Readers will by now know that I sometimes share book recommendations in my health articles and this time it has to be for the best selling book “The Four Pillar Plan” released this year, by local G.P Dr Rangan Chatterjee who you may have seen on the BBC One series “Dr in The House”. He regularly lectures at events and conferences around the world.
Dr Chatterjee’s approach is refreshingly holistic and straightforward. He prescribes lifestyle medicine to successfully treat a plethora of modern day chronic conditions without the need for medications. He is now teaching GPs to do the same. He believes we have overcomplicated health and I would agree and he wants to simplify it.
In his book Dr Chatterjee elegantly shares simple lifestyle tips fitting into 4 categories, each with 5 interventions, which are easy to implement towards better health and vitality. The key being to achieve balance across the 4 pillars, which are based on
- good relaxation
- eating habits
The book is beautifully illustrated, enjoyable, interesting and easy to read. As he says, relaxation and sleep are given little attention in our modern lifestyles and yet lack of these, contribute to so many health issues, which he explains in his book.
As a holistic therapist, primarily practising Reflexology, I am delighted that Dr Chatterjee endorses the approach of addressing route causes of symptoms, as we know that Reflexology supports 2 of the 4 pillars and is understood to:
- promote relaxation,
- reduce stress
- improve mood and
- improve sleep
As I wrote in 2016 for Local People Magazine, by reducing stress, we are reducing inflammation in the body, which is the precursor to most chronic (lasting more than 3 months) modern day illnesses and pain symptoms. Science has shown that when we are relaxed, more of the anti- inflammatory genes are switched on and more pro-inflammatory genes switched off and when we are stressed it is the other way around. It stands to reason that by reducing stress, we reduce our risk of chronic health conditions. It is because of this that I practice Reflexology, following a 22 year career in Biomedical Genetic Research.
I explained that with the burden on our NHS of chronic health conditions, many of which are preventable and linked to lifestyle, and which take up 70% of the NHS budget, there is great merit in integrating holistic approaches such as these lifestyle interventions that Dr Chatterjee advocates, into western medicine. It is this approach that I am sure will not only help to keep people well, but also save the NHS from demise.
This will also reduce the cost and health burden of side effects of long-term use of drugs, such as Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammtory Drugs (NSAIDS) – which more than double the risk of renal cell cancer, anti-depressants that can cause weight gain, or simple Paracetamol which would not be approved today in a clinical trial, due to its damaging effects on the liver, not to mention the cost to the NHS of hospital admissions due to adverse drug reactions (Pirmohamed et al , 2004)
Much of what is described is very much common sense, but the modern day society and culture in which we live and work, has caused us to lose sight of these and become disconnected. As my late Grandfather used to say …
“ joy, temperance and repose, slam the door on the doctors nose. “
“ an apple a day keeps the doctor away”
I like that Dr Chatterjee described foot shape in his exercise pillar, how it relates to back pain and how he has found simple, short exercises that can be done barefoot, to not just build up the arch of the foot, but also exercise the gluteus muscle to support the spine, counterbalancing posture issues to treat lower back pain – this is Reflexology in action and supports the work of a Reflexologist – since the spine and associated nerve reflex points map onto the inside edge of the foot along the arch … this also steps away ( literally !) from the use of orthotics and encourages the body to strengthen and support itself. I have just tried the exercise out this morning while waiting for the kettle to boil and intend to do so on a daily basis!
A Reflexology treatment starts with an in depth consultation which includes a review of lifestyle, diet, family history, accidents, illnesses and much more, to gain an overview of what may be contributing to a clients symptoms, since everything is connected.
The treatment itself offers an assessment of areas in the body that may be out of balance, it helps to bring these back into balance, since reflex points related to every system of the body are mapped to the feet. New insights can come to light during this process about possible causes for health issues, which empower a client to better health. The effect of Reflexology treatments can be cumulative over time. Clients often report that they feel more connected as the mind-body connection is re-established.
Dr Chatterjee’s next book, is due out early next year and will be entirely devoted to the topic of Stress, given the impact that stress has on health.
Tracy is a full time Reflexologist and full and current member of the Association of Reflexologists (AOR). By choosing a Reflexologist on the AOR register, with the letters MAR, FMAR or HMAR after their name, you are guaranteed to have a therapist that holds a nationally recognised diploma in Reflexology and is committed to continually developing skills and knowledge.
The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life. Dr Rangan Chatterjee 28 Dec 2017.
Adverse drug reactions as cause of admission to hospital: prospective analysis of 18 820 patients. Pirmohamed M et al . BMJ. 2004 Jul 3;329(7456):15-9.
The Association of Reflexologists, www.aor.org.uk
The 4 Pillar Plan
The new book due out Dec 2018