March 18, 2010
Mehmet Oz —
Heart and Soul

The word "healing" means "to make whole." But historically, Western medicine has taken a divided view of human health. It has stressed medical treatments of biological ailments. That may be changing. Mehmet Oz, a cardiovascular surgeon, is part of a new generation of doctors who are taking medicine to new technological and spiritual frontiers.

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is a Professor of Surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia University. He also directs the Complementary Medicine Program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. His books include Healing from the Heart.

Pertinent Posts

1

Three scientists were awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work on telomeres — a term that came up in our interview with Doris Taylor. She explains that just as stress can shorten telomeres, they have the potential to be lengthened and extend life.

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What the Next Generation's Doing

In these Web-exclusive interviews, Krista speaks with Kayvon Modjarrad and Tracy Gaudet, two doctors who are exploring new aspects of integrative medicine. They are leading a burgeoning movement that's discovering alternative, complementary approaches to traditional Western medicine.

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"Auguries of Innocence" by William Blake

Read the words of this poem heard during the program

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I am currently undergoing the process of 'making whole' (which makes up my newfound perspective in life)

Let me explain:

In spring of 2005, I sustained a severe diffuse axonal traumatic brain injury, in addition to 40 broken bones (18 of which were in my spine), as well as heart (tricuspid valve) and lung damage. I spent 9 weeks in the hospital – fighting for my life. In addition to my severe pain, I had to relearn everything- from how to walk and talk, to how to once again become independent. I had to put a halt on my education and focus entirely on my recovery.

On the bright side, my determination is paying off…and I owe a great deal to alternative medicine therapies (YOGA, meditation, and positive mindset). Through these, I’ve been granted the ability to slowly (but patiently!) rebuild my life. This positive mindset, in combination with my unique perspective, has contributed to healing my injuries, making them ‘invisible.’ It has also helped me build the confidence to meet neuroscientist Richard Davidson, and has led me a position in his Brain Imaging Lab. Also, I’ve been able to open myself up to new aspects of life (school included – I’m graduating this May with a Communicative disorders major ☺) Overall, as challenging as my recovery has been, I consider it rewarding – it has helped me discover insight into my cognition and my body, as well as shaped me into a more positive person. My approach on life is now full of optimism, and I no longer take anything for granted.

To conclude, I'd like to express my extreme gratitude for Mehmet Oz’s (and others) work regarding the intersection of medicine and spirituality.
Based on my interesting experiences, I am now confident in the power of healing by ‘making whole’ and am passionate about contributing to rehabilitation (brain injury, heart, or physical) in any way I can. Lasltly, I've made quite a long story short, so feel free to contact me with any questions/comments you may have.

Hi,

I should've mentioned this in my last submission, but any feedback would be greatly appreciated - positive or negative (that's how I grow!). If you'd like me to expand on 'my journey'...I can easily do that. In fact, I've been reflecting on my experiences since I've been capable (about 4 years now...it's a great form of communication for me--> since my expressive vocabulary was lost and had to be rebuilt).

Anyway, I could go on for hours about recovery process, so anything specific would be helpful. I'd love to hear any suggestions from you.

Thank you!
Rachel Huard

I am reminded of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit; becoming whole is, to me, the same as becoming "real." My journey to wholeness began as a result of what would seem to be a contradiction of anything close to that process. My very early life was challenged by abuse. It was prolonged. It was painful. And, yet, there was something of a "gift" in it, for I discovered transcendance, the ability to see past (or maybe through) the illusion of that being any part of who I was. That experience taught me many things about survivorship and about what it takes to be whole which, in my opinion, means not rejecting any part of who we are. As Carl Jung made clear, whatever we disown takes on a life of its own. Therefore, we need to embrace it all, feel it all, and make choices. This "skill" got me through several health crises including major neurosurgery and breast cancer. It motivated me to create my own integrative mental health clinic in 1989, where to this day, I work with a team of other mental health and complementary medicine practitioners who, together, have a mission to assist others in their journeys to wholeness. So, in response to your question regarding "when" I've experienced healing in my life as a process of 'making whole,' the answer is, continually. Formerly, it came through what I consider Divine intervention, glimmers of hope, an abundance of faith, and some kind of resiliency. Now, it comes through mindfulness, choices, and never losing site (for long) of the power of looking up when things are down and remembering that we are so much more than our problems or obstacles. We are already whole; we just have to heal through the moments when we forget.

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