Oct 08
October 8, 2013

New Research-Based Resources Empower Individuals to Heal


For the past decade, Samueli Institute has worked to uncover how healing occurs within individuals, communities and health care systems. This has led to the development of the Optimal Healing Environments, a framework that shows how the balance of internal, interpersonal, behavioral, and external healing environments can improve the ability of organizations to better the health of those working with it.

This framework has been used within hospitals and health care systems to improve the quality of care that patients receive, and was the foundation for creating a new resource book, Your Healing Journey, to help individuals learn how to heal on their own. The choices you make, the people and places surrounding you, and even your inner-most thoughts impact your inherent healing capacity. As we deal with daily stress, illness, and injury, our mind, body and spirit continually tap into our natural healing ability.

As the President and CEO of Samueli Institute, a non-profit research organization dedicated to the science of healing, I made a Commitment to Action to empower individuals with a new resource book, Your Healing Journey, at the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Conference in January 2013.  The Conference, which brought together thought leaders and individual change agents from across the country, inspired me and my organization to look for ways to translate our research into material that can support a culture of wellness and a flourishing society.

Your Healing Journey transforms more than a decade of research on the science of healing into an actionable framework of self-care, so that individuals can take action today to create an environment in their lives, at home, at work, and in their communities that support these natural healing abilities. And as part of our commitment to the Foundation, the e-book is available for download at SamueliInstitute.org/Inspire, at no cost and books will be distributed in throughout communities where the Clinton Health Matters Initiative is working to transform health.

We need to transition our health care system from one that simply focuses on disease management to one that focuses on wellness and whole person-healing. When individuals have the resources to create well-being and are supported in their efforts to build healthy lives, families and communities, only then will we see improvements in health outcomes and a decrease in health care costs.

Healing gives us a sense of meaning in hardship, hope in suffering and peace at the end of life. Cure means that the signs and symptoms of a disease or injury are gone. However, some may continue to experience distress even after their condition has been cured, meaning that they have not been fully healed. This differentiation is explored in depth in Your Healing Journey to help those dealing or recovering from an illness to live fully.

Through our work, we bring healing back into health care. It is only through a whole-person, whole-systems approach that we will shift the tide away from treating a disease to creating and enhancing health and well-being.

Photo: Samueli Institute and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences teamed up in 2013 to train fourth-year medical students on an integrative approach to health and wellness. More than 170 military medical students participated in educational sessions on acupuncture, yoga, guided imagery and meditation. The workshops were based on recent research findings that indicate these treatments are effective and economical ways to treat and provide self-care for returning warfighters as well as restorative for the physician’s own self-care.