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The Science of Natural Healing

The Science of Natural Healing

Professor Mimi Guarneri M.D.
Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine
Course No.  1986
Course No.  1986
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Course Overview

About This Course

24 lectures  |  29 minutes per lecture

In the 21st century, the Western paradigm for healthcare is changing. Notwithstanding the great strengths of medical science, many people now have concerns about key features of our health-care system—among them, the widespread use of medical drugs and a relative deemphasis on preventive care.

But traditional Western medicine is not the only healing system rooted in science. Medical systems from other cultures, including those of India and China, have used natural treatments for centuries, some of which are now directly influencing our own health-care professions. These approaches not only emphasize healing with natural substances, but devote considerable attention to illness prevention and healthful living by considering the whole person rather than just targeting a condition.

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In the 21st century, the Western paradigm for healthcare is changing. Notwithstanding the great strengths of medical science, many people now have concerns about key features of our health-care system—among them, the widespread use of medical drugs and a relative deemphasis on preventive care.

But traditional Western medicine is not the only healing system rooted in science. Medical systems from other cultures, including those of India and China, have used natural treatments for centuries, some of which are now directly influencing our own health-care professions. These approaches not only emphasize healing with natural substances, but devote considerable attention to illness prevention and healthful living by considering the whole person rather than just targeting a condition.

What is the most effective way to nurture your own optimal health? Are there sound alternatives to the drugs so common in our health-care system, which can carry unwanted consequences and side effects? What about the range of natural methods, such as herbal medications, micronutrients, and the use of food itself as medicine? Are these approaches valid? And, if so, can we integrate the best of Western medicine with the best natural treatments to enjoy prime health and longevity?

In The Science of Natural Healing, board-certified cardiologist Dr. Mimi Guarneri, founder of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, leads you in a compelling and practical exploration of holistic approaches to healthcare, introducing you to the many nature-based treatments and methods that are both clinically proven and readily available to you. In 24 incisive and revealing lectures, you look deeply into the science behind natural treatments and preventive healthcare, including how medical conditions ranging from high blood pressure to heart disease and diabetes can be treated naturally with remarkable effectiveness.

You also discover, perhaps surprisingly, that a large number of ailments and illnesses that we usually accept as part of life are in fact directly linked to lifestyle factors—and that positive changes in lifestyle, diet, and physical activity can have a major effect in both preventing and treating illness.

By probing the underlying causes for common medical conditions such as inflammation, high cholesterol, arthritis, and migraines, and the range of natural ways to treat them—including the use of improved nutrition, plant substances, supplements, and stress-reduction techniques—The Science of Natural Healing leaves you with a rich spectrum of choices and possibilities for your own healthcare, as well as practical tools for creating a truly healthful lifestyle.

Healing the Whole Human Being

As a guiding context for your study of natural healing, you learn about a new paradigm for healthcare, as embodied in the field of integrative holistic medicine. (“Holistic” simply means “whole.”) Integrative holistic medicine takes a large view, focusing on the whole person—aiming to prevent and treat illness through a full-spectrum approach that looks deeply at the factors of your genetic makeup, environment, lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity, and psychology.

Integrative holistic medicine is thoroughly grounded in traditional Western medical practice but also incorporates the use of proven natural substances and healing methods, looking for the underlying causes of illness and dedicated to caring for body, mind, and spirit.

The Promise of Nature-Based Healthcare

In this far-ranging inquiry, you delve into core subjects such as these:

  • The power of food in healing: By studying fundamental principles of nutrition, food sensitivity, and the impact of foods on the genome, discover the remarkable ways in which you can both prevent and treat numerous illnesses by what you eat.
  • Micronutrients and natural supplements: Investigate the healing properties of natural substances, including probiotics, selenium, and the hormone vitamin D, and their effectiveness in treating and preventing ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, and cancer.
  • Clinically proven herbal medicines: Study the medicinal uses of aloe, ginger, and licorice for the GI tract, cranberry and saw palmetto for urogenital conditions, and herbal treatments for migraines.
  • Natural treatments for common medical conditions: Apply the integrative treatment model and its many tools to specific conditions, including inflammation, cholesterol abnormalities, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • The mind-body connection in healing: Review substantial research on the mind’s effect on the body, including an in-depth study of stress, and learn about the use of guided imagery, yoga, meditation, and other mind-body modalities to treat physical illness.
  • Natural approaches to mental and spiritual health: Explore eye-opening data ranging from the effects of micronutrients and herbs on depression to studies showing the correlation between spiritual practices and longevity. Learn practical techniques for deepening an affirmative mental outlook and feeling state.

Teaching of Rare Scope and Vision

Revealing both an extraordinary depth of knowledge and a passionate investigative spirit, Dr. Guarneri points you to numerous empowering avenues and alternatives for healthful living. You study the many benefits of the Mediterranean diet and how to choose specific foods for your own optimal health. You observe the critical importance of exercise in both illness prevention and treatment, and you learn a range of methods (including the use of your own breathing) to disarm stress and deepen the experience of well-being.

Dr. Guarneri enlivens these lectures with unusual and often astonishing facts and stories, inviting you to challenge common assumptions and habitual thinking about health. You learn that

  • 75 to 90 percent of all visits to health-care providers result from stress-related disorders;
  • plant substances such as garlic and wakame seaweed substantially reduce systolic blood pressure; and
  • debilitating conditions such as arthritis and migraines can be triggered by simple sensitivity to foods.

In a penetrating exploration of the mind-body connection, Dr. Guarneri makes it clear that the health of the body is intimately related to the health of the mind and spirit.

  • You review hard-nosed research demonstrating the role of healthy relationships in positive health outcomes.
  • You learn why chronic anger increases the risk of heart attack by 230 percent.
  • You track the medical consequences of depression and hopelessness, and studies linking positive emotions and strong social bonds to markedly lower incidence of illness.

You’ll also see the integrative paradigm in action in real-life case studies, including the profile of a woman with diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and depression. Then, observe how an integrative treatment plan for her includes dietary changes, specific micronutrients, exercise, stress-reduction techniques, and renewed social connection.

In presenting the case studies, Dr. Guarneri demonstrates, with great compassion and discernment, how the integrative physician can guide patients through the emotional challenges of difficult illness and recovery so that they retain their spirit and identity.

Your Health: A New Possibility

No matter what kind of life you’re living, optimal health is one of the greatest assets you can have. In The Science of Natural Healing, Dr. Guarneri offers you the opportunity to take a highly proactive and informed role in your own healthcare—to make use of the best of nature-based medicine, to live a truly nurturing lifestyle, and to care for your own well-being in the most comprehensive and far-reaching way. In speaking deeply to a truly integrative approach to healing, these lectures can make a profound difference in your health now and in the future and help you live your life to the absolute fullest.

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24 Lectures
  • 1
    Shifting the Health-Care Paradigm
    Investigate the fundamental paradigm of Western medicine—its strength in the treatment of symptoms and its relative deemphasis on illness prevention and long-term health concerns. In contrast, consider an approach to healthcare focusing on the whole human being, integrating the elements of your environment, genes, lifestyle, nutrition, and mental/psychological makeup. x
  • 2
    Understanding Holistic Integrative Medicine
    Holistic integrative medicine creates a bridge between Western medicine and the world’s other evidence-based healing traditions, making a spectrum of health-care approaches available to you. Learn the philosophy underlying integrative medicine, rooted in partnering with the patient, finding the underlying causes of disease, and caring for the body, mind, and spirit. x
  • 3
    You Are More Than Your Genes
    This lecture highlights the critical relationship between your genes and how you live your life. Investigate the ways in which nutrition, lifestyle, and stress can affect the outcome of your inborn genetic makeup. Explore the fields of nutrigenomics and pharmacogenomics, which study the interaction of nutrition and medications with the genes. x
  • 4
    Food Matters
    Holistic integrative medicine speaks deeply to the connection between food and health outcomes. Here, track scientific findings that demonstrate how the food you eat directly affects your heart health as well as numerous medical conditions. Learn about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and the kinds of foods that promote optimal health. x
  • 5
    Not All Foods Are Created Equal
    Certain key foods have unique properties that set them apart as nutrition “superstars.” Starting with the importance of whole foods and fiber, study the most healthful foods in different categories, including grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and proteins, and grasp how the way you cook food affects its nutritional value. x
  • 6
    Natural Approaches to Inflammation
    Inflammation, a fundamental protective reaction of your body, is also a pathway to many diseases. Discover the multiple causes of chronic inflammation, from pollutants and bacteria to stress and sleep disorders. Learn how to use food as medicine, emphasizing a variety of foods, herbs, and spices that prevent and/or reverse inflammation. x
  • 7
    Food Sensitivity and the Elimination Diet
    Perhaps surprisingly, numerous physical symptoms and medical conditions can be triggered by sensitivity to foods. Study the six primary food groups related to food sensitivity and allergy, examine the astonishing data linking them to conditions such as migraines and arthritis, and learn about the elimination diet, which locates the specific source of food-related symptoms. x
  • 8
    Vitamins and Supplements
    This lecture introduces the central subject of natural supplements. First, investigate the natural products industry and how to determine the quality and purity of supplements you may use. Then study key supplements, including probiotics, selenium, and vitamin D, and their effectiveness in treatment and prevention of ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, and cancer. x
  • 9
    Herbal Remedies
    Many natural herbal substances have proven and significant healing properties. Discover the remarkable medicinal uses of aloe, ginger, and licorice for the GI tract, and of cranberry and saw palmetto for urogenital conditions. Also follow a case study showing the diagnosis and herbal treatment for a patient with chronic migraines. x
  • 10
    Lowering Cholesterol Naturally
    Pharmaceuticals are not the only avenue for reaching healthy cholesterol levels. Begin by investigating the two kinds of cholesterol and the triglycerides, and their role in your physiology. Learn about specific foods that raise and lower cholesterol and triglycerides, nutritious alternatives to animal protein, and key natural supplements for controlling your cholesterol. x
  • 11
    Treating High Blood Pressure Naturally
    A surprisingly rich array of natural treatments is available to counteract high blood pressure. Review the startling statistics showing how blood pressure is lowered by both weight loss and reduced sodium intake. Also study the marked effects of foods, including garlic and seaweed, and micronutrients such as magnesium, vitamin D, and the enzyme CoQ10. x
  • 12
    Treating Diabetes Naturally
    Diabetes is the result of a continuum that begins with the preconditions of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Learn how all of these conditions are directly linked to lifestyle, and how to prevent and even reverse them through the kinds of foods you eat, healthy sleep patterns, and consistent exercise. x
  • 13
    Stress and the Mind-Body Connection
    In the first of three lectures on stress, you investigate the body’s stress response. Study the three stress hormones, the physiological changes they produce, and the unhealthy effects of both acute and chronic stress. Also track the psychological impact of stress, and stress’s effects on the immune system and aging. x
  • 14
    Turning Stress into Strength
    Your response to stress is intimately related to how you view the world. In learning to neutralize stress, map your own emotional life and consider research on the effects of positive emotions. Then learn a technique, using focused breathing and imagery, for reaching a positive feeling state and disarming the stress response. x
  • 15
    Meditation, Yoga, and Guided Imagery
    Mind-body techniques are now shifting the paradigm of Western medicine. Learn practical ways to use them in your own life, and review their remarkable clinical effects, including the use of meditation for lowering blood pressure, yoga for treating spinal problems, and mantra repetition in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. x
  • 16
    Natural Approaches to Mental Health
    Holistic medicine also offers many avenues for responding to issues of mental health and well-being. Here, explore research on the role of nutrition and nutrient deficiencies in depression and bipolar disorder. Consider holistic approaches to treating depression, including the specific uses of diet, exercise, herbal remedies, and light therapy. x
  • 17
    Biofield Therapies
    “Biofield” or energy therapies, although controversial, show ample evidence of a positive impact on health. Study the principles of acupuncture, tai chi, homeopathy, and Healing Touch, as well as clinical data on their use in treating a spectrum of conditions, including pain, stress, and cardiac disease. x
  • 18
    The Power of Love
    This lecture poses the question, “Do personal relationships affect health?” Review the extensive clinical research correlating supportive parental, spousal, and social relationships—as well as optimism—with more favorable outcomes for major diseases. Consider the evidence for social connections as treatment for illness and as key ingredients of good health. x
  • 19
    Spirituality in Health
    Increasingly, research is showing a strong connection between spirituality and health. Investigate the evidence demonstrating greater resilience to disease among spiritually active people, and why this may be so. Explore the medical implications of depression and hopelessness, and how holistic medicine integrates physical, mental, and emotional healing. x
  • 20
    Components of Spiritual Wellness
    Holistic integrative medicine views spirituality as an element of optimal health. In approaching spiritual wellness, track research on forgiveness and positive thought and their effects, both physiological and psychological. Learn specific ways to develop an affirmative emotional outlook, including working with your internal thought patterns and practicing gratitude. x
  • 21
    Applying the Lessons of Natural Healing
    Here, a patient case study demonstrates the integrative approach to healing. Follow the story of a woman whose profile showed diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, and arthritis. See how a comprehensive health plan for her included the factors of dietary changes, micronutrients, specific exercise, stress-reduction tools, and social connection. x
  • 22
    Ecology and Health
    In critical ways, human health is directly linked to the health of our planet. Track the effects on human bodies of environmental factors, including climate change, air pollution, greenhouse gases, the livestock industry, and industrial chemicals, and consider approaches to addressing these matters effectively. x
  • 23
    Healthy People, Healthy Planet
    This lecture looks at constructive actions that impact not only your own health, but the health of the planet. Investigate ecologically sound choices such as buying organic foods and reducing the use of plastics, as well as actions by governments and health-care facilities to eliminate hazardous substances and foster healthy food production. x
  • 24
    You Are Your Own Best Medicine
    The course concludes with a look at a final fundamental element of your healing: yourself. As provocative food for thought, review research on the question of why people heal and examine clinical evidence on the influence of the patient’s outlook and beliefs on the healing process. x

Lecture Titles

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Mimi Guarneri
M.D. Mimi Guarneri
Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine

Dr. Mimi Guarneri is board-certified in cardiology, internal medicine, nuclear medicine, and holistic medicine. She earned her medical degree from The State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, where she graduated first in her class. She completed her internship and residency at New YorkñPresbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and held cardiology fellowships at New York University Langone Medical Center and the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California. While serving as an attending physician in interventional cardiology at the Scripps Clinic, Dr. Guarneri recognized the need for a more comprehensive and holistic approach to cardiovascular disease. As a result, she founded the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, where she uses state-of-the-art cardiac imaging technology and lifestyle-change programs to prevent, diagnose, and treat cardiovascular disease. In recognition of her leadership in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Guarneri received the Linus Pauling Functional Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and the Bravewell Physician Leadership Award for Integrative Medicine in 2011. She was recently elected president of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Alpha Omega Alpha, and the American Medical Women's Association. She is also a diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine. Dr. Guarneri has authored several articles that have appeared in professional journals such as the Journal of Echocardiography and the Annals of Internal Medicine. She is also the author of The Heart Speaks, a collection of stories from heart patients who have benefited from integrative medicine approaches. The Heart Speaks and her clinical work have been featured on NBC's Today show and PBS's To the Contrary and Full Focus. Her work was also featured in a two-part PBS documentary, The New Medicine.

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Reviews

Rated 4.1 out of 5 by 50 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by A Healthy Approach to Medical Healing As a physician who embraces alternative treatments and emphasizes the health impact of food, exercise, supplements, as well as emotional and spiritual enhancement, I found Dr. Guarneri's presentations compelling and enlightening. Her compassionate and conscientious preparations highlight her transformation from "pill pusher" and "cardiac plumber" to a doctor who analyzes the whole patient and the underlying causes for disease. Highly recommended for medical professionals as well as the general public. March 12, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by This course leads to personal transformation! As a physician I had the same biased training of western medicine as Dr Guarneri. So, let me state that this course provides a wealthy amount of current medical literature that supports the Science of Natural Healing. Also, Dr G. frequently refers to personal and professional stories which are very illustrative of the points she wishes to teach. The amount of information you will be taught is massive and diverse but not in a theoretical sense. Everything you are going to learn has great practical value and you can put it in practice right away. Dr G. has a very relaxed teaching style and is deeply engaged into motivating you to integrate natural approaches in your own life. My wife has actually become an expert in baking her own whole wheat bread! The last three lectures are the culmination of the course and provide a synthesis of ecology and natural healing. The final lecture addresses the subject of belief and doctor-patient relationship. It will be an indispensable resource not only for patients but also for doctors and health care providers. Overall, a great course which may transform your life. Highly recommended! January 28, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by Dr. Guarneri is an inspiration As a medical student I was interested in this course not to add much knowledge to my education but to find ways to feel better from the constant stress... I found what I was looking for, but surprisingly I found this to be an extremely important contribution to my medical education as well. The second half of this course in particular contains information that is evidence based and solid in every way, yet it is information that has not been taught in my training so far and I doubt it is information that will be taught anytime before I graduate or thereafter for that matter. I am looking forward to care for my patients in the future in the manner that Dr. Guarneri advocates, and take care of my own well being in a manner that enables me to do so. December 24, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by Excellent I thoroughly enjoyed this course. Although I was already familiar with many of the concepts, hearing it all again motivated me to clean up my diet and adopt a more healthful lifestyle. Dr. Guarneri is an excellent speaker. I appreciated her slower pace and repeated emphasis since I listened in my car and could not easily rewind and replay if I missed something. Courses like this are reshaping traditional western medicine! I highly recommend this to anyone seeking natural solutions to health issues. June 20, 2014
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