What is Lifestyle Medicine?

 Lifestyle Medicine focuses on sleep, nutrition, exercise stress reduction and the avoidance of risky behaviour to improve our health and wellbeing.

Modern society has seen tremendous progress in medical treatments but has also produced a surge in chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, mental health problems and fibromyalgia. While social change and medicine has been partially successful at treating many of the infectious conditions and malnutrition that were historically more significant, they have failed to prevent the exponential  increase in modern day chronic diseases. Lifestyle Medicine seeks to address this by focusing on the causes of chronic disease rather than simply treating the consequences. Lifestyle Medicine can deliver the highest quality holistic care that most GPs strive for but do not have the time to achieve within the NHS setting.

'Lifestyle medicine is a distinct field of medicine aimed at treating the cause of most of our modern diseases with the strongest evidence based modalities available. Since most modern diseases are caused by lifestyle, lifestyle changes must be part of the cure. Although portions of lifestyle medicine (especially nutrition and physical activity) are included in other fields of medicine, lifestyle medicine is distinct  because lifestyle change is prescribed as the first line and most important therapy for disease treatment and reversal.'

'Lifestyle medicine requires patient engagement and responsibility for treatment outcomes. Treatments are longterm. A provider acts as both a medical expert and a coach.'   (The Lifestyle Medicine Board Review Manual  2nd Edition 2018  John Kelly MD MPH and Jenni Schuh MD, MPH).

Lifestyle medicine is not alternative medicine- it's main stream.

GPs are perhaps uniquely placed to develop into lifestyle medicine practitioners because they have a  background in recognising and treating chronic disease, insight into the effects of lifestyle on physical and mental health and an understanding of the hurdles patient's face.

Training in lifestyle medicine focuses on developing an extensive knowledge of  the effects of nutrition, physical activity, sleep and positive psychology on our health.

Importantly, it also ensures that a clinician is equipped to deliver effective and realistic advice to all kinds of patients with different health problems.

Lifestyle medicine is not about hectoring or a one size fits all approach. It is not an alternative therapy; rather it is evidence based and integral to modern medicine.

The lifestyle medicine approach  we use should not  clash with treatment and management you have received  from the NHS. Instead it focuses on lifestyle change accepted to be beneficial and assists in it's implementation with a personalised plan and support. Although we will not prescribe medicine for you, if we feel that you would benefit from discussing medication with your GP or another specialist we will of course discuss this with you.