Monday, May 21, 2012

What Does "Healthy" Mean Anyway?

The so-called health care debate reveals some pernicious and redundant tendencies in American society. Much todo is made about the insurance companies that reap 33 cents of every "health care dollar" for themselves while denying coverage and denying claims. The USA has the most expensive health care system in the world we are told (and some say the best) and yet we rank #35 in the overall health of our citizens. Progressives want a "single payer plan" while others shudder at the idea of a government run plan even as they sign up for medicare.

But is this really health care? What the brouhaha is really all about is medical expenses. Or more precisely the medical expenses largely incurred as a result of living in modern industrial society, i.e. , car crash injuries, chemical exposures, cancers, obesity, lung diseases, liver and kidney diseases, brain damage, and the largest category of course which is mental illness. In other words, the treatments which require extensive and expensive intervention through drugs, surgeries, and the services of health care professionals are actually the fallout from living in our dysfunctional and unsustainable society.

What if we decided to limit our participation in this madness? Or better yet to create a new society? What if everyone simply refused to pay their premiums, resigned from their employer's plan, or otherwise disengaged from giving the insurance companies any money? What if every medical fee was negotiated one-to-one between doctor and patient? What if entire neighborhoods got together and hired a physician keeping her/him on retainer? Fact is, there is a plethora of re-inventions we could choose from that would probably not be perfect but certainly an improvement over the status quo.

The big re-invention would be those modifications to life-style that could so improve the health of the people as to make medical treatments a rarity. Recognizing  that the human being is an amalgam of physical, psychological, and spiritual energies that require balance and equilibrium in order to function properly is what the alternative health movement is all about. One treatment for smoking is for instance not a patch, a pill, hypnosis, or any kind of outside intervention other than a lesson in yogic breathing. A full 90% of our health issues could be effectively addressed, if not entirely cured, through yoga. Even a pared down simple form of meditation called Transcendental Meditation has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalizations for heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreatic and nervous system disorders. All for ten minutes a day!

Being strong physically and spiritually is what is going to get us through the coming hard times. We have a lot of work to do and we'll need a solid practice of self-healing if we're going to make it.

No comments:

Post a Comment