Is it Time for a Different Approach to Medicine?  

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Is it Time for a Different Approach to Medicine?  

Is conventional medicine failing us all? Are physicians disproportionately focused on managing sickness rather than on caring for and creating health? Is it time for a different approach to medicine? I would strongly argue the answer to these questions is yes!

Early on in my medical career, my work in trauma and intensive care  accustomed me to viewing “full recovery” as the standard. In trauma everyone works together with the same goal and mission, to address the initial emergency, stabilize, heal and restore. But with cancer and chronic diseases, the approach is quite different.  

Most doctors fail to appreciate the concept of real health and how to fully restore it.

Consider these hard truths: 

As disheartening as the numbers above are, these problems are exacerbated by other issues in the medical field.

A doctor diagnosing a sick person

For instance:

  1. We treat symptoms – We prescribe a drug for hypertension, surgically excise a tumor, or administer an antibiotic for an infection. But we fail to ask the more important questions: Why is the patient’s blood pressure elevated in the first place? What lifestyle, nutritional, or environmental factors made it possible for the cancer to proliferate? What conditions made the patient vulnerable to developing a serious bacterial infection?  
  2. We over-specialize – The vast majority of our physicians focus on a single organ system, but the majority of diseases affect multiple, if not all, body systems. Diseases do not recognize “organ boundaries” in the body. Our doctors don’t work as a team in looking a “whole” person approach.  
  3. The drug industry funds most medical advertisements and research studies.  Knowledge and awareness about non-drug, natural therapies and breakthroughs rarely see the light of day.

It’s time to stop treating symptoms

We are stuck. Not only are the pharmaceuticals that individuals are prescribed not fully effective for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, anxiety, asthma, allergies and the myriad of medical problems we have today but also the invasive medical procedures rarely correct the underlying imbalances in the body. They don’t help with actual rebuilding of healthy tissue.  It may be hard to believe but iatrogenic illness, death caused by adverse reactions to medications and complications from invasive procedures, represents the third leading cause of death in the United States

To make matters worse, we have gotten away from our evolutionary physiology. For 99% of humankind’s history, we have lived in the presence of frequent physical and environmental stress along with cleaner air and higher levels of oxygen. From seeking shelter, to avoiding temperature extremes, to hunting and gathering, to dealing with famine, comfort was a rare treat.   

But our lives today are no longer characterized by physical challenge. Since the mid-twentieth century, we have been living in a way that is radically different from the way any species has ever lived, in a way that our bodies are not designed to thrive in. We are the first to experience continuous comfort, and it is eroding our health in the process.  When we take away those physical and environmental challenges and when we don’t get enough cellular oxygen, we have a recipe for metabolic and immune disaster. 

Comfort culture is harming to your health

Health person running

We gain un-shedable pounds. We ache and feel fatigued. We’re more susceptible to illness, autoimmunity, and cancer. We’re living longer but aging prematurely. Our bodies are completely coddled, but we’re more mentally stressed than ever. What’s going on? 

The answer lies in the fact that we’ve lost touch with our innate hormetic systems. Hormesis is from the Greek word, “to excite”. It’s a cellular state of health-building following exposure to a mild or moderate stressor. As humankind adapted to life on this planet, our bodies not only learned to cope with physical stressors, they began to require them. 

Shouldn’t this be part of our medical model? Shouldn’t we leverage our bodies resilience to build our health instead of coddle it with unnatural and invasive interventions?  It’s time for a paradigm shift!

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week where I lay out the groundwork for what a new medical model could and should look like. 

Be well. Here’s to your health!

Dr. Saltzman

How to Manage Stress During These Uncertain Times

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How to Manage Stress During These Uncertain Times

In these unprecedented times, I ask all of my patients to take a deep breath. I ask them to do controlled breathing exercises. I ask them to do short bursts of intense exercise followed by complete recovery. I ask them to get fresh air and find pure oxygen if it is available.  Then I tell them to get in an ice bath! This helps them to manage stress effectively. 

Why you ask? 

All of these activities tap into innate functions of the human body to lower stress and build immunity.  Stress can cause and exacerbate the most dreaded diseases we face today including Type I diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune disease, infertility, heart disease, osteoporosis and more. Even COVID-19 is exacerbated by stress. It suppresses immune function, it depletes our oxygen, it causes inflammation, all of which make us more vulnerable to not only contracting the virus but having a more severe and longer reaction.  But stress can also activate our most powerful cellular machinery promoting health, longevity and optimal immune function.

How can this be you ask?

Animals, like humans, appeared 2.5 million years ago.  For almost our entire history we lived as foragers in the wild. Human stress resulted from acute physical and environmental challenges – injury, cold, predators, and famine.   We were, and still are, designed to deal intelligently with these short-term physical and environmental stressors. As humankind adapted to life on this planet, our bodies not only learned to cope with physical stressors, they began to require them. 

However, today we mostly face mental stress that we have no evolutionary history to cope with, let alone use to our benefit.  These have become chronic stressors around work, family, money, traffic, global pandemics. The list goes on. Stress continues to play a pivotal, but different, role in our lives just like it did 2.5 million years ago.

How do we get more of the good stress? And less of the bad?

The human body has an innate ability to self heal using its most powerful cellular capabilities. We increase health by giving our bodies new and appropriate challenges to adapt to. This concept is termed, Hormesis, from the Greek word, “to excite”.  Our bodies need appropriate physical and environmental stressors in order to turn on some of our most vital metabolic functions and immune system activities.

My integrative approach to medicine, and the basis of my practice, consists of three components:  Foundational care, oxygen therapies, and applying physical and environmental challenges in a safe and beneficial way. 

Those challenges kick our immune, metabolic, cardiovascular, and many other systems into a higher, restorative gear. 

Our stress response is mediated by the autonomic nervous system which branches out to every organ, every blood vessel and every set of glands in our bodies.  So if we can replicate the stress response that our ancestors had millions of years ago, we can optimize all facets of our health today.

How do you do that? 

 

Photo of a healthy older couple doing yoga at home.

 

I have spent the last 20+ years researching and understanding how our bodies are hard wired and what we need to do to tap into the beneficial stressors.  My patients do not get prescriptions for pills and surgeries to fix their problems. I address the foundational issues and health goals of my clients, recommend oxygen therapies and apply a combination of various challenge therapies in the areas of cold therapy, fasting, exercise and even ozone therapy.  While some of these therapies require a physician and equipment to successfully complete, there are many things anyone can do from home that will deliver powerful results.

To learn more about these challenge therapies and the myriad of health benefits they provide, review the material on the website or take a look at my book, “Dancing with Darwin. Challenge Therapies for Optimal Health”. 

It’s time for a different approach. Let’s cause health!

Steve Saltzman, M.D.

We’re Just Surviving

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We’re Just Surviving

Modern life has resulted in some very real health benefits, from clean water and basic sanitation to life-saving surgical procedures. We have cars that can drive themselves and phones that can order a pizza with one click.  Most of us work and live in climate-controlled comfort. But this lifestyle has created surprising health risks: diabetes, obesity, heart disease and chronic pain are all reaching epidemic levels.

We are the first generations to live in continuous comfort, and that comfort is eroding our health. Health is our ability to adapt to all kinds of physical and environmental challenges – and our comfortable lifestyle is taking that away, especially as we age.

Dr. Steven Saltzman, a Johns Hopkins-trained anesthesiologist and integrative medicine specialist, realized early in his career that modern medicine wasn’t working for many people with those chronic diseases. (link to Steve bio – consulting page) Patients were being treated for symptoms and not the actual cause of their health issues. Why should someone take two different pills for high blood pressure? He realized that to help people thrive, not just survive, something had to change.

After years of research, Dr. Saltzman determined modern day stressors from our comfortable lifestyle set the stage for pain and disease: nutrient deficiency, toxicity, hormonal imbalance, and stress. In addition to these stressors, he discovered low cellular oxygen levels also cause us to be susceptible to disease and other issues like poor athletic performance. When cells don’t get enough oxygen or use it inefficiently, they produce less energy. Less cellular energy means cellular function can be impaired.   Just like any engine that begins to fail, we become prone to disease if our cells don’t work well.

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Cold Exposure Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Benefits Blood Sugar Control in Diabetics

Cold Therapies

Cold Exposure Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Benefits Blood Sugar Control in Diabetics

SJS Comment. This is a huge increase in insulin sensitivity (the underlying problem of Type 2 Diabetes) in an extremely short period of time.

“Cold exposure may be a potential therapy for diabetes by increasing brown adipose tissue mass and activity. Here we report that 10 days of cold acclimation (14–15 °C) increased peripheral insulin sensitivity by ∼43% in type 2 diabetes subjects.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3891

 

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