I can definitely appreciate why people would be sensitive if you try to link their condition to depression and suggest that their illness may be a symptom of their emotional life. I get that--it may still be true, but I can understand why they would be defensive. But to say that it might be linked to diet, exercise or even environmental toxins just causes an uproar as well.
People are so locked into their prescription drugs and whatever their doctor says. Its like they want to be on drugs, some kind of adult umbilical chord. Everything will be okay if I just take these drugs and listen to my doctor. Exercise and healthy eating involves taking an active role in your own health. Maybe changing one's lifestyle is scary.
I love the Egoscue exercises. They are similar to yoga in that they can correct posture and reverse a number of stress injuries (carpal tunnel, etc). They are designed to target issues common for a modern lifestyle. For me, they have been a godsend. All sorts of posture and joint problems just disappear after doing these exercises, and I feel GREAT. I've had anxiety that was so crippling I could barely move, with my body aching. A couple sessions of these exercises and the anxiety is gone--as if it were never there.
These exercises are not wholly accepted by science and would most likely not be recommended if you went to your doctor with carpel tunnel symptoms. They would want to re-wire your wrists and rarely consider that maybe if you didn't slouch all day at the keyboard, pinching the nerves in your shoulder, you wouldn't have any wrist problems--yet slouching is not always something you can just change on a whim, you may need a proper program to get your body to assume its natural and normal posture, again.
Of course, I don't pretend to be able to diagnose anyone's condition. Further, even if lifestyle issues are at play, that doesn't mean anybody knows which factors exactly are causing which illness nor would they know how to reverse each and every condition with certainty. However, to suggest that the data out there might indicate a correlation between lifestyle and environmental factors more than genetic ones is not rocket science. It is worth considering that some people have done very well with non-traditional methods of healing.
If cancer, heart disease, diabetes and MS were genetic ailments you would expect them to occur in similar rates in different historical time periods and in different environments. Yet, it is widely known that rates of certain cancers are rising right now. Heart disease was rare just a couple of generations ago. All of these diseases started rising at exactly the same time when people went from manual labor and farm-fresh foods to a more sedentary lifestyle with packaged foods and chemicals, cleaners, exhaust and pesticides literally everywhere. It is not proven, but there sure seems to be strong environmental triggers at play here. Yet, researchers spend lots of time and money trying to find the "genetic link" or develops drugs to "fix" you.
Look at it from an evolutionary standpoint: Our bodies were designed to live a certain lifestyle and eat a certain diet. Changing all of that suddenly, its no surprise that we are met with all sorts of debilitating diseases. The good news is that this also suggests that getting back to a "whole foods" diet and having amble exercise might be a way to keep ourselves healthy.I think western medicine is fantastic. No intelligent person should ever try to distance themselves from it completely. However, despite the brilliance of western medicine, there are some cultural assumptions so firmly rooted in the practice of it that doctors often do not even realize it, and if they do, they don't have the tools, education or support structure to do anything about it.
One assumption I'm talking about is the notion that a doctor can invade a patient and forcibly "correct" a condition in order to treat them. So you have drugs and surgeries. Yet, nothing can treat a human body better than the human body. Even the best of medicine only works with the body, not against. There isn't enough talk about prevention and maintaining a healthy body in balance (see The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion). When you consider the positively insane work schedules of modern American physicians, it is clear that living in a healthy balance is not something practiced, supported nor sought out in potential candidates for physicians.
Hopefully, this is changing. After dissecting the human person into specializatized fields, medicine is once again starting to think of people in holistic terms. You doctor will now be more willing to talk about a complimentary exercise or chiropractic program to accompany their regimen of drugs and surgery. Experts everywhere have been telling us about the benefits of diet and exercise for some time now. Doctors often still talk about them as if they were just a "bonus", just some "extra things you can do" rather than the heart and soul of healthy living, but we're getting somewhere. Baby steps. The potential of diet and exercise to cause and cure illnesses is an area we've only started to mine, in my opinion.
More research needs to be done, for sure. There could be all sorts of reasons why illnesses are happening, and possibly the data out there now is not accurate. But there is so much evidence that lifestyle and environmental issues are deeply involved in modern illnesses that it would be irresponsible for science not to consider them right at the top of the list. As a individual, you should take responsibility for your health and consider that your diet, exercise and exposure to toxins may be a key role in your health--or your illnesses. And don't get mad at me about it.