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|Prof. Peter M. Wayne|
Prof. Peter M. Wayne
Director of Research
Brigham and Women's Hospital
He had a presentation at ICCMR 2015.
Q1: What led you to study and research CAM and other kinds of Traditional Medicine?
A1: My original research is in evolutionary biology. And I love doing research in science in general and paralleling my studies both in graduate school up to all the way back to high school in the United States. I had a long interest in Chinese and East Asian Medicine. In particular, doing tai chi and qi gong and learning about Asian philosophy. So I started this when I was 15 years old, almost 40 years ago. And this interest was always there while I was studying science. Somewhere towards the end of my research in evolutionary biology, I thought the field of Integrative Medicine research is becoming big enough and people are starting to study things like tai chi and acupuncture, my skills in research might translate nicely to become a researcher in Asian Medicine.
Q2: What kind of specific thing you are concentrating on these days?
A2: I am the research director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, which is at Harvard Medical School. And as a director, my interests are in bringing researchers across all the hospitals together that have any interest in doing work in Traditional Medicine or Integrative Medicine. My laboratory focuses a lot on mind body exercises. So we ask what does the benefits of the meditation part of exercise add in addition to physical exercise. Tai chi, qi gong, many of these exercises, yoga have physical movement but they also have mind component. So how does that effect the body differently than just physical exercise. But in addition, we’ve done quite a bit of research in acupuncture for many different conditions. Our institute has studied things ranging from aging issues, the balance and cognitive decline, to pain issues, back pain, chronic pain related to women’s health issues and also cancer.
Q3: What was your most exciting moment while you were researching this area?
A3: I think every experiment is exciting, because the first exciting part is to really figure out what your question is. And so much of research is not just getting the answer but figuring out what the right question is. I think what’s most exciting to me is when we bring teams of people together from different disciplines, we have researchers, medical specialists, people who are experts in traditional practices like tai chi or acupuncture. We come together and come with very new question and have new measures to test this. So sometimes it’s not so much the findings but the design of the study that makes it really exciting.
Q4: What’s your advice to our young researchers in this area of CAM and Traditional Medicine?
A4: I think my advice to anybody is obviously learn as well as you can, as many different skills and tools so that you can do your work well. But at the same time, make sure that what you do makes your heart happy because if there’s something that really inspires you and it has meaning, then you’ll find the energy to do the work and you’ll be motivated to find good colleagues to work with, wake up every day and feel very good about the work you are doing. It has to have a good idea, but it also has to have a good intention and make you happy. So, that’s my advice.