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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

The Future of Health - Holistic Wellness in the 2020's

Dec 31, 2019 07:17AM ● By Marilee Burrell
by Allison Gorman

Somesh N. Kaushik, owner of Dr. Kaushik’s Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Clinic, in Cross River, has noticed a dramatic shift over his 35 years of clinical practice: more patients presenting with chronic disease.

“It’s been a big change,” says Kaushik, an Ayurvedic doctor. “During 1980s and ’90s, infectious disease was the bulk of our (case load), and then the trend started shifting to chronic disease. Slowly a big change happened and it has totally reversed, making chronic disease now the majority in our clinical practice. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 percent of the U.S. adult population has at least one chronic disease. We are experiencing the same trend.”
We asked Kaushik and three other local wellness professionals—acupuncturist and naturopathic doctor Fred Lisanti, holistic dentist Dr. David Lerner, and colonic practitioner Tovah Nahman—to share their insights on current and future wellness trends. A common theme was the rise in lingering or recurrent health conditions, often linked to the modern lifestyle.
If that sounds scary, here’s the good news: We can improve our health through lifestyle too, and our community has a wealth of experts to help us get there.

Reconnecting for better health

For Kaushik, a key to better health is slowing down—connecting with ourselves, our loved ones and nature—to counter the ill effects of our high-stress lifestyles. We should begin by learning to breathe consciously.
“Many of us breathe just enough to stay alive,” he explains. “Prana, the life force given by nature, is the essence of life. It is life. When that leaves the body, the person is dead. Every cell in our body needs it. Inhale as much as you can, but in a clean, peaceful environment. You do not want to practice this in a bar full of smoke.”
Chemical exposure in daily life is another major contributor to disease, especially cancer and mental illness, Kaushik says, so it’s important to live and work in nontoxic environments and to regularly detoxify the body. He warns against consuming synthetic foods, such as manmade “meats,” suggesting we’re better off eating the real thing.
As people are growing more health conscious, they are looking for time-tested, results-oriented approaches to wellness, Kaushik says. He has seen increased interest in Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest whole-body healing systems.
“It’s becoming a popular lifestyle choice for many professionals, since it provides tools for maintaining health as well as recovering and rejuvenating,” he says.

The emergence of planned self-care

Everyone seems to be dealing with an allergy these days—to certain foods, to environmental stressors, or both. Lisanti, who has noticed this trend over the course of his 15-year practice as owner of Integrative Med Solutions, in Eastchester, attributes it to global warming and shifting seasonal factors in the Northeast.
While those effects are hard to guard against in our daily lives, the other risk factors he names are very much within our control. For example, he agrees with Kaushik that stress and environmental toxins are behind much illness and disease. Another cause, he says, is “sedentariness.”
His prescription for getting and staying healthy? “Sleep. Move the body. Hydrate. Nourish with wholesome, organic foods. Rest.”
While wellness practitioners can help us with the specifics, it’s up to us to make those lifestyle changes. Self-care is the wave of the wellness future, Lisanti says.
“As our world and culture accelerates,” he says, “I see planned self-care routines as even more important to offset the physiological stress on our organ systems as well as mental health.” 

The whole-body approach grows

We’re betting that 41 year ago, when Lerner started practicing holistic dentistry, few people understood what the term meant. Now that medical science recognizes the relationship between oral health and chronic conditions such as heart disease, it’s clear that Lerner was way ahead of his time. 
Given Lerner’s focus on whole-body wellness, it’s not surprising that his assessment of health trends isn’t limited to the oral biome. He blames poor diet, lack of proper health care and a sedentary lifestyle for many illnesses and chronic conditions, which eventually manifest in the kinds of conditions he treats at his practice, The Center for Holistic Dentistry, in Yorktown Heights.
For example, he’s seen increase in patients with gum disease, a result of poor hygiene and diet. He’s also seen more patients with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) due to increased stress levels.
His prescription for good health also includes a big dose of self-care:
“Eat a well-balanced diet—for some people, that means eliminating certain foods all together. Seek out and research the appropriate healthcare practitioners for your health concerns. Sleep well. And maintain your oral health—no amount of plaque is OK.”
While Lerner’s pioneering approach to whole-body health is now practiced widely, he’s hoping to see even more progress in the years to come.
“My vision would be for a wider acceptance and understanding in medicine and dentistry of the cause of chronic illness and the value of holistic and integrative strategies for supporting healing on an individual and global basis,” he explains. “In dentistry, this would include an understanding of the dental connection in systemic health.”

“Love and moderation”

On January 1, Nahman will celebrate the 27th anniversary of her business, Lifeline Hygienics Colonics, in Rye. But especially within the past year, she’s noticed that people are getting it: They understand that what they eat profoundly affects their health, and they’re willing to invest in good nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle.
“People as a whole have become much more nutritionally conscious,” she says. “The conventional supermarkets are carrying more and more organic vegetables as well as healthier alternatives to many other food choices. The clients that are coming in to see me are making better dietary choices, such as avoiding white flour, sweets and dairy products and eating more produce. It’s wonderful to see and has changed drastically in the course of my career.”
She predicts that the trend she’s seeing today, which boils down to caring for ourselves in the way we deserve, “will only grow stronger and keep us happier and healthier.”
The secret to a good life is all about love and moderation, and not allowing ourselves to fall into the vicious cycle of consuming and craving unhealthy things, Nahman says. That means making “positive, kind choices” for bodies—yes, even during the holidays!—so that we don’t undermine our well-being.    

Our health is in our hands

What’s clear is that the days of putting our health in a doctor’s hands are fading away. Health practitioners are now our partners; they guide us to better health by giving us the tools and information to live our best lives. To learn more about the health practitioners quoted in this article, see our resource guide.

Local Resources

Somesh Kaushik, ND
Dr.Kaushik’s Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Clinic, Yellow Monkey Village, 792 Rte 35 Cross River, NY, and NYC.

David L Lerner, DDS
The Center for Holistic Dentistry, 2649 Strang Blvd., Suite 201,
Yorktown Heights, NY.

Fred Lisanti, ND
Integrative Med Solutions. 266 White Plains Rd, B-1, Eastchester, NY. 914.337.2980.

Tovah Nahman
Lifeline Hygienics Colonics, 150 Theodore Fremd Ave., Suite B15, Rye, NY.