Welcome to Our January Issue
As the publisher of Natural Awakenings magazine and a marketing graduate, I am fortunate to have a catbird’s seat in surveying our medical future. From my discussions with cutting-edge local practitioners to my association with 95 other publishers across the U.S., Puerto Rico and now the Dominican Republic, I have an expanded view of the success of certain health protocols and trends in treatment that has always inspired me as I produce and distribute this publication.
I am fascinated by the progress of the concept of functional medicine over the past nine years and I’m excited that many very talented medical doctors, osteopaths, chiropractic doctors, naturopaths and nutritional counselors are coming to realize that finding and treating the root cause of disease is not only medically sound and cost-effective, but it also improves the lives of those they treat.
According to FunctionalMedicine.org, Americans’ current chronic, lifestyledriven disease burden accounts for 84 percent of our $3.8 trillion annual health care expenses. That includes more than $3 trillion that could be reduced or eliminated by lifestyle choices and addressing root causes. If we continue on this path, it could easily bankrupt our country.
Functional medicine not only incorporates the latest research in science and systems biology that enables healthcare practitioners to practice proactive, predictive, personalized medicine, empowering patients to take an active role in their own health. This is what makes this approach different than the approach of “wait until we are sick and then block symptoms with medication” approach that has become the status quo.
While the concept and naming of functional medicine is a relatively new phenomenon in Western medicine, it is in fact an ancient approach to health used in Chinese, Indian and other cultures for millennia. Even the Bible is clear about the patient responsibility aspect of functional medicine when it instructs us to treat our bodies as a temple, which to me means eating right, exercising, resting properly, balancing work and play and celebrating in moderation.
I cringed a few years ago when some local economic development people touted that the Lehigh Valley would be generating 20 percent of its economy from health care. By extension that would mean that the residents of the Lehigh Valley would be spending 20 percent of their income on health care. I know spending 20 percent of my household budget on health care just to stay healthy is not sustainable and would cramp my style.
We should be actively striving to reduce the percentage of money spent on health care to somewhere around 13 percent, similar to other developed, firstworld nations. As individuals, having that additional money to save for the future or to use to enrich our lives and grow to our individual best potential would be a much more fun and empowering way to live. Functional medicine is the way to achieve that.
I hope you enjoy this functional medicine-themed issue. For more information on the future of healthcare, visit FunctionalMedicine.org, and when you next speak with your doctor, ask him or her if they support and practice a functional medicine approach to your health. If the answer is no, it may be time to find a new doctor.
Reid Boyer, Publlisher