Prescription for healthcare reform: integrative medicine

Andrew Weil's prescription for health care reform is criticized.


Notes a critic:

Dr. Andrew Weil is the nation’s most visible proponent of integrative medicine, which emphasizes treating the person rather than the disease. In Why Our Health Matters: A Vision of Medicine That Can Transform Our Future (Hudson Street Press, $25.95, and on Penguin Audio, $29.95,), Weil rails against the U.S. healthcare industry and advocates his "low-tech, high-touch" approach over what he describes as our current dysfunctional "disease management" system.

Weil’s goals are lofty and a bit utopian, but that does not make them wrong. His approach would indeed yield better health outcomes and be less expensive: an emphasis on prevention and health promotion rather than routinely reaching for the expensive medical intervention.

He aims his populist outrage at the insatiable greed of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries at the expense of the nation’s health. He believes medical schools rely on closed-minded scientific orthodoxy and omit important determinants of health, such as nutrition, the environment and mind-body interactions.

He is right. But his well-meaning prescriptions — turning insurance companies into nonprofits, having busy medical students form health-policy discussion groups and lobby for curriculum changes, quick adoption of universal healthcare — sound naive.

Pasadena organizes a holistic health expo:

This coming weekend, Oct. 24 and 25, the Pasadena Convention Center is playing host to an Anti-Aging & Healthy Living Expo.

I’m not sure about the wisdom of being anti-aging per se. Should we set ourselves up as opponents of a natural process like getting older? How about an Aging Healthfully Expo?

Nonetheless, the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, has some fascinating speakers lined up.

Here’s a quick overview of the wellness experts and practitioners who will speak on Saturday:

From 11 to 11:30 a.m., nutritionist David Sandoval will present a seminar titled “The Secrets to Reversing Aging & Disease Revealed.” Sandoval, author of “The Green Foods Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Barley Grass, Wheatgrass, Kamut, Chlorella, Spirulina And More,” advocates that people seeking greater wellness follow a nutritional “battle-plan” rich in whole green foods. Sandoval is the founder of Purium Health Products, supplements consisting of superfoods he says can make a lasting improvement on anyone’s health.

From 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Mitzi Wong-Cristobal—a Saladmaster direct dealer who describes herself as “specializing in proper food preparation using the right tools to help retain an average of 93 percent of the nutrients in the foods you are cooking”—will discuss “Cooking for Health.”

From 12:30 to 1 p.m., Susan Moss, author of “Keep Your Breasts: Preventing Breast Cancer the Natural Way," will give a talk called “Survive Cancer! A Natural Approach To Healing And Prevention.” Moss who says she healed herself after being diagnosed with breast and uterine cancer more than a decade ago, has created a method she says anyone can use to battle illness.

From 1:15-1:45 p.m., Tricia Greaves will talking about how you can “De-Stress, Eat Less!” Greaves, who spent years wrestling with the demons of emotional eating before finding peace (and losing 50 pounds in the process), is the founder of “Heal Your Hunger: Weight Loss from the Inside Out.”  The website includes Greave’s story, a blog, a free jump-start kit for those ready to conquer disordered eating as well as products such as an audio recording called “3 Meal Magic—The Amazing Non-Diet for Emotional Eaters.”

From 2:00-2:30 p.m., Fred Van Liew, better known as "The Water Doctor," will address “Adrenal Exhaustion: How To Stop The Nightmare.” Van Liew is the host of the talk radio show “Your Health, Your Choice” and the founder of He says he began experimenting with how to create the perfect water filtration device in 1987, after his son’s health was compromised by metals and fluoride in the local drinking water.

According to Van Liew’s website, the “combination of Fred’s pure water, essential energy, clean air and fermented harmonically balanced whole food nourishment has changed many people's lives forever.”

From 2:45-3:15, Rita Ellithorpe, MD, will tackle “An Overview of Complete Cell, Body Restoration, Detoxification and Repair.” Ellithorpe, founder of the Tustin Longevity Center, has taught anti-aging medicine and natural hormone replacement therapy at the Capitol University of Integrative Medicine in Washington, D.C. Accordingly, she believes in an integrative approach combining Western medicine with complementary therapies.

Ellithorpe, who has a doctorate in integrative medicine focusing on cellular-level health, has spoken across the country about Oxidative Stress and Anti-Aging. Services provided by her Longevity Center include bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, nutritional counseling and state-of-the-art detection methods such as breast screening with thermography and Prostate Color Doppler Ultrasound.

From 3:45 to 4:15  p.m. Pamela Carlisle, Ph.D., will explore “The Food Chemical--Weight Gain Link: A Life-Changing Perceptual Shift.” Carlisle, the author of “You’re Not Crazy, Your Doctor Is: The Secrets They Can't Tell You About Weight Gain, Illness and Food/Environmental Chemicals,” has been researching the link between illness and our surroundings for 20 years and has appeared in Who’s Who in American Women: Medical & Health Sciences Division. She plans to address the concerns of people who, despite doing everything “right,” still struggle with their weight.

And from 4:30 to 5 p.m., Akemi Cardon wants us to “Learn How Cell Phones and Computers are Aging You Prematurely.” (Typing this title, this computer-addicted Examiner is shuddering behind her laptop keyboard.)

Akemi is a Green Tech Wellness Consultant for Biopro Technology, a company specializing in devices aimed at protecting cell and computer users from invisible “electropollution,” which she says is causing symptoms like pain, headaches, fatigue and memory loss.

The Sunday seminar schedule is as follows:

From 11 to 11:30 a.m., David Sandoval will repeat his seminar on “The Secrets to Reversing Aging & Disease Revealed.”

From 11:45-12:15 p.m., Alexandra Odell—a visual artist and founder of Alexa Naturals, an all-natural cosmetic and skin care line, will hold forth on “Perfumes & Aromatherapy 101: History, Chemistry, Biology & Psychology of Aromas and Smells.”

From 12:30 to 1 p.m., Billy Merritt, founder of Billy’s Infinity Greens, will speak about “The Key Principles to a Healthy Diet.” Merrit, head of the nutrition department at the Ashram Health Retreat in Malibu, believes in combining exercise with raw foods and superfoods to spur weight loss, detoxification, thyroid health and general wellbeing.

From 1:15 to1:45, Jennifer Charm, owner of Carabella—an eco-conscious skincare clinic and makeup studio—will give suggestions on how to get “Clear, Smooth Skin, Easily & Naturally.” Carabella specializes in organic petro-chemical free and is known for its exhaustive line of pure mineral cosmetics. Charm says she believes that "tthe key to clear, smooth skin lies in addressing more factors than simply 'washing one’s face' or applying expensive prescription creams.

And from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m., Brett Jacques will give a seminar on “Natural Hormones & Full Anti-Aging Protocol.” Jacques, a naturopath who practices at the Tustin Longevity Center, is known for his expertise in hormone replacement therapy as well as in exercise physiology. According to the Expo website, Jaques uses "natural aproaches, tailored to the needs of each individual. . .to help  people achieve optimum health and maintain their results."

Admission to the Anti-Aging & Healthy Living Expo is $12. Discounted tickets are available at the Anti-Aging Expo site for $9.

All who attend will receive a complimentary year’s subscription to “SELF Magazine” and the chance to win a $5,000 vacation and Med Spa gift cards.

The Pasadena Convention Center is located at 300 E. Green St. in Pasadena.