Podcast: Healing Wisdom With Dr Bruce Hoffman

Dr. Bruce Hoffman joins Pandora Peoples on WOMR and WFMR radio to discuss the origins of The Hoffman Centre and the benefits of the integrative approach to functional medicine. Dr. Bruce Hoffman utilizes the ayurvedic model through a program he developed called, The Seven Stages of Health & Transformation™ that brings to light the hidden causes of what may be making you sick, and what you can do to heal yourself.

Qualities of a Successful Patient. Do you want to be a successful patient?

“One of the great challenges in a doctor-patient relationship is how best to structure their interactions so that the patients get their needs met and their symptoms and diseases diagnosed and treated in a systematic and productive way while at the same time interfacing with the healthcare provider and their staff so that logistical errors (bookings, lab testing, supplement and drug lists) are kept to a minimum. Patients need to act as their own health advocates and educate themselves and their chosen health care team as to what it is they need to do to optimize their health and well-being. Individuals with good ego strength and a solid footing in the world seem to have little trouble negotiating this complex territory. However, those patients with early developmental trauma, PTSD, chronic inflammation and infections, traumatic brain injury, and a host of other possible health issues will often find it difficult to navigate the complexity of an in-depth functional medicine workup and treatment plan.”

“Here are a few guidelines we have found to be of benefit to those who may find themselves struggling to get started on a healing path.”

Dr. Bruce Hoffman

A Successful Patient

  1. Identify the hierarchy of your main values: family relationships; social connections and friends; financial growth and responsibilities; mental development and education; career growth; spiritual growth; and health, wellness, and beauty.
    1. Realize you will have to raise “health, wellness, and beauty” to at least one of your top two values in order to achieve successful outcomes.
    2. Realize you will have to “rob Peter to pay Paul”—i.e., take time away from a high-value activity (such as long work hours) to devote to health practices.
    3. Realize you will have to invest financially in a wellness program. It is not the government’s responsibility to fund these complex lifestyle, nutritional, supplemental, hormonal, and mind-body programs.
  2. Realize that health benefits will be limited if you are unwilling to make significant changes to time management, lifestyle, diet, work, and relationships.
    1. Do not hesitate to make significant changes in order to bring well-being back into your life.
    2. Seek out resources and solutions to making change.
  3. Realize the significance of set daily routines.
    1. Spend time every day approaching your health with commitment and purpose.
    2. Maintain self-care routines, exercise, and appropriate sleep hygiene routines, and follow treatment schedules and regimens.
    3. Dedicate at least an hour each day to pursuing health goals.
  4. Follow the scheduled recommendations of your health care professional based on what will clinically benefit you the most.
    1. Makes prescheduled appointments based on the recommendations of care given by your health care professionals.
    2. Make up missed appointments before the end of the week.
  5. Identify yourself with solutions rather than your diagnosis and its limitations.
    1. Defining yourself by your diagnosis may shut down any further enquiry and divorce you from a cause and effect solution focused relationship with your symptoms.
    2. Educate yourself about treatment solutions for your given symptoms and health issues.
  6. Understand the significant health benefit of defining your life purpose and linking it to healing.
    1. Clearly define your life purpose and expected health goal outcomes.
    2. Ask yourself, “how will I be even more effective and productive at what I love to do if I discipline myself to do what it takes to get well. “
  7. Link cause and effect, and understand how choices you have made over a lifetime (physical, mental, nutritional, emotional, and spiritual) play a definitive role in disease/illness and health/healing.
    1. Realize that the traditional allopathic model has its limits, as does every other model.
    2. Explore and engage in a wide spectrum of health paradigms (ancient, modern, Eastern, Western, traditional, alternative).
  8. Know that one single health care professional does not have all the answers.
    1. Form constructive partnerships with health care professionals who are experts in their respective fields.
    2. Find an integrative, functional medicine specialist with the most experience in a wide-ranging spectrum of diagnostic and treatment modalities to assist you in “quarterbacking” all of your expert opinions and options.
    3. Be an active, educated, and involved participant in the healing process by becoming your own patient advocate, or delegate the responsibility (temporarily) to the most qualified person you can find.
  9. Do not confuse symptom resolution with the completion of care.
    1. Maintain the schedule recommended by your health professional.
    2. Commit to and complete a full course of therapy.
    3. Discuss treatment plan changes and/or breaks to treatment with your health care professional before implementing changes, thereby ensuring everyone understands, informs, and agrees to the treatment plan.
  10. Draw on family and friends to build a strong, supportive network.
    1. Share your experiences in health care with family and friends.
    2. Educate family and friends about ways to provide support and understand your conditions and health care needs.
  11. Understand that your maximum health potential is benefitted by a mental attitude that embraces both support and challenge in your quest for well-being.
    1. Learn to embrace your shadow self and imperfections within yourself as much as your positive attributes.
    2. Engage in physiological/medical treatment, as well as inner/psychological and spiritual/soul work.
  12. Keep current with financial responsibilities.
    1. Realize that the traditional “health care” services pay only for drug and/or surgical treatments for established diseases. The governmental services do not pay for functional medicine and will not assist you in your search for upstream causation and regulation of multiple biochemical imbalances. Like the purchase of a house or a car, your health and well-being and their continued advocacy are your own financial responsibility, not the government’s.
    2. Pay for services in advance or at the end of each scheduled appointment.
    3. Take responsibility for your own financial circumstances and commitments.
    4. Do not abandon the recommended health care program because of exhausted government health coverage or personal health insurance.
  13. Realize you are a multilayered, multileveled being and that the triggers for illness may have arisen at many moments along the timeline of your life.
    1. Spend time recollecting your whole life history to determine significant antecedents, potential triggers and mediators for illness.
    2. Spend time considering what lifestyle practices and behaviours are perpetuating symptoms.

The greatest compliment from our patients is the referral of family and friends.

We hope that you know how much we value your trust and confidence in our provision of care.

I have reviewed these guidelines and accept the responsibility of becoming a successful patient.

Movement from an Allopathic Model to Whole Person Healing

Individuals as health care consumers are becoming somewhat disappointed with the mechanistic model. People want to be taken seriously; they want the complexity of their symptom presentation to be acknowledged. Today’s conscientious consumers are no longer content to merely take a pill to suppress a symptom. They have a deeper desire to know the root cause of their disease presentations, and they wish to know if there is anything they can do to influence the outcome of their healing trajectory. Also, select individuals are aware that they have a certain responsibility in their disease causation, irrespective of inherited genetics.

In today’s day and age, many individuals are looking for a more complete definition of healing—they’re not just content to treat a disease. They are looking for answers to address their sense of malaise and are seeking out a myriad of healers practicing at different stages of the Seven Stages model. It is my hope that the healers of the future will have a much more extended repertoire than just the drugs and surgical procedures they have learned at medical school. It is my hope that they will have studied many disciplines across the therapeutic spectrum, as well as having taken the adventurous step of engaging in some of their own inner process, some direct content with their own unconscious. It is my hope that they will not only have looked into non-toxic nutritional medicines, but they will also have traversed some of the rich inner material that is dormant within themselves, whether it be early bonding disruptions or early traumatic experiences, so that they may have deep compassion for the situation many of their patients find themselves in. It is also my hope that they do not rest until there is healing established within their own family systems, as it is quite apparent that an individual who is locked into the grid of a stable and loving family system has quite a different life force to draw from, not to mention an entirely different way of being in the world.

Larry Dossey comments on the loss of confidence in the modern allopathic model of medicine by commenting on many of the scandals that have rocked the confidence of health care consumers in the past few years. “The uncertainties of medicine are cause for celebration,” Dossey writes. “Modern medicine is losing some of its invincibility. Many of the rules of good health that have guided patients and physicians for decades have taken a beating from which they may not recover. The almost blind allegiance we once had to the treatments offered has been severely undermined by these studies—some of the absolute certainties are no longer as absolutely certain.”

We don’t have to look far for empirical data to back Dossey’s claims. First there was the Vioxx drug scandal, where many people died from heart disease by consuming what were thought to be relatively innocuous anti-inflammatory drugs. Compounding the problem was the fact that this particular drug had been marketed as being relatively safe. Furthermore, evidence emerged that the drug companies had known for some time that the drug had an increased incidence of cardiac side effects, but they had chosen to hide the negative findings to ensure a profit.

The allopathic model of medicine suffered another substantial shock from the hormone replacement therapy scandal disclosed in the Women’s Health Initiative. The study showed that the drugs Premarin and Provera actually increase women’s risk for heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. Another report revealed a shocking disclosure in the world of knee surgery; researchers proved that by performing arthroscopy surgery on a damaged knee was no more effective than administering an anesthetic, make a nick in the skin, and proceeding to not perform the surgery but tell the patient that they had. The outcome in terms of pain and symptoms after either of these two procedures, the real operation versus the sham operation, was virtually the same. The value of mammograms has also been seriously questioned, and it is unclear as to whether or not a mammogram has any influence on the number of women dying from breast cancer each year.

A Wall Street Journal article written by Ron Winslow entitled Study Questions Evidence Behind Heart Therapies, discussed a recent study which revealed that less than 11% of 2,700 recommendations commonly made by cardiologists are supported by scientific evidence. Furthermore, that many of the dogmatic recommendations and guidelines made by cardiologists are made by those connected in some way financially with the pharmaceutical companies. Another study showed that 85 % of individuals who have stents or angioplasties to treat their blocked coronary arteries didn’t need them. Furthermore, the group that did have the surgical procedures ended up much sicker than the individuals who treated their condition with drugs alone.

In light of all of these scandals and revelations, we can’t help but doubt some of the contributions of modern medicine. The historical image we have of doctors—the caring, compassionate healers who sacrifice their personal life in servitude to their passion for helping others—has been replaced by a whole new image, spelled out in popular books with titles like Why Is My Doctor So Dumb? The faith that many once had in the all-knowledgeable doctor is now inherently suspicious.

This state of affairs has not been helped by the fact that doctors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, causing upwards of 250,000 deaths per year. This study was published in JAMA, the most prestigious journal in America. Subsequently, the number has been reexamined, and some people believe that if all cases were reported (doctors are notoriously tightlipped about admitting liability), iatrogenic illness would be the leading cause of death in the United States. Iatrogenic means “induced in a patient by a physician’s activity, manner, or therapy.” The annual statistics are as follows:

  • 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgery
  • 7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals
  • 20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals
  • 80,000 deaths from infections in hospitals
  • 106,000 deaths from non-error, negative effects of drugs

That’s a total of 250,000 deaths per year, all from iatrogenic causes!

On his website, Dr. Joseph Mercola has used a similar set of statistics to calculate a slightly different equation. The conclusion is startling. Dr. Mercola was able to calculate that, statistically speaking, doctors are 9,000 times more likely to accidentally kill you than gun owners. The math is fairly simple:

  • Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year = 120,000
  • Accidental deaths per physician = 0.171
  • Number of gun owners in the US = 80,000,000
  • Number of physicians in the US = 700,000
  • Number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups) = 1,500
  • Accidental deaths per gun owner = 0.0000188

Therefore, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners. Think about that the next time you go in for a checkup.

Furthermore, in three separate studies it has been shown that when doctors go on strike, the death rates actually plummet. As published in the British Medical Journal in 2000, surveys of burial societies suggest that death rates in Israel have dropped considerably since physicians implemented a program of sanctions. The Jerusalem Post surveyed non-profit burial societies, which perform funerals for the vast majority of Israelis, and found that the number of funerals has fallen drastically since the Israel Medical Association (IMA) began the sanction. According to one funeral parlor manager, the same thing occurred in 1983 during a similar action by the IMA. It lasted for four and a half months, and the only area in Israel which was found to not have a reduction in its death rate was the city of Netanya. As it so happened, there was only one hospital in Netanya, and all of the doctors who worked there had “no-strike” clauses in their contracts and were therefore unaffected by the action.

It’s become increasingly apparent that the trust we once had in the modern medical profession is now being eroded, and people are starting to ask much deeper questions of the profession.

(1) Larry Dossey (Alternative Therapies Sept/Oct 2002, Vol. 8, No.5) 32
(2) Although I am in agreement with the findings of that particular study—these two particular drugs do increase a women’s risk of those diseases—it has subsequently emerged that estrogen alone does not have the same risks associated with it. It appears that the drug Provera was mostly to blame. Many women are now adversely affected by being deprived of safer bio-identical hormones that have been shown to reduce the risk of dying from multiple disease possibilities.
(3) Wall Street Journal | Feb 25th 2009
(4) Rogers S. Total Wellness. Aug 2009 pg 1
(5) Boden et al., Optimal medical therapy with or without PCI for stable coronary artery disease. New England Journal of Medicine. April 12, 2007; 356; 15:5003-16
(6) Starfield, B. (2000) Journal of the American Medical Association. July 26, 2000; 284(4): 483-5
(7) British Medical Journal 2000; 320:1561