Kindness is key to all human interactions, and especially in health care where people (patients?) come to you scared, wounded and lost. You must find kindness and compassion in your heart to truly see the other person in order to help bring about lasting healing.

The term Blue Zones has been used to describe places where people live long and healthy lives. What exactly does it take to live a long and healthy life? What is the science and the secret behind longevity and life extension? In this series, we are talking to medical experts, wellness experts, and longevity experts to share “5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life”. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Mark Iwanicki.

Dr. Mark Iwanicki is a licensed naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist practicing in New York. Dr. Mark’s practice focuses on preventative medicine, anti-aging, longevity and overall health optimization using natural health and wellness modalities. Dr. Mark has a passion for sharing, teaching and writing about the extraordinary health benefits of natural health modalities that can transform patients’ lives.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

I came to Naturopathic medicine through a close family friend, Dr. Thomas K Szulc, a medical doctor who established a completely natural medicine practice when it was still an emerging discipline in the 1980s. After being treated by Dr. Szulc, I saw amazing results in my health and well-being. So, having experienced the power of natural medicine firsthand, I was inspired to pursue a career in Naturopathic and Chinese medicine at NUNM, the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon where I received my clinical doctorate in Naturopathic medicine and Masters in Acupuncture. I love seeing the power of natural medicine in patients’ lives and the people I have helped. That we are all designed to heal and be healthy is foundational to Naturopathic medicine and serves as the driving force in all of the modalities prescribed to patients.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

One of the most interesting stories of my career was a case of undiagnosed Hepatitis C in my first year of clinical practice. Hepatitis is an infection of the liver that can be very dangerous if untreated and yet it isn’t something that’s routinely screened for. A man in his late 40s came to my office with severe fatigue, cognitive deficits and progressive muscle weakness. He visited his primary care doctor, but since his routine blood work was normal he was sent home. When he came to me for a second opinion. I listened carefully to what he was saying. He shared that he really was not feeling well, that he knew his body and that something was wrong, and believed him! I wasn’t going to dismiss him like his primary doctor did just because his labs looked normal. So, I decided to order an extensive infectious panel. The panel came back positive for Hepatitis C, as well as Lyme and EBV. The patient was stunned, and also relieved that we found the root cause of his symptoms. Had I not believed him, or more importantly, stayed curious, I may have missed this important diagnosis and he would still be suffering. After treating his infections, both with conventional and natural treatment modalities, he recovered and feels great today.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am particularly grateful for Dr. Thomas K Szulc, who is an inspiration, a role model and a mentor. When I was experiencing chronic allergies and gut sensitivities and no other doctor could help, he treated me with natural medicine, which improved my life so much. The power and effectiveness of the natural modalities he used in his practice were very effective. He not only inspired me to pursue a career in natural medicine, he invited me to join his clinical practice when I graduated.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Curiosity, persistence and kindness are the three traits that are instrumental to my success as a doctor.

Being curious takes me down unexpected paths, but always leads to more insight, which brings about greater health and wellness for my patients.

Being persistent and believing what your patients are telling you will always lead to the greatest health outcomes.

Kindness is key to all human interactions, and especially in health care where people (patients?) come to you scared, wounded and lost. You must find kindness and compassion in your heart to truly see the other person in order to help bring about lasting healing.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about health and longevity. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fields of health, wellness, and longevity? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

As a licensed Naturopathic doctor, I’ve had exposure to both conventional allopathic and natural medicine paradigms on health and longevity. I’ve seen the best that both worlds have to offer. Working at New York Center for Innovative Medicine in Huntington, Long Island — one of the best natural medicine clinics in the world — I’ve seen some pretty miraculous healings. Patients with severe chronic diseases given only months to live survive and thrive after a course of treatment at our center. Many of the modalities used at our center are not known or practiced in the United States. Working with these unique healing modalities, while at the same time understanding the conventional medical paradigm, puts me in a distinct position to offer insight into natural health and longevity.

Seekers throughout history have traveled great distances and embarked on mythical quests in search of the “elixir of life,” a mythical potion said to cure all diseases and give eternal youth. Has your search for health, vitality, and longevity taken you on any interesting paths or journeys? We’d love to hear the story.

One of the most interesting modalities I’ve come across is an approach known as European Biological Medicine, which stems from a homeopathic tradition. European Biological Medicine stresses the importance of internal detoxification and drainage as a means towards greatest health and longevity. In this view, an accumulation of toxicity is what lies beneath and drives all disease processes in the body. By working to eliminate toxicity in order to heal the organs of elimination–the organs responsible for detoxifying the body–we can reach a state of optimal health and functioning. Having seen firsthand the power of this type of medicine, I believe it’s essential for promoting health and longevity.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Live A Long & Healthy Life”? (Please share a story or an example for each)


Community provides us with the bonds and social glue necessary to weather the many ups and downs in life. Without people to share our lives with, our lives can feel meaningless, empty. Research from the Blue Zones shows that having a strong community actually increases our life span.

Stress-relief techniques

Knowing how to de-stress and relax is crucial. Most of the issues we experience in life aren’t about what’s happening, but rather how we respond to what’s happening. By utilizing stress-relief techniques such as meditation and breathwork, we give our bodies and minds the perspective they need to function optimally.

Sense of purpose

A sense of purpose is crucial for living a long healthy life. I have seen many patients get well after a course of treatment only to slide back into ill health because they lacked a motivator to live. Without purpose, life becomes meaningless and our physical health actually suffers. Again, research from the Blue Zones points to a sense of purpose as a huge driver in extending longevity.

Healthy diet and exercise

A healthy diet is so critical for longevity. One that is predominantly anti-inflammatory and devoid of sugar and processed chemicals is essential for the health of our bodies. Movement and exercise also keep our muscles fit and active and is one of the greatest predictors of how long we will live. Something as easy as 10,000 steps a day significantly increases our chances of a longer life.

Proper elimination

Making sure the body is detoxifying and eliminating properly is a key component for living a healthy life. An accumulation of toxicity in the body–whether it’s water soluble, fat soluble or heavy metal toxins–impedes almost every metabolic function in the body and thereby decreases longevity. By eliminating toxic wastes from the body, we ensure a healthy, vital body that will live a long time.

Can you suggest a few things needed to live a life filled with happiness, joy, and meaning?

Find something you are passionate about and pursue it. Many people live lives they don’t like. Why live a life of drudgery and meaninglessness? Passion and a drive to be well helps us live a life of happiness and joy. Having a reason to get well and be healthy is key. Find something you love and pursue it with gusto!

Some argue that longevity is genetic, while others say that living a long life is simply a choice. What are your thoughts on this nature vs. nurture debate? Which is more important?

The debate between nature or nurture has been going on for ages. What actually determines our health? Is it our genes or does lifestyle play a role? When it comes to aging, the evidence that genes play a role is very compelling. If your parents and grandparents lived to an old age, then the likelihood you will is strong. On the other hand, Blue zones prove that environment and lifestyle play a major role in healthy aging. These areas have populations of varying genetic compositions, yet everyone has a chance of living past 100. Since you cannot control your genetic makeup, it makes sense to focus on what you can change: your environment, lifestyle and attitude.

Life sometimes takes us on paths that are challenging.

Life sometimes takes us on paths that are challenging. How have you managed to bounce back from setbacks in order to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional health?

Several things have helped me bounce back and build resilience throughout my life and career such as having a passion for what I do and conviction in my abilities. Also, extremely close family and friend connections have helped me feel like I have an anchor that allows me to weather difficult situations. Mediation has also played a huge role in cultivating my physical, mental, and emotional resilience over the years. I meditate for at least 15 minutes every morning and try to get in more time throughout the day. Every time I meditate, I feel like I’ve built a stronger buffer between myself and the hardships of the external world. I feel stronger and more confident in my abilities to take on the world.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“The first wealth is health” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love this quote by Emerson. Sometimes I feel like 99% of the population is predominantly seeking fame and fortune, and it takes an illness to realize there’s nothing more important than a healthy, vital body. You can have a million dollars in the bank but if you can’t enjoy your body and mind, then the money is worthless. This quote inspires me to seek new and innovative ways to bring more health and wellness into my life and the lives of my patients. It’s an endless journey but an exciting one.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think teaching people to meditate and starting a mass meditation movement would be amazing. I’ve seen the profound effects that meditation has had in my life. I would love everyone in the world to feel more empowered, confident, kind, calm and peaceful. Meditation can make you feel more connected to your body and also create a more robust buffer between emotions and the outside world.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?



This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.


  • Savio Clemente

    Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Media Journalist, #1 Best-selling Author, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor

    The Human Resolve LLC

    Savio P. Clemente is a Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), media journalist, #1 best-selling author, podcaster, stage 3 cancer survivor, and founder of The Human Resolve LLCHe coaches cancer survivors and ambitious industry leaders to amplify their impact, attract media attention, and make their voice heard. He inspires them to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit and to cultivate resilience in their mindset.

    Savio has interviewed notable celebrities and TV personalities and has been invited to cover numerous industry events throughout the U.S. and abroad.  His mission is to provide clients, listeners, and viewers alike with tangible takeaways on how to lead a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.