Less drugs and tests, and more talk: this is the philosophy of the Slow Medicine movement, which is taking the world by storm.
A trip to the doctor presupposes a known routine: arriving at the office, answering the usual questions, complaining about any inconvenience and leaving with the prescription of medication or tests – right? But this practice, which is already an old acquaintance, has been the target of criticism from countless doctors around the world. Their proposal is just one: to change the way patients are treated – and for that, a new philosophy, the slow medicineThe unhurried medicineis based on the basic principle of changing the way patients and professionals relate and see each other.
Ever heard of it? In plain English, “medicine without haste” arises to challenge the standard model of treatments in modern medicine. As? It proposes to bury in the past the preconceived idea that health professionals have of modern medicine. The current movement wants less medication and tests and more conversations in the office.
But after all, what is Slow Medicine?
This movement is the version of a philosophy that began in Italian gastronomy, in 1986, and which became known as Slow Food – or, in Portuguese, eating without haste. The ideology took the world by storm in 2004, with the publication of the book “In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed”, by British journalist Carl Honoré.
The movement born in Italy has been taken to the most diverse social fields and this network of ideas has a common denominator: asking for calm from a society involved in the rush of everyday life and the stress everyday. The medical version of the Slow movement, called Medicine Without Hurry in Portuguese, was born in 2002, when the term was first used by the Italian cardiologist Alberto Dolara.
At the time, Dolara published an article in which he stated that Slow Medicine could be a way to counteract the “constant impulse for acceleration in modern society”, making use of human resources to treat patients. The doctor wanted to slow people down and believed that the movement, if adopted by doctors, could help.
How does the Slow Medicine movement work?
For Medicina Sem Hurry, consultations should take longer – this being one of the main pillars of medical philosophy. The central idea is to make health professionals learn to see patients as complete people, and not just as disease guests. However, there are even more aspects involved in the matter. Among them are the sharing of decisions, the emphasis on health (and not disease) and prevention as therapy.
Less medicine and more talk
The Slow Medicine movement is attentive to the unique and individual needs of each patient and wants to prioritize clinical diagnosis, to the detriment of diagnosis conceived through exams. Prevention is also one of the key words of this philosophy, which focuses on care to maintain health and avoids the massive prescription of medication.
The movement does not close its eyes to the value of drugs and understands that they are essential to fight diseases that were fatal before. However, the “Slow” philosophy believes that there is an exaggeration in the prescription, which results in the abusive and excessive use of medicines. The same happens with the unbridled prescription of exams.
Slow Medicine: Doctors against health marketing
Medicina Sem Pressa also wants to put an end to cancer awareness campaigns in the media, such as Pink October, which warns of breast cancer prevention, and Blue November, which promotes the importance of early diagnosis of prostate cancer. For the Slow Medicine movement, these campaigns are mere marketing actions and cause a massive increase in the number of invasive – and unnecessary – procedures.
Among the numerous criticisms of this type of initiative, doctors who follow the philosophy of Medicina Sem Rush point out the high cost generated by the excess of exams and the stress caused to patients who often have to wait for up to a week for the results. .
It is important to stress that Medicina Sem Hurry does not want to put an end to routine exams, as it believes that prevention is the biggest key to good health. The main idea of the Slow Medicine movement is, in fact, to humanize care and treatments, teaching professionals to see their patients as unique beings with specific needs.
The big question that remains is: will we have the necessary patience to implement this practice in our daily lives? Faced with the rush that affects all spheres of modern society, will the Slow Medicine movement be accepted by the population?