Last year watching a Ted talk I discovered an interesting doctor who I dubbed the ‘Obama of Medicine’. Ranjan Chatterjee is forward thinking, passionate about changing our attitude towards health, seems both chic and cool- not unlike Obama.
You can imagine my surprise when I bumped into him on the tube last week and in a bold move asked him about his expertly delivered Ted Talk ( on chronic disease and how to address the problem by treating the root cause through lifestyle/functional medicine.)
Cut to a conversation about the vital importance of promoting lifestyle and that alternative medicine is a valid route to end chronic disease. This was inspiring for a number of reasons;
A) No one speaks to strangers on the tube ( but he’s from the Midlands and I’m Antipodean so we didn’t adhere to this rule.)
B) He is making a splash in the mainstream media for all of us that believe prevention is the way forward for modern health especially for chronic conditions.
C) Someone needs to start the conversation about new ways to view these health problems (remember we once promoted that smoking was good for you. #fail)
The Chinese have been on the ‘root cause’ bandwagon for thousands of years. It is called ‘ben and biao’ The root (ben) which is the cause and the branch (biao) which is the symptom. As an acupuncturist, I search for the root cause of all illness , treat that and mostly the symptoms alleviate. This theory is not quantum physics its basically, gardening.
Dr Chatterjee has evidence that the cause of most chronic conditions (he mentions type 2 diabetes, dementia, anxiety / depression and auto immune conditions as examples) can be removed by looking at the individual’s lifestyle. Things like diet, sleep quality, gut health, physical exercise, environmental toxins, stress etc.
‘Our genetics are not our destiny. Our genes load the gun but our environment pulls the trigger.’ This marries with the 5 Element philosophy of treating the individual and the root cause.
Prevention is better than cure. Mend the house before it falls down. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. All the cliches apply- that is why they are cliches.