Author Archives: Wayne B Jonas

Veterans Success, National Success

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A person’s ability to heal and fully recover after stressful and traumatic experiences is powerful, but also completely normal. There is no place in the United States where this is as evident as it is among our veteran and military service members. This is the message we should all hear on this Veterans Day.

Most of the discussion you hear in the nation about veteran’s health is focused on the struggles of a few. We read about veteran homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, chronic pain and drug use, and the need for education and employment. But these very serious problems are prevalent in a small minority of the 25 million veterans alive today.

Continue reading “Veterans Success, National Success” »

Integrated Before Integrative

Wayne - Fountain pen

Let’s cut the confusion.  One hears a lot of talk these days about “integrative” health care.

In fact, the name of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recently changed to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. We also hear a lot about the need to have “integrated” systems built into our health care. Approaches such as the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), Accountable Care Organizations (ACA) and improved systems of care are built into the Affordable Care Act.  Continue reading “Integrated Before Integrative” »

4 Questions for Medical Providers to add HOPE to Health Care

iPad and stethescope

Doctor with patientWhat would a medical encounter look like if we were focused on Healing Oriented Practices and Environments (HOPE) in health care?

I propose it would consist of four components that are essential to creating health. These would be in addition to the areas already included in the traditional medical assessment called SOAP, which are the subjective-objective-assessment and plan assessment that come in making a traditional medical diagnosis and treatment.

The four components of HOPE are reflected in the following questions:

1. What is your goal and intention for your healing? What do you want to heal?

  • This may be  a certain percentage less pain, ability to climb stairs or play with a grandchild
  • Rate your health and what you expect can happen (1-10)
  • Why are you here in life? What is meaningful for you? What is your purpose?

This addresses a person’s the inner environment — their desires, their beliefs, and their needs—their  reason for getting up in the morning, their purpose in life—what’s meaningful for them?  What gives them a sense of wellness and motivation? 

Sometimes a simple thing such as spending time in the woods, or with family, is the primary avenue into treating their pain. Sometimes the goal of being able to play with their grandchildren will generate the physical activity necessary to prevent a future illness or disease that could impair them. Sometimes it’s the desire to serve their country, or their God.  

2. What are your connections and relationships?

  • Do you have family, friends, live alone, have hobbies, and have fun? Can you get rides to airport?
  • Tell me about yourself. Tell me about your traumas. Do you have a best friend? Are you part of a group? A club? How often do you meet?

So often the reason and process for healing has to do with social relationships — with family, friends, communities and colleagues.  Therefore, after we finish putting lines around the box of the diagnosis and the treatment, let’s capture the social components and the interpersonal components that drive an individual in their daily life. 

3. What do you do during the day? What is your lifestyle like?

  • Do you smoke or drink? What about diet, exercise, sleep and water?
  • What do you do for stress management? How do you relax, reflect and recreate?
  • What is your CAM use (supplements, herbs, other practitioners)?

Lifestyle and behavior can impact up to 60-70 percent of chronic illnesses; therefore these behaviors are essential for creating health.

4. What is your home like? Your work environment? Do you get out in nature?

  • This includes light, noise, clutter, colors, plants, walls.

The communities, the work sites, the schools and the environment in which our patients live, often dictate what they’re able to do, what happens, how long they live, and how well flourish, and how well they function. The physical environment, then, needs to be explored.

Let’s make asking these questions a routine part of medical care. 

The HOPE note is one powerful component in transforming your practice into an Optimal Healing Environment. To learn more about Samueli Institute’s research into Optimal Healing Environments, visit SamueliInstitute.org.

How Communities Heal

Wayne - Fountain pen

In most Western cultures, illness or injury is a very individual experience. Doctors fix the body, provide medication, and refer to counselors as needed. Those who are not sick go on with life as usual.

However, many traditional cultures have a different view of illness: a shared view that shifts the responsibility to the community at large.

These two fundamentally different ways of seeing the nature of human beings is manifested in how we help, or do not help, those who are sick or injured. One approach holds an assumption that outside help will be provided to those in need from those who have resources and no need. The other assumption is that there will be collective action in which all engage in finding a community solution.

Can these opposing views of illness shed light on how to resolve issues and heal trauma within communities?

Continue reading “How Communities Heal” »

A Modern Look at the Ancient Art of Healing

Avaton of Epidaurus - By Jean Housen (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

When we are ill we so often focus on what to do; a knife, a pill, a behavior change, your diet. Yet underlining any therapy is a process for its delivery that often produces more of an effect than the treatment itself. Let’s explore that process; the “how” of healing, and contrast it with the “what”. So often the “how” of healing involves spiritual engagement and activity.

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Avaton of Epidaurus – By Jean Housen (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the Ancient City of Medicine

A visit to Epidaurus, the ancient city of medicine where the Hippocratic school of medicine was founded reveals how ancient Greeks believed healing happens: Continue reading “A Modern Look at the Ancient Art of Healing” »

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