It is hardly debatable that all people should have access to health. Yet in many ways health has become a commodity of the elite.
Statistically, the most important indicator of life expectancy is zip code.
In our world, seeking optimal health through diet, exercise, self-care, and lifestyle is as much a status symbol as anything else. What spa? What diet? What creams, teas, alternative healers have you tried out? Only the wealthy can afford such preventative measures.
On the other hand, poverty envelopes an individual in conditions which beget illness: bodegas replace grocery stores; affordable childcare is lacking; preventative measures aren’t part of low-cost insurance plans… etc. In our country, we have witnessed the criminalization of poverty that has destroyed families and communities whole cloth.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the ultimate master practitioner has only healthy patients. This master is able to intuit when a person is unbalanced and through the use of acupuncture, herbs, lifestyle and dietary changes, help bring patients back into balance before they get sick.
As a healing modality, Chinese Medicine takes a step back from the capitalistic health industrial complex whose primary consumer is a sick one. Instead it looks at a whole body and attempts to bring an unbalanced body back into balance. In this view, all disease stems from lack of circulation and flow creating imbalance. Therefore, a practitioner is not treating the disease itself per say. She is nourishing weak systems and calming overactive ones in an attempt to enhance circulation and flow between channels organs and systems.
Hopefully, more community acupuncture means more health to people for whom our current system is failing. Life is health, and health is life. Like so many other things, it should not be commodified.