Dr. Michael Betz
Why CAM Medical Crisis Value Shifts Natural Treatment Self Help Quick Fixes Energy Therapies Back Cover
Dr. Michael Betz

I Wish to Introduce ENRICHING HEALTH: Pathways to Complementary Therapies

The origins 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.
Front Cover of Enriching Health

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 personal responsibility.

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 Po states:
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.

You can reach the author at mbetz@utk.edu or visit his blog at http://mbetzutk.blogspot.com/