Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fast Food Sales are Increasing... but at what cost

I keep reading at multiple online news sources that McDonalds, Burger King, etc. are experiencing a sales boost while most other areas of our economy are strugling to get by. It seems obvious that people are looking for cheap food during this time of financial hardship. I speculate that it also provides a sense of nostalgia and comfort as we return to these establishments that were such a frequent stopping place during our youth. I remeber going to McDonalds with friends from school after every football and basketball game. Up till this week, I would have needed two hands to count the number of years it has been since I ate food (using that term loosely) in a fast food resturant. But this past Saturday, I found myself in the drive through at Chic Filet. Now I knew it wasn't the best choice for me that evening, and I can't really explain what the impetus was for choicing fast food that night. It may have been as simple as eating for as little money as possible.

Regardless, I did it; others are doing it too. And it is happening much more frequently than it was prior to the financially challenging times we are now experiencing. I am worried. The media outlets seem to report this occurence with an admirable awe... a feeling of "isn't it great that the fast food industry has figured out how to make money during this hardship?". I am personally not impressed. I am worried. Fast food may be a quick, inexpensive fix to the question "what's for dinner tonight?". But it is also a hidden and rather rapid decline down a road that is much more difficult and expensive to climb. Fast food isn't bad all by itself. It needs a second, and a third meal, and a fourth, and a fifth, etc. consumed back to back to back. Life and health is about moderation. But as financial stress complicates our lives, it easy to forego health for the sake of convience and affordability. My advice: try not to do it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

what is homeopathy

What is Homeopathy?

I am asked this question on an almost daily basis. It makes perfect sense that patients have some confusion about its meaning because it is a commonly misunderstood concept, even by other holistic practitioners. The term “homeopathy” is often used interchangeably with “Naturopathy”. Even though both practices share some common principles, there are some very distinct differences between the modalities.

Homeopathy is a philosophy of medicine, not a specific type of medicine. A medicine is prescribed homeopathically for an individual patients with very specific symptoms that indicate a specific medicine. The medicine is not homeopathic until that patient is considered. For example, Arnica Montana is commonly indicated and used homeopathically for bruises and muscle soreness. The Arnica sitting on the shelf waiting to be prescribed is not homeopathic. Arnica taken before work outs to try and minimize muscles soreness is not being used homeopathically. Only when an individual already has muscle soreness or a bruise and is given Arnica, is the Arnica now a homeopathic medicine.

Naturopathy can utilize any accepted modality to support healing for an individual. This may include giving medicine homeopathically, but also can include utilizing herbal medicine, nutrition, supplementation, hydrotherapy, TCM and acupuncture, minor surgery, and even pharmaceutical drugs.

It may seem that this is simply a matter of semantics, which in many ways it is. But I think the semantics of medicine are extremely important. It is not what we are doing, but why we are doing it that makes a difference. Here are a few of the proper terms used to describe what often is called homeopathy these days:

Potentized Medicines – procedure in which liquids (the mother tincture) are progressively diluted and succused (a striking of the liquid in its container against a specific surface) to enhance its healing properties while minimizes its potential side-effects. It is possible to make a potentized medicine from any substance or combination of substances.

Isopathy – is the prescription of a specific potentized medicine based specifically on the causative agent while ignoring the patient’s specific symptom picture. An example would be using Rhus Toxidendrum (poison ivy) to treat a poison ivy rash. This mentality ignores the symptoms of the patient as well as the symptoms of the remedy discovered by proving.

Organotherapy – uses the extracts from animal glands or organs to treat disease or dysfunction of those organs. Often this organotherapeutic agents are prepared as potentized medicines.

Combination Remedies – uses a combination of potentized medicines to treat a specific condition, regardless of the specific symptoms. Combination remedies may combine potentized medicines from any source. Combination remedies are often used to treat conditions with children: teething, colic, ear aches, etc.

Classical Homeopathy (single remedy prescribing) – It is important to distinguish the use of potentized medicines and the use of potentized medicines homeopathically. A medicine, by its own qualities is not homeopathic. But, a specific medicine can be used homeopathically… meaning that it is prescribed based on the presenting totality of symptoms of the patient, encompassing the mental, emotional, and physical realm. It must be a remedy that has been “proven” to invoke a similar symptom picture in a healthy individual.

Hahnemann distinguished homeopathy from other treatment philosophy and coined the following terms.

Allopathy from the Greek: allos = other and pathos = suffering
Treating disease with medicines that produce symptoms different than those of the disease. A term that has come to signify conventional or orthodox medicine in general.

Antipathic from the Greek: enanti = opposite and pathos = suffering
Treating disease with medicines that produce effects opposite to those of the disease. This is most of the palliative treatments used today.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Health and Beauty ~ the art of you

The number one thing you can do to support healthy skin is to stay hydrated every single day. At a minimum, we should drink half of our body weight in ounces of water each day (a 130 lb. individual should drink at least 65 oz. of water per day), and for each serving of coffee or alcohol per day increase the water intake by another 8 oz.

Skin protection is crucial to avoid the damage that can be caused from excessive exposure to sun radiation. Always apply a “natural” sunscreen to the head, face, ears, and neck for any exposure lasting longer than 15 minutes.

Following extended exposure, counter the oxidative damage caused from the sun by supplementing with anti-oxidants. Green tea, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, mixed carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E, are a few examples of supplements with excellent anti-oxidant properties. (my 2 personal favorite products following sun exposure are: SC Antioxidants and Zyflamend, both made by New Chapter)

We need adequate essential fatty acid intake to have healthy cell walls. The typical standard American diet (SAD) is vastly void of the necessary Omega 3 fatty acids. In addition to skin and cell wall health, omega 3 fatty acids are vital to creating healthy inflammation levels throughout the body. We should strive for 1000 mg daily of EPA to help create a more healthy balance of essential fatty acids.

It is also important to have the trace minerals that are crucial for skin health. These include: biotin, calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, silica, copper, and pantothenic acid. A high quality multi-vitamin/mineral formula should contain most of the required trace elements. At times it may be beneficial to utilize other nutritional supports.

Hormonal balance is the often over looked piece to the healthy skin puzzle.

Thyroid deficiency – dry skin and hair, facial puffiness

Estrogen dominance – dry thin wrinkly skin, thinning of scalp hair, increased facial hair

Adrenal fatigue – think wispy hair, dry skin, sunken eye appearance with dark circles around the eyes, may have skin pigmentation issues, craves sweet and salty snacks.

**The information above was compiled for informative purposes only. If you believe you are suffering from a nutrient or hormone deficiency seek the care of health care professional.**

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Move To Kentucky

Dear Patient

I am writing this letter to you to thank you immensely for your patronage during this past year. It has been a true joy to work with everyone at my Vital Force practice in Cambridge, Mass. I truly believe that the continual pursuit of health is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. I feel so fortunate to have been able to share my ideas about Naturopathy and Homeopathy with you on your journey.

I also am writing to inform you that after much consideration and some hesitation I have decided to move back to my home town of Louisville, Kentucky at the end of the summer. My last day in the office will be Friday, August 22nd.

I have accepted a position in an integrative/holistic practice in Louisville. I am very excited by the vision of this practice and eager to bring my unique style of Naturopathy and Homeopathy back to the bluegrass state. I am also ready to relocate closer to my family so that I can be more involved in the care of my sister as she struggles with chronic health issues.

A stipulation for my acceptance of the position was my continual availability to work with any patients from my Cambridge practice while at this new office. This can be easily accomplished by regular phone and/or video follow-ups. It is common in the Homeopathic profession to maintain this type of care with patients.

I will also happily refer any patients that would prefer to work with a practioner face-to-face to a local Naturopath or Homeopath as appropriate for the individual patient. Please contact me directly and we make the necessary arrangements.

My Vital Force Website www.vitalforcenaturopathy.com will continue to exist and link directly to my new practice in the near future. I will continue to be available to you through email at drswanz@gmail.com. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. I will be available through the rest of the summer for any patients that may wish to come in and have a final face-to-face appointment.

Thank you again for all your time and effort and for trusting and sharing your healing with me. I am truly blessed to be a part of this health revolution.

Peace and Health,

~Dr. Swanz

Friday, July 25, 2008

Health and Discipline

It often comes as a shock when I am talking to people and tell them that I almost never eat wheat. “How do you do it?” they ask. And I typically give details about my meal choices. I eat eggs for breakfast, fruits and veggies throughout the day always balanced with protein, I may detail some of the wheat alternatives I use on occasion. That is the end of it. Question answered.

But as I have been thinking more and more about the question, I am starting to believe that my answers have been quite superficial and potentially misleading. The foods that I choose to eat as a substitute for wheat, are not actually “how” I do it, instead it is the mindset that I possess, the “why” I do it, that constitutes a better answer. I feel like I say this over and over about Naturopathic medicine, “It’s not what we do, but why we do it that matters”.

So I am able to recognize my own sensitivity to wheat. It is an issue for me. When I consume wheat, my digestion becomes stagnant, I retain water, my energy crashes shortly there after, and I generally don’t feel as good as when I am not eating wheat. So there is 1/3 of the “why”. The remaining 2/3’s, the true answer for “how” we can do it, is built here in our desire and discipline.

The desire is to feel my best, to pursue health day in and day out while mindfully living my ideal of life. It is easy to be afraid of the thought of discipline. “How can I be so tough on myself, refrain, restrict, control my impulses and urges?” I don’t think we can, nor should we. Discipline, as it pertains to our pursuit of health, is not about the negative implications it will have for us as an individual. Instead, the healthy disciplined life is about honesty and accountability. It is about recognizing the significance of our choices and attentively, in each moment, deciding what is best and right for us at that moment. There is liberation in discipline, a freedom from the restrictions and an empowering outlook for the future. It is a chance to be honest with our experience as we strive for health in our lives. It is not about perfection, but only about practice. The beauty of this continuous practice is that we can find a support team and have them help us along our way.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Beyond yourself

If you look beyond yourself for health, you will never find it. Health starts, is achieved and ends with the self, otherwise the pursuit is only a distraction from the true problems at hand.
Because our self is growing, changing, developing daily, constantly moving, our pursuit of health is endless, timeless, needing to grow and change as we do. There is no end goal for health, there is only the journey. I think that is a relief. It removes a great deal of pressure. We simply strive for health for ourselves, what is best for us at any given time. If we fall off the path, we just walk back on and continue.
Where are you on your journey today?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Detox Update

So the detox was a 2 week success and I apologize for not continuing to document my experience. I do remember vividly that the first 3 days were the hardest, I had a solid headache and felt very lethargic most of that time. But after that, things picked up nicely as they often do. My digestion was superb and I dropped about 8 pounds during the course of the detox.
I don't typically recommend detoxing for the sole purpose of loosing weight, but that is often a pleasant bonus through the experience. For a more permanent weight loss goal, I utilize the UltraLite diet (www.ultralite.us) for my patients. It provides a much more realistic and long term model for sustained weight loss and healthy eating, while also typically providing some detoxification through the process.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Detox Day 1

I am embarking on a bit of spring cleaning. I sprained my knee about 4 weeks ago and as a result, have forgone exercise and a healthy diet. Instead choosing to occupy my time with the NBA playoffs, cookies and cakes, and beer. (the take home lesson for any patients that may read my blog - try and do what I suggest, not what I do) So now, my knee is not nearly as improved as it should be and I have gained 8 pounds just in time for swimsuit season.

I know better than to have done this, but I did it any way. And now I am 1 day into a 2 week detox to try and get myself moving back in the right direction. There are seemingly endless choices when someone is looking to detox. I am doing my own modification of the 10 day UltraClear diet by Metagenics.


The basic premise of the detox is as follows: Begin removing detrimental foods day by day while simultaneously introducing and increasing the UltraClear detox shake. In the middle of the detox, you are consuming 4 shakes a day, while only eating organic apples, pears, and greens. Then as you work your way out of the detox, you begin to reintroduce foods and decrease the servings of shakes until you are eating the way you want to. I call my detox "modified" because I typically stretch it out over two weeks and fast for one day in the middle.

The basics of the first day are to simply remove all processed and sweetened products from the diet., as well as all meats. No sugars, sweets, alcohol, or caffeine. Dairy and eggs are still allowed.
Today, I am on my second day and the guidelines are to remove the dairy and eggs and begin by having 2 shakes. I like this detox plan because you can eat from the approved list whenever you are hungry, it is not a fast.

I will try and continue to post on my blog as I navigate my way back to a more structured lifestyle and the feelings of health that I am looking for.

**No body should begin a detox of fast without first seeking direction from a qualified medical professional.

Friday, May 23, 2008

bHIP energy

bHIP energy… the product
Peter Swanz, ND, FHANP

*bHIP energy makes no medicinal or health claims. It is simply, in my opinion, a healthier alternative to the plethora of sugar and stimulant laden drinks that are dominating the energy drink market. bHIP energy is not a health supplement or medicinal food, it is an energy drink only.

Based on the current trends in the energy drink market, particularly with young adults, it is vital that there are alternatives to the products that dominate the market. I believe bHIP to be such a product.

If you have any questions about bHIP or wonder if it may be a better alternative to the products your friends or family are already using, please contact me at my office 617-388-5126.

Vitamin C – function of Vitamin C: Collagen synthesis, Norepinephrine synthesis, aids in absorption of iron, supports steroid hormone synthesis, antioxidant, drug metabolism and detoxification, carnitine synthesis, degradation of cholesterol, regulates cellular humoral immune function and increase macrophage activity, cancer prevention, activates certain vitamins into their active forms, and antihistamine effects at doses over 6 to 8 grams per day. (Marz, Russell, ND. Medical Nutrition from Marz 2nd ed. 1999. p. 236-237.)

Niacin – Is a conenzyme for the dehydrogenases, which are responsible for innumerable biochemical reactions in the body including detoxifying alcohol and utilizing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. (Marz, Russell, ND. Medical Nutrition from Marz 2nd ed. 1999. p. 201.)

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – vital for multiple biochemical reactions in the body, including the synthesis or of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and histamine. (Marz, Russell, ND. Medical Nutrition from Marz 2nd ed. 1999. p. 211.)

Folic Acid – facilitates the synthesis of purines (required for growth and protein building), essential for the formation and maturation of red and white blood cells, crucial for rapidly multiplying cells (stomach, intestines, vagina, and cervix. (Marz, Russell, ND. Medical Nutrition from Marz 2nd ed. 1999. p. 226-227.)

Vitamin B12 – absolutely required for the healthy synthesis of DNA. Also involved in carbohydrate metabolism. (Marz, Russell, ND. Medical Nutrition from Marz 2nd ed. 1999. p. 220-221.)

Maltodextrin (fibersol 2) - soluble dietary fiber, Studies on Fibersol-2 have explored its health properties, including effects on the digestive tract and blood glucose and cholesterol levels; subjects also had significantly increased proportions of bifidobacteria in intestinal microflora. (http://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/articles/1b1braning1.html)

Amino Acids (taurine, lysine*, arginine, glutamine, glycine, tyrosine, leucine*, isoleucine*, valine*) * essential amino acids in bold

Malic Acid – provides the tartness in many sweet and tart candies. Malic acid also helps support the body with energy production especially during low oxygen situations (hypoxic energy production)

Guarana Extract – 480 mg of guarana per bHIP packet. Guarana averages between 3 and 10% of caffeine equivalent, so bHIP energy at the upper end of the spectrum may contain 48 mg of caffeine per packet, less than an 8 oz cup of coffee which averages 50 to 60 mg of caffeine per serving. Guarana has been shown in numerous research studies to improve cognition and memory, it increases energy, and along with a healthy diet and exercise regimen can support healthy weight loss. As with any caffeine containing product, excess consumption can contribute to tachycardia (increased heart rate). Guarana containing products should not be used in conjunction with products containing ephedra or by patients using amphetamines.

Green Tea Leaf Extract - in addition to its anti-oxidant properties, green tea contains theanine which is a relaxing amino acid that can help support users through times of stress.
Recent human studies suggest that green tea may contribute to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer, as well as to the promotion of oral health and other physiological functions such as anti-hypertensive effect, body weight control, antibacterial and antivirasic activity, solar ultraviolet protection, bone mineral density increase, anti-fibrotic properties, and neuroprotective power. Beneficial effects of green tea--a review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006; 25(2):79-99 (ISSN: 0731-5724)

Ginseng Root Extract – adaptogenic, tonic

Maca Root Extract – adaptogenic, tonic

Quebracho Extract - Tonic, febrifuge, and anti-asthmatic (asthmatic support has been shown to be effective cumulatively over a period of time by decreasing frequency of the attacks… not for acute paroxysms) (http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/q/quebra02.html)

White Willow Bark Extract- effective as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, as well as antioxidant, fever-reducing, antiseptic, and immune-boosting properties. (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/willow-bark-000281.htm)
Glucoronolactone - A substance produced in the liver during the metabolism of glucose. It is a smaller molecule than glucose and may therefore be absorbed into tissues at a faster rate. This may explain, in part, its effect as a stimulant. Glucoronolactone has been also touted to support memory retention, concentration, and may play a role in countering depression. (http://www.performance-edu.com/Glossary/Glucoronolactone.html)
Acai Berry Extract – antioxidant and flavoring

Mandarin Extract - antioxidant and flavoring

Orange Extract - antioxidant and flavoring

Aloe Vera Concentrate - latex from the inner lining of the leaf has traditionally been used as an oral laxative, the gel is a demulcent and is healing to wounds and the skin. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aloe-vera/NS_patient-Aloe)

Maltodextrose – easily utilized sugar and energy source

Fructose – easily utilized sugar and energy source

Stevia - body does not metabolize the sweet glycosides from the stevia leaf or any of its processed forms - so there is no caloric intake. Stevia doesn't adversely affect blood glucose levels and may be used freely by diabetics. (http://www.stevia.com/)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spring Clean with Greens at the Co-op

Get Your Green Smoothie on at SPRING CLEAN WITH GREENS.

Tuesday, May 27, 6-7pm, Harvest Co-op 581 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139

Please join Jeanette in this interactive workshop where she will talk about the missing food in the majority of people's diets: greens.

Participants will learn how to make a yummy green smoothie, and discuss how greens can increase our energy, help us understand cravings, and inspire us to create optimal balance in our lives! We will also touch on seasonal eating, exercise, and preventative steps we can take to stay healthy and feel energized.

Complimentary Green Smoothies will be provided!

For more information on this event, please contact Jeanette Richelson, Holistic Health Counselor(Institute for Integrative Nutrition): 617-645-6757, or jeanette@livityhealthcoaching.com or simply visit www.livityhealthcoaching.com

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both. -Francois Auguste Rene' Chateaubriand

I read this quote the other day and was amazed by the simplicity and eloquence with which it describes the joy I feel at being able to practice Naturopathic Medicine. I just wanted to share it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Vis

What is the “Vis Medicatrix Naturae”? The term is commonly translated as “the healing power of nature”. I have continuously pondered this physically elusive concept during my training in Naturopathic medical school and through my practice while watching it work. I believe part of the difficulty with conceptually grasping the “Vis” is that the “Vis” is not a thing that is directly perceivable. And we do not yet have a means to measure the effects of the “Vis” and hence confirm its existence.
Gravity for example is not measureable directly. Gravity is a force with an influence affecting other objects. Gravity is a term used to describe the force of attraction exerted by one body on that of another. And we can verify this force of attraction by measuring the speed with which one object accelerates towards another. We do not measure gravity itself. We calculate the gravitational force proportionately based on the mass of the objects and indirectly proportional to the distance between the objects. There is no tool that allows us to measure gravity. When we drop an object towards the earth, we perceive the speed and motion of the object falling toward the earth with our eyes. We are seeing the results of the gravitation force affecting the object, but we do not visualize gravity itself. We have been indoctrinated since grade school, since hearing the story of Newton sitting under the apple tree, that when we see something fall, we understand and believe it is gravity that is influencing this object and is crucial to this phenomenon of falling towards the earth.
I believe the “Vis” is as intricately crucial to healing as gravity is to falling; like gravity the “Vis” is not able to be measured directly; but unlike the recognition of gravity, the “Vis” is not yet recognized and accepted as a crucial component of the healing process. Fortunately, like gravity, we do not have to believe in the “Vis” to experience its effects. The “Vis” is not magical or mystical, it is a term used to describe the healing process of the body. The “Vis” can be supported and encouraged through any means. There is not one area of healing that holds ownership of the “Vis”. Chinese medicine, Western Herbs, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, physical manipulation, etc., can all be used effectively to bolster the healing of the body. I would even argue that western pharmaceuticals can support the “Vis” when applied synergistically to the healing process. I have made this statement many times before and it is certainly worth repeating. It is not what we give to support healing, but why we give it that is important.
The healing that is possible through the support of the “Vis” is the ideal of healing. I feel fortunate to witness, practice, and support this ideal daily. I am encouraged by the feedback from my patients, as they begin to recognize the significance of their healing process. As more and more individuals experience true healing our collective acceptance of the influence of the “Vis” will become universal and our actions will be more congruent with a lifestyle that is beneficial to our own health and the health of the planet. That truly is the healing power of nature.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Homeopathic First Aid Kit - basics

Homeopathic First Aid Kit

Arnica Montana
It is ideal for the aches with bruises and sore muscles. Arnica is especially suited when the skin color turns black and blue. It is perfect for bumps on the head and other parts of the body.

A very common fever remedy. Extreme heat and redness, often intense and throbbing pain. Typically red, flushed face, especially right sided. It comes on quickly and progresses rapidly, a sudden attack. No thirst with the fever.

A common children’s remedy for colic and teething, but also ear infections, fever, etc. A chamomilla child is sensitive and irritable, almost besides themselves with pain. The children are whiny, restless, and impatient. They don’t want to be spoken to or touched. Often point at something they want and when given it will through it away. Chamomilla children can also be red and hot, like Belladonna, but typically it presents on both cheeks of the face with Chamomilla. Typically the only thing that calms the child is being held and carried about the room.

A common cough remedy. A cough that comes on at night as soon as the child’s head hits the pillow. A cough in prolonged and periodical fits of rapid, deep, incessant barking and choking. Sounds like a loose cough, but nothing comes up. The cough is typically better when the child sits up in bed.

An excellent first aid remedy for injury to the nerves, especially localized to the fingers and toes. Perfect for fingers slammed in the door, toes stubbed on walls and doors. An intense, extreme pain. Hypericum may also be indicated for insect stings and bites as well as burns on the fingers and toes – if the pain is intense.

Ledum is a first aid remedy for puncture wounds produced by sharp-pointed instruments. An injury that requires ledum is typically purple, puffy, and cold… may feel numb. Even though injury feels cold to the touch, it is better with cold applications and worse with heat. One should strongly consider ledum for insect bites and stings in areas other than fingers and toes. Ledum can also facilitate the removal of foreign bodies stuck in the skin, like splinters, ingrown hairs, etc.

Coffea Cruda
Sleeplessness with nervous agitation and restlessness. Difficulty falling asleep or back to sleep because of an active mind. Restless sleep. Inability to fall asleep due to excessive caffeine intake.

Nux Vomica
A broad acting remedy especially suited to digestive disturbances (nausea and vomiting) following over indulgences in food and/or drink. Head pain as if head was beaten with an axe and extreme tension in forehead. A Nux Vomica patient is very irritable with heightened senses, can hardly bear noises, odors, bright light, etc. Generally want to be left alone to sleep it off.

*synthesized from the Concordant Materia Medica, by Frans Vermeulen

Homeopathic Dosing Instructions: Take 3-5 pellets every twenty to thirty minutes for a few hours. If symptoms do not begin to subside after three doses of a given medicine, it most likely is not the best suited remedy for the patient.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Medicine and Politics

While at SCNM (www.scnm.edu) I was advised multiple times not to mix medicine with religion or politics. Yet I am perpetually fascinated by both topics. And now in the midst of an election year, the significance of politics and medicine is of vast importance. I find myself drawn to the presidential primary debates to determine, if that is possible, where the candidates stand on health care for our country. I yearn for an awareness of the candidate’s ideals and of the ramifications of those ideals for Naturopathic Medicine. 2008 -2009 may be a bit premature when looking for a candidate that supports Naturopathic licensure throughout the United States. But the significance of the healthcare reform that all candidates propose can not be overstated.

I do not have an answer as to which candidate would be best. I am not sure any of the candidates will have solutions to my questions. I imagine that all the candidates have plans limited by the paradigm of the conventional medical establishment, limited by how to work within the confines of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. This is a broken system. I have yet to hear any solid solutions for how the proposed healthcare reforms will meaningfully restructure this monetarily driven industry into a configuration that truly values the health of the consumer over the financial bottom line.

I believe when health becomes the true focus; when the well being of the individual overshadows the financial ramifications to the industry; when gentle prevention is valued equal to invasive treatment; Naturopathic medicine will play an emphatic and vital role in the this new and truly holistic health care system.

Friday, January 11, 2008

What is possible?

2008 is here. It is a new year with new hopes and ideals about the many ways we can live a more healthy life. I am optimistic about the possibilities. It seems that this is a very common occurrence. People say good bye to the old, welcome in the new, and expect that this is the year for change. The enthusiasm is a vital part of the requirements for change. But it is only one of the pieces. For things to happen differently, there must be a shift in thoughts and behaviors as well. A new paradigm where eating healthy and exercising regularly are fully conceivable, even if these behaviors have been absent from the past.
2008 is an opportunity to imagine and create what is possible. Imagining and believing are the very first steps.
Who do you want to be in 2008?