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Priorities for Health

Priorities for Care of Our Health

Eat when you are hungry. Sleep when you are tired.
When nature calls, answer. When it is cold, go inside.
Don’t think of anything else while making love.
                             Irving Oyle

            Establishing effective, logical, conscious priorities for our health is essential. We make these priorities at many different levels in all the varied aspects of health on a continual basis throughout life. Many of these priorities are chosen by our conditioned behaviors in day-to-day life without us realizing it. Taking an aspirin when a headache arises, rather than dealing with the issues that create the chronic neck muscle tension that elicits the head pain, is to unconsciously choose a priority of care for one’s health---a quick chemical fix instead of counseling for the relationship conflict which is causing the muscular tightness and biofeedback training to reprogram muscle relaxation.
            Another example is drinking coffee to wake up in the morning and keep moving and alert throughout the day, rather than working on a multi-tiered effort to improve body-mind function and energy levels by:
  • getting more rest and eliminate sleep deprivation
  • using light therapy and nutrient supplements to restore normal biological rhythms
  • eating better to sustain energy levels evenly throughout the day
  • aerobic training to improve, even further, the energy pathways in the body.
Men have never fully used the powers they possess to advance the good in life,
because they have waited upon some power external to themselves and to nature
to do the work they are responsible for doing.
                                            John Dewey

            What needs to be done instead of this haphazard, health-degrading, unconscious, conditioned, prioritization of health care by default is a deliberate, planned, logical, mindful, daily examination of priorities for gaining wellness and wholeness. It is important to emphasize that health is not merely the absence of symptoms but physical, psychological, economic, intellectual, social, and ecological well-being. Given that definition, our plan for gaining higher and higher levels of health needs to include, in descending order of importance: 
  • self care wholeness enhancement endeavors
  • approaches that prevent disease or dysfunction
  • early detection of dysfunction or disease
  • non-invasive, conservative therapies for either acute illness or chronic conditions
  • aggressive, invasive, medicinal or surgical treatments
  • emergency, crisis care.
            America’s health care is dominated by medicine and surgery. That is where most of the health care dollars go. But should we rethink our health care spending priorities? As seen from the above plan, medicine and surgery give us only the bottom two elements of a well balanced, comprehensive health care network. Everyone needs to more realistically evaluate where time, money, and energy are used to achieve the greatest health for the least cost, and in the safest manner.
            Of course, emergency crisis care needs to be ready and available when needed. Aggressive, invasive, medicinal or surgical treatments are important as a last resort when other less invasive, less risky methods are not appropriate. But too often these techniques are depended upon when other more conservative, natural and cost-effective approaches would be better.
            First priority health strategies might include: 
  • Low fat, nutrient dense, high fiber diet void of allergenic foods with high quality nutritional supplementation
  • Regular exercise which includes a balance of low risk, non impact aerobics, stretching appropriate for an individual’s needs, safe strength training, and playful games that enhance coordination
  • Awareness enhancement practices which could include meditation, mindfulness exercises, and/or biofeedback training
  • Stress management and stress reduction strategies which could include lifestyle change, relaxation techniques, voluntary simplicity or many other techniques
  • Optimal sleep
  • Safety consciousness and accident prevention measures
  • Taking classes to upgrade one’s livelihood opportunities
  • Home environmental audit and cleaning
  • Keeping a journal based on Progoff’s psychological Journal Workshops
            Early detection methods would include:
  • Pen and paper lifestyle health risk assessments
  • Personality inventories such as Myers-Briggs or Eneagram
  • Computerized diet diaries to identify nutritional imbalances
  • Chiropractic spinal screenings to find abnormal spinal mechanics making one susceptible to injury or degeneration
  • Hidden allergy screening such as ELISA-ACT ä
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Colorectal cancer stool sampling
            Examples of natural, holistic therapies proven very cost-effective for either acute illness or chronic, degenerative conditions include: 
  • Nutritional blood, urine, hair analysis and corrective supplementation in physical and psychological conditions
  • Specific exercise prescription for particular functional deficits
  • Chiropractic manipulative therapy
  • Biofeedback for physiological harmony
  • Occupational therapy and retraining
  • Psychotherapy
  • Light therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
            Systematic combinations of the above therapies have been scientifically proven to be cost-effective in the treatment of conditions such as: acne, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, constipation, depression, tendonitis, Raynaud’s syndrome, tinnitus, restless leg syndrome, infertility, allergies, gallbladder attacks, ulcers, insomnia, arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, infantile colic, migraines, high blood pressure, attention deficit disorders, hyperactivity, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fatigue, anxiety disorders, fibromyalgia, alcoholism, psoriasis, schizophrenia, anorexia, and phobias.
            Often people engage in a therapy that should be a last priority strategy, where research has not proven cost-effectiveness or the benefit to risk ratio is too low. This is the consumer beware category. This grouping could be outdated, standard medical practices, snake oil scams, procedures which were developed with good intentions and having an attractive concept but with doubtful benefits, or methods which are experimental with possible benefits but more research is needed. Examples might include:
  • A large percentage of hospital food
  • 80% of hysterectomies
  • 50% of Cesarean-sections
  • A large percentage of tonsillectomies
  • 90% of ear tubes for chronic otitis media
  • A large percentage of drugs for psychological conditions
  • Ritalin for 95% of hyperactivity
  • Iridology
  • Subliminal message tapes
  • Crystal Healing
  • Applied Kinesiology testing for nutritional deficiencies or allergies
  • Activator Chiropractic technique
  • Firewalking
  • Aura Soma
  • Stance of Light
            If we prioritize our health improvement strategies according to the above rationale our health will benefit greatly. Prevention should take precedence over cure. Intelligent self care should be the foundation of our health care efforts. Natural holistic practices should be preferred over more aggressive therapies when these are indicated to be the most cost effective methods.

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