Ten Minutes with Michael Finkelstein
MD and head of the Sun Raven Center
Michael Finkelstein practiced traditional medicine for more than 20 years, then turned his focus to a more holistic approach. Now he runs the Sun Raven Center, here in Bedford, which has a farm and educational programs about nutrition and well-being. His book 77 Questions for Skillful Living will soon be released as a paperback, renamed Slow Medicine: A Reflection of What We’ve Learned.
What is slow medicine?
Slow medicine is similar to slow food, which is smart, purposeful eating—and the opposite of fast food. Slow medicine is the opposite of the quick fix. It’s about obtaining the wisdom for a healthy life. It’s about the prevention and not the fix. I really think that it is an important concept for people to get.
Does traditional medicine fit in to slow medicine?
Yes, it sure does. I don’t mean to throw out Western medicine at all. There are a lot of good things that we have developed with Western medicine. The two can co-exist, and indeed should co-exist.
Why don’t MD’s build anything holistic into their practices?
Some are coming around to this, but they were trained under the paradigm that there is a problem and there is a solution. And they are the ones with the solution. The reality is that not everything is that neatly packaged. We have put them up on a pedestal as having all the solutions.
You prefer integrative medicine?
Yes, integrative medicine is an approach to healthcare that emphasizes the ability of individuals to heal by natural processes. Each person must recognize their central and essential role in their own well-being.
Does technology play a big role in what you do?
Yes, very much so. But it’s not the technology per se, but the information that is being released to empower people to see all the alternatives. And there are lots of them, and people are finding them. It’s gratifying to see people finding new ways of treating themselves. In balance, I’d rather have people be outdoors, but technology really is powerful.
Why did you stop at 77 questions in your book?
It’s really just an arbitrary number. Ten didn’t seem like enough and an infinite is way too much. It’s just the number I got to.
Has the Affordable Care Act had an effect on what you do?
I would have hoped that there were more incentives for people to take care of themselves—to eat better, to exercise, to live better. I do think that it is giving more people access to medicine and to medical care.
What are your summer plans?
We focus on our garden at Sun Raven. We don’t have many formal programs in the summer, mainly because so many people are away. The farm is open, and we love for people to get out and in the dirt.
What is your focus now?
Well, very soon, by the end of June, I will have a new website—slowmedicinedoctor.com. It will have information and expose people to the ideas of living with more mindfulness. I will also be starting a Huffington Post blog.