While the future of medicine has never been brighter, the reason for this statement of optimism may surprise you. The future will certainly hold many new scientific innovations based upon technology that is yet to be discovered. After all, who would have ever believed that we would be able to map the entire human genome? The innovation will not be driven by technology, government, or by organized medicine, but instead, this revolution will be driven by you, the patients! Not convinced? Keep reading.
The information age has empowered you, the patient, to research and ask questions. No longer is the doctor’s word taken as “gospel.” Finally, you have the ability to take control of your health, and you should! Reliable surveys continue to reveal that a growing number of Americans are indeed taking their health seriously despite the fact that we are one of the least healthy countries in the world. This paradigm shift is driven by an ever increasing movement embracing healthy lifestyles supported by diet, exercise, and a fundamental shift toward “natural” medicine, also known as functional medicine.
In my opinion, it is unfortunate that “modern medicine” has taught little more than the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Obviously this is important, and indeed, we have made great strides in such areas as surgical technology and emergency care. All too often, physicians have been trained to address the “smoke” and have forgotten to look for the “fire.” Fortunately, a new specialty is here now that addresses this issue. This specialty diligently seeks the cause of disease and a non-pharmaceutical solution when feasible and supported by scientific evidence. This specialty is known as “Integrative or Functional Medicine”.
A medical doctor who is trained in integrative or functional medicine has access to the best of both Western “allopathic” medicine and natural remedies supported by tradition and validated by modern science. Respected Yale internist, David Katz, M.D. has stated that at least 60 percent of so-called Western evidence based medicine is actually traditional and not supported by the “holy grail” of evidence based studies. While a scientific approach to medicine is indeed the ideal, positive outcomes speak for themselves. Even if determined to be “anecdotal,” measurable results cannot be denied. Healing of the mind, body and spirit should be the healers goal. All physicians are charged and challenged to “do no harm!” This needs to be remembered when recommending either pharmaceutical or natural remedies.
To this end, I have been energized in the autumn of my career. I have found the study of natural remedies both challenging and rewarding. I have been given a larger “tool box.” I can work with other medical specialists, many of whom are beginning to embrace my new specialty and see its true value. Indeed, the tide is turning, albeit slowly. It was Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who said, “let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.” Modern science is now proving the wisdom of this ancient statement. We can all learn from both the old and new. Enough said! The medicine of the future is indeed here today and it is being driven by you, the patients!
Paul D. Rothwell
M.D., FAAFP, FAAARM
FELLOW AMERICAN ACADEMY OF FAMILY PHYSICIANS AND AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ANTI-AGING AND REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
Paul D. Rothwell, M.D. is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice. He has been dual board certified in both Family Medicine and Functional and Regenerative Medicine. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine, the world’s largest and most respected organization supporting Integrative Medicine. He is in private practice but also enjoys teaching medical students as an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Oklahoma Medical School. For more information about Dr. Rothwell, go to WellnessOK.com. To obtain further information or request Dr. Rothwell to speak for your organization, contact
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.