Well-being and health cannot solely rely upon symptomatic treatment. In fact, “good health” cannot be truly achieved unless the root causes of dis-eases are addressed. Even more ideal is the approach of preventative and integrative medicine, in which lifestyle and behavior changes are made holistically, in conjunction with any necessary treatments, such that balance and health can be achieved in parallel.
From March 24 to 27th, some of the world’s foremost integrative health and medicine practitioners gathered for a virtual conference entitled “Hope, Resilience and Healing in the COVID-19 Era.” During the conference, healthcare professionals and experts shared their unique perspectives on challenges and best practices in treating the physical, mental, and emotional health aspects of COVID.
Featured in this three-day virtual conference were multidisciplinary folks, consisting of integrative medicine clinicians and researchers working on the frontlines. A few of the panelists included Deepak Chopra, Shamini Jain, Adam Blanning, Patrick Hanaway, Brad Jacobs, Wayne Jonas, Joe Pizzorno, Beverly Rubik, Lise Van Susteren, Cassie Vieten, Tabatha Parker, and Mimi Guarneri.
Topics covered included:
- Finding balance in a time of COVID-19 (led by Deepak Chopra, MD and Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABOIM)
- Long-hauler syndrome and healing in a post-Covid world
- How healthcare providers can balance allopathic (or conventional) and integrative medicine practices in treating COVID patients
- How does the isolation of a pandemic impact patient outcomes? How do integrative medicine practitioners, who have always considered social, mental and emotional aspects of health, adjust?
- The contributions of anthroposophic medicine to the integrative treatment of COVID-19 patients
- Well-being, immunity and resilience: tips for thriving in the new normal
- Nutritional interventions for immune health
- The psychological toll of pandemic stress
- A functional medicine approach to COVID-19
Much of the world has spent its time in lockdown over the past year, and while technology has helped facilitate interactions between estranged friends and family (and even strangers), the long-term effects of being in this unnatural state of society have started to appear. Many unique technological solutions in terms of medical treatments and diagnostics have also been developed over the past year to directly aid in physical health, but that is only one aspect of the picture. Mental, emotional, and spiritual health are the other aspects – these matters are just as, or even more important than physical health in many cases, especially because we will continue to see the impacts of COVID-19 extending beyond physical health and recovery for years to come.
What we really appreciated about this conference was its focus on exploring ways to enhance quality of life holistically, through hope, integrative medicine, and supportive care. Of note, the conference topics specifically did not involve the vaccine or any related recommendations.
COVID-19 treatments were shared by physicians and scientists who have done their homework on available peer-reviewed, scientific literature. It was very eye-opening to hear about various treatments beneficial to patients in a holistic sense, as well as other anecdotal lived experiences without the usual news filter, since this was intended for a selected audience. It’s great to see a forum where a mix of modern, scientific medicine can be combined with traditional and integrative medicine approaches in a refreshing, down-to-earth way – the questions at hand really are: what can we do as individuals? What can we do as a healthcare community? What can we do as fellow human beings for one another? How can spirituality and humanism help heal the world?
There are many scientific studies supporting the benefits of mental health and general well-being directly on immunity, and it’s important that the psychological toll and stress of the pandemic are also being addressed in patients. As one example of an integrative medicine approach, Deepak Chopra took conference attendees through a guided meditation – these sorts of exercises can help in finding balance for all kinds of populations.
Learn more about the conference and speakers here.