An interesting concept – author with a bad shoulder travels to 10 countries seeking various solutions, then writes about his experiences with various forms of health care in each country.
Something leapt out at me. Although the book treats this as tangential, I found it strikingly salient:
In an Ayurvedic hospital in India, a regimen of meditation, rice, lentils and massage paid for entirely out of pocket, $42.85 per night, led to “obvious improvement in my frozen joint,” Mr. Reid writes, adding, “To this day, I don’t know why it happened.”
Well there you go. Arrogant Western medicine does, in fact, have an awful lot to learn from Eastern. In most of the countries he visited, surgery and steroid injections are de rigeur. He had to practically travel to the Third World to learn that an inexpensive and risk-free solution was possible.
For over a decade I struggled with a variety of back problems, rejecting the expensive and very risky surgery for so-called “physical therapy” all based in the best Western science has to offer. A couple months of hatha yoga (Bikram yoga, to be exact) and my back and other joints are as healthy as they were at age 18.
Go figure. Maybe after a thousand years, those crafty Indians actually figured something out after all.
I think the author – and the NYT article – miss the whole point. The NYT writer comments that “the comparative merits of different orthopedic philosophies are secondary here.” Not so fast, Abby. I don’t think it’s secondary at all.
Perhaps if Western medicine comprehended – and Western insurance covered – valid and often superior forms of treatment like hatha yoga, the United States wouldn’t be in a health care “crisis”.