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Frequently Asked Questions

We realize you likely have questions about the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program at Sentara Heart. We have gathered common questions we have received and posted answers. You can also reach a trained Ornish Care Specialist at 1-877-888-3091.

  • What is Ornish Lifestyle Medicine?

    The program provides comprehensive lifestyle changes scientifically shown to reverse the progression of heart disease without drugs or surgery. It includes 18 sessions, each 4 hours long, that focus on four key areas of health:

    • Diet
    • Exercise
    • Stress management
    • Emotional support

    Learn more about reversing heart disease with Ornish.

  • Why choose Ornish Lifestyle Medicine?

    Unlike medications and invasive procedures, the program addresses what causes heart disease, not just its effects. It offers a step-by-step plan and a supportive community to ensure your success. You benefit from a:

    • Team approach: Your program is overseen by a consistent, specialized team of heart disease professionals, including nutritionists and exercise physiologists.
    • Group support: Each session includes a small, supportive group of 10 to 15 participants, all focused on inspiring each other to succeed.
    • Online access: A personalized online portal guides you through every step of the program.
    • Extra resources: You receive access to additional resources such as an online magazine and videos on fitness, stress management and cooking.
    • Alumni networks: Online communities and meetings help inspire you after the formal sessions end.
  • What do Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program sessions include?

    Each 4-hour session includes:

    • Supervised exercise
    • Guidance on stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga and deep breathing
    • Group discussion and support
    • Group meal
    • Instruction on how to prepare and enjoy a wide range of natural, vegetarian, heart-healthy recipes
  • What is the evidence supporting Ornish Lifestyle Medicine?

    Dr. Dean Ornish is an internationally recognized heart health expert. His scientific research over more than 30 years demonstrates that the program successfully treats heart disease. His studies are published in leading medical journals, including:

    • Journal of American Medical Association
    • The Lancet
    • American Journal of Cardiology
    • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Learn more about the evidence behind Ornish Lifestyle Medicine.

  • How soon will I experience the benefits of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine?

    Many people report feeling better just days after starting Ornish Lifestyle Medicine. They often are able to soon resume the activities they love. Research shows that following the program reduces your heart attack risk and your need for drugs or surgery.

    Learn more about the benefits of the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program.

  • Can Ornish Lifestyle Medicine help me if heart disease runs in my family?

    Fortunately, your genes are not your fate. Dr. Ornish found that the program affects more than 500 genes. It turns on disease-preventing genes and turns off genes that promote heart disease and other harmful conditions.

  • Will I be able to stick with the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program?

    Yes. Research has shown that 87.9 percent of people who began the program were still following it and healing their hearts a year later.

  • What patients are most helped by Ornish Lifestyle Medicine?

    Ornish Lifestyle Medicine works for most patients with coronary heart disease. In general, the more people change their lifestyle, the more they improve and the better they feel. Learn if Ornish is right for you.

  • Will I still see my regular doctor?

    Yes. Your doctor remains in charge of your care, including your medications. Program staff regularly communicate with your doctor so you have a team approach to your care.

  • When are sessions held?

    Sessions are held during the day, starting at 9:30 a.m.

  • How do I start?

    Ornish Care Specialists are ready to help you take control of your health. Call them at 1-877-888-3091.

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