Prevention the key to ‘paradigm shift’ in health care

Earlier this month Dr. Ron Hunninghake, of the Riordan Clinic, spoke at Healthy Conscious Living, a Symposium sponsored by Pure North S’Energy Foundation. Renowned doctors for all over the world spoke on a variety of topics including Chronic Illness:What’s Making Us Sick to Supplementation in Primary Care to Endothelial Progenitor Cells and Vascular Health.  Over 300 attendees were present at the Symposium.

The following is an interview with Dr. Ron by Amanda Stephenson, Calgary Herald.

Prevention the key to ‘paradigm shift’ in health care, Calgary symposium told

Patients realizing that better health is in their own hands, doctor says

By Amanda Stephenson, Calgary Herald

Ron Hunninghake may be a medical doctor, but he’s very blunt in his assessment that the public — not the medical community — will ultimately lead the way to what he calls a “paradigm shift” in the way we treat illness.

“The stuff we’re talking about — that’s really going to make a difference — is lifestyle change,” Hunninghake said on Saturday, following his speech at the Healthy Conscious Living Symposium taking place at the BMO Centre.

“Doctors, in general, are not trained to encourage lifestyle change. They’re trained to make a diagnosis and start a treatment. . . . And if you’re a busy doctor, you don’t have time to do wellness education. But I think what a lot of patients are waking up to is the realization that just taking more medicine is not going to make them healthier.”

Hunninghake is chief medical officer of the Olive White Garvey Centre for Healing Arts in Wichita, Kan., and one of several guest speakers at Saturday’s symposium touting the virtues of preventive health care.

The event was presented by the Pure North S’Energy Foundation, a non-profit health and wellness organization founded by philanthropist and Calgary Flames co-owner Allan Markin.

Pure North offers a free wellness program that includes lifestyle counselling, blood and urine analysis, nutrition coaching, and education around exercise and vitamins. These are the kinds of things, Hunninghake said, that can go a long way toward preventing chronic illness in the first place.

“A lot of doctors would say, ‘Oh, that’s not enough to help people. These are seriously ill people.’ Well, if you let people go long enough, the illness gets worse and worse,” Hunninghake said.

“The idea here is to intervene earlier and get people engaged and invested in taking better care of themselves. That’s the paradigm shift.”

Executive director Wendy Paramchuk said the very fact that more than 300 people came out to the event shows there is a hunger for the model of health care Pure North promotes.

“If people are just open to hearing and listening, they see that there is nothing quack(ish) or flaky about it — it’s all really just common sense,” she said.

Calgarian Judy Kuehn attended the symposium to learn more about the power of preventive medicine. A breast cancer survivor, Kuehn remembers feeling frightened and isolated as she underwent a radical mastectomy, then overwhelmed and confused once she was released from the hospital. She came away from the experience with the belief that it takes more than surgery and pharmaceuticals to be truly “well.”

“I believe in a holistic approach. . . . That’s the definition of health, when a person is in touch with their whole body, but it seems to be missing for a lot of us today,” Kuehn said. “That’s why I’m so glad to be here and see that there are people who are pioneers, who are trying to make the system better.”

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