Christian Long

Dean Ornish: Healing

In TED Talks on April 13, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Reflection by ANGELA W.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Dean Ornish:  Healing

The human nature is to be happy and well. Dean Ornish tells us that happiness and wellness are not things you get; they are something we have until we do something to disturb it. Happiness is a powerful tool our bodies attain. Happiness is not just a tool that manages stress, lower blood pressure and unclogs arteries, but also “powerful tools for transformation and quieting down our mind and body.”

Many people suffer from depression and the only way they deal with it is by disturbing their natural healing process, which would be things like dieting, eating more food and drinking alcohol.

Recent studies have shown that the more you change your lifestyle or diet, the healthier you can become. Ornish presents a study on heart disease and just like mine, his first thought was once diagnosed with a heart disease, it could only get worse. This is not true. A 73 year old man that was not receiving much blood flow to his heart needed to have a bypass, but chose not to get one and instead partake in Ornish’s suggested changes. Ornish’s suggested changes consist of: A diet, stress management training, moderate exercise, smoking cessation, psychosocial support groups, and supplements. A year later, after following Ornish’s suggested changes, the 73 year old man’s blood flow had increased 300%.

A main stress reliever is smoking. Ornish talks about what causes people to want to change and what does not. It surprised me that the fear of dying does not motivate people to change. This is because the thought of dying to people is too scary; therefore they choose to avoid it. A reason people change their lifestyle is not the thought of living longer but of living better. People can become so depressed and lonely but what they do not know is that the people are causing their own problem. Ornish’s example is about an enhancer, Viagra, which actually makes a person depressed. Medicine and drugs are what many people use to escape depression, which they should not do because it just adds more depression and loneliness.

Ornish brings up obesity and how people deal with it. The most common way to deal with obesity is going on a diet. People’s diets usually consist of eating less, but this does not work very well because the person would be hungry most of the time. Ornish says to eat the same amount of food, just different types. On one of Ornish’s slides, it explains that fat has 9 calories/gram while protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories/gram.

Ornish also brings up the cons in the Atkins diet. It turns out that the Atkins diet is actually harmful and can cause diseases. After a year on this diet, a person’s blood flow would be less. Other effects from this diet are constipation, halitosis, headaches, hair loss, abnormal menses, and presyncope (lightheadedness).

The last point Ornish presents is about women with breast cancer. He showed a chart of the surviving rate of two different groups of women. The group of women that survived longer, met once a week for a year and talked about how they felt while dealing with cancer. This proves that psychosocial support groups are a way to live better.

The main point of Ornish’s idea is to spread the way to become happier and healthier by making major life changes, rather than disturbing it.


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