Half of North American adults suffer from chronic illness – a fact Western medicine views
largely in terms of individual predispositions and habits.
Western medicine imposes two separations, neither tenable scientifically. First, it separates
mind from the body, largely assuming that most chronic illnesses have nothing to do with
people’s emotional and psychological experiences. And yet, a large and irrefutable body of
research has clearly shown that physiologic and behavioural functioning of human beings can
be understood only if we integrate our body functions with those of the mind: functions such
as awareness, emotions, our interpretations of and responses to events, and our relationships
with other people. Second, Western practice views people’s health as separate from the social
environment, ignoring social determinants of health such as class, gender, economic status,
and race. Such factors, in reality, are more important influences on health and longevity than
individual predispositions and personal factors such as genes, cholesterol levels, blood
pressure and so on.