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“Slow Medicine” Movement Gains Ground

A growing number of medical leaders are calling for “Slow Medicine.” We’ve heard
of the Slow Food® movement, originating
in Italy—a reaction against fast food and
industrialized agriculture, it links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. Along the same lines, the concept of Slow Medicine calls for resisting instant medicalization of health care. In other words, instead of rushing to prescribe drugs or surgeries, caregivers could spend more time listening; include patients’ family and friends for support; and take slow, gentle measures or simply wait and
observe before prescribing any action.

Slow Medicine recognizes that urgent health problems will always require quick
attention but suggests that many other issues, particularly ones affecting older adults, could benefit from a slower approach. For example, preventive or complementary practices take more time to deliver results but may be less invasive and have fewer (or no) side effects. A gentle treatment that comes
to mind is using deep breathing exercises
instead of prescriptive drugs to reduce borderline hypertension. Many yoga therapy options might also be considered “slow”
in our “quick-fix” culture.

A book that explores this topic is My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing “Slow Medicine,” the Compassionate Approach to Caring for Your Aging Loved Ones by Dennis McCullough, MD (HarperCollins 2008).



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Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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