Letter from Publisher
Last year, during the busy holiday season a head and chest cold tripped me up and sent me to my doctor, who prescribed a separate medication to address each of several symptoms. I thought… Wouldn’t it be better to treat my condition in way that dealt directly with the source rather than just peripheral issues? More, even though prevention is currently Western medicine’s only cure for the common cold, how is it that the value of holistic and preventative treatment is often overlooked.
Our health is often a casualty of stressful schedules, unhealthy habits, toxic chemicals introduced into our environment and other factors. Poor health can sabotage our lives. No one wants to sit at a concert with a headache or meet friends for dinner while nursing a toothache, much less attempt to navigate everyday life while battling some bothersome ailment. Yet too few pay attention to what it takes to stay healthy until some symptom can no longer be ignored.
I run a martial arts and fitness facility and students regularly come to class with minor injuries or soreness for which some seek medical attention. Recently, a student with a sore knee said his doctor advised that running, jumping and kicking are bad for knees and advised him to cease such activities. Of course we need to avoid stressing joints, but what does a cessation of an active lifestyle mean for the rest of the body? Surely there are variations of activities and options we can consider that will keep both body and spirit happy and healthy.
As this month’s feature article by Lisa Marshall, “The Rise of Functional Medicine” explains, it’s past time for all of us, including physicians, to get back to treating the body as a whole organism. Among other things, it calls for a collaboration of generalists and specialists sharing information and focusing on prevention as well as the most natural and least invasive treatment possible. I know I would be more likely to follow an recommended regimen prescribed by a provider interested in optimizing my overall health as opposed to only making the acute symptom disappear or aching body part feel better.
Good ongoing self-care with an eye to the bigger picture is the best medicine I’ve found. The alternative is a perpetual cycle of abusing our bodies with poor food, unhealthy habits, lack of exercise and other questionable choices, and then running to a specialist to try to fix whatever ailment crops up. America is fortunate to have a variety of healthcare practitioners and facilities to help us deal with issues that arise and surprise, but keeping our focus on supporting overall physical and mental health goes a long way to preventing problems before they start. My hope is that this approach will help me enjoy a good quality of life in my elder years; in my view, it beats longevity regardless of health.
In peace and health,
Michelle Vacanti, Publisher