Lifestyle Medicine is the fastest growing branch of mainstream medicine in the world today.
In America only Medical Doctors (MD) which is equal to a Masters Degree are allowed to specialise in Lifestyle Medicine. Australia has adopted a different approach, anyone with an accredited Bachelor of Health, mainly Allied Health,Medical Doctors (MBBS) and not equal to a Masters Degree, with some exceptions – I was one, can study Lifestyle Medicine at Southern Cross University at graduate level. Graduate Certificate, Grad. Diploma, Masters Degree. To reach Masters you have to complete a Graduate Research Project at publishing standard, I chose reversing Type 2 diabetes for mine. I also took majors in Anxiety Diseases, Motivational Psychology, Epidemiology and working with doctors.
This is a perfect course for Naturopaths who enjoy high level research (a Masters Degree is an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Level 9, the only degree higher is the PhD (AQF 10) and there isn’t one in Lifestyle Medicine. Doctorates (PhD) not to be confused with medical doctors, a MBBS (medical doctor) is a level 7 degree and so is a Bachelor of Naturopathy and all other Bachelor degrees whereas a PhD is a level 10. Naturopaths can gain so much from evidence based learning and it will increase their credibility with scientists and unbiased doctors. In the near future this will be extremely important. We also need Naturopaths that can do scientific research, particularly quantitative research rather than qualitative research.
Naturopaths have always understood the connection between gut, brain, body and disease, mainstream medicine will arrive at this point in a few more years when Pharmaceutical Companies lose their grip on health. Naturopaths are also being trained to a large degree by the nutraceutical industry and will need to pay more attention to science.
What is the difference between Naturopathy/Complementary Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine.
A graduate from the Southern Cross University’s Master of Clinical Science (Lifestyle Medicine) Degree has been trained to a much higher level in research practice (doing research) and has been trained in critiquing skills required to be able to find and understand the important sections of a research paper, what is true, who it is applicable to and whether they used the correct methodology for their paper. Anyone can write lifestyle medicine into their marketing,and a lot of doctors and naturopaths are doing just that, so make sure you look for a practitioner that has actually passed a high academic course in Lifestyle Medicine. A Masters Degree is an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level 9 – second highest. This framework is extremely important because it enables people to compare degrees from all over the world.
Programs like Catalyst Gut Reaction part 1 & 2 on ABC this year showed what old Naturopaths already knew. For old Naturopaths food was the most important part of their arsenal for cure. Hippocrates the father of modern medicine said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. In 1902 or 3, when medicine wasn’t much more than snake oil, Thomas Edison the great inventor/scientist also echoed these forecasts when he said “The doctor of the future will prescribe no drugs, but instead will interest his patients in diet, exercise and looking after the human body”. That time has come. For the past decade genetics has been the focus of attention but now scientists concede it has been a failure with epigenetics now in the frame. Epigenetics studies the switches that turn the genes on, and diet, stress and lifestyle are the smoking gun that turns on disease.
One of the things I found fascinating during my masters was to learn that as countries become richer chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes type 2 become more prevalent. During hard times like recessions or wartime countries actually see a decline in these diseases and mortality from them. People actually get much healthier, this has been borne out in other studies of people living more spartan lives eg The Blue Zones.
When you look around the world at the places where people live the longest,healthiest lives (Blue Zones) several things stand out. One of the most striking is that money can’t buy you health, America spends a fortune on health but still comes in about 35th in the longevity stakes , ave lifespan from birth 77.6 years.Despite paying out more money for health than any other country the USA has ranked last amongst the developed countries in 2014, 2010, 2007, 2006, 2004. The USA also ranks last or near last in access,efficiency and equity. Japan on the other hand spends little on health and is running first in the longevity stakes with women living on average to 87.3 and men 85.0, so what makes the difference. Looking at hard science can confuse even people with high degrees and trained in using science so it is best to look at results and then let the scientists work out why it happened. From the science we think inflammation plays a major role, it certainly does in chronic disease. Pathogens ie any disease producing micro-organism usually bacteria or virus but there are other micro-organisms that can cause death in humans.
We also have to take into account the very recent research on human micro biome project http://www.hmpdacc.org/ and Catalyst Gut Reaction Part 1&2 and Martin J Blaser’s book ‘Missing Microbes’. Humans and their ancestors have lived with microbes since their beginning and 90 per cent of all of the cells in the human body belong to microbes with humans only owning 10 per cent, so we are really only a conduit for microbes.
If you owned a ninety per cent share in a business and someone else owned 10 per cent would you let them give the orders on how to run the business, I suspect it is the same with the microbes.
After I had spent a life time of studying diseases caused by lifestyle a new branch of mainstream medicine entered the modern health landscape. Lifestyle Medicine was born in 2009 in Australia, a bit earlier in America and as a Naturopath with diplomas in Nutritional Science and Naturopathy (and a few more) along with a degree – Bachelor of Naturopathy it made sense to move into a Master of Clinical Science – Lifestyle Medicine Degree with Southern Cross University in June 2010 and learn as much as possible about health research in this new emerging field.
As a founding member of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine (ASLM) now affiliated with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and the European Society of Lifestyle Medicine (ESLM) I have access to a wealth of research by the top researchers in this new exciting field.
After I graduated Sept 22, 2013 I decided to launch lifestylemedicinevillage.com and write health articles, and related stories of interest to anyone interested. I had to learn to make a website because a website like this would be very expensive to design, it will get better as I learn.
All content on this website is meant for information only and not designed to replace advice given by your doctor or other health practitioners, it has not been peer reviewed by any health group.
I do not like preaching the ABC’s of lifestyle medicine, instead I would like a more conversational style of writing bringing the facts to you and keeping it as simple as possible.