Dr. Rudy Kachmann doesn’t just dole out advice on healthy living. He practices what he preaches.
At 82 years young – with no signs of slowing down – the well-known Fort Wayne neurosurgeon is as healthy as he’s ever been.
“I don’t take any medications. I play pickleball, lots of tennis and I take tap dancing lessons every week. Dancing is the best form of exercise there is,” Kachmann says. “And I walk in nature for stress reduction.”
When he started practicing medicine more than four decades ago, Kachmann would see patients in debilitating pain who wanted a quick fix. Then he stumbled across the book Molecules of Emotion and began to study the mind-body connection. The idea that our thoughts and our emotions could affect our physical health resonated with him.
So did the notion that nutrition and fitness could play a role in lowering risk factors for diseases like Type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
“When you are born, about two to five percent of your genetic script is written. If your mother smokes or consumes alcohol, for example, that affects your genetics. You can’t control that,” Kachmann explains. “But your lifestyle can write the other 95 percent of your genetic script.”
In other words, he says, just because a woman is born with the BRCA breast cancer gene, it doesn’t guarantee that she’ll end up with breast cancer. There are many things she can do to lower her risk and avoid the gene altogether.
“If a woman doesn’t smoke, if she limits alcohol intake to two or three glasses of wine a week, maintains a normal weight and avoids toxins like pesticides and radiation, she can reduce her risk of breast cancer by 50 to 70 percent,” says Kachmann. He points to many scientific studies that back up those statistics and has even written his own book about it titled Breast Cancer: Prevention is the Cure.
Kachmann feels so strongly about the topic that he frequently hosts lectures and does a weekly show on public access television to try to educate the public. He founded the Kachmann Mind Body Institute in 2005 and developed a website (kachmannhealth.com) to address wellness issues.
“Don’t you think we should prevent cancer if we can?” he asks emphatically. “Most cancer can be prevented with proper nutrition.”
For example, he urges patients to cut sugar from their diets. “Sugar causes the body to release insulin which then increases inflammation and increases rates of cancer. Cancer feeds on sugar.”
He offers these other tips as well:
“Chronic stress is a killer,” Kachmann says. “Stress causes us to overeat and engage in addictive behaviors like alcohol and drug use.”
He recommends activities like yoga and tai chi that not only get you moving, but are known to help reduce stress levels and improve mental health. Then there’s the power of positive thinking.
“We are finally moving toward the recognition that in an illness of any kind, from the common cold to cancer, emotional stress plays a huge part. Anxiety disrupts our body’s normal functioning,” he says. “The illness of cancer does not come out of the blue. Cancer can be a response to stress.”
Kachmann also says we’d be wise to take a serious look at the impact that spirituality, meditation and imagery can have on healing.
He recalls many times in his practice that people who accepted a cancer diagnosis by saying, “I’m not going to die” did, in fact, respond better to treatment and live longer lives. It’s anecdotal evidence that he says other well-respected physicians have experienced as well.
“We have a powerful doctor within us that can keep us alive. Miracles have been done by positive thinking and faith. Many of those cases cannot be explained by medical science unless we include the power of the human mind,” Kachmann concludes.