Show #320 – Dr. James Khong, 81, On The Key Principles To Thriving In An Anxious World


New music for the show, by LIOR.

We have a new tune for our show to welcome the new year! An old friend of mine from uni happens to be one of Australia’s finest artists, Lior, and as I love supporting local artists and it’s been brilliant having Melanie Horsnell’s music on the show the past couple of years, for 2023/24 it will be Lior. You will hear excerpts from his track “Caught Up”  – go check it out on iTunes or Spotify if you want to hear the whole song or album, Scattered Reflections. Co-written with Cameron Deyell, it’s a great song and I love the reflective energy of it – perfect for the show, right? Enjoy. Lior is always touring, so do check out his website. It is wonderful to hear him sing live, trust me.

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And on this week’s show!

Dr James Khong has been a GP for 5 decades and at age 81, has wonderful wisdom to share with us in this week’s show. The solution to the ‘Stress Pandemic,’ as James calls these times, is a combination of Eastern and Western medicine, as well as following his Pillars of Health and reducing stress. I know you’ll love his calm reasoned and overwhelm-free approach in this show. James outlines his philosophy of wellness in his new book Pandemic Stress, Reflections of Thriving in an Anxious world – a book her wrote as a way to leave a legacy from his career and life. In over fifty years as a surgical registrar, emergency medicine specialist, innovative GP and medical consultant to the Australian Ballet, film and television industry, James Khong has had a front row seat of the medical ‘industry,’ and the view makes him sick. Ironically, it was a near-death-experience twenty years ago, which led to James’ epiphany about changing the status quo medical model. He started to combine traditional Chinese/Western/Functional medicine, which look for causes to illness, rather than just addressing the symptoms. James also introduced meditation and breathing exercises for stress reduction.

Questions I asked Dr Khong

  • You became an expert in stress reduction. What did you learn about stress in your days as a groundbreaking emergency medicine specialist in Melbourne in your early days?
  • And how was that learning different from time as a country community GP? 
  • And from being the GP to the Australian ballet? 
  • There was a turning point which led to you incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine into the Western model of medicine – can you talk me through that experience that changed everything for you as a doctor?
  • When you started bringing TCM into the mix – what did you see? Can you share a couple of patient stories that helped you know you’d chosen the right direction? 
  • Let’s look at a couple of presentations in people that are on a dramatic rise today: What does TCM offer a person when they have depression? And how about autoimune conditions?
  • You want to help people stop or avoid reliance on prescription medications – How can one know this is safe to do and what do you recommend a person does who wants to go on that journey but needs to build a new health team? 
  • Do you have faith there will be a turning point in the western modern medical model where we start to see more focus on WHY people become unwell? WHY these epidemics of disease such as processed food/lack of regular movement, lack of ability to regulate stress + too much of it in general? Will we be able to separate accident/surgery/emergency medicine from health and healing as two quite separate arts of medicine? 
  • What is your favourite proof in practice or in the research that stress reduction directly impacts in a positive way, on our wellbeing?
  • Today, many practitioners who work with the nervous system are working to help people develop stress ‘flexibility’ – ie stress not bad per se and certainly not possible to avoid entirely… you also speak of the critical importance of getting out of permanent fight or flight mode – what are soe of your favourite daily practices to do that yourself? 
  • What are your Pillars of Health and Wellbeing?
  • Your book “Pandemic stress” is your desire to leave a legacy. If you could implore the people listening right now to do something powerful to keep stress in check as a daily or weekly practice – what would that be? 

About Dr James Khong

Dr James Khong’s motivation for writing Pandemic Stress, Reflections of Thriving in an Anxious world, was to leave a legacy. His book outlines strategies everyone can incorporate into their daily routines to strengthen their immune systems, reduce stress, improve relationships, discover their purpose and be more caring of others. ‘It is possible,’ James says. ‘It just requires a paradigm shift in our health and literally minutes each day.’

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Enjoy the show,

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