Ignoring Natural Remedies

BioPsychoSocial_Health2.jpgI have yet to form a solid opinion regarding universal health coverage. Regardless of what I conclude to be the best policy, I am glad that the issue is out there. But I wish that this topic was more extensive; I wish that our country would broaden its’ definition of healthcare to include alternative treatments.

A team of researchers at Ohio State University recently released findings that showed a correlation between wound healing and the inability to control anger. In this study 98 people were given a blister and were then monitored for 8 days. The people who had a difficult time controlling their anger took much longer to heal. There was also a correlation between lowered levels of anger control and enhanced cortisol secretion. It is this cortisol secretion that affects the healing time.

This is one of many studies that document the effects of negative emotions, like stress, on health. Stress is a contributor to heart disease, depression, and is possibly linked to diseases such as cancer as well. So research has proven that excess stress is bad. And this current study shows that the ability to handle anger (anger is related to stress) affects the healing process.

Oddly enough, I don’t believe my doctors have ever treated me for “stress.” Going to my appointment doesn’t lower my stress. And I don’t leave the office feeling substantially less stress. On the other hand, many alternative health practices directly relieve stress. (If you doubt this, go for a body massage or a yoga class and see if you don’t feel more clam, more relaxed afterwards.)

Instead of spending so much money on drugs, surgeries, and doctor visits, let’s spend a percentage of that money on preventative treatments. Yoga, massages, acupuncture, meditation… all of these practices affect a person’s well-being including their stress level and ability to handle life situations better. But since a majority of these treatments have to be paid for by the individual, the harsher course of treatment is “chosen.” So many people take the standard route such as “take two of these and call me in the morning.” Funny though that these treatments don’t even directly address stress. So in the meantime, the individual is still impacted by stress which may eventually manifest itself in another physical form or another. Another trip to the doctor?

So stress is still rampant in our society and for now, unfortunately, the effects can be seen in doctor’s offices near you. It’s too bad that stress contributes to so many health problems and it isn’t even addressed. It’s too bad that our insurance companies don’t even give us the chance to choose natural, non-invasive therapies. It’s too bad that our society doesn’t focus on preventative measures.


GOUIN, J., KIECOLTGLASER, J., MALARKEY, W., GLASER, R. (2007). The influence of anger expression on wound healing. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2007.10.013

Is there proof that stress causes coronary heart disease, cancer – or anything else? The American Institute of Stress.

J. R. White

J. R. White is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She has over five years of experience in education and pedagogy.
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