email DrSooHoo@sequoiacounselingoc.com phone 949.337.1034 mailing address 340 E. 1st St. #291, Tustin, CA 92781 Sequoia Counseling & Wellness Services OC offers virtual teletherapy services for California Residents
What Is Lifestyle Medicine?
Lifestyle medicine is an evidence-based approach to treating, reversing, and preventing chronic disease through non-drug means, including a plant predominant diet, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, meaningful social relationships, and avoidance of risky substances. According to the World Health Organization, 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer could be prevented, primarily with improvements to diet and lifestyle.
In 2004, lifestyle medicine providers joined together to form what later became the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM), an organization that provides education and certification in an effort to bring evidence-based, non-drug treatments to clinical and workplace environments. Lifestyle medicine is:
Validated as highly effective
Addresses the root-cause of disease
Value based care (better outcomes and lower cost)
Infographic courtesy of American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Evidence Overwhelmingly Supports the Effectiveness of Lifestyle Medicine Here are a few findings in support of lifestyle medicine as a health approach:
In one study, nearly six in ten people with pre-diabetes avoided getting type 2 diabetes through lifestyle medicine interventions- almost twice as many as those who took a common prescription drug. Click here to see the study.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that lifestyle interventions can have a major impact on the development of, and even the reversal of, CVD. Large studies involving over a million participants support the fact that those following an anti-inflammatory, plant-based diet may decrease the risk of CVD development by nearly 25%. For more information, click here.
In one study, loneliness was a predictor of functional decline and death among participants over 60 years of age.
Depressive feelings and psychological distress are associated with a lower quality of life as much, or more, than having a chronic condition such as diabetes. Click here to see the study.
For more lifestyle medicine research studies demonstrating the effectiveness, visit this listing from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.
Centers for Disease Control Informational Handouts:
Sleep and Chronic Disease
Physical Activity and Chronic Disease
Alcohol Use and Your Health
Low Cost Ideas and Information for Following Lifestyle Medicine Habits
Nutrition: For ideas on ways to eat healthier while staying on a budget, click here.
Exercise: resistance bands, athletic shoes, dumbbells, yoga mat and props, anything to help with consistency and motivation
Stress: take a break from social media, spend some time outdoors/eat lunch outside, go somewhere new, or find other ideas that suit you
Relationships: go for a bike ride together, do crafts together (Hobby Lobby, Michaels), livestream or virtual visit zoos, aquariums, or museums anywhere around the world
Sleep: pillow, eyeshades, white noise machine, aromatherapy
Substance Abuse: What are some reasonable alternatives to nicotine and alcohol? One option is to set a goal to decrease usage gradually, and usually with the supervision of a medical professional. What beverage substitutes can you use in place of alcohol? If light or occasional alcohol use is used for sleep or stress management, consider alternatives such as exercise, healthy communication and support, or volunteer work.
This video shares how I currently apply lifestyle medicine practices in my daily life.
Lifestyle Medicine and Psychological Treatment Some examples of how I integrate lifestyle medicine practices into therapy services for my patients include:
Supporting motivation for following physician recommended diets (eg diabetic diet, DASH diet, Mediterranean diet)
Goal setting for physical activity
Education on healthy diet and physical activity options, benefits
Relaxation skill building
Developing healthy thoughts to decrease stress
Identifying ways to decrease relationship stressors
Support the development and maintenance of healthy relationships
Review healthy sleep practices and provide treatment options to improve sleep
Support reduced use of nicotine and alcohol
Inclusion of Lifestyle Medicine treatment principles works best with patients who are concerned about their health and interested in developing lifestyle habits for health, wellness, health-related quality of life, and longevity.
If you are tired of feeling sick and want extra support in making lifestyle changes, call me. It would be a privilege to work with you as part of your healthcare team. - Dr. Melissa Soo Hoo