The skyrocketing cost of health care is a fact many of us have to live with. We depend on daily doses of meds for our health and well being. I take two meds—one for hypertension, which runs in my family; the other for high cholesterol, which is directly related to my diet.
Actually, I think I eat quite well compared to most folks. I don’t drink soda or eat a lot of sweets or junk food. I love fruits and veggies but probably don’t eat enough. I do enjoy bread and pasta, but try to limit quantities. I also exercise: I run, swim laps, and do yoga, but I’m not always consistent with my exercise routine, and that’s something I need to work on.
I wish I didn’t have to take meds, but they successfully control my health conditions. And like most of us, I lack the motivation to make the lifestyle changes required to obviate the need for meds.
Fortunately, the meds I take aren’t too expensive. Yet, many Americans need expensive drugs every day to treat their health conditions. Some folks think the pharmaceutical companies make way too much profit on prescription drugs while we struggle to pay our bills. Others argue that these companies need to charge such high prices in order to fund research for new wonder drugs.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to treat many health conditions without drugs? Guess what? There is. On the other side of the world for thousands of years, Chinese medicine has kept people healthy using herbs, acupuncture, and nutritional counseling. Once I read somewhere that people in China only pay their healthcare provider when they are well. When they become sick, they stop paying! I love that story even though I can’t verify its veracity.
Locally, Chinese medicine is helping a lot of people. Kathleen Fogarty’s cover story takes an in-depth look at local practitioners and how acupuncture and herbs, combined with dietary changes, are helping people find their way back to wellness. That’s not to say that allopathic, or traditional medicine, doesn’t have its place, but as you’ll discover reading Kathleen’s story, perhaps rethinking our reliance on chemicals to balance our bodies will lead us to better health that costs less.
This month’s TW also features our 2012 Well-Being Guide, where you’ll find many local businesses that offer a variety of pathways to help you become the best you can be. I’ve always been open-minded to alternative therapies, like acupuncture, because anecdotal evidence suggests that many of these modalities work. Some might think the placebo effect is in play, but science is slowly beginning to take notice of the healthful benefits of complementary medicine.
Take massage, for instance. I am convinced that the monthly massages I get help keep me healthy. Besides reducing blood pressure, massage boosts immunity and increases circulation. Many consider massage a luxury, but I think of it as an investment in my health, as well as a way to combat stress, something all of us have to deal with.
Here are two other ways to deal with stress, both of which increase serotonin levels, those feel-good chemicals we all crave. The first is to go to an art museum and admire the beautiful shapes and forms and colors of the artwork on display. The second—I know, I sound like a broken record—get outside and immerse yourself in nature. Spring is sneaking up on us, and now’s the perfect time to revel in her glory. Whether it’s watching the birds flit among the tree branches or seeing a spectacular sunrise in the still, quiet moments of morning, be thankful for your blessings—and for the health practitioners who work tirelessly to keep us well.
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