Health Savings Accounts and Chiropractic Care

The healthcare industry in the United States is dominated by the culture of conventional Western medicine. And health insurance caters to those who control the industry: medical doctors and hospitals. There is a long history of prejudice against chiropractic by medical doctors, which is one reason that chiropractic care is not often covered by health insurance.

Many research studies have shown that chiropractic care is beneficial and that it is more cost effective in the treatment of low back pain and other common musculoskeletal conditions than traditional Western medicine is. Chiropractic also lowers health care costs by focusing on prevention, was well as on treatment.

It is surprising that health insurers choose not to cover treatment that is as beneficial and cost effective as chiropractic care is. Studies have continually shown that individuals who seek the care of a chiropractor on a regular basis are healthier and, generally, spend less on health care than those who do not.

Chiropractic Care and Consumers

What is not surprising is that consumers are wise enough to see the advantages of chiropractic care. Many people prefer to see a chiropractor simply because they see tangible benefits from the care they receive. Many others are disillusioned with traditional Western medicine and the healthcare system, and they look for alternatives such as chiropractic care.

It is clear, both from patient testimonies and from clinical research that consumers benefit from chiropractic care. Unfortunately, they may have difficulty affording chiropractic care because it’s often excluded from healthcare insurance policies.

Health Savings Accounts can help consumers afford chiropractic care, even when it is excluded from their health insurance policy. They can pay for chiropractic care and other alternative medicine with pre-tax dollars by using a Health Savings Account.

Many chiropractors keep their costs as low as possible in order to make chiropractic care more available to consumers. They can, however, only absorb so much of the cost of providing that care. Another way chiropractors can help clients gain access to chiropractic care is to encourage the use of Health Savings Accounts.

Health Savings Accounts and Consumer Choice

The combination of a Health Savings Account and a High Deductible Health Insurance plan is supposed to encourage individuals to become thoughtful, wise consumers of health care. The individual is spending more of his or her own dollars on healthcare, so she will be more concerned about how those dollars are spent.

Health Savings Accounts give consumers more choice in how their healthcare dollars are spent. Money in the HSA must be spent on approved medical expenses, but there are really very few restrictions on what kind of healthcare you choose. More and more chiropractic patients are discovering that having an HSA is saving them money on their medical expenses.

Traditional health insurance has gatekeepers and controls. Even when chiropractic care is covered (not typical on individual plans), the individual requesting chiropractic care may be required to go see their family physician (or gatekeeper) and get a referral. Not all medical doctors will refer to chiropractors. If chiropractic care is covered on the health insurance plan, and if you can get a referral (which amounts to permission to see the chiropractor), there may be limits to the number and types of treatments you can receive.

Using a Health Savings Account to pay for chiropractic care gives you, the consumer, more choice. You can choose what type of medical treatment to get, where you will get that treatment, and how many treatments you will get. You can spend HSA dollars on preventive care as well, and actually have the government give you a tax deduction for keeping your family well.

Healing and Recovery: Yin-Yang of Medicine

It was a recent honor to be main speaker at the grand opening of Anna Sienicka’s clinic. Anna’s practice ‘Homeopathic Care Clinic’ is Toronto’s only alternative practice located in an otherwise all-conventional medical facility, where alternative and conventional are collaborating, not competing!

No doubt such collaboration is soon to be a social norm. But did you know? Both osteopathy and chiropractics originated from a form of energy healing? Seventy-five years ago, chiropractic was an alternative medicine. In fact it wasn’t until 1987 that Chiropractics became recognized as a conventional medicine after courts had ruled the American Medical Association had been engaged in unreasonable restraint of trade and conspiracy (against chiropractors). Now comes the day for long established practices like Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Chinese Medicine, is dawning.

Regardless of whether a practice is alternative or mainstream, the single most important factor in health care is the personal responsibility you take for your own body and emotions. Society is beginning to recognize how the primary role of responsibility for a patient’s health rests in the hands of that patient. The days of doctors being seen as ultimate authorities over your health and wellbeing began fading when patients began seeking a ‘second opinion’.

While the rightful place of doctors continues to clarify in the outside world, the next big challenge for people is internal, summed up as ‘how to face a health crisis squarely’. Relaxing into an illness or condition maximizes the natural healing capacity you were born with. But often, instead of relaxing most people tense up. and get all stressed out.

Getting all stressed out is what most learned to do in a crisis. Medical science is now able to measure how your stress inhibits the immune system even to the point of causing a self-induced immunesuppressant state. The habit of tensing-up was taught as a learned fear and has been handed down from generation to generation for centuries. So today it gets triggered subconsciously without thinking about it.

The root of this fear of crisis goes all the way back to when rituals were developed long ago to appease what people believed was an angry god/force of nature. Over the millennia the rituals were woven into our traditions and beliefs, and in modern times, institutions.

Rituals like the mortification of flesh, the self-inflicted pain suffered as an expiatory act of penance for atonement of sins, are clearly re-enacted in today’s unsustainable corporate approach to the beautiful planet and our natural resources.

The alternative to these institutionalized fears begins as individuals become increasingly aware of how to take care of their body and emotions. It is at this level of caring for one’s self, that the word ‘alternative’ offers its greatest blessing.

Fear (of unknowns) is no substitute for the courage needed to really face a crisis. Fear is no substitute for surrendering the arrogance that falsely claims to ‘know’ what needs to be done, even before it understands what the problem is.

Hope and positive thinking are useful tools but the magic in those tools is at its best when in the hands of acceptance. Genuine acceptance is a powerful assertiveness that opens a swell of stillness within and maximizes the opportunities for life to perform its miracles.

Acupuncture for Relieving Chronic Pain

Many people learn to live with chronic pain and do not consult a specialist to help relieve the daily ailments. In some cases, ignorance of the pathology or the widespread belief that aging means to live with pain, many do not receive the appropriate treatment capable of subtracting pain, slow the evolution of the pathology and, therefore, improve their quality of life.

Currently, we are living in a new era in medicine, since the alternative medicine is added to the traditional medicine, which combined to achieve better results in the inhibition of chronic pain. One of those techniques, which is gaining adherents every day, is acupuncture.

Acupuncture is effective in 49 diseases and disorders

This traditional Chinese technique arises from the conception of the body as a network of interconnected points through which energy flows. When there is a blockage or stagnation of that energy in the canal, it is when the pain occurs.

The acupuncture is to stimulate anatomical locations on the skin through the insertion of thin metal needles. Their placement in specific areas of the body called acupuncture points, allow better electrical conduction which is capable of provoking biological responses in the patient. In this way, they (acupuncturists) provoke stimuli in the nervous, hormonal and immune system that manage to restore the body to a state of equilibrium.

Such is its effectiveness, that the World Health Organization has described this technique as an effective option against pain. In addition, it is effective in at least 49 diseases and disorders. Especially, it has demonstrated great benefits in the treatment of low back pain, postoperative pain, and fibromyalgia, neuropathic, joint and musculoskeletal pain. It also acts on hormonal and nervous system levels.

Although it is a simple and painless technique, it is not completely innocuous, special care should be taken in pregnant patients, in infected areas, patients with blood clotting problems or serious neurological or psychiatric disorders. Even so, it is necessary to go to the pain specialist beforehand, who will determine the suitability of alternative medicine in the case of each patient.

Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been shown to have benefits in the treatment of chronic pain, but also in many other aspects, such as improvement in physical recovery, digestion or reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression. It has also been seen as improving the circulation of blood since it regulates the blood flow favoring the contribution of nutrients and oxygen in the body.

This method of traditional Chinese medicine has been used for several years in different hospitals throughout Europe and U.S and has already begun to be implemented in some centers in the Middle East for treating chronic pain and improve the quality of life of patients.

Medications are often not enough to treat chronic pain, but there are alternative therapies that are showing success in dealing with this condition. Although the pain is supposed to be good because it warns us of injuries, infections or illnesses, it is not so useful when it never goes away.

A better way to relieve pain

Chronic pain can come from many causes, from migraines to cancer, and persist from a few months to live after injury or illness. It can disrupt sleep, because of depression and anxiety, lower libido, affect social relationships and affect memory and cognitive functioning.

Usually, the first defense against this threat is medication, but not enough and carries risks like upset stomach or addiction. That is why more and more people are turning to acupuncture to relieve chronic pain.

Science is slowly incorporating this ancient practice of Chinese medicine, although experts have not yet discovered why inserting needles into the skin helps relieve back pain, injury, and diseases such as fibromyalgia. According to some specialists, acupuncture blocks pain signals or stimulates the body to release painkillers.

Several studies showed that patients who received acupuncture had less migraine or injury pain than those receiving standard drug treatments. Even when progress was modest, the great advantage of this practice was the lack of side effects. In addition, even if the needles are not placed exactly along the meridians (energy channels, according to Chinese tradition), patients receive equal benefits and if done correctly, this procedure causes little or no discomfort.

Among its many benefits, Acupuncture helps to improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure, encourage the elimination of toxic products through the lymphatic system, improve muscle tone, prevent muscle atrophy, and reduce emotional stress.

Scientists know that physical contact helps in reducing pain, although they do not know how this mechanism works. In addition, specialists argue that soft touch and acupuncture therapy decreases the production of cortisol, a stress-releasing hormone (in turn, associated with increased pain). However, despite all positive studies, experts are still not sure how many messages need to be applied or what type they should be before a particular pathology.