Great spirits have always encountered violent
opposition from mediocre minds.
What is impossible today is necessary tomorrow.
Victor Hugo, Conversations With Eternity
For the past ten years, it has been my great privilege to collaborate with many of our nation’s visionary health care practitioners, whose efforts are forging a new understanding of what it means to be truly healthy and how health itself can best be achieved and maintained. As a result of my interactions with them, I’ve come to realize that our current health care crisis, however insurmountable it may at times seem to be, could easily be tamed if only a paradigm shift could occur, both on the part of the gatekeepers who oversee our nation’s mainstream health care system, and among ourselves, the lay public, who have far more control over our health than we tend to accept. Because implementable solutions to the problem are already at hand.
The beginning of that paradigm shift is already transpiring, of course, as evidenced, among other trends, by the public’s increasing demand for safe and proven medical alternatives to conventional allopathic medicine’s emphasis on drugs and symptom-care, and the creation of the National Institutes of Health National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which provides federal funding to explore the efficacy of approaches to healing outside of conventional medicine’s purview. At the same time, as researchers come ever closer to fully understanding the inner workings of DNA and the promise of gene therapy, science seems on the verge of finally being able to eradicate many of today’s most devastating diseases, eliminating birth defects, and even cloning specific organs in the hopes of dramatically extending the human lifespan.
All told, the 21st century appears posed to usher in a host of unparalleled breakthroughs with regard to health and longevity. Make no mistake, however. The health care crisis facing us today is a serious threat to such progress and, under our current medical paradigm, it shows little signs of abating. With an annual cost that exceeds one trillion dollars in the United States alone, it has left us with a estimated 100 million Americans who are chronically ill (not necessarily incapacitated, but forced to cope with constant or recurring symptoms related to the growing rise of arthritis, diabetes, environmentally-triggered ailments, respiratory illness, and other disease conditions). In fact, research shows that 85 percent of the health care problems in the U.S. are chronic in nature, precisely the category of illness for which mainstream, conventional medicine is so ineffective, at best offering drug-managed symptom care fraught with the potential of numerous side-effects. (Research also indicates that properly prescribed drugs and other medical interventions are now our nation’s fourth leading cause of death.) In addition, we are now faced with a rise in drug-resistant pathogens, a continued proliferation of environmental toxins, and growing concerns about our commercial food supply following recent outbreaks of E. coli and salmonella poisoning, and, in England and Europe, Mad Cow Disease. Cancer and heart disease also continue to plague us, and obesity, which can lead to myriad other health problems, is reaching epidemic proportions, especially among our children. So, too, is the rise of psychological illnesses, including chronic anxiety and depression.
So what does the future hold in terms of our well-being? To answer that question, I decided to get the views of some of the leading explorers of new paradigm approaches to health and healing. In the pages that follow, you will find their answers, and also be guided in the use of hands-on, practical applications of the work that they are doing. In reading their interviews, you will most likely be struck, as I was, by two recurring themes: In the face of the new challenges before us, our present system of medicine and the philosophy of health care that informs it are becoming increasingly obsolete. At the same time, the power to bring about the new approaches needed to resolve our problems rests not in the status quo powers-that-be, but in the hands of we the people. Once we come to understand the innovative solutions that are part of this newly emerging paradigm, it falls on us individually and collectively to begin demanding of our health care providers, and of our government which funds much of their research, that such methods be made freely accessible to each of us nationwide. Helping to spur the creation of such a critical mass (a well-informed and motivated minority) is one of the reasons I set about creating this book.
But providing equal impetus was simple curiosity. Keenly interested in the future, it only made sense to me to speak to experts in the vanguard and find out from them where their research is leading us. In doing so, I’ve tried to ask the questions I felt I most share with you, the Reader. At the same time, I made it a point to limit my own comments so that each expert could “hold the floor” as much as possible. They are the authorities, after all, not me. As it turned out, one of my biggest challenges arose when it came time for me to edit the transcripts of my conversations, due to the fact that all of the persons I spoke with shared so much of their time and expertise. Choosing what to retain and what to omit was not a task I took lightly, and I am satisfied that their most important points are available to you in these pages. At the same time, however, I encourage you to seek out the recommended books that accompany each interview, and to contact each expert’s respective organization and website for further information. And be sure to experiment with the exercises provided herein. As I can now attest, their regular practice can make a significant difference in how we live in and perceive our world. It’s my hope that this work will serve as a personal health resource for anyone who believes that there is “something more” out there in the field of health, but who before now didn’t quite know where to find it.
In closing, let me say that the I believe the changes forecast in the following pages are inevitable. The only real question is whether they will come sooner rather than later, and be welcomed or met with resistance. The answer rests more with us than with the experts themselves, I suspect. May we all be open to growth and choose wisely.
Larry Trivieri, Jr.