Tag Archives: Dean Ornish

All You Need Is Psychosocial Support

“What we call psychosocial support in medicine,” explained Dean Ornish, MD, a few minutes into his talk at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium this morning, “is really just another way of saying love.” Speaking about his program’s focus on four key aspects of patient lifestyle, he highlighted food, stress response, exercise, and lastly, love and support.

On the surface, the importance of love in healing sounds cheesy and trite, but like the Beatles song, once you hear it, feel it and experience it, you can’t resist it.

Ornish is certainly onto something. Over the years, he has made real strides bringing integrative medicine to the mainstream.  Recently, Medicare agreed to provide coverage for his comprehensive lifestyle change prescription to reverse heart disease.  Not only will this make integrative medicine accessible to more people, it will help medical practices that approach health holistically fund their important work.

No doubt about it, Dean Ornish is spreading the love.  And to that end, I’ll share some of the things he told us today about the crucial roles of altruism, compassion and forgiveness in health and healing. (Find more on on OrnishSpectrum.com)

Fear is not a motivator for healthy change, feeling better is.

Our need for love, connection and community is as powerful as our need for food, air and water.  (He cited the successes of Facebook and Starbucks as examples of businesses that met an unmet need.  Connecting with others, via the internet or congregational coffee lounges, satisfies us.)

As with more exercise and better nutrition, your brain gets more blood flow and oxygen with more love.

This Valentines day, try spreading around some of that psychosocial stuff.  We need it!

Related story: Dr Vegan Goes to Washington

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Holistic Health: Shroom Love + 10 Other Top CAM Moments in 2011

Don’t miss HuffPo’s Healthy Living channel’s round up of the year in integrative medicine.  They call these events “breakthroughs” but since so much of complementary and alternative medicine news is about evidence and acceptance (if not use) I think words like moments, turning points, or happenings are more apt.  Regardless, great stuff, including Dean Ornish’s appointment (you read it here–Dr Vegan Goes to Washington).  Read more>>  11 Integrative Medicine Breakthroughs of 2011

December 28th add on:

John Weeks follows up with a good post about the year in integrative medicine policy and action.


Holistic Health Today: Doctor Vegan Goes to Washington

Dean Ornish, MD, who helped former president Bill Clinton go vegan to reverse his heart disease, is going to help Mr. Obama now. Yesterday President Obama announced his plans to appoint Ornish to the role of Member, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health.  Dr. Ornish is the founder of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

The author of The Spectrum, Ornish is known for his integrative approach to treating heart disease with measures such as plant-based diet and stress reduction techniques like meditation.  His holistic healing plan made some political waves earlier this year, when Medicare started covering “Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease” when offered by trained and certified hospitals and physicians