Last Friday, January 9, 2009 there was a provocative article in the Wall Street Journal, ‘Alternative' Medicine Is Mainstream By Deepak Chopra, Dean Ornish, Rustum Roy, and Andrew Weil. I call it provocative because it gives food for thought (pun intended) on the importance of diet and lifestyle in preventing over 70% of the illnesses facing the American people today. I talk about diet and lifestyle with every patient so of course I know how powerful this type of medicine is for patients. My appreciation for the article comes from 3 significant points that are brought to light. First, what you eat and how you live affect your health profoundly. The body has a tremendous ability to heal if given the right tools. Changing to a better eating plan and learning stress management techniques “may stop or even reverse the progression of coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, prostate cancer, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and other chronic conditions.” This statement from such well respected authors sends a strong message about the importance of naturopathic and other alternative medicines.
Second, some conventional medical interventions are quite costly and are not effective at improving quality or quantity of life. The authors site costs and statistics from American Heart association and cardiology studies from the New England Journal of Medicine that clearly explain that there are certain procedures that are costly and could be prevented from lifestyles earlier in life.
Third, the Obama administration under the guidance of Tom Daschle (nominated Secretary of Health and Human Services) understands that we as Americans need to have a fundamental shift in the way we think about healthcare. President-Elect Obama stated in his health plan during the campaign that Americans are needlessly living with and dying from chronic disease. We need to find a better solution.
I encourage you to read this article for yourself to begin to understand why their is such a need to engage naturopathic physicians like myself in your health care team.