Come to think of it, why is the health industry so called? Is the emphasis on health or industry? I suppose it depends on our perspectives, and I am going to share a perspective shaped by my experience of going to a hospital yesterday.
Yesterday I accompanied my mother to a hospital for her routine quarterly medical appointment. It wasn’t a very pleasant experience. For a start, I started having runny nose when I reached there, probably due to the air-conditioning and the invisible bugs that struck when my immune system was low. I also found the place rather crowded, and I disliked having to wait for the number to be called or wait for the lift to arrive.
In addition, I noticed a rising number of people on wheelchairs at the hospital over the years – is the nation getting sicker and weaker due to the aging population, the unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, and so on? Last but not least, the hospital has been renovated recently to look more modern, more corporate, more office-like, with computers and modes of payment devices, and so on. The hospital – in a nutshell – has become a corporation in a capitalistic world.
Indeed, the whole hospital environment has been looking more and more crowded and complicated to me. Long queues of patients waiting, coupled with the machine-like efficiency of the system processing information, give the impression that I was in a modern hi-tech factory rather than a healing sanctuary. The hospital seems to have become an industrial cash cow – patients are the customers, and the staff are recruited to attend to the customers and process their payment for the services rendered and the products bought from the pharmacy.
I was wondering to myself if it is really necessary for most people to go to hospital in the first place. I mean, I understand the hospital can be useful for making diagnoses of symptoms, attending to medical emergencies, and so on, but for the majority of the cases when it comes to less serious or less urgent conditions, wouldn’t it be better to seek alternative treatments such as naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, reflexology, ayurvedic therapy and so on, or practise healthy lifestyles or engage in health-giving activities in the form of doing yoga, meditation and so on, rather than going to see some doctors and get pharmaceutical medicines that only treat the symptoms and not the root causes of the symptoms?
In indigenous societies, how do people stay healthy or seek treatment when they are ill where there are no hospitals? As much as their native ways of treatment may look primitive or backward to most modern scientists, they are at least tried and tested and proven and passed on from generation to generation. I believe their treatments also usually don’t have side effects, unlike chemical drugs or treatments.
Most of all, people living in or close to natural environments such as forests, mountains and seasides, aren’t usually bogged down by stress that is often associated with an urban lifestyle that saps people’s energy levels, through the wage slavery system, the media propaganda about meeting societal expectations and climbing the proverbial career ladder, the corporate doctrine that glorifies hard work at the expense of health and rest, the materialistic view of “success”, and so on.
So, at the risk of sounding simplistic, I think most of the patients I saw at the hospital would be much better off going to a beach or a park to get some exercise and enjoy relaxation than having to go to a factory-like environment and bear with the misery of being cooped up in a concrete building with all sorts of machineries and electronic devices surrounding them for hours, and then paying for pharmaceutical products that only treat symptoms and tend to produce side effects when they are taken in the long term.
Nature is free, enables us to reconnect to our true self, provides fresh, health-giving air, and restores calm and peace to our inner being, with no negative side effects. Isn’t it better if everyone chooses to take care of their own health through diet, lifestyle choices and so on than to depend on the pharmaceutical health industry to do it for them?