Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wednesdays Off

By Jacob Schor ND, FABNO
Convention Speaker Selection Committee Chair

I’ve taken Wednesdays off since our first year in practice. It was easy at first. We didn’t have many patients and it made more sense to squeeze them together on the schedule. Wednesdays became my ski day and over the last twenty-one years it’s been a rare Winter Wednesday that I haven’t been on skis.

Summer Wednesdays are different - they are my dog days.  The dog and I head for the mountains and go for a walk, though in Colorado there isn’t really such a thing as a walk; we hike. These days off are essential for my mental well-being and probably for my health as well.  I’m not one for gyms or exercise machines but am content to spend a day on the trail. It gives me time to think, time to let those inner dialogues roll.

We hiked up Herman Gulch last Wednesday and I found myself thinking about which presentations are going to be on my ‘gotta see’ list at the AANP conference.  I realized that I’ve been looking forward to hearing what Britta Zimmer is going to have to say ever since reading her abstract last winter. Dr. Zimmer is the medical director of Pacific Quest, an adolescent and young adult wilderness and residential living program located on the Big Island of Hawaii.

I believe deeply that there is something innately healing about being outside in nature and I assume that many of you do as well.  There is something about the experience of fresh air, wind, rain, snow (though probably not so much snow in Hawaii), fresh running water and the sound of the ocean (not so much in Colorado), that enhances our well being. To turn this belief into a practice, now, that is a challenge. Thus I want to hear what Dr. Zimmer has to say. Is what they are doing really working?  Has she and this group at Pacific Quest figured out the appropriate dose of ‘outside’ required to help a troubled teen? I’ve got a thousand questions and I’m hoping she will be able to answer them.

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