Opinion: Texans deserve total wellness, the choice to choose their path to optimal health

For as long as we have been human, we have had healers in our midst.  Whether it was a curandera, shaman, monk, or the old woman down the street that grew herbs, there was always someone in our own community that knew us, cared about us, and healed us.  These individuals had a calling, a gift, a duty.  It was NOT about business, but about helping people. 

Throughout time, healers have looked beyond the pain, and today’s alternative health care practitioners continue in the age old tradition by taking a comprehensive approach. Today’s non-allopathic practitioner treats the patient holistically, rather than focusing on a symptom. The healer does not follow the band-aid approach, but often takes into consideration the patient’s family, habits and personality traits. 

Today’s healers tend to be highly qualified practitioners with hundreds of hours of practice and learning under their belts. Many are certified by the Boards of their various modalities, and some, like me, have their equivalent of an M.D. after studying many years at institutes of higher learning.

The 120 members of San Antonio’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, for example, are all reference-checked professionals who strive to keep their clients healthy using a wide array of modalities. The commonality is that all are of natural means, and a whole-person approach to wellness. 

We have outstanding track records, yet our practices are now in danger of being run out of "business."  Or worse, we are in danger of being arrested.  Why?  Because most of today's alternative health care practitioners, just as in days past, are not "licensed, certified, or registered as health care practitioners by an occupational regulatory agency of this state." 

According to data from U.S. Census Bureau, more than six million Texans chose non-allopathic care in 2007.  That does not mean they shun traditional medicine completely, but find alternative means are often the best antidote, or complement, to achieve optimum wellness.

Six million Texans is a sizable block of voters, and percentage of patients, that want the freedom to choose how to stay healthy.  To that end, is it surprising that the Texas Medical Association (TMA) wants to block SB 1084?  Medicine is big business.  If Complementary and Alternative Medicine is getting and keeping the population healthy, the business of the TMA will suffer.  No one can deny that the costs associated with "being sick" can and often do bankrupt families.  However, "getting and staying healthy" using alternative methods is considerably more effective, in both monetary and emotional costs. 

Complementary and Alternative Medicine may also be safer. Last year, at least 100,000 people died from taking prescription medications as prescribed.  Many more were given additional prescription medications to undo damage done from others.  This is the price we pay to follow allopathic medicine. 

On the other side of the scale, there are no fatalities as a result of energy work, hypnosis, following nutritional advice, or drinking herbal teas.

In Texas, we do it bigger and better, and certainly, that should include health care.  Texans deserve a choice in how they take care of themselves.  We have always been an independent-minded state, and we should have the right to decide where we go for wellness care.

Gentle healing energy work, massage therapy, nutritional and herbal guidance, and supplements are some examples of what have proven to be extremely effective ways to achieve optimum health. Some practices, such as Ayurveda or acupuncture, have been the treatment of choice in some societies for thousands of years. Texans deserve to choose their treatment from all available options.

We urge our legislature, and all Texans, to support the passage of SB 1084 and support the patient’s right to choose.

Article shared with permission by author by Dr. Sherrie Reimers, ND, Board Certified Traditional Naturopath and President, San Antonio Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

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