A new era in health care?

Christian Science Committee on Publication for Northern California “The Airbus A380 and the future of health care” PaloAltoPatch.com. August 15, 2011.

The other day a good friend of mine posted a picture of an Airbus A380 taking off from SFO [San Francisco Airport]on his Facebook page. Call me odd, but in a way this image reminded me of the future of health care in America and, for that matter, around the world.

I’ll get to health care in a minute. First, a word about the A380.

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For those of you unfamiliar with this remarkable feat of engineering, the A380 is the world’s largest passenger plane. With nearly 50 percent more floor space than its next largest competitor—the Boeing 747—it can carry between 525 and 853 passengers up to 9,400 miles at a cruising speed of 560 miles per hour. A hundred, 50, even 25 years ago few, if any, would have thought this possible. 

The same holds true for advances in health care. What was once thought impossible—perhaps even crazy—is slowly but surely becoming the norm.

Esteemed mind-body physician, Dr. Larry Dossey, describes this evolution in terms of three distinct “Eras” of medicine. Era 1 medicine began in the mid-1800s, when patients were treated like so many mindless machines. Era 2, which began in the mid-1900s, ushered in the now widely accepted view that the human mind has at least some bearing on one’s health. Era 3 is the future of medicine, a time when consciousness will be seen as central to the understanding of the universe and the mental nature of health.

Those living here in the Bay Area don’t have to look very far to find quite a number of people who would readily agree with Dr. Dossey’s prediction.

Take, for instance, the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma. Since 1973 these folks have been engaged in cutting-edge research that explores the potentials and powers of consciousness, including its impact on health.

There’s also UC San Francisco’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Although their work encompasses more than just consciousness-based medicine, their focus is on patients seeking “a healing-oriented approach to health care.” This includes various psychotherapy and Ayurvedic or “mind-body-spirit” services.

And then there’s Saybrook University, the only school in the country offering advanced degrees in mind-body medicine.

To me this commitment to Era 3 medicine is exciting. More than that, it’s beginning to have a very real impact on the world of health care at a time when increasing numbers of people are looking for an alternative to conventional medicine. 

Whether their current approach to health care is less than satisfying or they’re interested in exploring an alternative to predominantly drug-based treatments, there’s a growing public demand for health care that’s above and beyond what many—at least at one time—thought possible.

Kind of like the A380.

Just how soon—or if—Era 3 medicine will take center-stage, no one knows for sure. What is certain is that at least some individuals looking for a safe, effective, and reliable
 approach to health care—myself included—are finding that Era 3 is where it’s at.

Now, if I could just find a way to post a picture of this on Facebook . . . .

Eric Nelson

September 26, 2011

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