What Really is the "Freedom" in Alternative Medicine?
When I worked in high tech industry, I know I have freedom to apply for job from any competing companies. Yet from where I graduated, Oregon, comparing to Silicon Valley California, the job openings ration is probably 1:100. That is why many engineers moved here from other states or Europe or Asia, "attracted" or "forced". When people were given a mainstream solution like metropolitan lifestyle, or mainstream medicine, not many people think about the pros and cons in a larger historical or geographical background.
On my last week's trip to Yellowstone Park, some fun observations, one is the tour guide, he graduated from University of Science and Technology of China, like Princeton here. Over 3 days bus ride and hiking trip, he had this talk show going non-stop, from physics, chemistry, geology, pharmacy, current politics, US culture, local shot movies, Chinese poetry, cuisine, to world tourism sites comparison, triggered by whatever we see around or ask about, and threw in plenty of jokes. What he likes about this job is the freedom, to experience life.
He especially mentioned that, in the summer of 1988, almost 40% of Yellowstone park was affected by the enormous wildfire, it was not under control until the first snow fell in September. About 30 years later, we see a unique scenery, the short pine trees totally covered up the landscape, while pointy ashy white dead trunks stand among and above them. Difficult to change or devastating losses, seems a little trivial in terms of time and space in Nature.
Over the long hours of the bus ride, I was asking my mom about my grandma, a midwife worked for a rural county in Shichuan. She occasionally treated other patients in villages lack of doctors or medicine. As far as she can remember, there was no single death due to birth in my grandma's hands, and C-section was unheard of. The pregnant women back then were younger, had more physical work in the fields, and would turn to manual therapy solutions early if detected improper fetal position.
You probably think US healthcare is so much more advanced nowadays. The reality is, US healthcare reform is the nightmare of multiple administrations. The administrative overhead costs about 1/3 of total healthcare budget, an astronomical number. If people are "getting used to" spend whole life's saving on terminal care, which is not the norm for most other countries prior to modern medicine, we are not following a natural course of life and death. When I gave birth to my daughter in 2005, natural birth, no complications, 4 days hospital stay, $20K+ bill. Compare to China, below 2000 RMB (<$300).
Now back to California, Asian women's average life expectancy is way over 80s (top 5 counties around 85, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Mono). The contributing factors probably include economic advantages, good weather, good food. Of the last factor, I personally think the basis of Mediterranean diet and Asian fusion on vegetables would make a very stong candidate, and there is even a coined name for it --- MediterrAsian. Both cusines have thousands of years history. Maybe you chuckle over this, but sound true, "If your grandma didn't know about it, it's probably not food."
For 2020, as a self employed, I need to buy health insurance again. With $6600 premium, there is $6600 deductible, which means the insurance doesn't pay out a penny for the first $13K. If I deem this insurance useless, the tax law stipulates that I'd pay $2000 plus penalty if not having one. It's not even about money. Government enforcing this on responsible citizens violates my principles of fairness and free will. It's outright insulting to average working people, on top of minimal social welfare. Sigh.
The real freedom is to be able to enjoy healthy living, be aware of risks, treat illness promptly with low cost, safe and non-invasive interventions, not hijacked by current medical system. Our health system drastically undervalued the contribution of patients to the medical solutions and knowledgebase. On the surface, patients have the freedom to choose whichever medical providers. The reality is medicine become such a complicated matter, patients may be able to evaluate the immediate outcome but hardly the overall effects down the road.
What I come up in my clinic is to promote long term health maintenance by seeing patients regularly and lowering lifetime cost. I want to reward people who trust Chinese medicine doctors to monitor and improve their health conservatively.
If you have good acupuncture insurance coverage, you could use it. If not, the cost is still low, because acupuncturists usually have less business overhead.