Connecting our Mental and Physical Health
Joanna Gagis talks with Marianna Shimelfarb, MD, Integrative Family Medicine Practitioner at Summit Medical Group, about the connection between our mental and physical health and the importance of managing stress to prevent it from damaging our overall physical health.
"Did you know that one of the greatest healthcare challenges people face is stress? Here to talk about the damage that stress can cause to our bodies is Doctor Marianna Shimelfarb who practices integrated family medicine at Summit Medical Group. Welcome to the program. Thank you so much. What is the connection to our physical health and to our mental health? That's a great question. Let me just preface this by saying that I practice integrated family medicine and that is being a family physician and taking care of people of all ages, males and females, and taking care of the entire person. And I practice also integrated family medicine which means that I incorporate some of the natural alternative evidence based treatments in my care and approach to patients. Make that tangible. When people hear integrated medicine, they don't exactly know what that means and even when you say you integrate these practices, for the lay person, help them understand what that means and how you're approaching your patients. The term is very confusing. We'll hear the terms “complimentary”, “alternative”, “integrative”, “holistic”. To me, integrated medicine means patient centered medicine. Most importantly, it is perceiving a person as a whole where we, when a patient comes with a problem, we look at their entire system of existence, and we incorporate the knowledge and assessment not only of their physical symptoms, but also mental and emotional symptoms as well as the context of their life and this is the crossover of the integrated and family medicine and then, whenever appropriate, we also integrate in integrated medicine, the knowledge of alternative treatments that are safe. Okay, so when a person comes to you and they have a physical ailment, how often or does it regularly occur that there's some component of an emotional issue or some type of mental health issue? In other words, do you find that very often, those systems are connected? Absolutely. All the time. If a person comes like in the season with a cold and patients say “I don't know what's going on, I'm having this cold, recurrent colds every month and I just can't seem to get over this. I've been coughing for a month. This never happened to me” I always ask them “what's going on with your life? Have you been sleeping well lately?” Most of the time I'll hear the answer “no, I have a deadline at work, I have little kids at home” or I'll ask “have you been stressed out a lot” and a lot of times you'll hear “ yes, I've been stressed out but how does this relate to me having colds?” and this is when I, going...