It has been said recently that complementary health care has evolved into the medicine of necessity. The truth of this can be seen in our highly toxic modern world where there are more people in greater need of health care than ever before in human history; yet millions of people have no insurance or monetary means to cover this enormous need.

The working poor and those mired in poverty should not be denied quality care just because they cannot afford pricey drugs, surgery or the technology of modern medicine. One role of alternative health care is to remind us that throughout human history healing systems have been continuously evolving and are still powerful and viable in the midst of the gaps created by modern medicine. After all, if these ways did not work for our ancestors, we wouldn’t be here today.

Ancient approaches such as acupuncture, herbs, yoga, ayurveda, tai chi, homeopathic and many bodywork modalities were created by our ancestors in the trenches of the everyday life of their communities. This time-proven efficacy gives complementary medicine its power, flexibility and inherent cost-effectiveness to go into homes, the streets and wherever health care is a necessity. The patient’s needs are what any health care is about, and all practitioners of any background should be willing to create and be part of an inclusive network of support to ensure everyone can participate both as patients and healers without money or business coming in between them.

If complementary health care practitioners are open to be of service to the people in their communities, there should be no reason to compete. There is more than enough business to go around – and the point is to help the people. Of course, there are times when a community should reciprocate to the best of its ability and help ensure the healer’s immediate needs are taken care of in the best of bartering techniques; they get a healer to attend to their needs and the healer has a place to live and access to food from gardens.

There are so many ways to address these needs with complementary medicine that no one should be going without health care in the United States of America.

Can we, as individual practitioners in individual clinics, join together no matter what our healing approach, whether allopathic or alternative, to create a network of support for people of all economic backgrounds to take full advantage of the diverse selection of healing practices that are currently available? The more an ill person has to draw upon to get well, the more the odds increase in their favor. This, in turn, increases the well-being throughout the community. The more people feel validated and cared for as full human beings, no matter what their financial ability, the more vitality there is within the entire community.

Complementary health care practitioners are in the unique position to take the role as leaders to rebuild and maintain healthy communities. By removing health care choices from the realms of a commodity that only the wealthy can afford, they are making health accessible to every person who truly wants to get well. This one act could be a healing force throughout society, proving that people who have trained for years to be healers are not practicing just to make money, but hold the well-being of their community to the highest standards. In doing this, they honor the roots of their ancestors who laid the foundation they draw upon and move a life-affirming approach into something more than a business.

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Solna Blanchard has an M.A. in Humanities and Leadership with a focus in Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community through New College of California. She is a writer/researcher and works closely with her husband, Varian, an acupuncturist and healthcare educator. Together they are trying to put together a non-profit organization that would take complementary healthcare directly to the people via mobile units. She can be reached at solna@mn.rr.com Copyright © 2006 Solna Blanchard. All rights reserved

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