As a remedial therapist, I’m often at a point of call that many come to after they have exhausted other avenues of approach. As a practitioner that tries to provide a service to remedy issues, often I find that I’m on the wrong side of the equation. I feel that often if I can get to the issues in the beginning of the process, then the remedy of the issue is sometimes easier to work with.
I’m a natural remedies practitioner. We operate on a principle of preventative medicine. An approach that promotes dealing with issues before they become a larger issue. Our essential role is to monitor and promote a state of balance as a general rule. Making sure that issues are minor and dealt with before they become too far out of balance.
Preventative medicine is often how many of the ancient techniques of medical knowledge came into being. Medicine was not symptomatic, it was imperative to keep a balanced state of health to maintain good function. It’s like having a tonic before your nightly vigil, it’s a mode of maintaining health on a continuous scale. Our work is not an emergency room, we don’t come in at the last second and nip tuck and suture emergency procedures to get issues resolved in an hour. Our approach is one of continual maintenance and trying to promote a healthy state of balance so that nothing gets ‘out of balance’.
As preventative therapists we operate as disease screeners. We work with a principle of ‘current non clinical life choices’, promoting a process of healthy habits and understanding the balance of food, exercise and lifestyle approach. One of the things that occurred to me when I was studying anatomy and physiology was just how easily it was for things to go awry in the body. There are so many micro-momentus goings on happening in the body that it’s a wonder that we can get up in the mornings without pulling something, causing a lesion, or not having our enzymes activate in the right sequence. Preventative medicine is there to ensure that these actions all happen in the normal process and in balance with each other.
“planned wellness strategies, including changes to diet and lifestyle, can potentially save individuals and the healthcare system on hospital and medical costs in the long run”
World Research Foundation 2016
Investing in health care at a preventative stage is much less more of an expense than dealing with issues as they arise later in life. Having a heart bypass is a lot more dramatic than actually partaking in daily exercise ormonitoring your diet. A decision to invest in monitoring your health at the early stages is akin to a self funded retirement plan. You are investing a smaller amount regularly to ensure that you are funded later in the years where you aren’t earning to enjoy the freedom of the time on your hands.
In terms of encouraging this activity, the political stances of government have a lot to do with promoting this investment of the general public. At the moment, in the lead up to a national election, the ALP have just released their healthcare statement which includes a reduction of health rebates on natural medicine. Encouraging the public to invest in preventative health care is aguaranteed way to take a long term reduction over the cost associated with long term health care of an ageing population.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen announced on Friday that from July 1, 2017, taxpayer-funded private health insurance rebates would no longer be available for natural therapies.
News.com.au – Labour Scraps Natural Therapies June 10 2016
This stance is a short sighted vision of what can be described as a cash grab from a budgetary perspective. Restricting investment in an individual’s own health may result in figures that can temporarily save a ‘moxa’ in cash flow in the short term, but at the end of the day, does it really benefit the individual.
I’ve always been of the opinion that we need to encourage people to invest in their health and a policy of private health. This system should encourage investment in health, not one that downgrades the importance of preventative medicine is a short term solution to creating a cash flow that will only serve to impede the strain on the wider health system later in life.
The World Health Organization defines prevention as 'approaches and activities aimed at reducing the likelihood that a disease or disorder will affect an individual, interrupting or slowing the progress of the disorder or reducing disability' (WHO 2004).
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014
In encouraging the investment of private health insurance that involves a regular maintenance of preventative work that keeps a person on a balanced path of health, before disease becomes an issue a government policy on health insurance should include an encouraging atmosphere for preventative therapies.
Ideally, prevention or treatment programs and services should not only be effective, they should also be affordable to society and accessible, so that they reach the people who need them most.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014