Magazine article Newsweek International

Learning to Give Thanks for Life

Magazine article Newsweek International

Learning to Give Thanks for Life

Article excerpt

French-born Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, recently wrote a best-selling book in France entitled "Guerir," or "The Instinct to Heal" (Rodale, February 2004). The book explores how to treat chronic illnesses--including depression--by exploiting the connection between mind and body. He recently chatted in Paris with NEWSWEEK's Ginny Power, over a meal he prepared of cod liver and organic autumn squash. Excerpts:

SERVAN-SCHREIBER: Do you like cod liver?

POWER: I thought that was for the cat.

SERVAN-SCHREIBER: [Laughs] It's good for you. It's extremely rich in vitamin A and vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.

OK. Why did you write this book?

I found that most of the patients I treated who had medical problems also had psychiatric problems, and I became keenly aware of the mind- body connection. I looked into the scientific literature and started finding solid studies showing natural methods of treatment for stress, anxiety and depression that were effective.

How does the mind fit into this picture?

Studies show that about 50 to 70 percent of primary-care problems have stress as a major contributing factor. The blood-pressure medications and the anti-inflammatories and the antidepressants are just patches for underlying problems.

You talk about the importance of emotional communication.

Nothing is new about the fact that love is important for your health. But we didn't know until very recently that harmony and emotional connectedness are biological needs practically to the same degree as food, air and temperature control. …

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