The Spirit of Health

In the true spirit of healing everyone is working for the common good.  

In the true spirit of health all levels of being are cared for and all is balanced.  

In the true spirit of health we honor the health of our bodies, our feelings, our minds, our family and community networks, our environment, and our spirits as one spirit.  

If we really want to be healthy we must honor all of these aspects of our health now and always.

I often wonder where the true spirit of healing is in our “so called healthcare system”.  Is there much that is truly healthy or caring in our “healthcare” system?  

Who is really looking out for our health?  

Who is leading us in the spirit of healing?   

As one who has studied health and healing for the past 30 years it is clear to me that we are fundamentally lost in our ideas of both of these.  

  • Are we teaching our children how to be healthy in school?  Or do we feed them poor quality processed food in school, take away their gym class and then are amazed when they are overweight and out of shape and do not know how to take care of themselves.  
  • Are we teaching our doctors and health care professionals about health and how to take care of themselves so they can truly teach others how to be healthy?  Or do we overwork them, denigrate their feelings, and teach them to look for diseases after they manifest and to manage diseases primarily with external means such as drugs and surgery?  
  • Are our hospitals run to truly meet the needs of the community?  Or are they increasingly focused on specific procedures and managing diseases that earn them the highest profits?  
  • Is our health insurance system designed to make sure our people are healthy and cared for when they are sick?  Or are our health insurance companies focused on maximizing the return on investment for the Wall Street crowd and paying their CEOs $20++ million a year?
  • Are the CDC, FDA, pharmaceutical and medical device companies searching for the causes and cures for diseases?  Or are they figuring out how to make products people can be dependent on for the rest of their lives as a massive unending revenue stream for the companies?
  • Is anybody minding the store?  Or are our policy makers and healthcare industry leaders continuing to promote and tweak a dying, ineffective, and bankrupting system that really is not serving us well?  
  • Is it really going to work to try to slow down the train on the express track to disaster?  
  • Does it really make sense to merely lower the ticket price so more people can get on that train taking them in the wrong direction?    If we do that we may be able to provide disease care for more people (or prevent the loss of disease care insurance for more people), but we will continue to do it at the expense of real health and financial sustainability.

It is Time to Wake Up! THE DISASTER IS NOW!

How much longer are we going to wait as fewer of us are able to even get the current standard of care?  Fewer working people can afford health insurance or the ever-increasing out-of-pocket expenses of our current policies.  Every year studies show that Americans spend more money in actual dollars and as a percentage of our GNP on health care than any other nation on earth.  They also show that we are not getting anywhere close to the best healthcare quality outcomes in the world.  (See Institute of Medicine reports for example).  The studies consistently show that we have the poorest value in terms of the quality of health per dollar spent!  This is not new information and it is bankrupting our nation.  Even Congress knows that.  It is also why business are no longer giving high quality insurance to their employees as standard benefits and states are balking at providing care for the poor even though the federal government with the Affordable Care Act is subsidizing 90+% of it.  Another shocker is that inability to pay medical bills ranks as the the #1 or #2 cause of personal bankruptcy in the US!  It is causing many persons and families to forego much needed care or to go outside the system to get what really works and what they can afford even without it being covered by health insurance.

Is it really smart to believe as the medical journals try to convince our doctors that if they were only smarter or more efficient in using the 8 minutes they have for an office visit, that they will be able to really meet our health needs?  

Is it realistic to believe that we can afford to keep paying for ever more expensive technologies to treat diseases instead of focusing on how to be healthy in the first place and prevention throughout our lives?  

Can we reasonably expect our elders to get good care if Medicare often reimburses the health care system for less than the cost of that care?  

How healthy are we as a culture, if we are not dealing with any of these things?  

How healthy are we if we live in and accept a so-called “health care” system, where we think the interests of patients, healthcare professionals,  employers, government, the insurance industry, and the pharmaceutical industry are all different?  Sure, everyone needs to make a decent living.  But, what is our current focus?  Are we all in this together for the common good and for our common health?   Imagine if your liver or kidneys were stealing from your heart and brain so that they could be stronger or feel better about themselves but you became sick or died in a few months or years?  How many want a collection of organ systems that work that way.  Is what we are doing really working?  Raise your hand, shout out and Tweet if you think insanity is the best policy to make decisions!!!

It is Time For a New Way.

I believe that we must make a system that is truly focused on our health and optimal functioning on every level.  I believe that we must make a system that truly cares for our people and our communities.  

We need a system that:

  • Teaches us how to be healthy from an early age;  
  • Fosters self-responsibility and gives us the tools to be able to care for ourselves
  • Gives our health professionals the skills they need to help people be healthy, care for them when they are ill, and puts a high premium on fostering healing relationships between our health professionals and those in need
  • In which hospitals and healthcare delivery systems will truly be looking out for and working with people in their communities to meet their health needs
  • A system in which we can all benefit from our collective efforts to be healthier and happier and lead highly functioning lives
  • A system in which community resources, educational systems and government are an active  partner with us.  In which government and other third parties do not try to micromanage the values of our individual blood tests as the means to our health by shaming doctors and punishing them economically for not following artificial protocols that may have nothing to do with an individual’s best health or personal values.  
  • A system in which we work together for the common good and not as competing parties focused on making money off each other or not spending money on our health because we just don’t value it.  Without health and community what value will all the money in the world get us?

Let us all work together for the common good, better lives, prosperity and peace.


Mark L. Hoch, MD

Diplomate American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine Co-Chair Past Presidents Council, Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine Bush Medical Fellow

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Mark Hoch, MD