THE STATE OF THE HEALTH WORLD
For many years, Western Medicine has not been in the Wave State. In recent years though there has been a move in the right direction. These changes are happening at an accelerated rate and so I thought I would talk about a few things that should be on your radar and give you my thoughts on each.
Genetic Testing - While genetic testing used to be expensive and inaccessible, now anyone can order a DNA testing kit. Simply spit in a tube (to collect saliva), mail out your sample and in a few weeks you can find out all sorts of information about ancestry, physical traits, predisposition to certain diseases, the need for certain nutrients, brain function, along with numerous other things. Sounds like this should be something everyone has access to from birth doesn’t it. Almost like a user manual for your body. This may be great to factor in, but this is only one piece of the puzzle that is you. Remember that we know very little about our genes. We have come a long way, but 98% of our DNA is called “junk dna”, which means science has no clue what it does. Many of those involved in healing and alternative health believe that this dna can be activated as we evolve on a spiritual level. Many believe this dna is a connection to the "divine" or whatever you believe. Lastly(and I hate to use a gun reference, but it fits), when talking about predisposition to certain diseases, genes load the gun and the way you live your life pulls the trigger. There is an environmental and lifestyle component of genetic expression that can't be ignored. So, genetic testing may be helpful, but it is only one component, we have a limited understanding of the human genome and lifestyle and environment are most likely the most important factors.
Longevity and Anti-Aging - Hey guys, you are going to die. You are going to age. You can’t stop it. Okay, so you want to slow it down, enjoy your time here, look good as long as you can. While there may be research that this pill or that procedure will help you live longer and stay younger, always be wary. The most valuable thing you can do for your health is to reduce your stress level. Stress will kill you and it will age you, faster than you can imagine. I will never forget the ny times article about the guy who was born on and island in Greece, but who grew up in the US. He was diagnosed with cancer later in life. He declined treatment and decided to spend his remaining time on the Greek island he was from. He fell in sync with life on the island, ate good food, breathed fresh air, socialized, had a purpose. He lived another 35 years. I have visited several islands in Greece and I can see why this was the case.
Functional Medicine - All the rage in recent years. Many Medical doctors have jumped on the train and written books and begun practicing this sort of medicine. Chiropractors and Acupuncturists are also allowed to practice this approach. Many have even gained celebrity status. This approach is helpful in theory as it seeks to get to the root cause of many health issues, rather than just give you a patch (i.e. a drug) to fix your problems. Often focusing heavily on a more detailed blood work analysis, digestive health, nutrition, supplements and lifestyle changes. All great in theory (and all part of my approach) and many people have been helped under this sort of model. What I have noticed is that more and more people are getting “protocols" from these sorts of doctors. These protocols are often based on a battery of blood tests, often costing thousands of dollars and then you get a list of 20 pills a day you are supposed to take, costing 100’s of dollars a month. So, they are costly and might not be as personalized as you think. Do your research, don't pick someone solely because of their book or image. Talk to others who have worked with these practitioners. Did they get results? I have to admit, the best people I have worked with are not well known and often only out there via word of mouth. I also have to note that I have worked with many people who only came to me after spending thousands in the functional medical space.
Concierge Medicine - In this scenario you pay an out of pocket fee in the form of a retainer or annual fee to have a doctor available when you need them. This often includes the ability to email, call and maybe text your doctor (great story on this below). A personalized service of sorts where you develop a closer relationship with your doctor, don’t have to wait for appointments, and don’t have to deal with insurance. I read an article once which stuck with me where a kid broke his leg and was transported via ambulance to a local hospital. The kids father was a member of concierge clinic. He called his doc (on his cell phone) and the doc said quite firmly that you better not let anyone at that hospital “set” that brake because it would probably be done incorrectly and this would almost guarantee early onset arthritis later in life. He went on to say that he would put him in touch with the orthopedist for some pro sports team or something like that. I thought that was interesting, but of course not everyone is going to have money for this sort of thing and chances are most doctors will still be stuck in the standard medical model, which for acute injuries and surgery is wonderful, but for most other things, not so great in my mind. Makes me wonder how many things are being done at hospitals by people that have little or no experience. Also makes me think of the time I visited one of these places with a client (It was actually a concierge functional medicine place, so a blended approach). My client trusted me and asked me to come along. I thought hey, maybe I will learn something. Turns out this doctor (who is quite famous and might have been threatened by me being there) decided to tell me all of the things that were wrong with me and then decided to talk himself up to the point that he was pushing a new package on my client, an agreement where he could text this doc 24hrs a day for a small price of 5k a month.
Health Coaches and Advocates - How the heck do you navigate this confusing health world. You can start by doing the basics that I always talk about. Go through my ARTICLE ARCHIVE for all sorts of information I have put out over the years. If you do need to see a doctor and/or if someone you know gets sick and requires care, it can be quite overwhelming. Most people don’t have much knowledge of health and so they will defer to their doctor, especially when under the stress that comes with illness (of self or loved ones). Some people want to learn and so they research on the internet. Want to confuse yourself even more, google health conditions on the internet. I do it from time to time, just for fun. It makes me laugh. If you don’t have a doctor or health professional in your family and if you don't have any knowledge of the human body you should consider working with someone who can advise you. They can't make decisions for you but they can give you real information to make your choices. Often this type of person would be trained in blood work interpretation, genetic testing, nutrition, digestion, hormones, supplements, and pharmaceutical interactions. Even better, they would be versed in a mind, body, spirit approach to health that factors in the human energy system. And lastly it can be helpful to find someone who has navigated the system to repair their own health issues. You can’t gain full knowledge until you have a life experience to teach you. This is where the terms “wounded healer” and “blind seer” come from. Oh yeah, I fit all of the above, I am not a “seer” though.