Body of Wonder

Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine

Insightful conversations with thought-provoking doctors, specialists, authors, and researchers at the forefront of integrative health and wellness. Hear about the ideas and research that are changing medicine and explore age-old wisdom backed by modern science. Hosted by Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Victoria Maizes.

Episode #10 Forest Bathing - Combating Modern Society's Nature Deficit with Suzanne HackenmillerEpisode #11 Psychedelic-Assisted Trauma Therapy - A New Frontier in Mental Health with Rick Doblin
Psychedelics are a family of psychoactive substances that induce a non-ordinary state of consciousness and altered sensory perception. Many individuals who have experienced psychedelics report transformative experiences, including a profound sensation of ego dissolution and deep spiritual awakening. While psychedelics have a long and interesting history of human consumption, they were banned by the FDA in the 1970s, and to this day they hold the most restrictive classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. However, careful research by a dedicated group of scientists reveals that MDMA may prove to be a breakthrough treatment for difficult cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and emotional trauma. In this episode Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Victoria Maizes welcome Rick Doblin, Ph.D, the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Rick received his doctorate in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and studied with psychedelics pioneer, Dr. Stanislav Grof. The MAPS organization is currently carrying out Phase III clinical research trials to assess the effects of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in patients with PTSD and other forms of severe trauma. Rick distinguishes MDMA from other classic psychedelics, describes how MDMA is being used in psychoanalysis, shares why he believes this will be a meaningful catalyst for the exploration of consciousness, and explains why micro-dosing may not achieve therapeutic results. Dr. Weil explains the importance of set and setting in psychedelics use, and Dr. Maizes asks what next for this promising field of research.
Oct 22 2020
43 mins
Episode #12 Adaptogens for Stress Resiliency and Immunity with Dr. Lise Alschuler
Adaptogens are a unique group of plants and mushrooms that helps to normalize the functions of the body. They are favorites among many herbalists, naturopaths, and integrative medicine practitioners as they’ve been clinically proven to help the body to cope with acute and long-term stress, boost immunity, and increase energy.  Highly regarded in traditional medicine they have been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Our guest today is Dr. Lise Alschuler, a naturopathic doctor with board certification in naturopathic oncology. Lise is the Associate Director of the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine and a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine. She has co-authored two books, Definitive Guide to Cancer and Definitive Guide to Thriving After Cancer. Lise describes how adaptogens are natural regulators that can “balance” the body and bring it back to homeostasis. She describes the mechanism of action by which they work and which symptoms may benefit from adaptogens. Dr. Andrew Weil discusses how adaptogenic herbs, like ginseng, were first introduced to Western culture. Lise, Andy, and Victoria discuss why they use adaptogens in their daily routine and share their favorites. On this episode, we discuss; astragalus, ginseng, rhodiola, schisandra, reishi, ashwagandha, and holy basil (tulsi). Always consult your primary care provider before adding adaptogens or supplements to your diet or routine.
Nov 19 2020
38 mins
Episode #13 Thinking Small and Big - Microencapsulation with Robert Langer
Dr. Robert “Bob” Langer joins us to discuss his work microencapsulating probiotics, micronutrients, and even human cells. Microencapsulating is the scientific process which creates a protective barrier around a cell and has been a lifesaving technology for a variety of conditions. Researchers are just on the cusp of nano-encapsulating technology. Dr. Langer, a chemical engineer and Institute Professor at MIT, has been called “the Edison of Medicine” by Times for his breakthrough innovations. He has over 1,350 patents and it’s estimated that over 2 billion people worldwide have been impacted by his innovations. From an early career as a chemical engineer working in Boston Children’s Hospital, where he developed the world’s first angiogenesis inhibitor (a medicine that prevents cancer growth by starving tumor blood vessels) to his present-day work developing a novel mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Langer’s career has been full of innovation. Dr. Victoria Maizes and Dr. Langer discuss how cross-discipline collaboration in the sciences and diversity play an important role in innovation. Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Langer discuss how microencapsulating probiotics will improve gut health and how microencapsulating nutrients could yield better long-term health outcomes in populations lacking nutrient dense foods. We also discuss tissue regeneration, the process of growing new skin, which is already being applied to treat burn survivors. Dr. Langer’s scientific contributions are testament to what’s possible when you think outside the status quo and nurture imagination.
Dec 17 2020
35 mins
Episode #14 Medical Cannabis with Dr. Ethan Russo
Cannabis research has caught the attention of medical providers and patients for its many potential health benefits. For decades cannabis has been categorized as a Schedule 1 drug, which is defined as a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. And while 33 states have approved its medical use, it continues to be federally prohibited. Cannabis contains more than 100 active compounds that react with cannabinoid receptors in our nervous systems. In spite of prohibitive policies, medical researchers around the world have managed to conduct studies. Research reveals a growing body of evidence of the therapeutic potentials. From tempering chronic pain to reducing anxiety, cannabis holds potential for use. Today we speak with, Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher. Dr. Russo has spent decades researching exactly how cannabis impacts the human body covering well-known compounds such as THC or CDB, as well as other powerful compounds, like CBG and CBA. Dr. Weil discusses the complicated history of cannabis in U.S culture and suggests explanations for why it has not widely been accepted as medicine. Dr. Russo addresses the concern over long term cognition problems. Dr. Maizes raises the important question, is it possible to achieve the health benefits of cannabis and not experience the psychoactive effects or “high”. With legal access to cannabis on the rise, we discuss the future medical applications of this substance.
Jan 15 2021
36 mins
Episode #15 The Power of Breath with James Nestor
Breathing is an essential function of the body influencing nearly every organ and metabolic process. We average 20,000 breaths per day, often without much thought.   Breathwork, or the action of controlled breathing, is a powerful and simple technique that can be used to alter physical and mental states. Studies show that it can regulate the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and even reduce stress.   As vital as breathing is to our health, as a species, we are losing the ability to breathe properly. Human beings evolved to breathe through the nose, which warms and moistens the air and traps particles and pathogens. Every inhale provides our brain with a chemical analysis of our surroundings and engages our nervous system.  Over the last century, humans have developed airway restrictions at an alarming rate, many of which have been linked to ailments, like hypertension, that extend beyond just the respiratory system. The good news is that poor breathing is reversible.    Our guest on this episode is science journalist, James Nestor, author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. Nestor has spent a decade learning from breathing experts, including scientists, doctors, and yogis, and investigating our understanding of breath throughout the centuries.    Nestor joins Dr. Andrew Weil & Dr. Victoria Maizes to share his insights, including:   ·         How humans become poor breathers ·         Physical abnormalities that rise from mouth breathing ·         Changing how you inhale and exhale can drastically improve your health   We learn about the physiological influence of breath and speculate on why breathwork has been widely underutilized by modern medicine.   We invite you to take a deep breath and join us for this fascinating look at breathing.    If you’d like to practice the 4-7-8 breath after the episode, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRPh_GaiL8s .
Feb 25 2021
36 mins
Episode #16 Experiencing Grief, Loss, and Radical Uncertainty with Roshi Joan HalifaxEpisode #17 The Low-FODMAPs Diet with Dr. Peter GibsonEpisode #18 A Kingdom of Their Own - How Fungi Shape Our World with Merlin Sheldrake
Apr 27 2021
28 mins
Episode #19 The Gut-Brain Axis - How Your Brain and Body Communicate with John Cryan, PhD
At some point in your life, you’ve likely been told to “trust your gut” when making a decision or experienced a “gut reaction” to external stimuli. Medical research indicates that these gut idioms might just be right about the role of the gut! It turns out that the gut microbiome communicates with the brain and can potentially influence our behavior. Researchers have named this link the gut-brain axis and it provides a robust communication network between the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system. At its core is the enteric nervous system which has more than 5 times the number of neurons in our brains and trillions of microorganisms. This system has been dubbed the “second brain” or the “gut-brain” for its influence on our overall physical and mental health. Our guest today is neuroscientist John Cryan, PhD. Professor Cryan investigates how the gut microbiome affects the mammalian brain. He is Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and Principal Investigator in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Center at University College of Cork (Ireland). Dr. Cryan’s research has demonstrated the bi-directional relationship between our gut and emotional and mental wellbeing. In this episode Dr. Weil, Dr. Maizes, and Professor Cryan discuss the role the vagus nerve plays in regulating homeostasis, how chemicals released in the gut send signals to the brain, how maternal bacteria influence our early development, the link between sleep and gut health, and how diet can influence this complex system.
May 25 2021
33 mins
Episode #1 Healing Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil & Dr. Victoria MaizesEpisode #20 How Psychedelics Will Change the Future of Mental Health Treatment with Ronan Levy
Psychedelics, such as ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, and LSD have been tightly controlled and highly debated substances for decades, but after several years of clinical trials, the FDA has recently awarded both MDMA and psilocybin, when used in conjunction with psychotherapy, with breakthrough status for the research of challenging mental health disorders, like PTSD. The breakthrough status designation means that the FDA will expedite the review of the research. Mental health advocates are keen to open these treatments to a wider demographic of patients. And, it’s important to note that there’s been a long tradition of psychedelic use as a healing practice among cultures across the world. So, is modern society ready to embrace psychedelics? Newly passed local laws show that it’s becoming more widely accepted. Legal access to psilocybin is already available in parts of the US and Canada. Joining us on this episode is Ronan Levy, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Field Trip Psychedelics a new company that is treating patients who have mental health diagnoses with ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Together, Dr. Weil, Dr. Maizes, and Levy discuss important aspects of psychedelic treatment. Dr. Weil defines psychedelic-assisted therapy and how it works. Dr. Maizes raises the questions, “What should be considered when applying these treatments?” and “When will it be made available to patients?” Levy describes the current regulations and laws around the substances in the US and Canada, the treatment protocols at his clinic, and what the future holds for patients seeking psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Jun 29 2021
35 mins
Episode #21 Ethnobotany: The Science of Indigenous Medicine with Michael Balick, PhD
Plants have provided human beings with nourishment, medicine, fibers, and other resources for millennia. And, the passing of botanical knowledge through generations not only ensured survival, it shaped how cultures understood their world. Occasionally, this knowledge would be exchanged with neighboring people in the forms of stories, rituals, and daily practices. In the 1800’s Western anthropologists studying indigenous cultures began to categorize this relationship between plants and people as a new science called, ethnobotany, “ethno” meaning people and “botany” meaning plants. Over the last 200 years the field has evolved to include ethnomedicine and most recently it’s application in modern pharmaceuticals. But, how is it that centuries ago societies without modern laboratory equipment learned how to use botanicals with such precise applications and outcomes? To understand this, we welcome Dr. Michael Balick, ethnobotanist, and Vice President and Director of the Institute of Economic Botany at the New York Botanical Gardens. For more than four decades, Dr. Balick has studied the relationship between plants and people. Most of his research is in remote regions of the tropics, like Micronesia, on the islands of Pohnpei, Kosrae, Palau and Melanesia, in the Republic of Vanuatu where he works with indigenous cultures to document plant diversity, knowledge of its traditional use and evaluation of the potential of botanical resources, particularly medicinal plants, for broader application and use. Dr. Weil, Dr. Maizes, and Dr. Balick discuss why it's so important to understand ethnobotany in modern society, the benefits of “whole-plant” traditional medicines, and how ethnobotanists are working with indigenous elders to preserve cultural practices and ancient knowledge.
Jul 28 2021
37 mins
Episode #22 Mind-Body Approaches to Understanding and Healing Chronic Pain with Howard Schubiner, MD
Aug 31 2021
30 mins
Episode #23 Embracing a Sustainable Diet with Brent Kim, MHS
Our daily food choices can have a lasting impact not only on our personal health but also on the health of our planet. The worldwide population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 and research shows that human dietary patterns may have a staggering effect on climate change. Today we’re joined by Brent Kim, MHS a global disease epidemiologist and researcher at the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Kim has published works on sustainable diets, climate change, industrial food, animal production, soil safety, and urban food systems. As we witness dramatic consequences of climate change, it’s clear that we must work together to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Kim outlines the criteria critical to a sustainable diet and how they play a role in climate change. He describes factors accelerating global emissions and the actions we must take now to avoid future disasters. In this episode, Kim explains why meat consumption is a complex topic, and Dr. Maizes and Dr. Weil discuss motivations for adopting and maintaining vegetarian and vegan diets. The discussion includes meat alternatives, like plant-based-processed burgers and lab-grown meat, and addresses their health implications. Dr. Weil suggests lesser-known, low-food chain organisms like algae and insects as new sources of protein. All agree that integrative medicine and sustainability are founded on systems-based thinking, leading to the question, “what other societal changes are needed to meet the challenges of climate change?”
Sep 28 2021
42 mins
Episode #24 Exploring Trauma, Addiction, and Emotional Pain with Guest Dr. Gabor Mat�Episode #25 Living Longer, Healthier, and with Purpose with Dan Buettner
What are the keys to living a long, healthful life? Insights from regions where people thrive well into their 100’s demonstrates that diet, physical, social, and even spiritual factors contribute to longevity.   In this episode, Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Victoria Maizes sit down with award-winning journalist, best-selling author, and National Geographic explorer, Dan Buettner to discuss the habits that contribute to a live a long, healthy, meaningful life. In 2000, Dan, National Geographic, and the NIH Institute on Aging identified the regions in the world where people lived the longest, healthiest lives. Those areas - dubbed Blue Zones - are Icaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Sardinia, Italy. In each of these places, residents often lived well into their 90’s, with many living to be 100 years old or more. Dan’s articles, which closely examined the lifestyle trends of these centenarian populations, were published in The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic magazine. Seeking to bring these life-enhancing habits to other populations, Buettner created partnerships with municipal governments, large employers, and health insurance companies to implement Blue Zones Projects in communities, workplaces, and universities. Blue Zones Projects are well-being initiatives that focus on changes to the local environment, public policy, and social networks. These communities have seen sharp decreases in preventable diseases and saved millions in healthcare costs. In this conversation, Dr. Weil, Dr. Maizes, and Buettner explore blue zones lifestyles and discuss ways to integrate their habits into your life.
Jan 25 2022
33 mins
Episode #26 Breakthrough Therapies for the Treatment of Mental Health Disorders with Charles Raison, MDEpisode #27 The Compounding Effect of Healthy Lifestyle Habits with Arianna Huffington and Dr. Aaliya YaqubEpisode #28 Answering Listeners' Health & Wellness Questions