Currently, unhealthy lifestyle practices account up to 63% of all deaths and a major reason for the inflation of chronic diseases. Moreover, with the traditional approach of conventional medicine, the figures are only getting worse.
Need for a Paradigm Shift in Health Care
Unsurprisingly, the United States spends highest on its health care than any other country. On the contrary, its citizens get very little value in return. An expert panel commissioned by the National Institutes of Health, released a new report wherein the U.S. ranked lowest on variety of health measures.
The primary protocol for treating lifestyle diseases such as obesity, Type-2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and other such chronic illnesses is by prescribing medicines and other pharmaceutical products leading many to personal bankruptcies.
As the existing health care system revolves around benefiting the medical industry, citizens suffer from a disease management approach that merely “mops the floor” by stalling the symptoms through medicines, rather than “turning off the faucet” and finding the root cause of the illness.
Yes, traditional medicine is important but, fact of the matter is chronic diseases are a consequence of improper diet and lifestyle choices. Our primary concern as healthcare professionals should be to help patients with long-term holistic lifestyle choices and provide alternatives to cope with their everyday stress and emotional conflicts. This is possible only when we upgrade our existing healthcare model.
Lifestyle Medicine: The Answer to Chronic Health Problems
However, recent advancements in the field of epigenetics indicate the efficacy of evidence-based lifestyle medicine in altering human metabolism and reversing the ill effects of poor lifestyle practices. This new line of treatment has opened many doors for physicians looking for a more systematic approach in dealing with lifestyle-related health issues of their patients.
In addition, while the health care system is shifting its priority from fee-for-service system to pay-for-performance system, this has made the process of integrating lifestyle medicine into our existing health care system a lot more feasible.
Furthermore, it is encouraging to see many physicians eager to integrate lifestyle medicine into their medical practice.
What is Lifestyle Medicine?
Lifestyle medicine is a newly emerging healthcare system involving implementation of lifestyle and alternative therapies in a systematic manner for the treatment of chronic diseases. It not only works as “disease prevention,” but also as “risk prevention”- reducing the risk factors leading up to a disease.
However, applying lifestyle medicine techniques requires physicians to possess several skills and competency for the treatment of special health risk behaviors and bringing about healthy lifestyle practices among patients.
Areas for modification include nutrition, physical activity, lifestyle changes, body weight control, patient compliance, stress and coping, spiritual, mind-body techniques, to name a few.
Challenges of Integrating Lifestyle Medicine
Patient adherence is paramount for the success of any medical treatment. Currently, many health care providers lack in applying basic knowledge about lifestyle and functional medicine. Even if they succeed in advising patients on “what to do,” chances of patients’ non-compliance are still high.
Another challenge for physicians is to find the root cause of symptoms and provide precise behavioral modifications to tackle patient’s health issues.
Therefore, a change in health care system also calls for change in the role-play of physicians: where they should not only tell “what” the patients should do, but also participate as a health coach and educate them about the benefits of healthy lifestyle modifications and provide alternatives and motivation for their easy transition.
Availability of Health Coach Training Institutes
Nonetheless, there is plenty of lifestyle medicine and health coach institutes available, which help health care professionals, gain lifestyle medicine education.
Likewise, the Lifestyle Prescriptions University, which is the world’s only Lifestyle Prescriptions® Training School, provides a 12-Month Lifestyle Prescriptions® Health Coach Certification Program for health care practitioners from varied fields of medicine.
Besides imparting sound knowledge about Lifestyle and Integrative Medicine, it also teaches health practitioners to write effective Lifestyle Prescriptions® for easy application of lifestyle medicine into their practices and further expand their career and core responsibilities as a medical practitioner.
Lifestyle Prescriptions® involves a deeper understanding of the mind-body, social and emotional connection with response to stress.
It teaches health care practitioners the following skills:
- Root-Cause Diagnosis- a unique retrospect of the bio-psycho-socio root cause on various health issues using descriptive Organ-Mind-Brain reference charts.
- Root-Cause Solutions: Writing effective clear-cut solutions based on Energy Psychology Techniques and Coaching skills to help patients make micro-habit improvements and stimulate their body’s self-healing process.
- Business Set-up and Training to run a smooth micropractice.
Therefore, Lifestyle Prescriptions® Health Coaches and Root-Cause Specialists can provide top quality Lifestyle Medicine solutions based on Psycho-Social Root-Cause Analysis to their patients and work towards reducing the burden of chronic diseases on the nation.