As natural health supporters, we experience a broad spectrum of health choices. That spectrum extends well beyond allopathic medicine. Our challenge lies in balancing this spectrum, and building a framework to guide the attendant rights and responsibilities. Such a framework must embrace this concept quoted from both Antonovsky and the WHCCAMP Report. In other words, we must create a health care system that recognizes that human beings have the resource to “create their own sense” of health and “find in themselves the ability to function.”
The WHCCAMP explicitly supports this goal:
Based on its mission and responsibilities, the Commission endorses the following [4 of 10] guiding principles:
3. The healing capacity of the person. People have a remarkable capacity for recovery and self-healing, and a major focus of health care is to support and promote this capacity.
4. Respect for individuality. Each person is unique and has the right to health care that is appropriately responsive to him or her, respecting preferences and preserving dignity.
5. The right to choose treatment. Each person has the right to choose freely among safe and effective care or approaches, as well as among qualified practitioners who are accountable for their claims and actions and responsive to the person’s needs.
6. An emphasis on health promotion and self-care. Good health care emphasizes self-care and early intervention for maintaining and promoting health.
In these words, from a Presidential Commission no less, we see an increasing emphasis on the value of responsible, autonomous health choice – an absolutely fundamental part of the self-healing process. As philosopher and social scientist Ivan Illich wrote, “Progress should mean growing competence in self-care rather than growing dependence [on an allopathic system].”
Rejection of allopathic medicine is certainly not called for here. At the same time, recognition of our autonomous healing resource is alone not enough. To complete an effective balancing of an ever-broader health care system, we must give more than recognition. We must develop the tools that will provide overt support for the self-healing resource at every level.
We need new tools to balance and guide the full spectrum of health choices that are emerging.