Slow Medicine Sees the Body as a Plant, Not a Machine

December 30, 2014 7:24 PM

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For many years, I have been an avid gardener. Not only does gardening have numerous health benefits related to breathing fresh air, touching mineral-rich dirt, and eating the bounty of the earth, but it also provides an inspirational model for living in sync with the natural rhythm of life. Against the backdrop of our hi-tech, post-industrial era, when we feel entitled to demand everything we want, the way we want it, when we want it, and fast, it is both refreshing and relaxing to know, in a tangible way, that I simply cannot rush the growth of a tomato plant, eat berries from my garden in the middle of a New York winter, or otherwise impose my own will on the order of things. What's more, it is downright awe-inspiring to be a frequent witness to the miracle of life and the power of regeneration.

In the conventional medical model, she said, the body is the machine, and the doctor is the mechanic. "In that mode," she elaborated, "as your doctor, I'm looking for what's wrong, what's broken, and how I can fix it." By way of contrast, she noted, the slow medicine model "is much more of a gardene...

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