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Jun 21, 2012

What is Health & Wellness in Vail Valley?

What is Health & Wellness for the Vail Valley?

I was in southern India for the month of April and was impressed in how this country is approaching health and wellness.  India offers three different hospital systems to patients’ allopathic hospitals, naturopathic hospitals and ayurvedic hospitals.  The government is supporting the naturopathic and ayurvedic hospitals because these therapies work well for difficult cases. At the naturopathic hospital the patient is treated using all organic vegetarian foods, daily yoga, over fifty different types of hydrotherapy treatments depending on their condition, acupuncture, massages with non-toxic oils and other types of condition specific therapies. At the ayurvedic hospitals the patient is treated using specific types of foods according to their dosha such as pitta, kapha or vata.  They are also doing yoga at least three times a week and ayurvedic massages which use non-toxic oils infused with medicinal herbs depending on the condition. Ayurvedic medicine also uses panchakarma therapy an internal cleansing treatment using sweating, enemas, sinus washes, dietary changes, and herbal treatments.

These hospitals are using organic foods and many of them are doing there own farming. As a naturopathic physician myself our food is the basis of most of the chronic disease today.  In the United States studies are showing that one in two people are obese this includes Colorado which was one of the healthiest states in the country.  Allopathic medicine does not treat obesity very well unless you want to have your stomach stabled.  Our diet and lifestyle is responsible for diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases, one third of all cancers and high blood pressure.  Many people that I see claim their high cholesterol is genetic because everyone in their family has high cholesterol.  It’s not genetic it is because everyone in their family eats the same way.  Eating healthy is not easy for a lot of people because of their fast pace life style.  The majority of the people that I see do not really know what a healthy diet is.  We have become a society of processed, genetically modified and pesticide laden foods.  In turn, we have one of the worse health care systems in the industrial world.  It was refreshing to see India not following our footsteps and offering choices in health care.

In the United States in the early 1900’s there were twenty three naturopathic hospitals in this country in which patients were treated using a healthy diet, exercise, massages, hydrotherapy treatments, botanical medicine and homeopathy.  Then the pharmaceutical companies took over and now we have drugs that have become the fourth leading cause of death in this country.  It is sad to see that we are not taking charge of our health.  Granted as individuals we do need to be responsible for our choices. 

I find it interesting that the Vail Valley wants to become a health and wellness center.  But I see nothing being done to move in this direction.  A visitor can come here to these beautiful mountains which can be healing in themselves, exercise and have a massage in which toxic oils are used. These visitors can do this in any state.  What makes our valley so special besides the scenery?  If we want to be a health and wellness center we have to offer health and wellness.  By definition health is the general condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit meaning to be free of illness, injury or pain.  Wellness can have many different definitions the Foundation of Wellness Professionals defines it as care without drugs that can not only eliminate health problems but prevent them.  Health and wellness is about treating the cause of any illness so that a person can obtain Optimal Health.  By treating the symptoms’ of a health problem that problem will never resolve and the person will never obtain optimal health.  Our health care system needs to completely change its direction if we truly want to offer health and wellness.