There is an increasing acceptance that Holistic Health Care [HHC] is more effective than Traditional Western Medicine. Humans are complex, multi-dimensional beings who respond to positive stimulus on all levels--mind, body and spirit--and that to leave one aspect out also denies the others. Wellness is more than physical. Healthy and fulfilled individuals make better contributions to themselves and the world.
Holistic Health Care practices seek to work with the entire being so that all aspects of life are positive, productive and balanced. The society of the future realizes that being healthy and self-realized, results in a happier life.
A growing number of medical schools have begun teaching courses in Holistic Health Care; more private insurance plans have begun to recognize the utility of some forms of HHC and have offered coverage in conjunction with conventional treatments; and, in 1992, a Congressional mandate established the Office of Alternative Medicine, a small entity within the National Institutes of Health that was chartered to assess alternative therapies. Its annual budget has grown every year since 1993 and, between 1997 and 1998, increased from $12 million to $20 million.
According to a nationwide government survey released in May 2004, 36 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over use some form of HHC. NCCAM, National Institutes of Health A Prevention Magazine 2002 survey of consumer use of dietary supplements revealed that an estimated 158 million consumers use dietary supplements and spend approximately $8.5 billion per year. An estimated 22.8 million consumers use herbal remedies instead of prescription medicine, and an estimated 19.6 million use them with a prescription product. Similarly, an estimated 30.3 million use herbals instead of an over-the-counter drug (OTC), while approximately 19 million use herbals and OTC's together.
In 2002, Geoffrey Cowley, Senior Editor of NEWSWEEK reported, "We make more visits to non-conventional healers (some 600 million a year) than we do to MDs, and we spend more of our own money for the privilege--about $30 billion a year by recent estimates."
Use of Holistic Health Care in the U.S:
In the United States, 36% of adults are using some form of Holistic Health Care. When megavitamin therapy and prayer specifically for health reasons are included, that number rises to 62%.
Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) describes a $228.9 billion U.S. marketplace for goods and services focused on health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. The consumers attracted to this market have been collectively referred to as Cultural Creatives and represent a sizable group in this country. Approximately 36 percent of the adults in the U.S., or 60 million people, are currently embracing a holistic lifestyle.
Health Conditions Prompting Holistic Health Care Use:
People use HHC for a wide array of diseases and conditions. According to a survey, Americans are most likely to use HHC for back, neck, head, or joint aches, or other painful conditions; colds; anxiety or depression; gastrointestinal disorders; or sleeping problems. It appears that HHC is most often used to treat and/or prevent musculoskeletal conditions or other conditions involving chronic or recurring pain.
Reasons for Holistic Health Care:
The survey asked people to select from five reasons to describe why they used HHC. Results were as follows (people could select more than one reason):
o HCC would improve health: 55%
o HCC would be interesting to use: 50%
o Conventional medical treatments would not help: 28%
o A conventional medical professional suggested HCC: 26%
o Conventional medical treatments are too expensive: 13%
Results for Holistic Health Care:
No reports of deaths caused by Holistic Health Care have been published. It is fair to assume that if there were deaths caused by HHC the reports would be judiciously reported as the AMA is searching for ways to discredit and discount HHC practices.
Results for Traditional Western Medicine Health Care:
In 2001, the top 50 medical and surgical procedures totaled approximately 41.8 million. These figures were taken from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project within the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.13 Using 17.6 percent from the 1974 U.S. Congressional House Subcommittee Oversight Investigation as the percentage of unnecessary surgical procedures, and extrapolating from the death rate in 1974, we come up with an unnecessary procedure number of 7.5 million (7,489,718) and a death rate of 37,136, at a cost of $122 billion (using 1974 dollars).
Problems involving patients' medications were even higher the following year. The error rate intercepted by pharmacists in this study was 24%, making the potential minimum number of patients harmed by prescription drugs 417,908.50.
The leading causes of adverse drug reactions are antibiotics (17%), cardiovascular drugs (17%), chemotherapy (15%), and analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents (15%).11.
o The World Health Organization in 2000 ranked the United States 37th out of 191 countries in health care services.
o U.S. life expectancy is nearly three years shorter on average than Canadians' and about two years less than that of the French.
o The United States spent more than $6,000 per person on health care in 2004, about double what France, Germany and Canada spent per capita.
Sources: World Health Organization, United Nations, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Results for Holistic Mental Health Care:
American Health Magazine reported these findings from a comparison study.
o Psychoanalysis: Creates a 38% recovery after 600 sessions
o Behavior Therapy: Creates a 72% recovery after 22 sessions
o Hypnosis: Creates a 93% recovery after 6 sessions
Results for Society:
What does this mean for society, if society understands and participates in the benefits of Holistic Health Care?
o Few, if any sick days.
o Reduced absenteeism for businesses. CCH survey, conducted by Harris Interactive ®, the average per-employee cost of absenteeism was $789 per year in 2002, up from $755 in 2001, while the absenteeism rate declined slightly to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent in 2001.
o No adverse reactions/side effects.
o Minimal short and long-term disability expenses.
o Live a healthy and productive life.
o Live a healthy longer life.
o Few, if any age related illnesses.
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