Alternative Health Care Approach

In my last post, 6 Steps to a Satisfied Retirement, I questioned myself about the ability to be able to “retire”. As Merriam-Webster defines, “To withdraw from one’s occupation, business, or office; stop working.” Granted, I am not talking about completely retiring from my occupation. But rather to seek out the self-employment option.

My main reason for wondering if I could retire: health care insurance. I treat it like gold. I pay about $150 month for medical insurance for the kids and me (or $1,800/year; excluding co-pays). If they get sick, I simply take them to the doctor’s office for some medication and wha-la! they are better.

But I sometimes wonder about the option of seeking out alternative health care approaches over paying expensive insurance premiums. I mean popping a pill every time something aches cannot always be the answer, right? Especially with all the righteous side effects you hear about on TV.

Here are some alternative health care methods to consider (for a full list, click here):

Acupuncture – involves the insertion of extremely thin needles in your skin at strategic points on your body. Traditional Chinese theory explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force β€” known as qi or chi (chee) β€” believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance. (my aunt swears by this to get rid of those headaches!)

Yoga – Yoga is a practical aid. It is a system of exercises based on a harmonizing system of development for the body, mind, and spirit. The continued practice of yoga will lead you to a sense of peace and well-being, and also a feeling of being at one with their environment. Definitely gets rid of a back ache.

Chiropractic – A system of diagnosis and treatment based on the concept that the nervous system coordinates all of the body’s functions, and that disease results from a lack of normal nerve function. Chiropractic employs manipulation and adjustment of body structures, such as the spinal column, so that pressure on nerves coming from the spinal cord due to displacement of a vertebral body may be relieved. Also consider massage therapy.

Hypnosis – is a mental state (state theory) or imaginative role-enactment (non-state theory) usually induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction, which is commonly composed of a long series of preliminary instructions and suggestions. Used commonly for assisting one to get over phobias or to quit smoking.

Natural Medicine – (aka – Naturopathy) is an alternative medical system that focuses on natural remedies and the body’s vital ability to heal and maintain itself. Naturopathic philosophy favors a holistic approach and comprises many different treatment modalities of varying degrees of acceptance by the medical community; diet and lifestyle advice may be substantially similar to that offered by non-naturopaths, and acupuncture may help reduce pain in some cases. (Or there is Natural Remedies like peeing in the ear to heal an ear ache – ewww!!!)

Tai Chi – The ancient art uses gentle flowing movements to reduce the stress of today’s busy lifestyles and improve health.

Aromatherapy – A form of alternative and complimentary medicine based on the use of very concentrated “essential” oils from the flowers, leaves, bark, branches, rind or roots of plants with purported healing properties. There are many benefits to using aromatherapy.

Doula – Hiring a doula to aid in the birthing process. A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process.

Chinese food therapy is a practice of healing using natural foods instead of medications. We all know the chicken soup remedy for the common cold. And lemon & honey in our tea for a sore throat. Cinnamon, peppermint, or ginger ale for an upset stomach.

What I am getting at is… we all hear that daily exercise, eating organic foods, and having a good social life are keys points to living a healthy lifestyle. Yet most of us don’t invest in the holistic approach, although such practice(s) been around for thousands of years.

Could you feel comfortable in investing (both financially & physically) in nature’s intent (that has been around for thousands of years) rather than paying out for expensive health care premiums?

And should you get sick, could you take yourself to an alternative medicine doctor (like a naturopath or a chiropractor) when you are feeling out of sorts?

Note: I am still on the brink of debate about this one. I truly believe in alternative health care approaches and am aware that they can be budget friendly. However, if something like my kids break a bone or something then my only option is to pay out of pocket expenses for the hospital. Now, if I thought how many times I’ve utilized the hospital for an emergency situation.. it’s enough to count on one hand. I assume maybe I could go with this option if I make sure to have a medical emergency fund in place.

(picture credit: Integrated Supplements)

26 thoughts on “Alternative Health Care Approach

  1. April

    Health care: the BIG bugaboo, the BIG barrier, the BIG everything. And the minced-up, chopped up, picked over national Health Care bill that finally got enacted didn’t do a whole lot to help solve the problem. Medical emergency funds are good if it is a “small” emergency–the broken bone that needs set and not operated on. But for anything major–a chronic and life-threatening illness–yikes.

    I don’t know the answer is (well, I know what it is, but we will never see it in this country in my lifetime). But you are absolutely correct in that the healthier a lifestyle you lead, drawing on all sources of health, the better off you should be in the long run, even if a major illness hits.

    1. Money Funk

      Hey April! Hope your trip this summer was fantastic. So than taking the so called ‘alternative health care approach’ is a good precursor towards preventative measures, but with a chronic illness… healthcare insurance is premium. And I understand that one, because if you are in chronic pain… pharmaceutical medicine will much more quickly than say meditation, yoga, biofeedback etc…

      And as for the health care reform… well, if it does get initiated us Americans don’t have a choice. We’ll have no choice but to carry healthcare insurance. The good thing, many insurance now cover many alternative health care approaches.

  2. Forest

    Yep I agree, broken bones need morphine and an operation!!! But by exercising and eating right things like broken bones are less common as your body is more sure in it’s step and stronger at all the joints etc etc.

    Alternative medicine is definitely great for when you are a bit off or have some less lethal ailments.

    1. Money Funk

      Ha. I agree. The meds are top notch when you’re in pain from a broken bone. So another one for a healthy lifestyle & alternative health care as a preventive measure rather than the main source.

      How is the health care in Egypt? As an expat?

  3. Doni

    i am on the same page as you. going to the doctor can help but there are so many other avenues you can take and i think you are just starting to scratch the surface with these… very enlightening, thanks.

    1. Money Funk

      I think you’re right… many of these alternative ways (which I think is funny considering they’ve been established much longer than western medicine) are becoming more mainstream now that the getting back to nature, organic movement is taking place. I think people want to feel their roots.

  4. CarmenB

    Conventional medicine is definetely not the only way to go. Alternative medicine can be extremely powerful and efficient. Very eye opening thanks.

    1. Money Funk

      Thanks, Carmen! I know for a fact that Yoga is a great healing art. My husband always complains about his back hurting and I tell him to do yoga. But he is so afraid to be twisted in knots. LOL. ‘You don’t start out with the hard stuff, silly!’. πŸ˜‰

  5. The Lost Goat

    Alternative treatments are not always cheaper – in fact, since they usually require a lot of face time with a human, rather than just a pill, they can be more expensive. Also, it can be difficult to tell whether you are dealing with a legitimate practitioner or a quack. I’ve had great success with alternative treatments, but I think they work best in tandem with traditional medicine, rather than as a substitute.

    1. Money Funk

      Granted it can be more expensive per visit, but what about as a whole (monthly premiums/copays vs. the combination of ‘alternative health care’ visits)? I think I agree with you on working best in a tandem movement. In fact, many nurses are specializing in holistic health care to work in combination with western medicine.

    2. SaLma

      – CURRIEEEEEE!!!!! Oh my gosh girl!!!!!! These are aznaimg!!! You have improved SO much since that first workshop WAY back in the day! haha wow. wow. wow. I love these!!! I’m so honored that you came! You have no idea!!!! πŸ™‚ Thank you so so much! Love you!!!

    1. Money Funk

      I am a big one for ‘food therapy’. That is why I try and eat a high raw vegan diet. Getting lots of fruits & veggies definitely helps keep the body healthy.

      1. Jenna

        I’m not sure if I’m that extreme, but I try to always make sure I give my body what it needs before what I want it to have. Protein, carbs, fiber, then ice cream!

  6. Wellescent Health Blog

    Eating well and being active are certainly great preventives and prevention is the cheapest form of health care. That said, rather than avoiding the doctor, annual check ups or medications, it is more important to work with the doctor in resolving health issues. Part of the reason that doctors give so much medication is that many patients want the quick fix. If you indicate to your doctor that you would like to try other alternatives if they exist, they can often provide useful guidance. If they are rarely interested in alternatives, find another doctor.

    1. Money Funk

      I just watched a videocalled, Raw for 30. Its about curing diabetes with raw foods. And the cool thing… it worked. It took everyone who stuck with it… off their insulin. And they felt amazing, too. Whole foods is definitely a great preventive measure!

  7. Gobankingrates

    Very interesting. I don’t know that I will ever try any of these as alternative health approaches, but I think I would unintentially do them to stay healthier. Yoga is a great form of exercise and eating healthier is just plain better for you.

    1. Money Funk Post author

      See… I’d say you’re trying them already. I have a few guy friends that always complain about their lower back hurting. I tell them all the time Yoga will definitely help! Even just walking and eating right are like ‘alternative approaches’. Not that it should be. But now that I have my husband doing it with me, he says “I feel better than I have for a long time” (and he’s off his high blood pressure medicine, too). πŸ™‚

  8. Frugal Babe

    We don’t use medical care unless there is an emergency situation. Our son caught his finger in a door earlier this year and nearly amputated the tip – that required emergency medical assistance, otherwise he’d be without the tip of his finger today. My husband had knee surgery after a unicycle accident. But our son was born at home with a midwife (pregnancy is not an illness), and I have never been to a doctor for anything other than well-woman exams. Our son has had two colds in his life (he’s almost two and a half), and has never been to the doctor except for a few well-child checks and the finger incident. We focus on eating an exceptionally nutritious diet and have found that we just really don’t get sick.
    But…. I would never ever go without health insurance. My mom (who had all four of her babies at home and hadn’t been in a hospital since she was six) was working on her roof last spring and slipped and fell. She broke her femur, and the bills came to over $50,000. My dad fell ill with a freak (one in a million) auto-immune disease in 2001 that destroyed his kidneys. He’s been on dialysis ever since, and had to be hospitalized for several months in 2004 (half a million dollars was billed for that hospitalization).
    We have an HSA qualified health insurance policy with a $5000 deductible. Nothing is covered before the deductible, but if something huge happens, all we have to pay is $5000 and then they take care of the rest (for that year). I’m willing to risk $5000, but not $500,000. And no matter how well we live our lives, freak things do happen.

    1. Money Funk Post author

      Wow! Health insurance for sure! That’s great on eating exceptionally healthy. I wish my kids would follow suit. At home, we do a better job. But when those kids hit school… *sigh* its junk food. And they just don’t understand the long term ill effects of their SAD (standard American diet) choices.

      BTW, I am very sorry to hear about your father’s disease. My uncle is on dialysis and its a tough thing.

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  10. Tracy

    Yoga is a very powerful way to have relaxation. Plus it is very healthy and can teach you balance. Both physically and financially

    1. Money Funk Post author

      I LOVE my yoga. I found a great 30 minutes of Namaste Yoga that comes on FitTV {cable channel} in the morning. I love to stretch like a cat. Just makes you feel better emotionally.

  11. Matthew Needham

    I don’t know if it’s the same in the US as it is the UK (I should imagine it is) but premiums increase as people get older. Therefore, It could make perfect sense to invest the equivalent of your annual premium into to a savings account so that you can access it if you need emergency treatment (although that’s free in the UK).

    I fully support living the alternative lifestyle. It makes no sense to keep calling a plumber out because you forgot to take the plug out the bath – you just wouldn’t do it. But people do that with their health all the time.

    1. Money Funk Post author

      That is a great idea to invest the equivalent of your annual premiums into a savings account. I know that if you play your cards right the idea is to have enough money saved in your latter years to pay for health care situations. Its a nice thought and one I hope to obtain. But there is nothing like having the security of setting aside money just for future annual premiums. Thanks for chiming in!

      BTW, can’t wait to delve into your site.

  12. Zannah

    I grew up in a medical family(my mom’s a doctor, my older brother is a nurse) and I work as a doula now; I hope to go to nursing school next year. I’m also dealing with multiple chronic conditions, including depression, endometriosis and fibromyalgia. So as you can see, health is a big part of my life and I dedicate a lot of thought to it.

    I’ve come to the realization that half the time when people go to the doctor, they don’t NEED to. Our bodies will heal themselves pretty solidly 80% of the time; of course, I’m not talking about depression or high blood pressure or other conditions that are simple, cheap and crucial to treat. I just read an article from the NY Times about how yearly physicals don’t contribute that much to our health and are the most common reason for going to the doctor. And we have all heard about the overprescription of antibiotics and the resulting “superbugs”. But when it comes to the flu, back pain, fatigue or the constellation of symptoms(depression, aches/pain, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, etc) that most alternative health practitioners specialize in, no health provider is going to do you any better than your own body will do. Add in moderate exercise and eating a healthy diet and you’re your own best friend.

    I hate to say that I really don’t appreciate alternative health care as a general thing; obviously, I see the value I provide as a doula and I also do yoga regularly, because there are lots of nonmedical aids to health. But I truly believe, after much research and consideration, that most alternative health providers are simply expensive enablers of our very powerful placebo system. People receive benefit from their care, but it’s not for the reasons they think. Not to mention the dangers of taking these systems too far because of such misunderstandings; the first example that leaps to my mind is unassisted childbirth. Women in labor need to know that they have the power and the ability to birth their baby; they need to feel in control and comfortable with their choices. However, they also need backup for the emergencies that can happen so quickly. Randall Munroe has another great argument against New Agey practices.

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