Team of doctors.

LET’S TALK ABOUT…THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC-MAYBE IT IS NOT SO BAD!!!! How many doctors does it take to cure a disease? A primary care physician, an internist, an oncologist, a radiologist, a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, a medical toxicologist, an addictionologist, and, by time you are cured, if you are, a psychiatrist.

The phenomenal advances in western medicine have brought us to treating specific diseases and specific parts of the body, rather than the whole person.

In 2010, Dr. Frank Lipman blogged on the Huffington Post (8/15/10) about when we talk about “a “health care” system and health care reform, what we’re actually talking about is a “disease care” system and disease care reform. Doctors of modern western medicine are trained to treat disease with drugs and surgery. They are not trained to keep people healthy.”

Consequently, we are in the midst of a national opioid epidemic.

Imagine a healing system that depends on treating the whole person using a combination of western and eastern practices; medical and alternative.

Dr. Lipman points out “At medical school, we doctors are taught how to treat the symptoms of disease, rather than how to prevent disease in the first place. For example, throughout our training we receive very few lectures on nutrition, despite the fact that diet is fundamental to good health. Nor are we trained in other lifestyle modalities that help keep people well, such as exercise and relaxation therapies. We are taught nothing about the wisdoms of alternative medical systems that have been helping other cultures for centuries.”


Because of the overprescribing of opioids, as well as the growing illicit drug market, crackdowns on how, when, and how much, opioids are prescribed. Physicians are being urged to consider complimentary alternative medicine (CAM) using an integrative model.

In addition, the Center for Disease Control reports “U.S. societal costs of opioid abuse are estimated at $53.4 billion which includes $42 billion in lost productivity, $8.2 billion in criminal justice costs, $2.2 billion in inpatient and outpatient medical costs, and $944 million due to medical complications (2%).”

Traditionally, insurance companies are slow to start legitimizing CAMs by reimbursing for out-of-pocket costs. With the changes presently being demanded by government oversight, insurances are being forced to come to terms with integrative medicine. This means reimbursement for CAMs prescribed by providers.

The insurance companies are considering alternatives that meet “medical best practices”. This means that there has been sufficient research completed to show that whatever CAM is used will show a reasonably promising outcome.

Chiropractic has been established as an alternative paid for by insurance for over fifty years. acupuncture, nutrition, and “exercise” are beginning to be recognized as legitimate by insurance companies.

As the opioid epidemic has forced a crack in the door of insurances to pay for alternatives, rather than prescribing opioids, medical practitioners are opening their minds to considering all the options.

Some of those options may include meditation, yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), Pilates, Feldenkrais, massage, breath therapy, and Tai Chi.


Imagine all the people in pain, living a conscious healthier life.

Imagine one doctor treating one client before disease occurs.

You may say I am a dreamer, but, I am glad we talked about this. Of course, it is just my opinion.




Springfield Times

“Ask MAx” is published weekly in the Springfield Times, Springfield, OR. You can subscribe to the Springfield Times at


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