Dean Ornish – Proponent of Complementary Medicine
We know that Complementary Medicine is practiced when conventional medicine is used in tandem with Alternative Medicine methods. So perhaps you have also heard of Dean Ornish, M.D. – physician extraordinaire. This doctor has been able to prove through his patients that a combination of dietary changes, meditation, and exercise can effectively halt and even reverse the progression of instances of heart disease. This is the first research program that has been able to prove such claims.
Ornish, a holistic cardiologist who is a former student of Swami Satchidananda, has been so successful at preventing heart disease from progressing in his patients over the past 25 years that he was able to convince Medicare to shoulder the expenses of the patients who took part in his program. Ornish commented that the fact that the program could reap savings for Medicare was more convincing than if he had informed Medicare that the participants aimed to become one with the universe. This shows that though Western health care systems are oriented towards the bottom line, they may still be convinced of the efficacy of alternative forms of medical care.
Ornish has been working at the Preventive Medicine Research Institute to prove that even patients with severe cases of heart disease stand to benefit from his highly-effective program. The program emphasizes changes in diet and lifestyle that go beyond what was previously recommended by medical practitioners before. Ornish and his colleagues at the Institute opted to devote their efforts towards heart disease since it is the leading killer of people in the US alone. But his research on the positive impact of lifestyle changes can help not just people with heart disease but patients who have other life-threatening conditions as well (such as arthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.) The program may also be able to reduce the risk for participants to become victims of various forms of cancer (like prostrate cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer.)
One interesting aspect of Ornish’s beliefs is that he considers love to have a relationship with the healing of a patient. He thinks that one’s survival hinges on the love one experiences from the people around him. Sustaining love comes from the community. In short, no man is an island, no man stands alone. This is why the Ornish program has a support group component integrated into it. Ornish cited other research that show it is more likely that people who have feelings of loneliness and depression will become ill and die early compared to individuals who enjoy caring and ties with their community.