As a holistically minded person, you were probably as bemused and bewildered as I was at news of the latest attempts to rein in our out of control national health budget.

No one disputes for a minute, except perhaps those who refuse to accept they should pay anything for a doctor’s visit, (really, not $5.00?) that our health costs are blowing out at a crazy rate. Rather like our national waistline come to think of it and of course there’s a connection!

Surely, then, the answer to this crippling future debt is preventive medicine or, as it’s often called, lifestyle medicine? It’s something we’re very familiar with in the holistic industry where our overriding intention is to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. It starts with diet and encompasses everything from a positive mindset to regular exercise and, probably very importantly, a spiritual practice that allows us to attain some measure of peace and serenity. A holistic approach honours each of us as an individual and dismisses the “one pill fits all” mantra of pharmaceutical medicine. In fact, we wear it as a badge of honour to write “nil” on one of those forms where you’re asked – expected? – to list all the pills you’re taking.

So why on earth would alternative therapies and complementary medicine be singled out for severe cutbacks in Medicare rebates according to reported advice from the National Health and Medical Research Council? The bugbear seems to be that there is no so called “scientific“ proof that any such therapies work. Sadly, such ancient modalities as yoga and Ayurveda, the original holistic medicine of India that is at least 5000 years old, along with practices like kinesiology, massage and even naturopathy, have been caught up in this sweeping devaluation of healing methods that so many millions of Australians accept as valid and restorative. I don’t know about you but it takes my breath away that we can be so arrogant to believe we in the West know it all. No scientific proof that yoga and Tai Chi or Chi Gung work? Really?

So in this climate of official hostility to all such therapies it’s heartening to read of the upcoming visit of world leading homoeopathic ophthalmologist Dr Edward Kondrot to Sydney in March. Not only does he believe holistic medicine performs a valuable role in his work with eye problems, he goes so far as to say homoeopathy is his favourite alternative modality because “it respects the wisdom of the body”. Dr Kondrot comes impressively credentialed including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Comprehensive Integrative Medicine. Read what he has to say in “Say your Sight” in this issue.

Once again we offer other impressively researched features to add to our understanding of health issues, including Peter Dingle’s latest “Why Diets Don’t Work”, Lyn Craven’s ““Feeling Bloated?” Olivier LeJus’s look at alternative approaches to treating allergies and something just for all the frazzled mums groaning inwardly at the prospect of the school lunch routine starting up again for another year. Nutritionist Kylie McCarthy offers some brilliant, healthy and fun tips in “Cool School Lunches”.

So as you get back into your routine after that lovely summer break keep on supporting all that’s good in this holistic industry that offers us all so much in return

Margaret Evans

Margaret Evans has a background in teaching, journalism and publishing. She is the editor of NOVA Holistic Journal.