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"Positive thinking and self-affirmation and all of that positive energy--that's what it amounted to. I don't know about weight loss or weight maintenance, but I did find a more positive outlook and peace. It would take the stress right out of you. I know that stress causes a lot of health problems. From that standpoint alone it's beneficial."

"It was really clear that after the class everyone felt energized. When everybody walks in they are rushing from work and then when they leave, they are like on a cloud floating out the door."

"There were so many other empowering and unique attributes of Qigong that [weight loss] really seemed like it went off the scope of things to consider, and yet I could very easily see the connection."

Here again, patients reported whole-person benefits that were not captured by the conventional biomedical outcome markers.    Here is where I would like us to move -- in the direction of well-being and whole-person health instead of rationed illness care.   While we will always need illness care, to the extent that we can promote whole --person health, we will need less of it.   Illness care is always more expensive than whole-person health and wellness promotion.   But how do we build this into our thinking about health care financing and how do we pay for it?   It is commonly recognized that 80% of the costs for health care in a person's life are spent during their last year.   Perhaps we need to ration that?   Perhaps people could live longer and more healthy if we invest in whole-person care and wellness over last-ditch illness care for that last year?   Making these choices will be hard!  


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Lewis Mehl-Madrona graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and completed residencies in family medicine and in psychiatry at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, and (more...)
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