Live Long and Prosper
Joining the fight to integrate natural remedies into conventional medicine
Longevity—a popular buzzword for us baby boomers. And while the definition of ‘longevity’ refers specifically to ‘length of life,’ boomers are most enthused about the quality of life that is also becoming associated with the word.
Enthusiasm abounds. “Sixty is the new 40” is the mantra of baby boomers, particularly those who have embraced a health and wellness lifestyle. Popularity of natural health products is at an all time high. Testimonials reflect the many benefits of natural health products, many of which represent a virtual reversal of the aging process. Smooth skin, pain-free joints, stamina, mental clarity are few of the many benefits boomers are enjoying.
Yet, our nation’s health care costs are spiraling out of control. New advances in wellness and longevity should have us functioning optimally for years to come at a fraction of the cost. So what gives?
Natural vs. conventional
A big problem arises from conventional medicine’s reluctant acceptance of the concept of natural health. Currently, medications and surgeries are the only ‘approved treatments’ recognized by the health industry in general. In addition, it is against the law to claim that a natural health product such as a dietary supplement can ‘cure, treat or mitigate disease.’ This, in spite of the fact that millions of Americans are enjoying greater quality of life, lowered side effects from medications, and substantially lowered health care costs by embracing natural health strategies.
On the Federal level, health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, offer little or no coverage at all for alternative remedies. And the education system is not helping the problem. Many doctors are unfamiliar with natural health principles, as medical school training is still largely underwritten by pharmaceutical companies.
Worse yet, until recently doctors risked sanctioning by state licensing boards for even offering natural alternatives to their patients.
On the political front, health reform debates give little more than a bipartisan ‘thumbs up’ for wellness and prevention. To date, few, if any, practical strategies have been proposed to integrate natural health principles into the health care system.
Fortunately, this hasn’t stopped millions of Americans from obtaining considerable benefits through wellness and longevity strategies. Here are a few ways to learn more about natural health strategies that may help you on the path to a long, healthy life:
•To learn more about wellness and longevity methods, contact a physician who is trained in Integrative Medicine. Such doctors, usually MD’s or DO’s, are well trained in both conventional medicine and natural health. They are adept at recommending both short-term and long-term strategies for your health, and are well versed in the issues of longevity.
•If you maintain a healthy lifestyle, yet are concerned about access to natural health remedies in the current health care system, stay abreast of Health Freedom initiatives. Health Freedom refers to the choice of using natural health products and services, either alone, or in conjunction with conventional medicine. Health Freedom initiatives call for changes in our laws to expand the use of natural products and services as beneficial to maintaining health. The ability to make specific health insurance claims will take legal victories, but efforts are underway.
Google Health Freedom to learn more about ways you can become involved in this very important issue. As you learn more, you will be better equipped to advocate for your health needs and the needs of our nation.
One thing is for certain, with the largest number of baby boomers in history approaching retirement age, wellness and natural health remedies are going to be hot topics of discussion. For many, quality of life will depend on getting the word out about what works and what doesn’t in all areas of health care. Today is a great day to take inventory of your own wellness and longevity plan. You’ll be glad you did in the many years to come.
Mary Zennett, MD, MBA is a Board Certified Psychiatrist in full time practice for the past 22 years. She believes in health care models that integrate prevention and wellness for optimal patient care.