I recently had the opportunity to attend the launch of the Evolution of Medicine Summit, an online community of doctors and practitioners of holistic and functional medicine. The event really piqued my interest in learning more about integrative healthcare—and it gave me the chance to connect with James Maskell, the host of the summit and founder of Revive Primary Care and the Functional Forum. James not only hosted the first Evolution of Medicine Summit, but also expanded on the idea by creating a weekly podcast where he engages in dialogue with similarly minded medical professionals.
When I heard that my friend Dr. Dana Cohen was going to be a guest on James’s podcast, I tuned in right away. Dr. Cohen is not only a passionate and caring holistic healthcare practitioner, but she is also on the front lines of the newest research and happenings in integrative medicine in her capacity as program director and member of the Board of Directors of the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM).
Dr. Cohen is currently gearing up for ACAM’s biyearly conference in Las Vegas this November, where physicians and health professionals will speak about immunology and its applications in the areas of managing cancer, autoimmune disease, and other chronic illnesses. The conference has served as a meeting of the minds for the top professionals in the integrative medicine field, including James, who said that the ACAM conferences have played a role in his career and inspired him to learn everything he could about the human microbiome.
Here are just a few tips I picked up from Dr. Cohen’s conversation with James Maskell:
Look to the gut: “I tell my patients that as holistic doctors, we look for the root cause first,” Dr. Cohen said. “And with any autoimmune disease, we look to the gut first…Other doctors, they’re putting Band-Aids on things…we need to figure out why this is happening—before it’s too late.” Dr. Cohen uses the example of Crohn’s disease, a gastrointestinal condition that is often accompanied by autoimmune symptoms, as a clue that other autoimmune diseases may have a gut correlation.
Eliminate problem foods: “If you don’t know where to start,” said Cohen, “just try a gluten-free, dairy-free diet. Try it, you have nothing to lose.” Though Dr. Cohen added that she doesn’t believe everyone is gluten or lactose intolerant, she has seen immense success with her patients who have eliminated these common food triggers from their diets. She also recommends eliminating eggs and soy.
Find an integrative healthcare provider: Dr. Cohen said, “I often say what truly makes me the most alternative of my peers that I graduated medical school with is that I’m afforded the time to listen and talk to my patients because I don’t take insurance.” Dr. Cohen noted that what makes integrative healthcare so different is the opportunity to look at symptoms as one big picture instead of as several coexisting conditions.
To conclude their discussion, James asked Dr. Cohen a question he’s asked many of his guests before: what does “the evolution of medicine” mean to you? “Using food as medicine,” Dr. Cohen answered, “going back to basics from caveman days.”
What do you think of integrative medicine? Would you try any of Dr. Cohen’s advice?