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In this blog post, we offer a different perspective on the meaning of “healthcare”.
Hands On Healing is located in Montgomery, Alabama.
Have you ever gone to the doctor because you felt healthy?
We’re assuming your answer is, “no.”
The more likely reason one seeks out a physician is to treat an illness or deal with an injury.
So, why do we refer to the current medical practice as “healthcare”, when we are in fact seeking the help of medical professionals when we are not actually healthy?
Figure 1 is a very simplistic image illustrating that much of the current healthcare model is built around a hierarchy, with physicians and common medical practice at the top of the chart, with other health practices holding less influence on treating a patient.
This discussion is in no way making a comment on the education or capacity of doctors and physicians.
Their education, credentials, and knowledge are a remarkable testament to their dedication and hard work studying the complexity of the human body.
However, what we do want to discuss here is the possibility that patients seeking medical care might be receiving less than ideal treatment for their circumstances because of the way healthcare is organized as a system.
The miracles of modern medicine stem from the work of chemistry, changing the internal environment of the body to combat or overcome bacterial infections, viral conditions, or even help with genetic diseases.
So what can be said of healthcare’s treatment of physical dysfunction or chronic pain?
Your average doctor doesn’t have a lot of options beyond surgery to correct a physical condition or drugs to mask the symptoms of pain and discomfort. If someone was able to avoid surgery and drugs all together, then they might end up in the hands on a physical therapist.
But even in this circumstance physical therapists are limited by what treatment techniques and methods they can use based on the approval of the attending physician, which could lead to less than desirable results.
Given the discussion that has been presented, do options even exist to try to practice healthcare differently?
Figure 2 is an illustration created by Jacob Laputka, LMT, BCMTB, FMSC, a therapist at Hands On Healing and author of the blog posts published on this website.
The intention of this model is to represent that health and illness are two separate sides of human life:
On the surface someone could argue that this model is no different than the current healthcare practice we follow today.
We would urge anyone to consider that the current model of healthcare is not built around the idea of patient specific care, with the intention of restoring a patient to their best possible function, but instead overly focuses on the importance of the credentials and titles of the attending physician.
The model presented here is meant to give insight into the practice of a patient-oriented system of care, with the intention of utilizing the most appropriate method of treatment at the correct stage of an individual’s recovery from illness back to healthy living.
We certainly do not make any claims that this model is a complete outline for healthcare practice, but instead it changes the viewpoint that healthcare is not about the hierarchy or importance of treatment methods, but about the wellbeing of patients and the improvement of their lives as a whole.
One principle that we do hope to present in a model such as this is that being healthy is not just a matter of luck.
Maintaining your well being is predicated on the practice of living a lifestyle and doing activities that foster good health, not diminish it.
Rather than wait until a person’s health has withered and a real struggle arises to restore their well being, daily life becomes a practice of prevention, following dieting habits that do not disrupt or imbalance the immune system, and participation in general physical activities support a healthy moving body.
Of course there will be times when people, despite their best efforts, move towards illness rather than health.
Early intervention methods can be employed to help restore natural function to the body and prevent further damage from developing. This intervention process provides a remarkable state of health recovery without many of the obtrusive limitations that come from more aggressive treatments like surgery, or possibly some of the sides effects of using heavy narcotics to make the body more comfortable.
Even in the case of an unexpected medical condition that comes along, such as an accident or contagious disease, medical intervention can be seen for what it does best, the miracle of saving someone’s life.
Medicine works as it always has, a chemical or surgical process that requires that utmost knowledge and capacity to provide and helps bring loved ones back from the brink of an untimely demise.
In the end, however, rather than rely on a sole process of intervention and treatment that may leave someone with limited improvement, a multi-disciplinary approach, trusting each industry to act as the professionals they worked so diligently to become, changes the long-term outcome that patients may experience in their attempt to restore their health.
Healthcare can become so much more than holding a title or spending billions of dollars yearly looking for the nonexistent silver bullet to end all possible disease. Instead, healthcare can expand and grow to achieve the very essence of its name, caring for the health of others.
Changing the healthcare paradigm is a key component to helping patients experience rapid, if not seemingly miraculous, improvements in their physical and emotional wellbeing.