“It’s much easier in hindsight to see how you’ve arrived at your current point than it is to have a grand design at the beginning,” says Dr Mark Hyman, variously the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center in Massachusetts, US, chair of the Institute for Functional Medicine, family physician, medical editor at the Huffington Post, five-time New York Times bestselling author, advisor to Memhet Oz’s HealthCorps… The list goes on.
At the heart of everything, however, lies Hyman’s fundamental belief that healthcare is currently going in the wrong direction. “There are a lot of different things I’m doing to try to move the conversation in a different way – at a policy level, in the area of consumer education, in professional education, through my medical practice,” he agrees.
So with the beneﬁt of hindsight, how would he describe the progression of his career? “In college I majored in Buddhism, which is really a science of understanding how the mind works and how we interact with our experience. I began to understand that a lot of traditional healing modalities were essentially driven out of ancient traditions like Buddhism – I was very interested in its healing aspect.
“I then became a yoga teacher before realizing that I wanted to go to medical school. I went without a sense that it was the answer – in fact, I knew it didn’t really hold all the pieces – but I wanted to get the basic training and go from there. However, I was basically brainwashed and People who undertake health plans with peer support do better had to get de-programmed afterwards.
“Part of that de-programming came through my own illness: I got chronic fatigue when I was about 30 or 35 years old and it incapacitated me. I went from being a high functioning over-achiever to barely being able to get out of bed in the morning. I had to discover a new way of thinking about disease, because what I learned in medical school didn’t provide any of the answers. “What I discovered was a system-based model to dealing with the root of illness, in which the body is viewed as an ecosystem, a network. Everything is connected and interconnected and dynamic and functioning – a live, dynamic organism.”