TEDMED 2009: The Future Of Mind-Body Medicine

This morning's session at TEDMED 2009 was a great moment for HuffPost Living. First up was HuffPost Living's Medical Editor, Dr. Dean Ornish, who also approved all the food served at the conference. Ornish, while standing on stage holding his beautiful baby girl, spoke about intimacy and how those who are lonely, depressed, or isolated are more likely to get sicker. "Anything that promotes connection is healthy," he said. He focused his talk around the fact that we're beginning to rediscover ancient spiritual truths and how it relates to our health and well being.

Next up was HuffPost Living blogger, Deepak Chopra, who spoke about his consciousness-based model for health. "Consciousness and biology are directly linked," Chopra said. He instructed us to turn our attention to who is listening to him speak. The room fell quiet. "I hope you feel a still presence and if you do that's your core consciousness called your soul," Chopra said. "Hold on to that part of yourself because it's the only thing that's real."

He repeated a common thread echoed throughout the conference that our genes and nervous system are not fixed and can change. He added his own twist that psychological information is transformed into biological information. His recipe for health? Recognize that we are all connected consciousness and take on divine attributes like loving-kindness, joy at the success of others, experience equanimity and you will be healed.

Dr. Andrew Weil
, the bearded pioneer of integrative medicine and HuffPost Living blogger said we need to stop giving lip service to prevention and health promotion and follow through with it. He rhetorically questioned how we can break our dependence on conventional medicine and answered by suggesting the integrative health model, which builds on conventional medicine to expand its usefulness and reduce its cost. Integrative medicine uses nutrition, mind-body therapy, botanical medicine, specific medicines like acupuncture, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine (among others), and instruction in self-care to educate physicians to be examples of health.

Last to speak on integrative medicine was fashionista and visionary behind the Urban Zen Foundation (and soon to be HuffPost Living blogger), Donna Karan. In an extraordinarily vulnerable talk, Karan recounted the death of her husband from lung cancer seven years ago and remembers his instruction: "Donna, you've got to help the nurses." She heeded his request and this year Urban Zen: To Find The Calm In The Chaos, is preparing to graduate 100 integrative therapists who have been trained to work in hospitals to start to transform the modern healthcare system by providing peace and calm for patients, loved ones, doctors, and nurses (they're even trained in bed yoga!). "Instead of dressing people, I wanted to address the needs at hand," Karan said. Beth Israel Hospital is the first to create a "sanctuary", designed by Karan, where loved ones, doctors, and nurses can de-stress and heal. Her vision? "I want to join forces with each and every one of you to create change in the medical system and create the optimum healing experience. "

Next: Can a video game cure cancer?...

Here's to your health!

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