There is nothing simple when it comes to anything about human beings, our behaviour, our brains, our cells, our systems, our diets and our diseases. Everything is complex and involves complex interactions implicit and explicit. The current way of thinking about disease, looking at disease and attempting to treat disease or even prevent disease is a reductionist model. When something is reduced it is narrow and simplistic which can be manualised and systematised but this approach looses sight of the bigger picture, the nuances, the complex interplays of body and environment and absolutely the root causes of the illness. A problem can not be addressed and solved without understanding all the possible factors involved in the problem. A trauma informed lifestyle medicine approach is a multi-disciplined consilient view of a client and their presentations, our approach is influenced by systems medicine and functional medicine but differs in our much greater focus on lifestyle, childhood adversity and quality of relationships which is to understand that the body is a system of complex systems which involve numerous complex processes, pathways, genetic expressions upregulated and down regulated sensing internal and external environments influenced by perceptions and previous experiences and the stressed or safety status of the nervous system via neuroception, and that all of this is much more shaped by childhood experience and relationships than any other factor thus the same is true for its treatment. A true healthcare approach must incorporate this consilient view and include models such as polyvagal theory, attachment theory, cell danger response theory and functional medicine, lifestyle medicine and culinary medicine. This is the work that we do at The Trauma Recovery Institute and this is what the course is based on.
Chronic diseases are a consequence of interactions between a body and genome with the environment, including lifestyle and other risk/protective factors, throughout a life. In the clinic, these diseases express themselves often through comorbidities, whereas at the molecular and cell levels, most probably identifiable specific mechanisms and their alterations are responsible for a loss of physiological function through the age of the body. Biological complexity has forced molecular and cell biology into reduction and contextualization, with an ever-increasing degree of specialization. What is frequently lost or forgotten along this road of reduction, contextualization, and specialization is that the body is a system of systems with complex pathways and processes all speaking to each other and influencing each other in negative and positive cascades. Systems biology has taught us several lessons of which the following are of central importance : (i) many diseases have their origin in cellular malfunction, requiring a deep understanding of the mechanisms underlying cell functions; (ii) the emergence of diseases is a nonlinear dynamical phenomenon, requiring quantitative time-resolved monitoring of key biological parameters at the molecular, cellular, and physiological levels. Lifestyle Medicine is Preventive Medicine which we define as a comprehensive multidiscipline scientific approach to decreasing disease risk and illness burden by utilising lifestyle interventions such as plant based nutrition using culinary medicine approach, physical activity, stress reduction and management according to polyvagal principles, sleep hygiene, development and maintenance of healthy reciprocal relationships, including daily play and laughter, smoking cessation, and avoidance of other dangerous substances such as processed foods, sugar and alcohol.
The current healthcare system is not designed for disease prevention, it address symptoms poorly as they arrive without looking at a larger image of who the patient is and what may underlie the symptoms and what drives them. This system does not support health or does it address our disease epidemic. Personalized lifestyle medicine will be the key to empower patients to regain control of their health. As humans we are a dynamic expression of the bi directional interplay of body and mind, of body/mind and environment, of internal and external environment, Experiences become biology and our biology is dynamic, shifting and constantly reshaping with new experiences.