(R)evolutionary Medicine: Rachel Abrams at TEDxSantaCruz


Translator: A. Bentahar
Reviewer: Denise RQ If your doctor had a prescription that will allow you to avoid
70% of all illness, would you follow it? As a physician who has spent her life
studying medical science, the healing traditions of the world
and most importantly, my patients, I want to share with you
this one simple prescription: we need to get into alignment
with our evolutionary nature. Almost everything has changed
about our world in the last 10,000 years, except our basic physiology. We are earth animals, we were created to live
in 24-hour cycles of light and dark, to work hard physically, on a daily basis,
to provide food and shelter, and eat mostly plants. It’s not really surprising then
that many of us are not well in a society that runs
on artificial light, long work hours at sedentary jobs,
and processed food, not to mention regular exposure
to more than 80,000 chemicals that we have added
to our environment since 1950. By the way, only 10% of those
are actually tested for safety. What we eat all day, what we do,
and what we’re exposed to can leave us feeling tired, depressed, ill, and isolated. And in that state, it’s hard to want to do much more
than just reach for the remote. It’s hard to be motivated. We have forgotten
what we need to be healthy. There is a chasm between the life and environment
that we evolved to thrive in and the life and environment
that most of us are living in. Perhaps the most shocking example of this is that we will live longer lives
than our children will. For the first time in our country, our children are expected
to have shorter life spans than their parents. Our children will suffer and die from an epidemic
of the diseases of civilization: high blood pressure,
high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes. As a mother of three,
I find this frightening, and as a physician, I know
this does not need to be our future. Revolutionary medicine recognizes
that we are not isolated organ systems nor are we even isolated organisms but we are part
of the environment that we live in. We need to take our evolutionary wisdom and add it to the necessary
revolution in medicine. So, how do we do this? If we think of ourselves as human animals,
we have basic needs, and there are five fundamentals
that underlie our health: eating, moving, sleeping, loving, and making meaning. Let’s start with eating. Our forebears found calories
hard to come by. We worked hard for food, and we were evolved
to eat small quantities of fresh food. Our great-grandparents
should recognize what we eat as food! (Laughter) Hot Cheetos do not qualify! (Laughter) The chemicals, pesticides,
hormones, salt, fat, and sugar that we add to processed food is toxic for us
and is toxic for the Earth. Moving – we did not evolve to sit behind the desk
at a computer all day, which is why 80% of us
have back pain in this country, and only 10% of people
in traditional cultures do. We need to move on a regular basis;
we’ve forgotten how to hold ourselves. Moving daily would prevent every single one
of those chronic diseases of civilization. Coffee – You can sleep when you’re dead! (Laughter) I think this is the one
that we’re worst at, and it has a profound effect
on our health. We evolved to sleep in the dark, and to sleep until we’re rested. As late as 1890, people in this country
slept 10 hours a night. Can you imagine?
When is the last time you slept 10 hours? We now sleep less than seven. It leads to obesity, depression,
poor school performance in our kids. We need to sleep when it’s dark,
and sleep until we’re rested. Perhaps the most important thing
I’m going to tell you about today is how important love is
for your well-being. Love is essential to every aspect
of chronic disease, believe it or not. We are human animals that were created
to be close to one another; it was necessary for our survival, and when we receive affection, a whole cascade of healing
neurotransmitters suffuses our body, helps us be calm. Loneliness will kill you faster
than cigarettes so get connected to your family
and your community like here at TED. Meaning – we are
meaning makers, we can’t help it. What we believe has a profound impact
on what we do and how we feel. Having a sense of meaning
and purpose in your life can actually extend
your life span by years. Our collective sense of meaning
is equally important. If we look at the stories
of the native peoples of this Earth from whom we all originate, they all believed we are not separate
from the earth from which we arise. We co-evolved with the Earth
over thousands of years. When we get into alignment
with our evolutionary nature, not only are we healthier, not only are we happier but we can heal
the diseases of civilization for ourselves
and for our future generations. And when we heal ourselves, we heal the Earth, as well. That is revolutionary medicine. Thank you. (Applause)

About the author

Comments

  1. @ReX342 but props to this lady, she's spot on (allthough i'm not so sure of the official evolution history-story). i even came to the belief that we should take it beyond holistic view..

  2. What aren't you sure about? Evolution is hardly a part of history. It's pre-historic (before we had written sources). It's how humans came to be.
    Holism was only mentioned in the description. Though I agree we should live better and can't ignore parts of our lives (it's ALL part of our lives), I'm skeptical. I'm skeptical of people who drive their car to the gym. I'm skeptical of people who use vague references to concepts that are outmoded by recent scientific insights. Could you elaborate?

  3. @ReX342 Okay, I looked at the videos you like and I discovered you're also a Bill Hicks fan. Perhaps you were referring to his (Terence McKenna's) theory. Or perhaps to Elaine Morgan's aquatic Ape theory. Either way, I'm still curious what you meant.
    I've heard a lot of superstition passing as holistic thought. I'm hoping that's not the case here.

  4. I wish that Dr. Abrams had continued for the full 18 minutes that some TED speakers get. She has a powerful message and a great way of sharing it. Let's hear more from Rachel Abrams please.

  5. Regardless of the topic, she was by far the best speaker at this event. Great pauses, Good vocal variety. Proper use of gestures and body language. Well dressed and poised.

    As for the topic, Dr. Oz has had many more controversial programs on his show.

  6. Evolutionary Medicine as a topic (or study) isn't as controversial as you think. Many universities already insist on it as a mandatory course for med students, Most others are considering doing so.

    Until recently medicine relied on proximate causes. We now know this is a wasteful exercise since it repeats errors in diagnosis and wastes time confirming diagnosis too. Evolutionary medicine however looks at the ultimate causes for pathogenic, autoimmune and even senescence diseases .

  7. By "this" I meant "both conventional and holistic medicine" (in description, which I checked out because I was able to read "Chi Center" without clicking), not evolutionary (ultimate over proximate causes) approaches.
    Happy to hear it though!

  8. Contact The Speaker!

    Dr. Rachel Abrams medical clinic, Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine, has just moved locations. New address is: 740 Front St, Suite 130 Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

    To schedule an appointment call: 831-465-9088

  9. Hey hey, The best success that I have ever had was with Lens Miracle plan (just google it) Without a doubt the most useful diet that I have ever tried.

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