Ep 116 – How Healing Works with Dr. Wayne Jonas

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“I call that integrative health.  Integrative health is a little different than complementary medicine, is different than integrative medicine.  Integrative health is the merger of conventional care like I learned, and you learned in your own medical training.  Evidence-based complementary practices, non-drug approaches, and then self-care: behavior and lifestyle. If you put those three together you have integrative health, and now we’re talking.  Now we’re able to really not only prevent a lot of illnesses, but in many cases, reverse a lot of chronic illnesses that plague our country today.” – Dr. Wayne Jonas

Dr. Wayne Jonas is a practicing family physician, an expert in integrative health, and a widely published scientific investigator. In addition to his medical practice, he has served as President, CEO, and Executive Director for Samueli Integrative Health Programs, Director of the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, and Director of the Medical Research Fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.  Dr. Jonas is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Medical Corps of the United States Army and a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Drawing on his experience from leading hundreds of research studies, Dr. Jonas authored the book How Healing Works, in which he explains the biology of healing and the science behind the discovery that 80 percent of healing occurs outside of our conventional medical care.  His goal is to change the way doctors and patients approach healthcare—away from a disease treatment model to an integrative system that incorporates the best of evidence-based conventional, complementary and self-care approaches.  Dr. Jonas’s advice can help us facilitate our own innate ability to heal after both minor and major medical incidents, change how we consume healthcare, and enable us to be more in control of our own health.

I first read Dr. Jonas’s book during my own residency in family medicine, and his message really resonated with the way I aspire to practice in my career.  I was excited to chat with him recently about the concept of integrative health and how research supports that taking care of the whole person– mind, body, and spirit– is imperative for long-term healing.

*Dr. Jonas’s bio adapted from his website.

In this episode we discuss:

  • What interested Dr. Jonas in a career in medicine and eventually family medicine
  • How he developed an interest in patient-centered care with a spiritual focus
  • The healing paradox: how 80% of healing occurs outside of modern conventional treatments
  • The definition of integrative health
  • How cultural context affects the preferred placebo delivery method and how placebo response should actually be called the healing response
  • Open placebo studies and how they demonstrate that intention, ritual, and belief can create healing
  • How to train the body to give a learned response to a conditioned stimulus
  • How mindset around lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise, can improve health
  • How one can start the process of healing through finding meaning and purpose
  • The importance of stress management and exercising the relaxation response to strengthen your parasympathetic nervous system
  • Where health comes from: the impact of physical environment, love, and social connections on health
  • Using visualization for healing
  • Jonas’s advice to physicians wanting to tap into the extra 80% of healing
  • How doctors and patients can use the HOPE Note to add integrative healthcare to a routine medical visit
  • Dr. Jonas’s daily life and practices he implements for his own self-care
  • Three things Dr. Jonas does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Dr. Jonas

You can follow Dr. Jonas on his website, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.