Dr. Dean Ornish
Andrew Weil M.D.
Dr. Dean Ornish Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute
It is. It's holistic. It's integrative. It's not just focusing on one aspect. It's looking at it in the context of how it all ties together. When we can work at that level, then we find that the changes can be much more powerful, much more permanent, and often without the side effects and the costs and the painful choices that you have to make otherwise.
Andrew Weil M.D. Best-Selling Author, Speaker & Integrative Medicine Thought-Leader
I think-- first, it's not what goes on now in the name of preventative medicine. There's a whole specialty of preventative medicine. But historically it's mostly dealt with things like sanitation and immunization, which is great, but that's not really the meat of prevention. The meat of prevention has to do with lifestyle medicine.
And in my view-- well, what we do in integrated medicine is much closer to that. I see people who are well, who come to me for preventative lifestyle counseling. I can look at their family history and maybe in the near future will look at their genomes as well, their personal history. We spot areas of risk. We look at the lifestyle choices that they're making, and we tell them how to tweak that in a better direction.
There's actually very little of that done today mainly because it -- it's not paid for. That as much as we talk about prevention, that's not where we put our money.
And the practical obstacle to making changes here is priorities of reimbursement -- that what insurance pays for is for procedures, for diagnostic tests, for giving drugs. It does not pay for a doctor to sit with a patient and talk to them about how to eat or to teach them a breathing exercise to relax or give them advice about exercise. It's just not paid for.
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