Friday, April 13, 2007

Authentic Health

Kenneth Proefrock, ND helped inspire this post during a Naturopathic philosophy talk he gave over 2 years ago at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. The topic of the talk was legitimacy vs authenticity in the healing profession. Dr. Proefrock was specifically addressing insurance coverage in regards to alternative health care. While insurance reimbursement provides an instant dose of legitimacy to a given physician's practice, at what cost is this legitimacy acquired. Dr. Proefrock asserted that often this legitimacy is derived at the expense of authenticity. Authenticity here is used to represent the intention of the physician or practice. To be authentic, the intention must be real, genuine, and veritable; while lacking a falsehood or misrepresentation. ( Dr. Proefrock considered the example of physicians misrepresenting their treatments in order to secure reimbursement for the patient. This may allow certain patients to receive treatments that would not otherwise be available; but this also creates in the case of ND's an illusion that the Naturopathic Doctor is providing services that are no different than their conventional colleagues. This is a disservice to the profession and the authenticity at the heart of Naturopathic philosophy.
I think as beings striving to attain our ultimate potential, where good health must be a vital component of the overall picture, it is crucial to evaluate the legitimacy and/or authenticity of our beliefs about our own health. Conventionally, health is believed to be obtained when the symptoms of dis-ease are under control. There is no further thought given to the vitality of the individual. If we accept this notion as indicative of health, then we need to look nowhere else than the conventional paradigm of medicine. But, if health represents more than a symptom free existence... if we strive for "a state of health (in which) the vital force reigns supreme and governs the physical body to reach the lofty goal of human existence.” Paragraph 9 The Organon of Medicine by Samuel Hahnemann. Then we must constantly evaluate the authenticity of the healing practices we embrace and the healers that walk with us on our journey.
The beauty of authentic health is that we can define it at every given moment for ourselves. What will it be for you today?

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