Five Steps To Better Health!
Health and wellness articles ask, “Are you suffering from headaches and depression?” Don’t let a doctor put you on drugs; instead, look for the underlying causes and perhaps try natural herbs.
High cholesterol? Try the Mediterranean diet, with a glass of organic red wine a day and natural herbs.
The best way to win the war on cancer? Eat healthy, exercise, and develop an active social life. An increasing number of health and wellness articles write that this type of approach, geared to prevention and a conservative use of medications and technology not only increases patient’s vitality, but also saves money.
We only treat the disease after it occurs. With figures showing that 95 cents out of every dollar spent on health care goes toward treating illness, we note that the best way to reduce the costs is prevention. Integrative medicine puts the patient, not the doctor or the insurance company, at the center of attention, and it puts the focus on the sources of illness and not the symptoms.
Health care costs are continually rising, but people are not getting any healthier. Here is a five-point prescription for the future of health care that applies the tenets of integrative medicine to make today’s health care simpler, more effective, and more affordable.
- Emphasize Illness Prevention – About half of all American adults have a chronic illness, according to the Partnership for Solutions. Three-quarters or more of the more than $2 trillion recently spent on health care in a single year went to treat these kinds of conditions, including obesity. All of these can be not only prevented, but even reversed through diet and lifestyle intervention. It just seems so obvious that this is where we should be putting our focus. There is a long way to go before prevention is on the national agenda. While prevention is indeed better than cure, we tend to reward those who find solutions for existing problems rather than those who ensure that those problems don’t occur. We need to focus on living better.
- Promote Healthy Foods – A pioneer of integrative heath care believes the first prescription any doctor should write should be about diet and lifestyle. You can never lose by maximizing lifestyle management. Many conditions not easily diagnosed or cured in a conventional framework can be improved by dietary and lifestyle changes. There are specific diets that promote wellness. They reduce inflammation, increase fiber, vitamins, and minerals that come in the form of a lot of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Focus on Lifestyle Changes – The majority of health problems and risk factors for illnesses stem from the choices we make: how much time we invest working, exercising, and relaxing; time spent with friends and outdoors, and whether we consistently take the stairs or the elevator. A 2004 study showed that lifestyle changes (quitting smoking, healthier eating habits, moderate alcohol consumption, and regular exercise) can prevent 90% of today’s cases of heart disease, which currently accounts for more premature deaths and higher health care costs than any other illness.
- Use Alternative Therapies – Another way to reduce costs is to use alternative and complementary therapies such as homeopathy, naturopathy, yoga, and herbal medicine that can supplement and even replace conventional methods. Such complementary treatments work to nourish, nurture, and augment the body’s own defenses. One alternative healing method that’s now beginning to find its way into hospitals is acupuncture. Which has been shown, among other benefits, to help relieve pain, stress, and nausea during pre- and post-operative care. The goal is to train both acupuncturists and conventional doctors in the benefits of this technique so that it can be incorporated into best practices. Even if physicians have time to read the acupuncture studies, what really makes it gel is when they see the results on the patient they treat. The proof is in practitioners working side-by-side and people being able to experience what this therapy can do.
- Treat People, Not Diseases – As a Nurse pours a steaming infusion of yarrow over a piece of cotton and then wrings it out, the aroma of the medicinal herb wafts over to the hospital bed where a patient is waiting for her body wrap. When the compress and a hot water bottle have been gingerly applied to her lower back and secured by a soft cloth sash, she leans back with a contented sigh. The compress will help her liver better metabolize the toxins that have accumulated in it after months of breast cancer therapy. The wrap’s warmth will also create a sense of temporary well-being, a precious feeling for the frail, exhausted, 65-year-old.
More money, more pills and more technology don’t necessarily lead to better health. Health and wellness articles support integrative medicine generally take a “less is more” approach – less needless medications and medical procedures and more prevention and healthy personal lifestyle changes can add up to big financial savings and big improvements in the quality of life.