Health care in the Northwest and across the U.S. has been going through a transformation. Over the last ten to fifteen years, our focus has been gradually changing from treatment focusing on acute issues to treatments that are starting to focus on prevention. We still have a long ways to go, but the seeds of this transformation and how its sprouting can be seen in the different generations.

How does acute care differ from preventative care?

Acute care focuses on health care management by heroics. Our current western medical approach lends itself nicely to heroics. The medicine is geared to treating disease after it has taken up residence in our bodies and has differentiated itself enough to be identifiable from other diseases.

Like falling out of a tree and breaking your leg, the disease appears as acute because the doctors just diagnosed it. Unfortunately, because we have to wait so long for the disease to differentiate itself, the disease is usually pretty serious and demands heroics to save lives.

In general, if we were to look at the western concept of health and disease on a linear continuum there would be a long line of health, and than suddenly, a serious disease would appear out of nowhere.

A natural progression to heroics is an astronomical increase in expectations that can not be met with current medical technology. This leads to the second phase of heroics where heroic health care becomes self-defeating because, the more heroic it is, the more it widens the gap between dependency and empowerment. Our doctors are not less capable than they were in the pass. We just expect more than they can deliver.

Preventative health care is the beginning of empowering the patient to make decisions in their own health care. In western medicine, the focus is on early detection of disease through annual check-ups, blood tests, colon screening testing, mammograms, vaccines, pap smears, and other tests.
In alternative care, the focus is on preventing disease through the understanding of early changes in the body. These changes are common to many diseases and, by themselves, are not diagnostic of western disease or manageable through western medicine.

Symptoms of fatigue, inability to lose weight, headaches, sporadic tremors, dry and itching eyes, inability to fall asleep, slight swelling, joint pain, recurring skin sores, nausea, incontinence, reduced memory, sporadic diarrhea or constipation, gas, bloating, and many others changes in the body are not normal and can treated with alternative care.

Part of the natural progression in the second phase of heroics is a change in our reliance on super heroes and taking a more leadership role of our own health. This change requires a more collaborative approach to health care and requires a team of competent practitioners trained in the various phases of human health.

With each successive generation, the movement to a more collaborative engagement with a focus on prevention of disease becomes more pronounced. The health care industry is beginning to reflect these changes incorporating health care providers who are trained in prevention such as: Acupuncturist, Naturopaths, Chiropractors, and others.

The patient now has the ability to diversify their health care professionals and include professionals focused on prevention. They no longer have to wait until those aches, pains, fatigue, constipation, headaches, poor memory, poor digestion have mushroomed into a serious health concern.