I Wish to Introduce ENRICHING
HEALTH: Pathways to Complementary Therapies
of this book stretch back to 1987 when I had a strong inner
prompting to drop my university-sponsored, subsidized medical
insurance. This spontaneous intrusion arose seemingly out
of nowhere while sitting in my office. After examining the
wisdom of this inner prompting for one week, I canceled
my medical insurance and I’ve never looked back. I
didn’t begin writing this book, however, until 2001.
Why did I cancel my medical insurance? Unhealthy illusions
were nurtured in my mind by the concept of medical insurance.
Part of this awakening arose from having served on two hospital
committees for 12 years that helped me understand first-hand
the limits of a disease care system funded by 3rd party
payers. Doctors are unable to insure my health. I hold the
key to promoting and maintaining my own health. Health is
not a commodity that can be purchased like an auto or a
new suit even though insurance helps pay for the costly
consequences of our lifestyle choices.
Doctors specialize in
disease care and can often help restore health but they generally
do not promote health. I play the central role in maintaining
my own health. Medicine is a science of disease and pathology,
not a science of health. Physicians use an arsenal of tools to
counter disease after it strikes; they focus on biochemistry.
Most physicians rely upon drugs as magic bullets and surgery to
destroy disease and thereby restore health. Our disease care system
helps people after they become ill. We need a health enriching
system that promotes health and prevents disease.
Can the ill effects from an unhealthy diet be corrected with surgery
and pills? Can the ill effects on the heart and biochemical changes
caused by stress be corrected with mind mellowing drugs? Can the
ill effects on the stomach and the digestive system from overeating
be corrected with expensive antacids?
Those who believe there is a pill for every ill occupy one end
of a continuum of beliefs about health. At the other extreme are
those who believe that health is a natural, normal experience
promoted and best maintained by the individual with proper diet,
exercise and the mental management of stress. The science of health
is about achieving health by strengthening the immune system,
cultivating healthy habits and working with others to protect
the environment from pollution and toxic exposure. Health promotion
relies heavily upon behavioral sciences while disease care relies
on biochemical sciences, largely ignoring lifestyle choices and
A growing number of Americans prefer
a health enrichment model as they use more Complementary and Alternative
Medical (CAM) therapies. Globalization has brought us different
ethno-medical systems that emphasize health promotion more than
treatment of disease.
For example, in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal
Medicine (700BC), the chief medical advisor Chi
Health is what the wise person pursues
when in good health, not after it is lost . . . Who waits until
they become thirsty to dig a well?
Enriching Health: Pathways to Complementary Therapies examines
the rise of CAM therapies and their integration into the medical
care system in the new millennium. Integrative medicine combines
the strengths of conventional medicine (treating serious acute
infectious disease, trauma and emergency medicine) with the strengths
of CAM (promoting health by empowering individuals, a holistic
approach, and treating chronic disease with lifestyle changes
and more natural therapies). Consumer demand and physician leadership
are driving CAM and its integration into medical care. This will
result in a softer, gentler and more natural approach with more
health promotion by consumers in partnership with their providers.