Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time

Tag: Slow Medicine

Slow Medicine (Cont’d.)

slow medicineIf you are a regular GlassHospital reader, you may recall a recent post describing the concept of Slow Medicine.

Author and doctor Michael Finkelstein has just re-released his book, now called Slow Medicine: Hope and Healing for Chronic Illness. It was previously published in 2013 under the title 77 Questions for Skillful Living.

Finkelstein has had an interesting journey. He trained in internal medicine at Penn, and eventually became the medical director of a hospital. Increasingly, he felt that he was not living a life that promoted health — either for his patients or himself. He wound up enrolling in Dr. Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine fellowship, as a member of the third cohort offered from what is now a well-established and internationally famous center.

Unlike many practitioners of so-called complementary/alternative medicine, Finkelstein in no way rejects “Western”/conventional medicine. He has simply chosen to expand his conventional US medical training by adding elements of other traditions that he has found most effective in helping those with chronic illnesses — the ones that conventional medicine often fails to impact.

Finkelstein lives on a working farm that he has named SunRaven, which is only 50 miles outside of New York City. He gave it that name because the property’s previous owners had used the farm to nurture injured and stray animals, including a raven. In addition, he came across a Native American parable about the SunRaven returning light and healing to the world.

I interviewed him about the release of his newly-titled book for Public Radio Tulsa, and came away feeling that SunRaven is a place I’d like to visit.

Tortoises and Hares

slowmedimageI’ve become increasingly aware of a movement, a philosophy, an attitude called Slow Medicine.

The concept is an outgrowth (and homage) of the Slow Food movement.

I’d heard about Slow Medicine from the book “God’s Hotel” by Victoria Sweet, who practiced for two decades at Laguna Honda Hospital outside of San Francisco. Let’s just say that Laguna Honda is not your typical American hospital.

A concept that Sweet shared really stuck with me: viewing the human body as a garden to be tended (a medieval view) instead of the modern attitude of the human body as a machine to be fixed.

Think about that.

More recently, I was fortunate to be included as a recipient of “Updates in Slow Medicine” from two doctors, Pieter Cohen and Michael Hochman, who both trained at the Cambridge Health Alliance, in Massachusetts. That’s where I also trained as a resident.

Their work really resonated, so I was lucky to be able to write about it for NPR:

Post by NPR.

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