History of Alternative Healthcare

Many people hear the words alternative healthcare, natural medicine, herbal remedies, and so on, and they roll their eyes. This is not a new reaction. These people believe that natural medicine is “mumbo jumbo” and can’t compete with Western medicine. What is probably unknown to them is that natural medicine or alternative healthcare has been around for a very long time. It has a history that is much longer and more diverse than that of Western medicine, and it is actually accepted by a majority of the Eastern world, as well as many other places on earth too.

The history of alternative healthcare begins in the middle east and Egypt, around 5000 years BC. The people of these countries and regions had their specific methods of healing their sick or wounded, and they had many solutions for common everyday ailments, as well as long term observable ones. These methods were passed down from medicine man/woman to the next, and through the generations, the doctors of the time honed their healing skills and became great assets to their people.

Further east, scientists and historians have found that both India and China have medical practices that are also 4000 to 5000 years BC. In India, the healing principles that were passed through the generations, namely amulters, and Ayurvedic medicine are still practiced today, and have now stretched beyond India. This is not only a testament to the power of oral tradition and a great heritage, but it is also proof that these natural remedies do work, because they have survived so long and are still recommended.

In China, the concept of balance, yin and yang, Chi, the five elements, the harmony of emotions and spirit are concepts that are still seen today. Not only do many of the people in China still follow these theories and principles, but almost any place on earth where you find a Chinese population, you find a Chinese herbalist or medicine man, or a practitioner of acupuncture. Taoism is also still a popular alternative medicine that is practiced today. What is remarkable, however, is that more than Inidan remedies, Chinese remedies have stretched out to other societies, and some of its practices have even been given recognition by Western doctors.

Coming into the Western world, Europe too had a history of natural medicine which is around 2000 years old. The poor of Europe found herbal remedies to help their sick. They were also practitioners of naturopathy and hydrotherapy, though hydrotherapy or water therapy is something that can be traced back to ancient Rome. Even the US has a history of natural medicine, widely used during the time of the first colonies where healing was left mainly to the wives, who later on were persecuted as witches.

Though many are skeptical, alternative healthcare still has its place in the world today. Twenty-five per cent of Scottish doctors are qualified in homeopathy, and the US is opening up its doors to these Eastern traditions. Radical as it sounds, there’s actually nothing more natural. After all, the entire world has been practicing this manner of healing for thousands of years!

Good Communicaton Will Solve Many of the Problems at Your Healthcare Site

You may think that you know what your patients heard when you spoke to them, but in many cases you are only partially correct. Sometimes in healthcare, communication is like the childhood game of passing a message from one person to another by whispering in a person’s ear. I hope that you remember that game. What may have started out as “Amos has a green shirt on” could end up by the seventh or eighth person as “A mouse had a spleen out.” Communication is extremely important in healthcare. Communicating poorly can have serious consequences.

I was recently reminded of the nature of communication while reading an article by Dr. Benjamin Brewer in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal (November 1, 2006). He was describing several episodes of treating patients who had recently come from Mexico to his area of practice in Illinois. In the satellite office where he encountered these patients there was very little sophisticated equipment, nothing much beyond a microscope and an X-ray machine. So, he had to rely on his wits and experience to diagnose patients. In the incident he was relating, there was a male patient who had a serious cough and muscle aches and was not getting any better. He later found out from his office assistant, who was of Mexican descent, that the patient thought he had caught the “Aire,” an illness caught when moving from a cold area to a warm one; it is a common folk diagnosis in parts of Mexico.

In fact, the patient had pneumonia and was not following the doctor’s orders; rather he was following folk remedies from home. Once Dr. Brewer understood this folk tradition, he was able to talk about “Aire” and how to treat it. He had the patient stay in a warm place with warm clothes and take the medication that was prescribed. Because the remedy blended well with the folk tradition, the patient was soon well. Dr. Brewer related that he had to learn the culture in order to cure his patients; he demonstrated respect for the culture of his patients and was able to improve their health through a blend of modern medicine and folk traditions. He stated that his patients worked well with him once he learned more about them.

Of course, you can’t be expected to learn every medical folk tradition of all your patients; that would be too time consuming and would probably interfere with your practice too much. However, you should learn the traditions of a group if they represent a significant population of your patients. What do you do for the rest, though? How can you make sure that they heard what you spoke? In fact, how can you be sure that each of your patients understands your directions? I like to use the Socratic method. It is really quite simple. You give some directions and then quiz a patient on it.

For instance, suppose you have described to a patient that he/she should take their medication for hypothyroidism one hour before breakfast in the morning (some physicians recommend a half hour) and have described the consequences of frequently missing their pill. After such a discussion, you might ask, “When is the best time to take your medication?” “Can you take it right after breakfast or should you wait a couple of hours if you miss taking it before breakfast?” “What are the consequences of missing your dosage too often?” Using such question and answer techniques you can improve the patient’s retention of instructions and verify that the patient understood the directions completely.

The Socratic method can be used in other healthcare situations too. Anytime that communication is important, such as passing the care of a patient during shift change at a hospital, one could use this. Too, it makes sense to use this in onsite training situations for students.

The Socratic method is just one dimension of good communication. Good communication is so important in any enterprise, that Stephen Covey in the best selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” had communication as his fifth key habit: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. One of our local hospitals, Spectrum Health, believes that the 7 habits are so important to their enterprise, that they require their staff to read it and discuss it in workshops. Mastering empathetic listening–the Socratic method is a form of it–will dramatically improve the health of patients and improve the healthcare work environment. I highly recommend that you read the book if you haven’t already.

Healthcare Industry and Importance of Dental Healthcare

This is defined as the management and treatment of illness. Also, it’s the preserving of health through complementary, pharmaceutical, dental, mental and alternative medicine application. Healthcare involves palliative and curative measures to large populations or individual. There has been a raging debate in U.S over the issue of health care. The debate has been over the health insurance and management of public health and ailments.

Today’s healthcare needs are dependent on the rising number of health professionals. The healthcare industry employs over fifteen million workers in both salary and wages section. It’s one of the fastest growing professions, and it’s also expected to generate more than three million jobs in the next decade. The healthcare industries combine several sectors that are essential for providing products and services. Among the sectors include drug manufacture, diagnostic services, biotechnology, hospital equipment and instrument, diagnostic labs and nursing homes.

According to the united nation description of healthcare, it refers to providing hospital services like dental healthcare using equipment and the latest techniques. The other classification of healthcare involves the provision of medical services under the supervision of nurses, midwives, paramedical practitioners, diagnostic laboratories, physiotherapist among others.

The current administration in the U.S is planning to overhaul the health care system. It has been termed as unaffordable to many and also highly inefficient. The U.S senate in 2009 passed an $871 bill that seeks to remedy the problems ailing the sector. The bill also highlights the need for the U.S government to give healthcare insurance as another option to private insurance. The Democratic Party in the United States has emphasized the need for everyone to have medical cover. They insist that the employers should pay for this service for their employees. The matter has been complicated after the democrats lost the house majority that they enjoyed after losing the Massachusetts senate seat. The government has invited lawmakers to refurbish the bill to enable healthcare reform. In addition, the democrats have challenged the republicans to come up with their own version of the bill.

The world health organization is the body that assists and coordinates public healthcare in all over the world. The body is based in Geneva in Switzerland. The mission statement of this organization is to ensure attainment of healthcare to all people of the world. It’s financed by donors and member states. The United States is the major beneficiary of the revenue from biotechnology worldwide.

Are Natural Remedies the Answer to the Healthcare Debate in America?

Could natural remedy healthcare be the wave of the future for Americans? As healthcare costs continue to rise along with insurance premiums and more job losses, our uninsured population is growing and the downward spiral unfolding begs the question…will mainstream America turn to natural remedies to solve their ailing needs? Recent discussions on the proposed healthcare bill our Federal Administration is engaged in appear to be facing so much resistance and ongoing debate that many Americans are now asking themselves whether such a bill will even pass. In the meantime, sick people in need of healthcare must be starting to wonder “is there another way?”

Desperate Times Call for Extreme Measures

There is a growing trend of people seeking less expensive health care in countries outside our borders. Just the other day, Bill Handel of KFI’s AM640 Talk Radio, interviewed a published book author who wrote of his personal attempt at saving a desperate dying man by flying to China in search of a new kidney. The cost of the successful kidney transplant was $32,000 in China, whereas in the U.S., the cost is reportedly $375,000. It is also quite well-known that dental care and cosmetic surgery procedures are far less expensive and readily accessible in Mexico than can be found in the U.S. Clearly, there is a need for affordable healthcare in the U.S….not just for emergency live-saving procedures like the example just illustrated but for routine care addressing things like the cold and flu and annual physicals as well as diagnostic procedures like MRIs and CAT scans which currently run over $1,000 for the uninsured. Though optimism remains high for the passage of a healthcare bill, natural remedies may soon play an important role in filling the gaps.

Natural Remedies, Then and Now

Natural remedies used to be equated with tree-hugging, granola-loving, eco-friendly environmentalists who simply wanted to eliminate unhealthy chemicals from their foods and living environment while influencing a healthy planet. The notion of opting for organic, whole foods and green products as a preventive measure for good health is not new. Neither is the idea of pursuing natural remedies as an alternative to prescription drug medication. Just notice how many naturopathy, homeopathy and holistic healing centers have sprouted up in the past decade. Where it used to be one had to look under “Chinese medicine” in the yellow pages, natural remedies are no longer viewed so much as “alternative medicine” or “complimentary” but are frequently found to be included in most household medicine cabinets today. A recent study of pomegranate juice has revealed a potential remedy in the reversal of Alzheimer’s disease for example.

Big Pharma and Regulators, Beware

The rise and acceptance of natural remedies has resulted in a trend of American awareness that is an open-minded and more educated mainstream population which asks a lot of questions…the kind of questions that doctors, drug manufacturers, and Federal regulators can no longer evade. The public is fast becoming a knowledgeable nation via willing consumption of virally-infectious information streams flowing out of the likes of You-Tube and other social media outlets. The news is instantaneously spreading and by all indications, the prognosis for natural remedies in the form of whole food nutrition, health supplements, herbs and essences is favorable and here to stay. Western society is hungry for anything resonating chemical-free, environmentally sustainable, Fair-trade and found in nature.

The F.D.A. Role

Probing inquiries into the lobbying mechanism by deep-pocketed pharmaceutical companies reveal questionable conflicts of American health interests when Food and Drug Administration regulators who approve prescription drug safety are possibly none other than former pharma company execs themselves. Damaging allegations identify many of our regulatory experts as former industry executives. As this information becomes more publicly known, it may create a window of opportunity for natural remedies as a solution where the prescription-drug path to healing might otherwise lead to bankruptcy for the very sick and uninsured. On the other hand, this is where things could also get a little dicey for sick individuals…will societal acceptance of natural remedies extend to the treatment of serious life-threatening diseases such as cancer? In spite of such a warm social reception to natural remedies, the F.D.A. is sufficiently poised, both politically and financially, to reasonably deny the efficacy of scientifically studied natural remedy alternatives. Without F.D.A. approval natural remedy makers face an uphill battle.

And the Verdict is…

For the foreseeable future it seems society will continue to makes its own determination. And we will continue to swallow gulps of whatever medicine is fed through the cyber channels. It is anyone’s guess what the outcome will be for natural remedies regardless of the adoption of a national healthcare bill. For those who have not heard, it has been rumored that President Barack Obama’s election to the oval office in large part hinged on the successful efforts of grass-roots internet tactics and social media campaigning. Wow! If that is true, then anything is possible.