Several years ago I conscientiously opted out of health insurance.
For most people that’s just not an option because of chronic or genetic dis-ease and the cost of medications and doctor’s visits, so I know I’m lucky that I can make this decision. It’s not for everyone. And I’m not necessarily recommending it either. I just want to make a point that
- Our healthcare system is deeply flawed.
- I don’t want to participate in it. I choose not to.
MY HEALTHCARE EXPENSES FOR 2018
I pay out of pocket for the expense of staying healthy. That being said, I spend most of my money (just a little less than my mortgage LOL) on healthy food.
- I pay cash for massages (luckily I can trade for most of my massages),
- Chiropractic care (around $500 total for 2018),
- Around $400 total for out of pocket dentist expenses (for myself and 2 kids – just cleanings this year.).
- One eye exam for $125. Glasses cost $12.50 (Zenni.com is fabulous for prescription glasses; you should check it out) and contacts $120.
- We had 4 therapy sessions @$65 = $260.
- Other out-of-pocket expenses, that insurance wouldn’t even cover anyway: herbal medicines and nutritional supplements $400 (wholesale :).
- I would probably also throw a consultation I had with my psychic in there too. Talking to her does more good than therapy for me. Cost: $80.
- Acupuncture I can do for free; but, if I had insurance there’s a 50/50 chance they’d actually cover it, and I would end up paying the $800 or so out of pocket or towards deductible anyway.
Total for myself and 2 kids = $1897.50
Total that insurance would have covered if I had it = $0 (pretty sure, based on deductibles, coverage limitations, etc.)
Total saved every month NOT having insurance = $6000 (x 5 years) = $30,000
I WOULD GET INSURANCE IF
- If I worked for a company that provided good coverage at a decent price or if – like most other countries in the world – it was included as part of our citizenship
- If the cost of health insurance didn’t far exceed what you get in return
I’ve had insurance before, and when it came time that I actually needed it, they denied all my claims. The claim was an emergency trip to the hospital. They should have covered that. Even if they had, I still would have had a $7500 deductible. The hospital bill was $13,000, so I just negotiated the bill with the hospital and ended up paying it with cash over a few months. A pain in the butt, for sure, but at least I was able to do it. After that is when I canceled my policy. “What’s the use?”
At the very least, they need to be covering emergency trips to the hospital. If that’s not what insurance is for then I don’t know what. But a lot of people don’t realize is that you can negotiate with the hospital if you’re paying out of pocket. Just tell them what you can afford and they’ll work with you. Don’t be afraid to make demands. Hospitals routinely bill 10-20x more than what the services actually cost and what insurance would actually pay them. Insurance companies make deals with hospitals to reduce their cost, and so can you.
Buying insurance is buying into a risk pot. I don’t want to be put into a pot – so to speak – with people that eat McDonald’s for dinner every night and call looking for the remote control exercise. It’s not fair. I’m basically paying for their healthcare costs.
Another healthcare option that is working for some people are healthshare groups like Liberty Healthshare which is still pricey, but not as much, and what they cover is more clear.
BUT WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS?!?!
Of course. Yes, my family and I have been lucky so far. Yes, we could have a terrible accident or – goddess forbid – cancer.
But here’s probably where I differ from most people. And I AM NOT NECESSARILY RECOMMENDING THIS AS AN APPROACH TO HEALTHCARE FOR YOU – it’s just what works for me. If I did come down with a terrible dis-ease, I would not opt to treat it with Western medicine. That’s just me. I pass no judgement down on anyone who chooses differently.
If I or my child need surgery or an in-patient treatment of some kind, I will just pay out of pocket and negotiate with the hospital. The bottom line of rising healthcare costs is that the big players: the pharmaceutical companies, the big hospitals, and the big insurance companies keep raising the rates. Rates that no normal person can afford!
So, what do you think about this? Do you think I’m overlooking anything? Just curious. Health insurance is one of the most controversial topics out there now. Mostly in the US, though. Other countries seemed to have figured this out.
If you sit at a desk all day, or if you are bending down looking at small children all day, or if you just have a cranky, stiff neck, this is for you.
Take a handful of your hair from the lower, back part of your head. (Sorry, my beautiful, bald ones, you do kind of need at least some hair to do this, although if you have a good imagination you can still probably do it. Below I’ll list another stretch that you don’t need hair for.)
When you have a handful of hair, pull your hair slightly back and up. As you do this you should feel a nice stretch through the vertebrae (spinal bones) of your neck. Ideal neck posture is a straight spine all the way up to the top. A J-shaped spine is the idea, not the S-shaped spine that we were taught years ago.
A few times throughout the day, do this exercise to remind yourself of proper neck posture.
Another quick neck traction exercise you can do with a broom. Lay down on the ground and place the broomstick perpendicular to your body and under your neck. Place your hands on either side of the stick – on either side of your neck and pull the stick toward the top of your head. When it reaches the occiput – the place where your skull meets your neck bones, you should feel a good stretch through your neck. Hold it for a few seconds and repeat.
My reaction when people say to me, “So today’s my last treatment, right?”
It’s like saying, “So today’s the last day I need to exercise, right?” Or, “This is my last haircut, right?” Or, “This is the last time I need to eat broccoli, right?”
Your needs for acupuncture change over time. Some problems go away, and your needed frequency and intensity of treatment reduces, but there’s always new stuff happening. There’s always stress. There’s always aches, pains, and head colds.
Acupuncture at its best is actually a preventative medicine. You can prevent problems from happening by doing acupuncture. Unfortunately, it’s hard to show people how that works because… you feel fine! I can’t say, “Wow! You see how you didn’t get sick for the last year? If you hadn’t come in, you surely would have been sick at least 3 times.”
There’s no way to prove that acupuncture can keep you well, so a lot of people choose to stop coming in when they feel better or when their treatment plan ends.
But if you think of acupuncture as a health maintenance tool, kind of like an oil change and tire rotation maintains your car’s well-being, I do think you can prevent many types of dis-eases from occurring in the first place with regularly scheduled acupuncture.
When a health condition doesn’t get better with acupuncture and herbs, there’s something that is continually aggravating the condition either in the body or in the environment of the patient. We need to ask ourselves, “Why is this happening?”
The problem with that, and probably the reason we seek healthcare providers in the first place, is that it’s hard to figure out what we’re doing or what’s going on that’s causing something. We get used to living a certain way, and it’s hard to recognize that it’s causing harm.
Is there some kind of continual emotional stress I’m under (like a bad relationship or a stressful work environment)?
Continual, even low-grade stress is the primary reason for all hormone imbalances, including thyroid dis-ease and adrenal fatigue.
We are accustomed to thinking that relationship tension is inevitable and normal, but it’s not. These types of negative interactions do have an adverse impact on your health. It can start to shut down natural body processes. Sometimes quite literally, we get a “pain in the neck” or “pain in the a**.” If we’re “walking on eggshells” around someone, our feet may hurt. If we’re biting back our words, our throat chakras close off, which can lead to thyroid dis-ease. If we’re doing all the work, we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. You’re constantly trying to please someone, and end up with knee pain (through your unconscious genuflecting). And so on and so forth.
Am I eating as healthfully as possible?
Healthy eating varies from person to person, but some things that go across the board are:
- A variety of fresh vegetables. Vegetables should be 50% of your diet. Aim for a wide variety.
- Avoid 99.9% of the time: sugary drinks; foods and drinks with artificial colors and additives; hydrogenated oils (fried foods like french fries and doughnuts), fast food and pre-packaged foods like “weight watchers” meals and “diet” drinks and shakes.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol to 1 or fewer servings of each per day, or avoid it completely if that works better for you.
- Be mindful of how you feel after you eat things like refined grains (white bread products and cereals), processed dairy products (most dairy from the grocery store), and caffeine and alcohol. Try going 3 weeks without processed foods and see if you feel different.
- Some animal protein: bone broth, eggs (if you’re not allergic), organ meats, and some skeletal meat (including fish) if you feel better when you eat it. If you’re not currently eating it, try to include some type of animal protein to see if you feel a difference after one or two weeks of adding it in.
- A good amount of healthy fats: 1 – 2 tablespoons of butter, ghee, olive oil daily. Full-fat dairy products (preferably raw and unpasteurized dairy); eggs; cold-water fish and grass-fed beef are all good sources of Omega 3 and 6 oils which we need for proper nerve conduction, brain health, immune system health and hormone health.
How is my posture?
Do you notice you hurt more when you sleep or at your desk at work or driving? Pay attention to how you’re holding your body. Heavy bags can lead to neck and shoulder pain; an awkward desk set up can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or headaches; certain exercises may be causing you more harm to your joints than helping.
Even chronic pain anywhere on the spine can interfere with nerves that regulate many other body functions. For example, lower back pain nerves can impact your digestion. Cervical nerves can regulate the thyroid and eye function. Be honest with yourself and willing to make changes.
Is something going on that I’m not aware of?
If a problem doesn’t improve, it’s always a good idea to seek outside help until you find answers. Get blood work and tests. Try new things. Don’t get stuck in the idea that, “I don’t see (this type of doctor).” We don’t need to automatically jump to “worst case scenario” every time we get sick, but it’s good to cover all potential bases. The earlier you find something, the quicker it heals.
Things that could be going on may include:
- covert pathogens like a virus or fungal infection (common with chronic allergies)
- torn ligaments or bulging discs (common with neck and back pain)
- tumors or cancer (it’s always better to know than to not)
Health is a journey, not a destination.
In the 1930s, Francis Pottenger, MD conducted a ten-year-long study in which nearly a thousand cats were fed the same basic diet of milk, meat and a small dose of cod liver oil.
“The healthiest cats were the ones who received raw meat and raw milk. This was the only group to produce generation after generation of healthy kittens with broad faces, adequate nasal cavities, broad dental arches, strong and correctly shaped teeth and bones, excellent tissue tone, good-quality fur with a minimum of shedding and an absence of gum disease. These cats were resistant to infections, fleas, and internal parasites. They showed no sign of allergies and were gregarious, friendly and predictable in their behavior patterns. Miscarriages were rare and litters averaged five kittens, which the mothers nursed without difficulty.
Another group received raw milk and cooked meat. The cats in this group developed skeletal and dental deformities, heart problems, vision problems, thyroid imbalances, infections of the kidney, liver, testes, ovaries, and bladder, arthritis and inflammation of the joints, and inflammation of the nervous system with paralysis and meningitis. Their second and third generations had abnormal respiratory tissues. Cooked-meat cats were so irritable that some of the females were named Tiger, Cobra, and Rattlesnake, while the males were docile and passive, a sexual role reversal not seen in the raw-food cats. Vermin and intestinal parasites abounded and skin lesions and allergies appeared frequently. Adult cats died of pneumonia or infections of the bone while kittens died of pneumonia and diarrhea. The cooked-meat cats had serious reproductive problems including sterility, miscarriage, a lack of maternal instinct and difficult labors with high infant mortality rates. Many females died in labor.
The cats fed raw meat with pasteurized milk showed similar changes, and those fed evaporated milk showed even more damage, while the most marked deficiencies occurred among those fed sweetened condensed milk.
Because the health of each new generation was adversely affected by its parents’ inferior diet, the cooked-food kittens had even more problems, and there were no fourth generation kittens in any of the cooked-food groups because the third generation always died before reproducing. Had antibiotic drugs been available, these kittens might not have died of pneumonia and other infectious diseases, in which case the experiment could have continued through longer chains of deformed offspring.
One of Dr. Pottenger’s most exciting discoveries was that the health deterioration caused by cooked foods can be reversed, although it took four generations to completely restore perfect health to cats whose ancestors ate cooked meat or pasteurized milk.” – from the Weston A. Price foundation website; Pottenger, Francis M., Jr. Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition. La Mesa, CA: Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, 1983; written by C.J. Puotinen
For cats, who are obligate carnivores, and have evolved eating raw meat, it’s different from human nutrition, but a few of the ideas are the same:
- The more we mess with our food, and the further away our food gets from our natural human diet, the more prevalent fertility issues become.
- Your fertility issues are not your fault, but may be from some missing nutritional blocks from up to four generations back.
In many traditional cultures, pregnancy and preconception diets center around raw, whole dairy products, raw fish and fish eggs, organ meats, and local plant foods. Below are some of the key components for a superior prenatal, pregnancy, and antenatal diet.
The best sources of Vitamin A come from fish-liver oils, liver, egg yolks, butter, and unpasteurized cream. Vitamin A is essential for any body function requiring cellular proliferation (i.e. growing a human).
Beta-carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A, comes from sources like sweet potatoes, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables. While those vegetables are obviously good too, in a healthy person, only 3% is converted. If you’re diabetic or have thyroid problems, the conversion rate is even lower. Animal-based Vitamin A is pre-formed and absorbs directly into your body. This is why the best foods for fertility and also for your baby are raw, whole (breast) milk, butter, and egg yolks.
Many studies on Vitamin A and pregnancy show that it improves fertility and helps prevent birth defects. Get your Vitamin A from food sources only, and not through a synthetic vitamin (i.e. the stuff you buy at the drug store). The often-talked-about Vitamin A toxicity problem tends to only happen through synthetics.
A study in 1922 called Vitamin E “Anti-Sterility Factor X” because rats couldn’t reproduce without it. Vegetable oils are high in vitamin E, but also in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which deplete your body of Vitamin E. Better sources of Vitamin E are whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and grass-fed beef.
Vitamin E supplements that are only “tocopherol” are lacking the other essential components of the Vitamin E complex. Either get it through food or use a food-based vitamin that contains some of the above-listed foods.
Spending 20 minutes in the sun every day may not be the best way to optimize your Vitamin D levels, although it will help, depending on your skin color (darker skin absorbs less), whether or not you’re obese (increased BMI interferes with D absorbability), and the time of year and the prevalence of UV-B rays. To be safe and ensure that you get enough Vitamin D, use food sources: fatty fish and butter, or a cod liver oil supplement.
Vitamin D is essential for cellular proliferation such as fetal skeletal and lung development, preventing Type 1 diabetes, and other important things.
Vitamins K1 and K2 help with bone formation and nerve development. K1 is found in leafy greens and K2 is found in fermented vegetables (like pickles and saurkraut) and grass-fed animal fats like cheese and liver. Most diets worldwide eat some form of fermented foods. If you’re not already, now’s the time to do so.
Another fat-soluble vitamin, DHA is found in cod liver oil, fatty fish, and grass-fed animals. It helps baby’s brain development and helps the mother prevent “mommy brain” which is a real thing where you feel a little bit dumb pretty much as soon as you get pregnant.
Everyone knows you need Folic Acid when you’re pregnant, but why? Folate prevents birth defects and spontaneous abortion (miscarriage). It encourages the production of red blood cells, and you need a lot of those to make a baby. The rate of folate absorption depends on the body’s supply of zinc, and also the quality of the folate. Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate, and the absorbability is relatively low. However, the synthetic folic acid does prevent neural tube defects, so if the mother is not going to eat a folate-rich diet, she should take the supplement. Folate-rich foods include liver, legumes, and greens.
Essential for limb and palate formation, biotin is found in many food sources. The best source is raw egg yolks, as cooking lowers the available biotin. Other good sources are raw nuts and seeds, cauliflower, brown rice, oatmeal, and carrots.
Choline is essential for fetal brain formation. In adults, choline deficiency can be underlying organ dis-ease such as fatty liver and muscle damage. Foods with the highest amount of bioavailable choline are (are you sensing a pattern here yet?) eggs, liver, raw dairy, and wheat germ. Other foods include meats, cruciferous vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
Glycine is an amino acid that adults don’t usually need to supplement. During pregnancy, however, the fetus requires additional glycine through food sources. The best food sources are skin (as in skin-on your chicken leg) and bones (as in bone broth or cartilage). Meat and eggs deplete your glycine, so it’s important that meat and egg consumption is balanced with bone broth and meat with the skin on. The fetus also uses folate to make glycine from another amino acid. That said, it’s important to balance all the meat, bones, and skin with legumes, greens, and liver which are perfect sources of folate.
In Chinese medicine, we recommend that for one month the mom and baby stay home whenever possible. This prevents the “evil wind” from invading the mother’s blood and qi deficient body until she regains her strength. In other words, it’s for longevity and quick recovery.
Also, most women after birth take an herbal tea with angelica root and other medicinal plants to replenish the blood supply. Warm, nourishing foods like congee (rice porridge) with eggs and mutton are recommended. A little bit of rice wine helps the milk supply!
In many cultures, the placenta is consumed after birth, and this is becoming more popular in the US too. I highly recommend it. All of these practices help prevent post-partum depression, hemorrhaging, and help the milk supply.
Pain in the Neck – GONE
I’ve had chronic neck pain for over 20 years. Conventional doctors masked the pain with muscle relaxers and pain killers. Chiropractors aggravated it with their treatments. Just a few visits to Natural Health Center has it feeling better than it has in years. Thanks so much!
I started coming to the Health Center for issues I was having with my stomach. Even while making the initial appointment I felt like the person I was speaking with was empathetic about my situation. I had gone to two medical doctors before trying NAET and acupuncture, but had not seen results. After my treatments at the Health Center, my stomach feels better than it has in years and continues to get better every day with the help and support of the staff. I am thankful for all they do for me and our community.
Baby is Better
My son came here for treatment for eczema when he was 3 years old. He is 4 now and completely cured of it. My youngest son has the same issue at age 1, so we’re back!
Stress! Stress! & More Stress! Coming to this office gives me one hour to decompress and slow down. I look forward to my visits. They are the highlight of the day and week for me. Positive energy. 🙂 This has given me another (or better) avenue to release tension and bad mojo. Thank you. The doctors really connect with you and truly care about your well-being.
Shoulder Pain and More
I originally came in for a tweak in my shoulder which soon disappeared with regular treatments. Since I’ve had the pleasure of treatments from Nicole and her outstanding staff, my inner calm and overall attitude toward the stresses of life have vastly improved. I’ve come in crying, anxious, distressed, in pain and leave – every time – well-cared for and successfully treated. I wholeheartedly believe that acupuncture can be so much more than a go-to for emergency pains. I intend to incorporate it into my regular lifelong health regime.
Back is Stronger
My back has been feeling significantly better. I no longer have the daily aches and pains that I had before. My back feels stronger and my posture feels better. Before acupuncture, I tried stretching to relieve my pain, but the results were unsatisfactory. Stretching is great, but does nothing if it is not done in conjunction with acupuncture.
I’ve been going to the NHC for acupuncture and NAET for my Chron’s disease. To say that the treatments helped me would be an understatement. I have been hospitalized multiple times for my condition and was in constant, severe pain before I decided to go to the NHC. I can’t remember the last time I felt this good. The staff are all friendly, care for their patients and are truly there to make you better. I can’t say enough great things about these ladies.
A few months ago at my wits end with extreme pain, I attended a Fibromyalgia support meeting and met Nicole Lentfer. From that night on, I am a different person. Like many others I tried all the conventional Western medicines with no relief. After having a mini-trial of acupressure that night, I put 100% trust in Nicole and her staff and the Natural Health Center. After starting the acupuncture and NAET treatments, I am much calmer, and I have less pain and more energy.
My son and I had both food and environmental allergies. We tried over the counter medications and different supplements over the past 2 years or so. We were both suffering with skin rashes, runny noses, and itchy eyes. We started coming to the NHCA for treatment after a recommendation from a friend. My son and I saw a big improvement of our symptoms. We are happy to be allergy-free at the end of our treatments!
I started acupuncture for numerous reasons but primarily anxiety. The process has helped me feel calmer, more relaxed, and less like I am living in a mental box. It has helped me feel free.
Inhaler is Out
I came to acupuncture due to constant short breaths which made working out difficult. I also had tension in my neck and shoulders that felt like I had been holding a shrug for 10+ years. Now I’m more comfortable since my neck and shoulders have relaxed. I can work out harder and for longer periods of time since I don’t need to use my inhaler anymore.
PTSD and Pain Managed
I found the NHCA after 10 years of pain and discomfort. I was a mixed martial artist, high school football player, and infantryman in the Marine Corps. I had put my body through entirely too much torture, and I was suffering for it. When I left the Marine Corps in 2009, I had ankle, knee, hip, back, shoulder and neck pain. I suffered from insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and post traumatic stress disorder. I would take close to 20 painkillers a day, and I was still in pain. I was hurting far from happy. With acupuncture, I felt instant improvement and I’ve been coming to the office ever since. I do acupuncture and NAET treatments and I have never felt better in my life. I’m able to live again. Thank you.
I have fibromyalgia and have had severe body pain for the past 5 years. Every day, hands were numb, feet throbbed, sternum hurt, shoulders and hips were sore, calves and thighs hurt, arms were heavy. Doctors really don’t know what to do for me since I didn’t want pharmaceuticals. I can’t believe acupuncture has helped me so much. I noticed it right away. Things aren’t perfect yet, but they’re improving with each treatment. I am so thankful.
Healing From the Inside Out
I came to the NHCA for food sensitivities, poor sleep, moodiness, and lack of energy. Now I sleep better so I am more awake and in a much better mood during the day. I was surprised by how well I felt after treatments and feeling my body heal from the inside out. Unlike Western doctors, this office runs on time, all the time. Nicole explains everything, answers all your questions and doesn’t talk down to you.
My chronic pain and fatigue are much better. I’ve been able to come off some medications completely and reduce the dosage of others. I had never tried acupuncture before but decided to try it. Nicole and her staff are very informative and I was surprised that the needles don’t hurt. The services are affordable, relaxing, and it works!
Sports Injury Healed
I was surprised how the treatment was able to heal my sports injury when regular doctors could not. Sometimes a pill won’t cure everything!
Western medicine has left me with no answers to help me manage a long-standing condition of inflammation that comes and goes in various body parts and for various lengths of time. I am not fond of taking pills and found the Natural health Center at a point when I was feeling tired, flamed and with no solutions in sight. The herbal tonics, weekly visits, acupuncture and encouragement to lose weight eventually led to a healthier, happier, pain-free existence! My energy is back; I do not hurt. I repeat; I do not hurt. Such a joy!
Quality of Life Improved
I came in due to pain from fibromyalgia. Constant pain from the neck down to my toes and could never sleep more than a couple of hours at a time. I tried antidepressants, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and several types of pain pills. Nothing would work. I used to sit, sleep and eat in a recliner. After coming here, my quality of life is so much better. I can actually plan outings and enjoy myself. I don’t have as much pain and I can actually sleep at night in my bed!
From Anxious Exhaustion to Calm Energy
I started acupuncture treatments for extreme adrenal fatigue and body pains that I had for over 3 years. I didn’t sleep and had panic attacks. I had been to numerous doctors and they’d spend 5 minutes with me and prescribe something; I was on a lot of different medication. I’ve had absolutely incredible results! I was at my wits end trying to get help from doctors but no one could figure out what to do other than give me pills. Nicole listens to what you have to say and then designs a plan to get you back to optimal health. She completely turned my life around and I don’t say that lightly. I had given up hope that I’d be the same person I was 4 years ago. Even my family is amazed at the change and I will recommend her services to everyone I know!