© shiyali. Image from BigStockPhoto.com
I recently wrote about how reflexology could help save the health care system. I just received a bulletin from the Foundation for Integrated Health. In it was an article which caught my eye. the article is called, Creating a National Wellness Service. It focuses on an issue that is key to cutting health care costs, shifting from a focus on illness to an emphasis on wellness. In essence creating a "wellness culture".
"The priority for healthcare in the 19th century was public health. The priority in the 20th century was universal access to medical care for infectious and acute diseases. The priority in the 21st century is increasingly the management of chronic diseases, in an emerging partnership between individuals, social networks and medical services. This implies some radical changes to how health is organised." David Boyle
Mr. Boyle argues that the the National Health Service (NHS) has become a "sickness service" and should now move onto a "wellness service". We have done wonders with infectious and acute diseases but fallen short in addressing the chronic degenerative diseases that plague our societies.
"Without this clarity, the NHS will remain at the mercy of factors like pollution, stress, diet and patient isolation. Its delivery systems are not well-designed to tackle the growing problem of chronic disease (80% of GP consultations and 80% of the NHS budget now go on this), for which mutual support, social networks and complementary therapies are frequently more critical." David Boyle
80% of the problem is being addressed reactively and not proactively. It is like the highway department helping to build more body shops in response to traffic hazards. We aren't addressing the root causes.
The figure 80 % is interesting because it also extends to stress related disorders. This isn't a mystery. Some of us age well while others go into serious decline. Chronic degenerative diseases are accelerated by stress.
Reflexology addresses stress in a proactive way. It can help someone before the onset of some troubling disorder. Studies have shown that reflexology acts on cortisol. Cortisol is a well know stress hormone and is linked to our fight or flight response. Stress is a killer and by lowering cortisol levels we lower our risks of developing something more serious.
Reflexology also provides nourishment to the tacitly deprived. In other words, it can help people out of isolation.
We used to have an elderly lady who wore her mink stole to the office. She even brought her own hanger for the stole. We were her human contact for the week and the mink stole was her prize possession. And she wanted to share it with us. She felt connected.
High tech has done wonders for acute problems. There is actually a theory that the reason the murder rate has dropped has more to do with advanced medical procedures than with people shooting each other less often. So high tech medicine has done wonders with saving lives when an acute event has occurred.
But to cut costs and save our health care system it maybe time for "high touch". Instead of fighting sickness we need to embrace a culture of wellness. We need to reach out to the stressed and the lonely with reflexology and the other high touch modalities.
And to those who feel this is just a touchy feely sort of solution think of the money you will be saving. Remember that 80%.