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Danna Park, MD, On the Benefits of Mind-Body Medicine

Danna Park, MD“Mind-body medicine is one of the most underutilized tools in health care today, and can make a huge difference in a patient’s experience and ability to heal,” says Danna Park, MD.

Dr. Park should know. A graduate of the Residential Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, she is as well-rounded a physician as one could hope to find. She specializes in integrative medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics, and is board-certified in all three specialties, having earned her integrative medicine certification through the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM).

As the director of Mountain Integrative Medicine, PLLC, in Asheville, NC, Dr. Park provides integrative medicine consultations for adults and children with a variety of conditions, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, and ADD/ADHD. She also works with people who are well and simply want to optimize their health.

In her practice, Dr. Park utilizes a number of mind-body modalities for patients and families, including guided imagery, HeartMath®, and clinical hypnosis. These tools can be very powerful when incorporated into medical care, she says, such as when a patient is undergoing cancer treatments, or when preparing for or recovering from surgery. “In addition to decreasing the PTSD-type symptoms that can accompany cancer diagnosis and treatment,” she explains, “these modalities also have demonstrable benefits in decreasing pain medication use and complications after surgery.”

But mind-body techniques are also powerful preventative medicine, Dr. Park points out. Because they affect the interface between the cardiac, nervous, immune, and endocrine systems, these techniques can decrease inflammation, improve cortical and executive function in the brain, and improve overall well-being. Some of the beneficial outcomes reported are improved quality of life, decreased symptoms, and improved blood sugar control in patients with chronic illness like asthma and diabetes.

Mind-body medicine tools can also be highly useful for providers’ self-care, Dr. Park says. With a career-long interest in the relationship between healthcare provider well-being and better patient care and outcomes, she frequently gives presentations and workshops for healthcare provider groups and organizations on practitioner resilience and self-care.

“Having practical easy-to-use tools to improve resilience and decrease the physiological effects of stress is so important for us as providers,” Dr. Park says. “Techniques that are heart-based are particularly beneficial because they work so quickly.  We don’t have to wait until our next day off or for vacation next month – we can decrease the physiological and psychological effects of stress right away.  And studies show that these kinds of interventions improve patient care as well, which is a win-win for everyone.”

If you would like information about healthcare provider resilience workshops or well-being initiatives for your practice or organization, contact Dr. Park at mountainintegrative@outlook.com or 828-333-3339.  For information about becoming board certified in integrative medicine through ABPS, contact the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS). The ABOIM is a Member Board of the ABPS.

HeartMath is a registered trademark of Quantum Intech, Inc.