All posts by Byran

Please pass on the pills – moving beyond industrial healthcare and towards wellbeing

Health care reform has received much lip service from high ranking politicians in recent months. It seems that public health care is a topic with more relevance to a greater number of citizens than most political topics have had in the past eight years. Health care reform, along with a handful of other topics which Obama campaigned for, seems to have brought millions to view those currently in political power as generally benevolent. And compared to the neo-con nightmare, Obama does sound and look pretty benign and caring. But proliferating goodwill is not a high priority for the Wall Street puppets currently in power. In the health care reform proposal, monetary profit will still remain the dominant force in decisions regarding health care.

Ultimately the best health care policy would be one that promotes wellness, but that is not possible in the context of the current debate. Since it is clear we cannot look to the government to promote our well-being, maybe it’s time to consider how we can insure our own health without government help for the long term. Making invasive medical practices more accessible will not spread health to the masses. Psychological and philosophical concerns continue to remain the barrier to the incorporation of health and well-being in our communities. Overcoming the capitalistic monster is the only way to bring about better health overall.

Having a real community, regularly expressing oneself creatively and using wisdom in the ways that we treat our bodies (and our planet) would more positively impact health than socialized health care and an increase in the application of allopathic medical practices. Government run health care proposals should be viewed with the utmost skepticism – if the current regime is in typical form it is likely that insurance companies will end up making even greater profits after a reform takes effect (as giant conglomerates have been the beneficiaries in most of the administration’s actions). If society continues to tumble along on its current stupefying path, well-being and health will continue to suffer. A society free of Paris Hilton, frat boys and trillion dollar military expenditures would do more for public health than a public option. Imagine how much less frequently psychiatric medication would be prescribed if toxic elements like celebrity worship and consumerism were not the staples in the society.

A problem with health care, aside from the lack of availability and cost of care (which certainly is a huge burden for many), is the guiding philosophy of allopathic medical practices. Allopathic medicine is defined as the practice of using remedies that produce effects either different from or incompatible with the syndrome that is being treated. (This is as opposed to homeopathic medicine which uses remedies similar to the ailment to be treated.) In allopathic traditions, a narrow perspective is taken when viewing illness and invasive methods dominate (such as surgery or the ingestion of artificial chemicals). Though these approaches can be therapeutic and life saving, these type of techniques are best used more sparingly than they are currently. Too frequently allopathic practitioners do not give enough regard to the body’s innate tendency to heal itself, nor to the body’s subtle expressions of internal discord that can later result in disease. Allopathic practitioners tend to think of body parts as existing in relative isolation from each other, looking too little at relationships between elements of the body. These practices and philosophies will remain even if the health care delivery system were to change. These traditions uphold the status quo both explicitly (via prescriptions and surgeries that allow individuals to continue to live lifestyles of consumption and distraction), and tacitly (via the attitudes and biases of practitioners who frequently live lives of consumption and distraction).

If you simply pop vicodin to kill pain, there is no need or motivation to heal. If each time you feel anxious you eat a xanax there is little pressure to overcome your internal conflicts causing anxiety (not to mention the problems that can arise with long term use of chemicals like this). In the allopathic model, treatments that would be best for overall long-term health (for example specific dietary changes) are often not employed, because symptom elimination overrides most other considerations (too often healing and reconditioning is left partially or completely out of the equation). These medical practices utilize a one size fits all approach, which has many drawbacks, including upholding the dominant traditions of the culture.

Due to toxins in the air, water and soil, residues build up inside of our bodies (i.e. in the liver, colon, etc.). Fasting or cleansing from time to time helps to flush these out. Many highly accessible herbs (i.e. ginger, nettles, garlic, valerian) treat common ailments or help to detoxify the body, and the tradition of using plants for health is rooted deeply in our species. Having some basic understanding of anatomy and nutrition goes a long way in knowing yourself more intimately, and in helping you heal when the time comes. Also simple stretches, yoga poses and considerations towards the energy flow of our bodies can help improve one’s quality of life. Many average Americans are treated for symptoms that are normal and healthy reactions to current circumstances, though many in the general public would expect that one can repeatedly fuck over the people sitting across the conference room and not suffer from headaches, addictions, high blood pressure, anxiety and other ailments. The majority have been so brainwashed that they believe it when they hear over simplified ideas like “your symptoms are a medical condition”. Without constant brainwashing people might actually realize that their actions, experiences and lifestyles cause many of their “medical conditions”.

Even more ludicrous than using synthetic chemicals to treat symptoms caused by societal and economic norms, is the writing of prescriptions in order to eliminate symptoms caused by symptoms caused by the social and work environments. For example the prescription of a medicine used to combat high cholesterol prescribed to the individual using Big Macs to help distract from or override feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration. Capitalistic competition causes unease (when getting fucked over), guilt (when fucking over), trouble focusing and much more. I wonder what it might take for us to challenge the dominant practice in America of selling shit during work time in order to buy shit during free time.