fear-based medicine

Gentle Reader,

Do you wonder if we approach our health from the point of view of fear?  Fear-based medicine seems to trump science.  We are afraid of cancer, of sexual dysfunction, of diabetes, of heart disease, of arthritis and of Alzheimer’s or memory loss.  I was just with a group of people last night when the person speaking forgot a name and a look of panic clouded his face.  Everyone—all over 45–chorused “aging problem”.  We all know someone whose spouse or parent “isn’t there” any more.


TV show and books write about common health practices such as fluoridating city water and vaccinating children and using Mercury in dental fillings as extremely dangerous and health threatening.  Dr. Sears is one such author. Dr. Sardi’s radio talk show about the dangers of certain medical diagnoses and treatments is another. You can find a pundit to support any fear-based health question you may have.  How are we to navigate all this intensity around health?


I tend to live in both camps, seeing my doctor for blood tests and other annual markers to help me decide what actions to take about osteoporosis, skin cancer possibilities, blood sugar, cholesterol and fat levels.  I rarely take his advice about prescriptions that might help, but rather go to the alternative health and prevention side of the house for my next steps.  I have to admit that given my family history, I get frightened when a pre-cancerous spot shows up in my scalp or on my face.  I leave my annual physical triumphant when  my blood tests reveal that taking the Shaklee Cholesterol Reduction Complex has lowered my cholesterol 17 points in one year.


Do supplement manufacturer’s research and produce new products in answer to fear based medicine?  Do the Shaklee scientists study fearful health issues in order to fix the problem?  In order to give us relief from our anxiety?  Do I take all the supplements I take because I am afraid of ill health, of losing my agility, my thinking capacity, my resistance to developing cancer?  Is supplementation part of fear-based medicine?  I do not trust myself to eat a balanced, nutrient rich diet every meal of every day.  I don’t trust the food I buy and cook to nourish me enough to prevent the diseases I am afraid of.  To counter this fear, I take supplements I believe are organically sourced and designed to reach my cells.


Perhaps good health has become a religion, an answer to fear about the future.  I just watched a few episodes of Dr. Phil, the TV host who is going to be talking about Shaklee’s new MindWorks on Nov. 17.  The shows I watched portray him as intervening in people and family’s dysfunctional lives.  I am curious as to how he will engage the 5 yrs of research Shaklee’s scientists have done to produce and test MindWorks.  Will MindWorks be a life changer in the psychological realm?  Tune in with me to find out. Monday, November 17th.


I watched a few episodes of Dr. Oz, whose latest emphasis is on rapid weight loss. He has identified a number of foods that he believes are causing people to gain and retain extra pounds, foods that were extremely challenging for the successful “losers” to stop consuming in the first few days of their rapid weight loss diet.  I would be interested to know if those dietary changes will be permanent.  If they are, those dieters will lead healthy lives.


Just do a web search for health and wellness shows and you will find a channel devoted to the topic, the Discovery channel’s Health and Fitness program, and the announcement of three new healthy living channels.  This latest addition claims to put our fascination with food into healthy actions which will make us healthier.  We are all fascinated by our own health.  There is money to be made marketing to this fascination.


Roger Barnet bought Shaklee to do well by doing good.  Roger is an idealistic wealthy entrepreneur from New York City who bought Shaklee in 2004.  His dream is to earn the Nobel Peace prize as the first business to satisfy the criteria of the committee.  He does not seem to be motivated by fear, but by a desire to improve the health of poor people.  The idea is that healthy people may be less desperate, less likely to fight for survival.  He has not put that in writing anywhere that I have seen, but I’ve heard him talk about his vision of a world populated by healthy people being a peaceful world.


What is your motivation for eating the way you eat, or supplementing your diet, or working out?  Are you at peace with the fact that no matter how much we work to ward off disease, something will take us down in the end? Unless we suffer accidental death, that is.  We are trying to improve our health span to match our life span, hopefully not out of fear-based medicine—panic, but through making better choices every time we eat and move.  I would be interested in your comments.  Please share.  If you are not on my blog list, sign up for the weekly post at the bottom of this page.


Be well, Do well and Keep Moving, out of joy, not fear.


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