Where to start when thinking about health? Everyday there seems to be a new twist on ways to gain the promise of better health or ways to overcome health problems – and many of these ideas seem logical, requiring only modest changes in lifestyle. But it’s easy to get hooked on a new fad, which is soon forgotten when a new idea comes knocking.
This rather undisciplined, sometimes over-diagnosed, and often costly approach to finding and maintaining health was highlighted in an article I read recently. It did not present a positive picture of health in the United States.
Dr. Joseph Mercola was quoted in the Global Burden of Disease study, which assessed health and disease trends in 187 countries and is said to be the “largest ever systematic effort to describe the global distribution and causes of a wide array of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors.” This study released its rankings of the top 10 countries with the highest life expectancies and Mercola points out that the “United States did not make the cut – not even close.”
Even more alarming, an article authored by Gary Null, Caroly Dean, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio, and Dorohy Smith describes in excruciating detail “how the modern American conventional medical system has bumbled its way to becoming the leading cause of death and injury in the United States.”
In order to improve the present medical system, many in the health care arena are pressing for the development of new roles with drug and insurance companies based upon what’s good for the individual. Along with this push, there is the idea that there must be alternatives to the present western style treatment and drug system. Dr. Robert A. Kornfeld in, “Developing a Sustainable and Functional Medical System,” makes a strong point for the inclusion of integrative medicine when he states that, “the paradigm of integrative medicine seeks to heal mechanisms rather than treat symptoms. This approach is a win/win for everyone who complies.”
According to Janice Neuman, author of, “More Doctors Going the Alternative Route,” many doctors who are schooled in traditional Western medicine are personally turning to complementary and alternative medicine to stay healthy. One recognized type of alternative is prayer and in the article, “Characteristics of Adults who use Prayer as an Alternative Therapy,” those who prayed were more satisfied with care and had more favorable health-related behaviors. Over 90.3% of those in the study believed prayer improved their health.
Taking control of our health care decisions is one way we can address the lack of quality of the health care system and lessen the risk of perpetuating unsatisfactory health care. Although the idea of taking control of health decisions is becoming more prevalent – especially through the use of prayer – it’s still not a widely accepted idea. What’s interesting is that more that 140 years ago Mary Baker Eddy, a writer on health, wrote, “Fear is the fountain of sickness, and you master fear…through [spirituality]; hence it is through [spirituality] that you overcome disease.” Is it possible that as more and more people take control of their health and demand alternative approaches to their health care treatments, clinics, hospitals, and medical schools will shift their focus to meet these demands?
Hopefully, The United States health care system will then be number one rather than 29th out of 187 nations.
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