Integrative Medicine 101: Our Expert Explains All

After years of traditional cardiology practice, Dr. Mimi Guarneri, author of The Heart Speaks, discovered the success of a wide array of alternative healing disciplines and philosophies. She went on to co-found the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, for which she was most recently presented the Bravewell Leadership Award in Integrative Medicine by Dr. Oz.. Our friends at Spirituality and Health sat down with Dr. Guarneri to learn more about her journey of discovery and pioneering leadership in the area of integrative medicine.

Spirituality & Health Mag: What is our country’s biggest health problem right now?
Dr. Mimi Guarneri: Based on the current use of pharmaceutical therapy, we have a country that’s psychotic, depressed, and has heartburn and high cholesterol. I mean, what are we doing? The wake-up call for me has been about getting out there and empowering people to be passionate about their own life and their own health. When I teach my patients, I show them a picture of a fruit tree and ask them what they would do if their tree were sick. And they talk about all the great ways they would heal the tree: checking the sunlight, the water, and the soil. So I say, imagine that this branch is diabetes, and this branch is depression, and this branch is heart disease, and this branch is reflux. Would you go cut off the branches, bypass them, and throw out the sick fruit or fill it full of drugs?” And they say, “No, no, that doesn’t make sense.”

Immediately they realize we need to check the soil. Put in this perspective, people suddenly get it: they get how micro and macro nutrition interact with their genes, determining whether they’re going to be diabetic, determining whether they’re going to have inflammation that leads to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis.

S&H: If you had to pick one alternative practice for this entire country, what would it be?
MG: Meditation. Because I firmly believe when people have peace inside, when they go in and they feel connected to something larger than themselves, they have much less addictive behaviors. When you look at what is really driving a lot of illness, it’s addiction. It’s about addiction to food; it’s about addiction to alcohol, to drugs, to gambling, to sex, and tobacco. I mean, the list goes on and on and on, and of course on the other side, the research shows that those who meditate are more willing to give up their cigarettes; they give up their alcohol; they start to have healthier behaviors. I have really changed from looking at health from a physical outside-in to a spiritual inside-out.

Click through to read the rest of Dr. Mimi’s interview and to learn about her journey into an integrative practice.

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