The Miracle Drug

It’s a prescription like no other. It should be taken at least once daily and restocked as often as necessary – it has unlimited refills. It can protect your joints; prevent falls, premature death, cardiovascular disease, ischemic stroke, type 2 diabetes, some colon and breast cancers, and even depression (Carlson et al., 2015). There are no side effects to its use and it is so powerful at maintaining and improving health that it can add years to life. It may be the key to why users not only survive longer but thrive in later life.  Millions of annual deaths could be averted by early intervention and proactive use of this cure (Sundberg, 2016). In older adults its use could result in significant savings in healthcare spending within 2 years of commencing it (Martinson et al., 2003), and in our youngest It can produce transformational changes in fitness levels, mental, social, emotional health and wellbeing (Murray et al., 2016). Increasing the use of this treatment in the Irish population could ultimately result in annual saving of between €67.5 – 135 million – enough to fund Irish Water! A British study reported that non adherence to this intervention was directly responsible for an approximated cost to the British National Health Service of at least £1.06 billion (Allender et al., 2007). We should all be on it! But what is it?

pillOnly 3 out of 10 adults in Ireland appear to use this treatment, and for non users  this can have major consequences for their health and quality of life. In addition, just 19% of primary school children and 12% of secondary school pupils get an adequate prescription to fulfil their needs. This is unfair, unjust and dangerous! Why is this treatment being withheld if it is so effective? In previous generations the sick patient was traditionally a passive spectator in the management of their own healthcare. But fortunately most of us are now active participants in the organization of our health. The relationship between the client and healthcare worker has changed from one of being a submissive participant to a point where patients adopt an informed, intelligent position and have become active consumers in the management of their health (Longtin et al., 2010).

So surely now we can demand a treatment like this. It is our right to have access to a prescription that can have such a dramatic effect on our overall health and well-being. But industrial, technological and social progress is considerably reducing the use of this medicine (Matthews et al., 2012). When compared to our parents and grandparents, my generation work and live in surroundings that discourage its usage (Owen et al., 2010). Well in fact you can self prescribe, there is usually no need to attend a health professional and it can be free depending on your brand of choice. There are options – loads of them. But there is a time commitment – adults need 30 minutes of moderate effort for 5 days a week, whilst for children (2-18 years) it will take a 60 minute vigorous effort every day (Haskell et al., 2007) ……    Its exercise!


Allender S, Foster C, Scarborough P & Rayner M. (2007). The burden of physical activity-related ill health in the UK. J Epidemiol Community Health 61, 344-348.


Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Pratt M, Yang Z & Adams EK. (2015). Inadequate physical activity and health care expenditures in the United States. Prog Cardiovasc Dis 57, 315-323.


Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin BA, Macera CA, Heath GW, Thompson PD & Bauman A. (2007). Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39, 1423-1434.


Longtin Y, Sax H, Leape LL, Sheridan SE, Donaldson L & Pittet D. (2010). Patient participation: current knowledge and applicability to patient safety. Mayo Clin Proc 85, 53-62.


Martinson BC, Crain AL, Pronk NP, O’Connor PJ & Maciosek MV. (2003). Changes in physical activity and short-term changes in health care charges: a prospective cohort study of older adults. Prev Med 37, 319-326.


Matthews CE, George SM, Moore SC, Bowles HR, Blair A, Park Y, Troiano RP, Hollenbeck A & Schatzkin A. (2012). Amount of time spent in sedentary behaviors and cause-specific mortality in US adults. Am J Clin Nutr 95, 437-445.


Murray A, Calderwood C, O’Connor N & Mutrie N. (2016). Scotland’s progress in putting policy about physical activity into practice. Br J Sports Med 50, 320-321.


Owen N, Healy GN, Matthews CE & Dunstan DW. (2010). Too muc

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

One thought on “The Miracle Drug

  1. The reason it’s not prescribed in Ireland, shareholders would lose a fortune, and a lot of GP’s would more than likely starve to death:(

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