Alternative health


Holistic medicine. Massage therapy. Chiropractic care. Acupuncture. Herbs and supplements. They may not be just what the doctor ordered, but that doesn't mean they should be disregarded.

When we are sick, we go to see a doctor. When we want to get in shape, we lace up our sneakers and hit the gym. When we have a chronic or acute illness, we stock up on medications to ease our ailments.

Not always.

For a growing number of people, the steps for maintaining good health that many Americans take for granted are not an option. Barriers like a lack of health insurance, no money to join a gym or buy organic health foods, the stigma faced when going to the doctors office, or symptoms that cannot be cured by simply taking another pill keep millions of people in chronic pain and constant fear. What happens when you get sick and you can't afford to go see a doctor? What happens when you are too scared of being ridiculed for being transgender to join a gym or take a fitness class? What happens when you have HIV and even your cocktail cannot keep your nausea down and your appetite up?

In this issue of Between The Lines, we feature alternatives - to health insurance, to gym memberships, to medications. Though the articles in our Fall 2010 Health Special Section certainly don't cover the gamut of options available, they're meant to get you thinking.

As Americans, we are brought up to believe that there is a set process to follow for good health. Eat this food, do that workout, visit the doctor for this, take that medication. But there are other paths to try to good health, and the answer is different for every person. Holistic medicine. Massage therapy. Chiropractic care. Acupuncture. Herbs and supplements. They may not be just what the doctor ordered, but that doesn't mean they should be disregarded.

In the pages of this issue of BTL, we introduce you to FernCare, a free clinic where adults can go when they have no insurance to see a doctor or get the medications they need. We discuss the barriers to and benefits of medical marijuana use and sale, and how our government's stress over this drug may cause more harm than good. We highlight Affirmations' newest exercise class - aerial fitness, which offers a welcoming atmosphere for those looking to burn some calories and try something new. And we feature vitamin and supplement advice from our very own Parting Glances columnist, Charles Alexander. We give you a taste of the healthy life that you may not have considered.

So drink it up. And eat up. And pump it up. Because whether you're facing life with a chronic illness, stigma at your local gym, the loss of health insurance, or just the hope of aging gracefully and staying healthy, there are options.

You can be healthy and happy. You can enjoy new activities without being discriminated against. You can be active well into older age. You can explore options beyond what your doctor says. And you don't have to live in constant pain or sickness, even if you don't have the insurance or money to visit a doctor's office.

Explore your options, both by reading our Health issue and by doing some digging of your own. You never know what you may find if you be your own health care provider.

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