East Meets West: Yoga for Anxiety

We are excited to offer our first East Meets West program Tools for Anxiety this Saturday from 1-3pm. We are thrilled with the interest this workshop is generating as it is almost full! We sat down with Dr Jerry McQuain to find out more about his journey, why he is passionate about integrative medicine, and how an integrative approach can be helpful in working with anxiety. Here is what he said….

1. Why did you decide to do your fellowship in Integrative Medicine?
I found Integrative Medicine after realizing there was more to obtaining optimum health than treating a disease and more to treating disease than giving a medication.  I looked into various program, including Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, and Naturopathic Medicine, but felt Integrative Medicine was the best fit for me as it combines the best aspects of various medical systems.

2. What makes you most excited about sharing an integrative approach with patients?
Our reliance on medication to ‘fix’ a ‘problem’ has led to a great deal of frustration.  I love the look of relief on a patient’s face when I tell them I have more to offer than a prescription.  I love empowering people to take control of their own health.

3. What does yoga and meditation do for you? Why do you think these are useful tools for medical practitioners? Patients?
It may sound cliché, but yoga and meditation give balance to my life.  Physical, emotional, and spiritual stressors constantly wear me down.  Yoga and meditation provide a reprieve from and a time to evaluate without judgement these stressors.
Medical practitioners are being held to higher and constantly changing standards on a weekly basis.  It seems impossible to find a work-life balance.  When we are out of balance, it is impossible to give our best self to our patients, our family, our friends, and ourself.
Patients often feel rushed, unheard, and powerless.  Yoga and meditation allows them to take back control over some piece of their health and lives.

4. How frequently do you address anxiety in your medical practice?
I honestly think every patient I see has some degree of anxiety.  Unfortunately, I do not address that anxiety during every patient encounter for various reasons; I should.

5. Why do you feel an integrative approach is helpful in working with anxiety?
An integrative approach strives to address the underlying reasons for anxiety.  It offers options and simple, effective tools to counter anxiety that can be used anywhere or anytime.  By providing options for treatment (ie prescription medications, herbals, yoga, meditation, breathwork),Integrative Medicine give the anxious person a sense of control.

Dr. Jerry McQuain