The other night I went to a party the acupuncturist had down the hall from my office. The party was a grand opening for their new Atlanta facility. The guests included some of their patients, family, friends, neighbors, and other healthcare providers. They had tea to drink, healthy food, and chairs set up so the scene would be social with people interacting.
I began talking to a gentleman who was a neighbor of ours in the building, and he asked me about acupuncture as he knew nothing about it. I told him I have been receiving acupuncture treatments once a month for over a year, and it helps to relax my body. I have a very active and hectic lifestyle with running my own business and working out 6 days a week. The goal of acupuncture is to keep my energy balanced, and from what I have read and studied, acupuncture is meeting its needs.
He then wanted to know if I had noticed any tangible changes, and I told him no. I told him I never had any symptoms or problems going on, but I went to be preventive so symptoms and decreased health do not show up. This concept completely shook up everything he thought about health, as he had the perception of only seeing healthcare practitioners when you have symptoms. His thought process was to see an acupuncturist when you NEED something that is showing up as a result of decreased health. His reality was seeing a doctor when you hurt or were already expressing symptoms.
Unfortunately, I find this thought process true for most people, as the thought of seeing healthcare providers while being “healthy” is a hard pill to swallow. We have been engrained to only go somewhere when we are feeling bad. My approach is instead to use what I call Lifestyle Doctors who are there to support you regularly and keep you away from traditional doctors’ offices.
My follow-up question to him was if he takes fish oil, and he replied yes. I asked him why he takes fish oil. He said because his doctor tells him it is good for his heart. I asked him if he felt any different. He said no. I said, my point is I do a lot of things for myself not because I have pain or symptoms but because I know how good being proactive is for my life. I also take fish oil and other supplements but feel no different from taking them. I do these things because I know it is the right thing to do and I have no clue where my body would be had I never take those pills or been to an acupuncturist.
I hope one day people can wake up and realize that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The investments we make early on in our healthcare will provide much higher returns than any stock, 401K, or real estate property.
The most common comments I hear when talking to my patients over 60 are:
1) I wish I met you sooner and 2) how come by doctor never told me this.
Nobody comes to a Lifestyle Doctor happy that they waited many years before realizing how healthy they can be.