Beyond Treating the Sick: An Integrative Approach to Wellness – The Epoch Times
Most of us know that drugs aren’t the answer to all of our health issues, even if they’re the solution that doctors are most likely to offer us.
Disease is complicated. It comes from a variety of causes ranging from diet, stress, and environmental toxins to inborn qualities such as genes and even habits influenced by our family and culture.
Because of that complexity, truly freeing a person from illness requires a broader approach than using a drug to push back at one aspect of the illness.
That’s where a new form of medicine comes in, one that integrates all aspects of well-being. According to two doctors and their new book, to transform the way you feel, think, and look, you need a health care approach that integrates the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social, and nutritional aspects of well-being.
Drs. Daniel A. Monti and Anthony J. Bazzan regularly see patients who are interested in an approach that blends holistic medicine that supports the body and conventional medicine that attacks the disease. That’s why their integrative health practice has been such a success—they focus on prevention as much as treating illness.
During visits, patients often ask, “Why hasn’t anyone ever discussed these things with me before?” or “Why isn’t there more information out there about the kind of work you’re doing?”
That was the impetus behind their book, “Tapestry of Health: Weaving Wellness Into Your Life Through the New Science of Integrative Medicine.”
“Life keeps getting more stressful, the environment keeps getting more toxic, food keeps getting more unhealthy, and as a result, health outcomes and the health status of our country keeps declining,” Monti told The Epoch Times.
He has always been interested in the mind-body connection, as well as the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
“Understanding medical science was important, but it wasn’t enough,” he said.
Monti’s mission and the purpose of his book is to help people realize that they have incredible power to make changes in their lives. The mind-body architecture is more resilient than most can imagine, and no matter what they’re facing, Monti believes that there are things people can do that can make life better.
While the United States leads in frontline medical care, such as surgical techniques, pharmaceuticals, and trauma medicine, Americans are some of the least healthy people in the developed world, in part because the United States trails much of the world in preventing chronic health issues and maximizing wellness, according to Monti.
“Most people have not gotten the full set of tools they need to thrive,” he said.
Our country focuses too much on acute care medicine, which is what Monti calls a “reactionary approach.”
“There’s no doubt that this approach has saved many lives. But it is not enough,” he said.
He questioned why so many people are still getting sick with preventable illnesses and why the issue is exponentially bigger in the United States.
In 2022, 60 percent of adults in the United States have a chronic disease and 40 percent have two or more. Chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States and account for the majority of the $4.1 trillion in yearly health care costs.
“In many cases, these illnesses are significantly exacerbated by key lifestyle risk factors,” Monti said.
Some factors, such as tobacco use, are straightforward; others are more complex, such as the role of diet and specific nutrient deficiencies, physical inactivity, and the effect of stress on immunity.
“We see a lot of people with chronic health complaints that have not been adequately addressed by the health system. They have hit a wall, and the solution for them isn’t more drugs,” Monti said.
The real solution lies in the ideas and activities of people themselves.
Monti wants to see people become more proactive about their health—even if the health care system in the United States still largely promotes treatment with medication and surgery. Monti isn’t opposed to this approach, but when it’s used to the exclusion of other healing modalities, problems ensue.
Pharmaceuticals and surgeries are inherently risky. These are potent medical interventions that have a massive health impact, in and of themselves.
A study by John Hopkins Hopkins Medicine in 2016 estimated that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States every year.
The solution is a higher degree of personal responsibility.
“The old model of medicine being something that is done to you no longer works,” Monti said. “Be an active participant, particularly when it comes to your wellness and preventive care.”
People also need to be smarter about listening to the messages society sends us about health.
“For example, society has tried to normalize obesity as somehow healthy, but it isn’t. It is a medical problem with medical complications,” he said. “Fast food also is normalized, but that doesn’t mean people should be eating it all the time.”
Monti covers this in “Tapestry,” which has gotten a positive response on the whole, he said.
“The book offers a fresh perspective to these issues by not only reviewing the latest science on lifestyle factors people may have heard about but also by providing information on cutting edge, innovative approaches that few people know about,” he said. “The book even has examples of how people’s lab values and brain scans change when they follow our plan.”
Monti said many readers have realized that we often get to a better level of wellness through incremental changes that don’t always follow a straight path.
“I think the biggest revelation for many people is that we don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water. We can benefit from the advances in modern medicine, which clearly are not sufficient alone, and combine them with this more holistic approach,” he said.
Epoch Health articles are for informational purposes and are not a substitute for individualized medical advice. Please consult a trusted professional for personal medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. Have a question? Email us at AskADoctor@epochtimes.nyc