Building Your Family’s Health Care Team

We could learn a lesson from ancient Chinese physicians. They were only ever paid if the patient was healthy. When the patient became sick, they weren’t paid again until he was well. An interesting concept, don’t you think?

Our “health care system” really isn’t about health. It’s about sickness. We wait until we’re sick and then go to the doctor to fix whatever is wrong. It’s a “sick care system”. In fact, it’s been noted that if we were to take better care of ourselves on a regular basis, we would have less incidence of colds, flu, allergies, asthma, ADD/ADHD, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and many more illnesses and diseases. The challenge is that traditional western medicine doesn’t fulfill the need of parents to keep their families healthy – they are too overrun with the emergencies that clog their waiting rooms. As a result, many parents are turning to complimentary or alternative health care.

Parents have shown a much greater interest in integrative health care over the last decade. Creating a “health team” for their families is gaining popularity instead of relying on a single physician for all needs. The role of complimentary or holistic health care is not to focus on a symptom, illness, or disease. More importantly, the goal is to look at the overall health of an individual and assess how best to keep the person well instead of waiting for them to get sick and then treating the disease.

A July 2007 study out of “Pediatrics” followed 114 children in a pediatric out-patient clinic affiliated with a university general hospital in Quebec[1]. It was stated that 54% of these children received complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM), which included chiropractic, naturopathy, homeopathy, massage, acupuncture, Reiki/energy care, hypnosis, osteopathic manipulation, and other hands-on techniques to promote health care. The most popular forms were chiropractic, naturopathy, and homeopathy, with chiropractic used most frequently at 24%.

In 2003, a survey of 2000 parents was conducted by UCLA in association with the American Academy of Pediatrics to discover their views on preventative care for their children[2]. The study showed that while topics such as vaccinations, feeding issues, and sleep patterns were discussed, topics such as child care, reading, vocabulary development and social development were not met with satisfaction. Parents who reported that they did not receive sufficient information noted that would be willing to pay for extra care, a marker of how strongly they valued guidance on the issues.

Creating your family’s integrative health team takes work. Interviewing chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, dentists, physicians, midwives, massage therapists, and other practitioners you would like to work with is a big job. Starting by choosing one and then asking for referrals to others is an easier way to build a team that you trust to take care of the health needs of your family.