Where Is The Money At?

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Paying for Complementary Health Approaches. “Cam Basics”. 2013. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.

Rust, Suzanne. John Fauber. “Drug firms’ cash skews doctor classes.” Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. 2009. Web. 7 Oct. 2014.

 

Could it be possible that health isn’t the ultimate goal of the pharmaceutical industry or the insurance companies? It seems that the United States is growing sicker and sicker. Every day I walk around around amongst other people, I am constantly hearing complaints of fatigue, stress and lack of general well-being. I have been in their shoes and know how frustrating it is to continuously feel sick. Something isn’t right and that’s more than obvious to anyone who is paying attention. We all know how easy it is to overlook and not inquire about things when we aren’t feeling mentally or physically healthy. It is scary and sad that most of our country not questioning the important thing- Why? Why is it that as a nation we are growing more sick and less educated as time passes? It is our job to take control of our health and to stay educated on who has power over the things that we need to sustain positive, healthy lives.

Rising doctors, the pharmaceutical industry and insurance companies all get paid when their services are used. In order to stay in business, they need people to need them. Without people looking to heal themselves with drugs, the pharmaceutical industries have no way to make a profit. Without people needing help pay for these services, the insurance companies have no purpose. Doctors merely point people in the direction of the pharmaceuticals and then naturally towards reliance on these medications.  These industries have put a huge emphasis on treating illness with pills and not giving people the information necessary to make their own choices in how they want to address their physical/ mental problems- between Western medicine or holistic/ CAM medicine. This keeps people uneducated to greater opportunities and allows the pharmaceutical and insurance industries in business where they are now thriving more than ever.

While the use of CAM has gone up in the past decade, there is still a very large portion of our country that has never heard of these alternatives and if they have heard about them, cannot afford them due to the services not being covered by insurance and therefore needing to be paid out of pocket.  According to NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), the use of complementary medicine is higher in adults (women specifically) and also those with higher levels of education and income.

It seems to me that these coincidences are more than just ironic. There is a method to why our health care industry is the way it is today. We have grown into a medicated country. The power struggle between the pharmaceutical and insurance industries and the people of our country is only making us weaker. Who is going to win, anyways? No one. Without a strong, intelligent body of citizens, our country is weak and vulnerable to most everything- from illness to attack. Though in today’s society we are lacking general knowledge on health and wellness, together we can combine knowledge and passion to raise awareness within our country.

Health From the Inside Out

Kemper, Kathi J. Sunita Vonra. Richard Walls. “The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Pediatrics.” American Academy of Pediatrics. 122. (2008). 1374-1386. Web. 1 Oct. 2014

 

While modern medicine has successfully healed many people over the past hundred years, there has been a new wave of medicine is spreading across the United States. Usually referred to as holistic or integrative medicine, this new way of healing is called Complementary and Alternative Medicine or “CAM” in short. A concise way of defining CAM is as a group of diverse medical and health practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional western medicine.  This practice focuses on patient-centered care that considers biological psychological, spiritual, social and environmental aspects of health. While many reasons for use of alternative medicine exist, the most reported reason for choosing use of CAM is “not so much as a result of being dissatisfied with conventional medicine, but largely because they found these health care alternatives to be more congruent with their own values, beliefs and philosophical orientations towards health and life.” While the use of these alternative medicines has grown dramatically in Western medicine, there are still influential groups of doctors that disagree with this movement. In addition, there is a serious lack of organization and no systematic approach in terms of teaching young, interested doctors what they need to know to carry out these alternative therapies. This lack of expertise in standard, traditional institutions makes it hard to keep up to date on frequently used CAM therapies and also to send new experts into the work force.

The World Health Organization estimates that most of the worlds population regularly uses “traditional” medicine. This includes Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurvedic medicine and Native American healing practices. What most people don’t realize is that most people in fact do use a form of CAM every day in their lives. Whether it be deep breathing/short meditation, use of essential oils, or paying a massage therapist to work out the kinks in a persons neck, these are all examples of alternative medicine. In a 1998 survey, the most common treatment covered by insurance plans was chiropractic care, with coverage ranging from 41 to 65 percent. Like I previously stated, there are many variations in credentialing which makes it very hard for health insurers to cover. Even with the lack of coverage, the public’s use of CAM therapies is steadily increasing and with that there is also an even greater willingness to pay out of pocket for such therapies.

There are many variations of CAM medicine. The most common being biologically based practices (vitamins, herbs, dietary supplements, diets and foods), manipulative and body based practices (chiropractics, massage therapy and reflexology), mind-body medicine (yoga, meditation and cognitive behavioral therapies), acupuncture and homeopathy. Many adults and children with chronic or incurable illness turn to CAM as a last result. Some examples of diseases associated with CAM medicine are people with asthma, ADHD, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and inflammatory bowel disease.

 

This source opened my eyes to the fact that there isn’t as many people following a holistic lifestyle as it had seemed to me. It’s easy to think that there are many followers of a modern idea when you are in the folds of it yourself, but when I started to research CAM alternatives I started to see that there are still many people wrapped up in the conventional ways of medicine. This source opened my eyes to a larger picture.. A huge problem in using holistic alternatives verses Western medicine is that it is not supported by the government. Insurance coverage is so rare within the realms of holistic medicine. This is one huge reason why ratios of people using CAM are so small- it requires a lot of money to commit to that alternative lifestyle.

This source has me considering changing my research question from “What are the effects of pharmaceutical drugs in comparison to holistic medicine in the United States?” to “Is conventional Western medicine ignoring the other aspects of health (biological, psychological, spiritual, social and environmental) to further their own profits?”

It has me wondering, has the world invested so much in Western medicine because it’s such a romantic thought- the thought that we can fix our physical and emotional issues with a simple pill and glass of water? Somehow that will make everything better, right? Wrong.

These forms of medicine merely fix the symptom. Once the medicine has worn off, the symptoms return along with all of the emotional baggage connected with the physical illness.

 

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/6/1374.full/The-Use-of-Complementary-and-Alternative-Medicine-in-Pediatrics

True to You (Digital Identity)

After the discussions in class, I’ve realized how powerful technology really is. As much as I want to disagree, the disheartening truth of it is that the way one uses technology can either dramatically aid him/her in their endeavors or completely wipe out all of their opportunities for success in both personal and career relations. I have been in denial about this since I was 15 years old, but the time has come to accept that this is my generations reality.

As I scroll through my Facebook, I wonder… What good does this even do for me? I scroll past hundreds of names unknown that I’ve gathered along with years of trying to fit in and have as many friends as I could. I sit in the library of my college and realize these “friends” mean nothing. They do nothing for me; their posts complaining or bragging about their lives are only distractions  to me, taking me away from my goals and sucking away my passion for success and setting my expectations for happiness up to disappoint me.

Things like Facebook can be used for many things.. but no one person trying to be seen as a responsible, professional and genuine person can deny that there are some ways to use Facebook that are more beneficial than others. For this reason, I completely deleted my Facebook. I have started a new profile. This time around, it will be an accurate and presentable version of who I am. No longer am I the girl who lacked digression. Today I am a person with purpose and now my online profile will reiterate that.

Just like you, there is not one other person in the whole entire universe (to our knowledge…) that is just like you. While that is an empowering feeling, it is also an overwhelming one. How do we create a digital identity that stands true to who we really are- encompassing our talents, achievements whilst oozing with genuine personality?  Here I am, trying to figure that out. The content of your digital identity is important.  After all, in a lot of ways, it defines you.

To create an accurate digital identity, I will keep my profile updated and accurate. To make sure the things that come up on my page are appropriate, I plan to keep my contacts trustworthy and relevant to who I am and what I stand for today. My goal is to keep the content of my online identity growing in depth and richness as years pass by continuing to do the things that matter to me, on both a small and large scale. My passion is what will tie together all things relevant to my digital identity, like water soaking into a sponge, it will seep through everything I do.

 

Slam Poetry Passion

I always felt like expressing complex emotions and rehashing memories, both bitter and sweet, would tremendously help a healing heart. There is something about being heart and understood. Sometimes all a person needs is to feel less alone. It is easy to feel alone and misunderstood in such a world as we live in today. It’s easy to be hurt and it is hard to trust.

It’s unusual (at least in my life right now) to be in a room with people who only send feelings of love and acceptance out. It’s so unusual that it takes me a minute to adapt to the change in environment. People so often walk around thinking only of their problems. We perpetuate feelings of loneliness by thinking day in and day out, “I am the only one with these feelings.. with this pain.” I realized over the past year that those feelings are only true from where you stand.

I can surround myself with people who choose love over fear. I can surround myself with people who live honestly instead of trapping themselves within their lies. Whoever I surround myself with is my reality. I can live in a judgement free world if I so choose. Or I can keep walking the streets of Richmond feeling out of place and alone.

Twice now I have been to Verses “Open Mic”. Slam poetry is such a deep and vulnerable thing. I feel so honored to be part of a crowd who aids in someones journey to mental and emotional health and balance. I find it to be such a beautiful thing that a person can stand on stage and take a memory or emotion filled with so much pain and make it into something beautiful. The person on stage shares his/her pain, anger, betrayal with the rest of the crowd till each of us has a sliver of it in our hearts and it becomes something manageable; something less of a burden for them. I leave open mic with stories of other peoples pain and I don’t feel weighed down by it. Instead, I feel more alive than I did before I went. I feel understood.. less alone… I feel grounded.

Of course, it’s not only poems sadness and pain. There are also people who share beautiful poems of memories with lovers, parents, siblings, moments in time where they felt connected to everyone and everything else.

I won’t lie, there are lots of days since moving to Richmond where I feel I don’t have somewhere to go where I am understood and welcome. Entering such an honest and open atmosphere is definitely uncomfortable and challenging, but that discomfort is GOOD. It means you’re close to the truth. Being that close to truth, and honesty and love is uncomfortable. For me, at least.

This discomfort is a challenge in it of itself and a huge reason why I will be going back to Verses.

I have been working so hard for so long to move through certain memories in my life. They are amongst the hardest obstacles I face. Not a lot of things inspire me to revisit those memories and the feelings that are associated with them, so when I do something that feeds the strength to face and deal, I know that I have to continue whatever it is that makes me feel strong. One day I want to stand up there and tell people about the things that have brought me pain and bring me joy in my life. The feelings I see on the faces of people on stage after telling their stories looks so beyond worth it.

If anyone reading this wants to go one day to Verses with me, I would love love love to go. 🙂

 

 

Sea of Technology

I’ve always felt quite overwhelmed by technology today. It’s rare to find a person who isn’t completely wrapped up in the newest posts on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. The Circle does a good job of bringing light to the truth about what kind of world we live in today.  Most people I talk to are in denial about what technology has done to humanity and I have heard lots of people shrug the book off in annoyance. Of course they are annoyed, it’s true! I could compare technology to cigarettes. The more you smoke, the worse your sense of smell and taste get. The more you smoke, the more tired you feel.. you’re obsessed, you’re addicted, you’re completely wrapped up in something that isn’t the least bit wrapped up in you. That is how technology has affected people of my era. Just like Mae, we have become transparent, too.

Mae’s world changed so drastically when she became transparent. She lost the ability to have intimate conversation with the few friends she had and her family began to take her less and less seriously. How could they trust her knowing anything they say to her would be said to the rest of the world? Mae herself even changed.. becoming less truthful and less personal with herself and everyone she came in contact with. Her life, already filled with stress and self doubt, became completely overcome with anxiety and confusion. I think this is what social media has done to my people all over the country. It’s much easier to show a “happy” face on Instagram.. but are you fulfilled in your life? Is it even possible to be completely fulfilled with distractions such as what we have today? Instagram and Twitter may have been a good idea at first,  but now they seem to be used to avoid confrontation and peoples real emotions. In a short time, Mae lost everyone that really cared about her and she fully committed to a life of transparency. In our world, I have seen so many people become so distant from their loved ones that it is practically like they have lost them because only technology holds them together.. and technology is something that can one day be inaccessible.

At the end of the day, I feel bad for Mae. It seems to me like she was an easy target.. insecure about her success and quiet about what brought her joy. Those are the kinds of people that blend right in to the world of technology and social media… a place where it’s so easy to lie, everyone practically does it.

Almost every day I look around and feel alone amongst all of my peers. I see a lot of people frowning down into their phones. When I do get to have a conversation with someone, the cell phone is a constant reminder of where their mind REALLY is. It is not with me in this conversation, it is in a virtual world, such as Twitter, reeling about the comment their ex said that might be about them.

They are either dwelling in the past or fretting about a future they haven’t even earned yet.  Like I said in paragraph one, it is rare to find someone who is not completely enthralled by technology and it’s many distractions.