Acupuncture and the Community

A look at the current model of healthcare in the U.S., including the practices of many alternative therapies, leaves us with a sense that something is missing. The health insurance and pharmaceutical companies are well established and sustaining their respective industries, as well as in some cases, developing financial programs and new treatment protocols for some serious health conditions. But the growth and expansion in this area of the whole healthcare picture, only serves to drive the costs to our citizens higher and higher and to place more emphasis on illness rather than the cultivation of a healthy population. Furthermore, our valued family physicians must now spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for malpractice insurance every year, and even more time and money trying to keep up with third-party reimbursements.

Individuals and families who seek so-called “alternative” health practices such as various styles of bodywork, fitness-counseling programs, acupuncture or herbal medicine, find that these avenues, even though they may be effective at keeping people out of hospitals, are either not covered by health insurance, or come with a substantial extra premium and copay. In these worsening circumstances, the choices for personal health care in the U.S. diminish markedly to the extent that middle and lower income individuals and families are among the first to be left behind, but eventually everyone will be affected by the lack of available healthcare resources.

Though technological advances in modern medicine have done remarkable things, and many lives are saved each year from disease and serious injury, it is clear that we as individuals can also take a more proactive role in our own well-being.

During the past three thousand years that Oriental medicine has been practiced, it has been used to treat the ruling class of China as well as the common folk. In our society, it cannot replace the need for modern medicine but having access to this very basic approach to healthcare does provide us with an effective opportunity to care for ourselves. It is a way to protect against the development of more serious physical imbalances or the onset of disease, and it is a way to re-activate the body's innate healing energy so that life can continue into the later years without emotional stress, physical pain, or the side-effects of numerous drugs.

Life is a journey, and a particular goal of that journey should be to realize one's alignment with the natural world and with the harmony of mind, body and spirit. In this way, each personal path becomes better illuminated and each new day is a bit brighter than the last.