Extraordinary changes are taking place in American medicine today. Driven by new scientific evidence, doctors are coming to understand that treating the body alone is not enough--the mind can also play a critical role in fighting illness and in the healing process. Physicians are discovering how something as intangible as hope can help people heal and something as pervasive as stress can sabotage the body's ability to fight infection. The documentary THE NEW MEDICINE goes inside medical schools, clinics, research institutes and private practices to reveal physicians and patients on the cutting edge of this new approach.
Many physicians are now embracing a more holistic form of healthcare, seeking to heal the whole person. Treatments once considered fringe, including visualization, meditation and hypnosis, are being prescribed alongside high-tech western medicine. And medical schools are placing new importance on teaching the "softer side of medicine": listening and communicating and by paying attention to a person's cultural values and lifestyle.
The film is hosted by Dana Reeve, who spent many years in medical institutions dealing with her husband's spinal cord injury and then her own battle with lung cancer. It also introduces viewers to several patients who are benefiting from these breakthroughs: a woman at risk of losing her pre-term baby; a patient preparing to go into surgery and his healing process; a man with cerebral palsy and lived for 18 years with unremitting and sometimes excruciating pain; an older man who has had a number of life-saving interventions including triple and quadruple bypasses, all which saved his life, but did not keep him healthy.
THE NEW MEDICINE explores the need for medicine to move away from an entrenched culture of drugs and surgery to focus more on prevention and engaging people as active players in their own healthcare. The traditional doctor-patient relationship is undergoing a shift from paternalism to partnership, as practitioners and consumers alike have begun to promote a more holistic form of healthcare called integrative medicine--seeking to heal the whole person, rather than simply cure a disease.
Every single patient should be informed that the mind has a huge impact on the body and there are ways you can take advantage of that. --Tracy Gaudet, MD, Duke Center for Integrative Medicine
There is no reason why we can't be as humanly sophisticated as we are technologically sophisticated. --Arthur Kleinman, MD, Harvard University