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.
There is no reason why we can't be as humanly sophisticated as we are technologically sophisticated. --Arthur Kleinman, MD, Harvard University