I’ve recently been introduced to the concept of Slow Medicine. Slow Medicine is to the healthcare industry what slow food is to the restaurant industry. Instead of looking for a quick fix (cure), it provides the necessary time and asks the relevant questions for optimizing wellness and healing of the whole person (body, mind, soul, and spirit).
In the slow medicine paradigm, each person is recognized as the supreme authority of her own body, and health practitioners serve as our guides to help us navigate the maze of conventional, complementary, and alternative medicine options.
Michael Finkelstein, MD, has written a book, Slow Medicine: Hope and Healing for Chronic Illness, which will be released on January 27th. On his website he says, “everything is inter-dependent — muscles and nerves, bodies and minds, people and planet — and each connecting thread has a domino effect on the other. To achieve and sustain optimal health, we therefore need perspective that goes beyond the obvious symptoms. We need to become aware of each area of our lives and explore how to optimize our wellness, not only within each of these areas but also through their harmonious integration.”
This is congruent with the message Healing Journeys has been trying to convey for the past 20 years. We are more than bodies, and to treat cancer with only chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery will never be as effective as addressing the whole person. That’s why Integrative Medicine is gaining such traction. Treatments that take into account the quality of life, as well as the quantity, are more likely to affect both.
Dr. Finkelstein will be in Northern California on a book tour in February and there are several opportunities to hear him speak. You can see his schedule here. For those of you not in California, you might enjoy reading his blog here.
I especially liked the blog post called Stop Exercising. Doctor’s orders! Many of us at this time of the year are struggling with New Year’s resolutions to exercise on a regular basis. When it isn’t fun, making a resolve isn’t enough to keep me doing it. Dr. Finkelstein differentiates between “exercise” and activity or movement. While activity is important for health and wellness, “exercise” may not be the type of activity that promotes the mind-body integration that in turn connects all the dots of our health.
“There is something better. When we move, we can have fun and feel motivated by our endorphin rush. Ideally, the activity itself will be productive, like painting your kitchen, playing tag with kids, or picking up trash alongside the road. These kinds of activities produce a sense of deep gratification, fulfillment, worth, and belonging that lasts far longer than the endorphin rush from exercise.”
I enjoy walking when I do it with a friend. I enjoy jumping on my mini-trampoline or dancing when I have music to inspire and motivate me. I’m on the lookout for other activities that will get my body moving, and will also be productive or fun. It’s one way of practicing slow medicine in my own life.
I haven’t read Slow Medicine yet, but I believe in the concept and appreciate all efforts to bring it into mainstream healthcare. And I’m always looking for and learning new ways of “connecting the dots” of my own health.
As always, I welcome your comments; to reply please click here.
In the Spirit of Healing,
Jan Adrian, MSW
Founder and Executive Director