Hello, I'm Dermod Wood, the developer of this program and principal "lab-rat" for the material. I'm 78 years old and in excellent health. The old biblical "three score and ten" (70 years) life expectancy seems a bit irrelevant today. Most of us are going to live a lot longer. How much longer is a burning question.
Doing the actuarial calculations1 for myself, by one measure I have a 75% chance of living another 10 years and a 50% chance of living another 20, so the next burning question is how well I'll live them.
This will depend partly on my genetic makeup, but more importantly, on the lifestyle choices that I make. I've been researching and investigating this for the past 15 years and this website is the result. I'm trying to "walk-the-walk" as well as talking the talk!
To provide a little background, I've had four careers, each of which has contributed in some way to this endeavor, and I suppose I could say that I'm starting my fifth.
Career #1 was a civil engineer and project manager, working in the UK, Canada, Guyana, Nigeria and the United States. I learned to take large complex problems and break them into smaller chunks that could be resolved.
Career #2 was a systems analyst and systems developer, initially for specialized project and construction management systems, then on to more general business systems. I learned to use computers and software to solve problems.
Career #3 was in academia. An MA in communication was followed by an MBA and PhD in management. I learned social science research methods and statistics, a skeptical perspective, and how to develop and teach effective online and hybrid courses.
Career #4 happened by accident and has run more-or-less in parallel with #3. As I was starting my doctoral thesis I was approached to design a data collection system for a clinical trial for a shingles vaccine, eventually marketed by Merck as Zostervax. This morphed into a 7-year assignment, and started my new career in data management and information systems for medical research. I learned how a clinical study was put together and how to read the literature and evaluate the results.
When I started my MBA at Rutgers University in 1991 at age 50, it required a move to New Jersey, which I think must be the asthma and allergy center of the United States. I was under a lot of stress at the time and not in the best of health, and for the first time in my life I had a full-blown asthma attack and continued to have them regularly.
I went on the usual drug regimen which controlled them, but with some side effects including weight gain and low energy. After two-or-three years of this I came across a book on the Buteyko Breathing Method, and this worked so well for me I was able to stop taking medication on a regular basis and felt much better. Some years later, In December 2005, my wife Gail and I decided to go to the UK and train to become Buteyko therapists, and I've been teaching it on a part-time basis ever since.
Buteyko can be very helpful, but it is not the complete answer. Great Health, which is a lot more than managing the diseases of modern living with medication and surgery, requires a holistic approach.
Over the past 15 years I have been piecing together elements of breathing, exercise, nutrition, conventional medical and alternative health to form a highly structured and interactive program which seems to be working well for me.
Career #5 is going to be continuing the development and refinement of this program and website, and reaching and helping as many people as possible.
Gail is a licensed massage therapist with her own business, the Massage Therapy Group, and more than 25 years experience, specializing in pain management.
- I discuss three online actuarial tools for calculating life expectancy in a blog post.