February 3, 2014
Press your nose to the window long enough and you’ll fog up the glass so bad you can’t see through. The picture gets distorted and even when the windows open it will undoubtedly take some time for your eyes to adjust. It might take your brain even longer.
That’s something of what’s going on with integrative medicine right now. The Affordable Care Act’s Section 2706 "non-discrimination" clause has set a place at the table for acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths and other practitioners of integrative medicine, offering insurance reimbursement and bestowing a mainstream legitimacy these practices have never known. They’ve been invited into the party.
Now they have to learn to dance.
That’s no small order for a culture of "us versus them" that has long set itself at odds with mainstream medicine. Spend a few decades grousing about big pharma drowning out the traditional wisdom of the ancients, and making small talk at the Pfizer cocktail party could prove difficult. The dress code at this party does not include tie dye and tinfoil hats. That doesn’t make it a Brooks Brothers moment but the pressing need now is to engage from the inside—something that’s tough to do when you’re accustomed to bullhorns and bumper stickers.
"Before it was the anxiety of simply being outside the system, and now the anxiety is what it will mean to be inside," says Jon Weeks, editor of the Integrator Blog, a go-to resource for tracking the intersection of the integrative and the legislative. Mainstream medicine and alternative medicine can only work together, Week says, "if we learn how to step up and get into the dialogue instead of saying, ‘they’re not like us.’ "
Weeks is beginning to see that happen. Leaders from the integrative health communities reached out to participate in an Institute of Medicine report last year that ended with "a whole section on health and wellbeing and self-care," Weeks says. "We knocked on the door and they said ‘Come on in.’ " He calls the model "trans-disciplinarian professionalism." The Affordable Healthcare Act’s focus on outcomes creates an opening for integrative medicine to bring in the practices that ensure wellbeing and preventive self-care. Weeks says recent outreach from both sides heralds "an era when we are out of our silos and thinking first of the patient."
Those lessons and that attitude would be well shared across the nutrition industry. Inroads rarely begin with accusations.
That hot air only fogs up the window.
You May Also Like
Expo East celebrated innovations, ideas that help the industry growSep 29, 2023
Vision 2030: Insights from Today’s State of Natural You Can UseSep 29, 2023
Notable trends a New Hope editor captured at Expo EastSep 28, 2023
CPG veterans launch equity investment firm for purpose-driven brandsSep 28, 2023