Heart and Vascular

Ornish Lifestyle Medicine

Ornish Lifestyle Medicine™ is a 72-hour program proven to prevent, stop, and reduce your risk factors for heart disease by optimizing four areas of your life:

  • what you eat
  • how you respond to stress
  • how much love and support you have
  • how much activity you have in your day


The nutrition element helps participants adopt a whole food, plant-based eating plan, including a wide variety of high-fiber whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and more. Nutrition element highlights include:

• Enjoy a meal at each session, prepared by an Ornish certified chef.
• Learn how to make nutritious and healthy meals at home.
• Education on label reading, cooking instructions, protein adequacy, shopping tips and dining out.

Dr. Richard Collins, the cooking cardiologist who does demonstrations using Ornish recipes, left us these recipes from his visit with us in August 2019. They include “bacon” sauce, the carrot dog, grilled Cajun pickles, flourless lemon torte and watermelon gazpacho.

Stress management

During stress management, you learn to manage stress, and develop an increased awareness of how stress impacts you, physically and emotionally. Stress comes not only from what happens to us; even more important is how we react to it. By practicing stress management techniques on a regular basis, we can accomplish even more without getting stressed. Stress management element highlights include:

• Learn techniques to help handle stress in your daily life
• Create a regular habit that you will look forward to practicing
• Understand the value of stress management on your overall health

Group support

The need for authentic connection and community is primal, as fundamental to our health and well-being as the need for air, water and food. People who feel lonely, depressed and isolated are three to ten times more likely to get sick and die prematurely from virtually all causes when compared to those who have strong feelings of love, connection and community.
Our support groups are designed to create a safe environment and community of people going through this program together. Group support element highlights include:

• Learning how to communicate in ways that enhance connection, love and support.
• Creating a healthy community of friends and family.
• Developing more compassion and empathy for both yourself and others.


In the fitness element, you participate in regular, moderate intensity exercise, personalized to you and gradually progressed to optimize your health benefits. An individualized exercise plan is created to address your medical history, available exercise resources and goals.
Fitness element highlights include:

• Understand the importance and benefits of regular physical activity
• Develop the ability to properly monitor your own exercise
• Learn and practice aerobic and strength training program
• Create a fun, supportive, non-competitive environment to enhance behavior change
• Personalize a home exercise program that will allow you to achieve your physical activity goals

To be eligible

Depending on your medical history, health insurance or Medicare may cover Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, which is considered an intensive cardiac rehabilitation program. You meet criteria if you have had any one of the following:

  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Current stable angina pectoris (chest pain)
  • Heart valve repair or replacement
  • Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (balloon) or coronary stenting
  • Heart or heart-lung transplant
  • Acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) within the last 12 months
  • Stable chronic heart failure


Classes meet Tuesdays and Thursdays for nine weeks. Each class is four hours, either morning or afternoon. New sessions begin every 4-6 weeks.

To find out more

Call Connie Dobson, Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at (574) 364-2587.