helps to further cement the hold that these businesses have on the wellbeing of Americans in general, and in my opinion, propagating that message is far from a public service. It is rather an act of unwitting propaganda that lessens the likelihood of change in our profoundly flawed system.

This was one of the most incredible discussions I have ever heard on this subject because it ties everything together so well. And I didn't know about the term Functional Wellness. I am a nurse and have seen so many changes in healthcare in the last 37 years of my practice. The most rewarding aspects of hospital nursing are the human connections, emotional support, education, and assisting families of my patients to feel they are a part of the whole team of caregivers. In fact they are the most important part for our pediatric patients. This broadcast expressed so well how every person int he hospital plays a role in the recovery of each patient.
I am also a person who has experienced the transformation after I realized the importance of taking charge of my own health. I have struggled with depression, low level anxiety, stomach issues, belly fat in my post menopausal years, continual searching for community and support toward spiritual growth. At the age of 61 yrs, I feel so much healthier than I have through many of these struggles. I have found a meditation community that I love, I have a regular meditation practice. I have healed my gut through healthy eating and use of probiotics, lost the belly fat completely. I have used the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing. But even there, I feel the care can be so fragmented, one person for this and another appointment for that. But I now realize I need to ask for what I want wherever I go. It took me way too long to trust some of what I was told, and yet I guess in the end it is up to each individual to be at the place where bad habits can be changed and health can occur. The sad thing is I have yet to find a place in the medical care system, or a provider who is knowledgeable about any of the things that helped me the most. My insurance does not pay for most of these things, be it education on meditation, nutrition, exercise, etc. In fact most physicians know very little, or have any experience with much of the information you discussed today. Thank you so much for this broadcast. I will share it with my entire extended family.

There is health that cannot be reclaimed when modern toxins have ruined the balance. Then, restoring the balance can mean the body has decades of catching up in terms of updating viral immunities and so forth. My experience was that I lived downstream from many industries towns, in an industrial town, right at the junction of a polluted brook and a polluted river. I believe our yard has been a dump for centuries, long past, and I know that a highway brought cars with leaded gas past one right after another. I noted changes in my body that were over looked starting when I was 8, when two hurricanes flooded the town, leaving polluted water over our large lawn, which it was my responsibilty to mow. In retrospect, this was probably causal. Anyone in the developing world where flooding takes place, this can happen. I was over 50 before I figured out that heavy metals in my body were skewing everything for me. I could act normal, but I realize I could not understand on the level of metabolism and chemistry. All sorts of physical and emotional functions were just different. In medical resources I'd see in small print at the end that heavy metals could be a factor. I had to wait till I was within range of Medicare in order to be able to afford EDTA/DMPS chelation and removing mercury fillings, and I did that for several years, sometimes twice a week. It takes a while to adjust, for sure. I think there's plenty more to go. My quick measure is the moons on my fingernails. When I was 7 the nails were sort of like cellophane, and they are still strange, but first I got moons on the index fingers, and a few years later, moons on the middle finger. I think there's one more to go. But I'm just talking about metals. There are all sorts of other toxins. Doctors (integrative ones) could tell me elaborate ways of detoxifying metals out of my body, but my body was too finely tuned, fragile, for that kind of thing. For instance, this winter when I had to stay in several months, I was reminded about cilantro, and read that cilantro with chlorella in a certain proportion would help take out heavy metals. But I think I had the proportion wrong, and my skin was trying to detoxify, I think, and was really hard to keep from infections. Once a body is out of balance, it's really, really complicated to nudge it back (and impossible if the imbalance is part of the brain, bones, muscles, and so on, as heavy metals were). And for each person's genes, it would happen differently. And different spans of time involved, different synergies. Something that is minor for a decade can be major in two decades, if something else is factored in, for instance. On and on. Best solution? Keep the pollution and flooding to a minimum.

I enjoyed this conversation. The topic renforced information and practice that I participate in at a monthly group gathering that is presented by an Arvigo Abdominal Massage therapist at her local studio. As a person with the autoimmune disease,Type 1/Juvenile Diabetes, my pancreas does not produce insulin. I eat a healthy and balanced diet of mostly fresh food. Beside taking doses of basal insulin, I must take insulin to cover the carbs in my meal otherwise my blood glucose levels would rise to life threatening levels. At the end of the program, one of the speakers in the conversation stated that, Diabetes was one of the ailments that can be eliminated by changing the way one eats. Please note that this is true of those with Type 2/insulin resisted diabetes, whose pancreases still produce insulin. The specific type of diabetes needs to be noted in statements about the diet alone solution. Those of us with Type 1 Diabetes are only 5% of the total of people with Diabetes. Those who are uninformed tend to quote such statements and admonish those of us with T1D who are doing our best to stay healthy and must take insulin to reach our goals. Thank you.

Thank you for this excellent program. I appreciated your discussion on spirituality and health, work many of us have been involved in for many years. There were questions raised about attendees at a meeting asking "When/how can we talk about spirituality with patients?" The response was that we as clinicians approach the patient with care, love, and respect which is an essential aspect of generalist spiritual care. It is a sacred experience as many of the participants noted! But equally important is the identification and treatment of spiritual distress. There are models for doing this and also education programs for clinicians in knowing how to develop the Whole Person Assessment and Treatment Plan that includes the psychosocial and spiritual as well as the physical aspects of the person. There are courses for medical students in spirituality and health nationwide and now globally. We are doing a Reflection Rounds program in 18 medical schools now and continue to expand. This program focuses on the spiritual or inner life of all students as an essential part of medical student development. Spirituality is defined broadly as meaning, purpose and connnectedness to the significant or sacred. Students find that this program raises the awareness of the human spirit, of compassion and the whole health approach that you discussed today. Trained chaplains are increasingly becoming part of healthcare teams. Sadly one of your speakers felt that it was forced upon her. That should not be the case and certified chaplains serve all patients regardless of the patient's cultural or religious or spiritual background. Our website highlights many of these issues.
Thank you for this program!

I very much appreciated your program today. One of the speakers noted attendees at his conference asked about spirituality and "when do i talk about it". The response highlighted the broad definition of spiritual care which is about love, care, compassion. But there is another part of spirituality and health. That is, the diagnosis and treatment of spiritual distress and deep suffering. This is the clinical part of spiritual care--- addressing spiritual distress and formulating a Whole Person Assessment and Treatment Plan. There are guidelines and models for making sure that spirituality is addressed by all clinicians and that certified chaplains are part of interdisciplinary clinical teams. Medical students have been learning about this field for over twenty years. Currently we are piloting a Reflection Rounds Program that is based on spirituality broadly defined as an essential part of professional formation of all clinicians. Spirituality is about meaning and purpose and connected to the significant or sacred--that what matters most, that what is the basis of our call to serve others, that which gives us the capacity to be compassionate. Much of this is on our website
Thank you for this excellent program.

Thanks for another thought-provoking episode of On Being. I'm a pre-health student and aspiring family doctor. From my experience there has been a lot of talk about the need for holistic, alternative and Eastern medicine, but it can be hard to separate myth from reality. It seems to me there are a lot of "experts" out there peddling snake oil and praying on people desperate to treat chronic illnesses (and having struggled with my own illness, I can empathize). However, I thought the three guests in this episode were quite knowledgeable and credible, not claiming to have "the answer" but mindful of the need to broaden our understanding of health to include nutrition, purpose, emotional well being, and the role of community. I wish the episode included more "next steps" for healthcare professionals seeking transform the practice of medicine or creating systems to do this. I saw Dr. Hyman's inspiring TED MED Talk and I'm wondering what other resources are available for health professionals.

You should probably research your guests better. This was not a segment on the “evolution of medicine” but a segment on quackademia. Please refer to the following: Dr. Mark Hyman: Let’s turn back the clock on science-based medicine in favor of anecdote-based medicine, Can Positive Thinking Be Negative, Why Positive Thinking Is Bad for You?, the book Half Empty, and

I have been an internal medicine doctor for over 15 years. I was also a religious studies major in college and really appreciate the reflections on how spiritual and emotional well being influence a person's physical health. I exercise regularly and have dabbled in yoga and meditation. During my medical education and through my own personal study I have a good understanding of the importance of good nutrition and a healthy relationship with food. In my experience, it is not that most physicians do not understand that good food choices and a healthy, active lifestyle make a huge difference in a person's health, but that we struggle to help people make transformational change. If we chose to work in the traditional health care system and serve patients with social and financial stress who can only afford what their insurance covers the resources to affect change remains limited. Insurance pays for medications and only limited nutritional counseling. People are often not ready to commit to the changes that we suggest due to numerous life stressors. I routinely recommend changes in diet, exercise, yoga, mindfulness, community engagement as do many of my colleagues but access to healthy living for people with fewer resources is very challenging . I think that for "functional medicine" to become more mainstream will require a profound change in how we structure health care delivery in this country. I would hope that people do not come away from these conversations with the idea that the average practicing physician does not have an understanding of how to be healthy. We do want to hear each person's story , connect with them and help them heal emotionally and physically. What we need is the support of a health care system that affords us the time and resources to help people take control of their physical and emotional health.

I have been a foodaholic for 20 years and I want to learn and teach healing with food. Where do I start?

Spirit, Mind and Body =wholeness. When these three aspects of being are integrated we become realized. Peace and harmony with all creation can be achieved but one MUST LIVE in peeace and harmony with all creation before realization is achieved. Killing to eat is contrary to this goal. PERCEIVE, RECOGNIZE,, IDENTIFY, ACKNOWLEDGE, = REALIZED DIVINITY OR SUPERCONSCIOUSNESS. PRIARD. There is no other way to get there. Eating animals, fish, fowl etc. is self destructive. Wake up to this consciousness. Stop the killing and the killing will stop. PEACE IS IN THE HANDS AND AT THE DINNER TABLE.

As a person who has lived with Type I diabetes for 43 years, I was disappointed in what these doctors had to say. They made a myriad of references to "diabetes," and all the comments they made spoke to the fact that they had Type 2 diabetes in mind. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune-triggered illness. The immune cells that should be killing off enemies instead kill off "friends," in the way of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. From then on, insulin must be dosed via injection or insulin pump, and carbohydrates must be counted when eating in order to attempt to keep one's blood glucose level anywhere near a normal level. This disease is best explained by Catherine Price, in her 2009 New York Times article "Thinking About Diabetes With Every Bite." I wish Krista Tippett and the doctors who were featured on On Being today would take the time to read that article. I usually love On Being, and am a huge fan of Krista Tippett!

Great program. Enjoyed listening to it.

I was just delighted with this wonderful example of using a very conscious holistic strategy to lead a community transformation. My work is on describing such practices to convey the "expert knowledge" they represent. Because every community, the forces that create their needs, funding and organizing individuals all differ in each case, the "design pattern" needs to be more than a good narrative, but also to be described as a "simplifying ideal" for responding to a "recurrent problem". So what you try to isolate and define holistically is essential strategy that all variations contain "possible good solutions to a common design problem within a certain context, by describing the invariant qualities of all those solutions.” (Tidwell 1999)

This practice developed from Christopher Alexander's "pattern language" and seems to be spreading as general language for describing why holistic designs work. It's basically a structured way of using common language to be explicit in describing how holistic designs work and can be used. I'm part of a community using it for social transformations of many kinds. When applying it, everyone tends to learn a lot about what is really working and important to interconnect.

I'd be glad to help. One example with a condensed summary that's easy to look over, fyi, is for "A Pattern Language of Firefighting Frontline Practice" by Sebastian Denef in 2012.
Short highlights.

Krista Tippett and the team working with her have a rare knack for finding a path of quiet wisdom and and insights through many topics that are bristling with controversy, whether it's religion, civility, ethics, or the insights of science. The intense cross-currents and individual commitments around topics in the humanistic practice of medicine need that high level of skilled attention. My sense was that this program was rich with important insights, but was a bit less skilled in steering a path around partisan sentiments. When Krista said that these were people on the "front lines", I thought less of being at the leading edge of knowledge and insight, and more of a revolutionary group seeking to replace old models with new ones. Julia Burdick, seemed to sense the undercurrent of conflict as well, as she comments here on her worthwhile work to steer a balanced path in her own healing practice.
There is conflict enough to be sure, and it's an engaging story for listeners, but it also distracts from a more richly nuanced picture. My own medical education had those with a positivistic emphasis, but it also had Bernie Segal (still doing surgery, occasionally), it had sympathetic chaplain who broadened our views, and a little later, a Program for Humanities in Medicine was established. The orthopedists and the chiropractors never managed to see eye-to-eye, but there was a warmth to the birthing center and we had no trouble finding a team of nurse midwives practicing in the heartland of advanced academic medicine. A good friend is a naturopath, and though it's not totally smooth sailing, there have always been referrals back and fourth to MDs.
And now the priorities are shifting even at the academic hospital. There is art on the walls. There is a "Healing Garden" for cancer patients, with realistic rocks and a babbling brook, outside on a7th floor of a terrace, but near the center of the hospital. Yearly mandatory training for all staff encourages making eye contact and smiling when passing at 10 feet, and uttering a greeting when5 feet. There are real efforts to counter the rushed atmosphere and insularity of "scientific" insurance-reimbursed medicine.
There is a real interest in the "patient experience" backed by staffing and surveys of what that experience was. This is much more focused than compassion (Mark Hyman's comment not withstanding.) Compassion can be pushing to great lengths to save a life, at great cost to patient comfort, or it can be supporting a patient's move to hospice when they've decided it's time for their family to let go. On the other hand, patient experience is making sure no one wakes the patients at 5:30 AM to draw their blood, unless it really is medically needed, and also making sure staff have learned the patient's goals, and not just the elements of the therapy protocol. All of this is becoming part of orthodox medical practice. Studies show patients do better, and even insurance reimbursement is beginning to follow along.
Nutrition is evolving along with it. The big push for cheep food that Earl Butz started in the early 70's is beginning to run into recognized medical consequences, and nutrition is no longer just vitamins and minerals. Organic is approaching mainstream (and loosing some of health benefits in the process.) That's another complex story all on it's own, with committed campaigners and moneyed interests all its own.
Current medicine is a richer tapestry than the old holistic vs. orthodox medicine split, and it's all in flux as well. It's a major challenge to capture a subtle story in there, but if anyone has a chance of doing it, I'd put my bets on On Being to do it. (As they now say on the big screen, "May the force be with you.")

Who can dispute that the medical-industrial-complex (MIC), as some may call it, is in need of paradigmatic overhaul. Good as the show is, this segment was a bit meandering (or wide-ranging if you will), and may have lent the impression of a false dichotomy. In other words, if MIC isn't working for you, here is a diffuse set of functional alternatives that may do the trick. The term functional isn't ever defined. Science is self-correcting, whereas folk wisdom is not. If the notion isn't falsifiable, it's not science. One of the guests lost me at the mention of "voodoo," as offering something to learn from. The mention of a book by a poststructuralist philosopher was the final straw. But seriously, there was a real missed opportunity to discuss social determinants of public health, defined by the CDC ,to include elements of economic stability, education, health and health care, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context. The next time I or a loved one have a serious illness, personal intention of the practitioner is of minor importance. I'd take competence over compassion in the medical context any day, not they have to be mutually exclusive. But one is cake and the other is icing. Why is life expectancy longer than a hundred years ago in the West? Looking to the social determinants of public health for a meaningful answer may be the best bet.

Fabulous discussion! Thank you for talking about how to achieve health through breathing, through food, through community and through daily ritual.

As a RN in a small community I think I may do what you speak of, but I have wondered until now why I cannot put words to it, the interaction, the desire, and the in the moment approach. Yesterday I was thinking of starting a business on health advocacy, education and counseling--then I heard this! Can you please direct me to anyone with a private business in this within community? I have a RN, MSW and MPA in WA. Thanks for an encouraging podcast !!!

This was an enjoyable and informative conversation to hear! Thank you for the work each of you do; swimming upstream is a challenge and I am grateful for ya'll sharing what the bumps and bruises of the swim have taught you. I'm not sure if you will be reading or responding to these posts, but in the case that you are, or anyone else who has guidance, I have three question:

1. The social connection component is an obstacle for me currently. The anxiety I experience being around others, leaving the house to even check the mail, is crippling at this time. What approaches and techniques do you recommend as a starting point for researching and trying on to see if they are a good fit? How can I get around my fear of being seen to quench the yearning to be seen?

2. Last week I received some health news that is overwhelming and will alter my life, regardless of the changes I will make. I will be able to slow the course with changes, but the end will still be what it is. How do I begin to mourn the losses, the changes, from disease and disability that cannot be reversed? How do I build my own circle of care in a system that does not treat the person, but the diagnoses?

3. Time frames, what are realistic expectations for positive shifts with changes and what does a person do in the meantime while suffering? Lose weight is solid guidance and takes significant time. Yet it is handed out as the solution like it is an item that can be picked up with the groceries on the way home. Learning to calm a system in flight, fight, or freeze takes practice, but if you can't get to a state of being where practicing is possible or you are a slow learner, how do you manage the in between time?

It seems like the message I receive from well meaning care providers is "RELAX! HARDER! FASTER!" and "Get thin NOW!" but don't get guidance to books, websites, etc. Trying to sort through the thousands of possible resources is overwhelming when it is foreign material and you don't feel well. Even when you do find good resources, such as this episode, where to start is confusing.

I am an emergency medicine doctor and see far more food-spiritual-emotional based illness than acute and emergency needs. Behind headaches, back pain, joint pain and a host of other pain that drive many people to the emergency department, patients have no idea consciously the cause of the pain. On occasion I can connect to a patient and help them open a door to some other response than a pill. For the most part patients want a quick fix and move on. It is frustrating to participate in a health care system (in general) that is disease based and a culture that wants a quick fix without being a working participant to the solution.

I'm so happy to hear this episode on NPR, and yet I feel thwarted. I've been wanting to see a functional or integrative practitioner for years, yet have never been able to find one who accepts health insurance. To add to this, those I've found in NYC, where I live charge exorbitant rates, so I can't afford one visit, let alone several. Does anyone know a practitioner that doesn't fit that description?




Thank you for bringing such an inspiring discussion of holistic healing on public media.
I especially appreciated the contribution of James Gordon, grounded in a vast experience of the fires any genuine healer must walk through (e.g. his work with traumatized families in Haiti, Gaza, Kosovo, etc.). Even the tone of his voice seems to arise from a deep warm place.
Unfortunately, the merchants will always thrive in or around the temple and the ancient healing arts are systematically diluted and contradicted by their mercantile packaging into health recipes and tools. Yet, I'd rather live in a world where meditation mats (even as fashion items) outnumber guns... Had the writers of the Second Amendment practiced meditation instead of hunting, America would be a different country today, would it not?

Thank you for another wonderful program!

In reference to natural and holistic medicine, one should mention
Sebastian Kneipp, the 19th century german monk. He probably was the father of holistic medicine. He did extensive work on the healing power of water after using cold baths to cure himself of pulmonary tuberculosis which was uncurable during his time. He also avidly believed in the medicinal value of plants.

This was such a thoughtful, useful presentation. I work with Advocates Against Hunger and nutrition is a central part of what Advocates are trying to accomplish: a transformational approach to communities providing fresh, nutritional food to those in need. Healing is a central part for making our communities strong and contributing. Thank you for articulating the concepts.

Great broadcast !
I have long been a believer in the connection between the fuel you add to your body and your health ... would you put sand in your cars' gas tank and expect it to run ?
So glad hear the importance of gut health, physical health and mental health !! No longer thinking about dis ease ... I look at my health through the preventive lens.

I found the discussion very informative and subsequently did more reading. However, as the saying goes, "if all you have is a hammer, everything you see is a nail." Serious depression is caused by many factors, primary among those, our relationships and experiences with those in our formative years combined with the temperaments we are born with!

Currently I work in the medical field providing medical supplies for the elderly and sick. And I am currently in school to become an Nurse practitioner this episode was very informative and interesting. Even though I have little knowledge in this area I found Dr. Hyman's description on how our foods can greatly affect our health and longevity. It does make sense that the foods we put into our bodies for nourishment and energy could eliminate certain sickness and disease. My mother suffers from diabetes and all her life she ate salty and sugary foods and she never buys fruits and vegetables. Her health has declined and she still doesn't see the importance in eating healthy. After listing to this episode and reflecting on my families health I plan to change my diet and cut back on some of the bad foods I like to indulge in.
In this episode they also discussed how a persons culture, community and family can affect and either increase or decrease a person overall health. This supports some of the information that I learned in my psychology class. I would definitely have to agree with this concept. My mother was in a coma for 6 months when I was thirteen years old and the doctors all said she was brain dead and would never recover. Even though we heard nothing but bad news from the doctors my father, aunts, uncles and cousins wouldn't believe it and we went to the hospital every day faithfully. And one day she opened her eyes and said "I need a cigarette". I truly believe that our love and hope is what brought her back so love, family and community is important in healing.
After this experience I hated doctors and hospitals but when I got sick and was in the hospital for a month it was the nurses and their love to help people that changed my perspective. The nurses who cared for me gave me words of encouragement daily, they brushed my hair and cared for me like I was apart of their family. This made me want to become a nurse and help others so I could make them feel loved and cared for.

The message delivered during this interview is one that I had to share while I was listening via texts to a friend, and one that I will continue to share to anyone who will listen. Positive energy (I know it sounds cheesy, but I cannot think of another way to express the thought) and thanks to everyone involved.

I thought the discussion about food and functional medicine was really excellent and should be played for all doctors of all kinds. My experience has been to become a very well informed patient and to educate my own docs because while they are medically trained they are very uninformed about food and nutrition. Thanks for excellent listening!

Thank you for mentioning nurses...albeit toward the end of the discussion. I have a B.Sc.(N) from McGill University (1974)...and from the get-go was taught "holistic" nursing care. The best 6 months of my nursing career were spent with Dr. Balfour Mount and his colleagues at the Royal Victoria Hospital, was the only place I was permitted to actually *practice* the art of nursing. Try as we might, in other settings (paediatrics, hematology, general medicine...) nurses were continually bombarded with paperwork etc. in an effort to keep them away from the bedside (it was really bad if you had a degree; the system always wanted you to be in some sort of admin role). I moved to Calgary before hospices were known there...and eventually left the profession. On another of the doctors mentioned curing diabetes with proper nutrition. My late husband died after 47 years with TYPE 1 diabetes. It was not made clear on your program, but I believe that while Type 2 may be cured by proper eating, Type 1 -- not yet, at least, not until we discover how to reverse the destruction of Islet cells and/or the cause of this auto-immune disorder. I would appreciate it if in future you would have your guests be clear on the difference between the two types. Type 1 may be only 10% of the total diabetic population, but it currently is the part of the population facing the greatest challenge for a cure. Thank you, Krista, for all you do to keep us inspired, informed, thoughtful and encouraged. :-)

I really did not like reading this other article:

I reacted emotionally in the comments and then wished I hadn't.
It felt like a 'Killing The Messenger' hit piece.

Thoughts on helping me contextualize it?
I suppose it bothered me so much because a thought leader who I thought wouldn't traffic in this posted it on his blog.

"I am what I eat," is a mantra of mine. I think this episode has helped me meditate even further on this.

This is a worthwhile and encouraging podcast. It is wonderful to listen to this podcast and reflect on how far mind body, holistic and and functional medicine have come in the last 10 -15 years. And to imagine how far they will bring us in the coming years!

I think there are so many important points in this talk. However, as a yoga teacher and professional counselor in eating disorders and disordered eating I feel that there is too much negative talk about weight. I truly believe in health but as an advocate for Health At Every Size©, I would ask Krista that you have Linda Bacon speak on your show. Can we find acceptance around weight rather than talk about weight loss? Thank you for all that you do!

"What’s good about Functional Medicine is not unique, and what’s unique about it is not good." - Dr. David Gorski, Science-Based Medicine

If anyone wants to read the truth behind Integrative or Functional Medicine and Dr. Hyman, here is a valuable website.

I have so much respect for this program's producers and host, but this program is dangerously misleading by asking these practitioners the tough questions like why they feel like they can shirk the standards of science-based medicine.