There has been overwhelming response to the news of a vaccine for Covid 19. Whilst I completely understand the hope and optimism this news has provoked I can’t help thinking of the missed opportunity of a public health message which has been almost non existent throughout 2020, that of health promotion and wellness. When I left the NHS almost 20 years ago, in my tearful leaving speech I expressed a hope that one day we would have a Health Service rather than a sickness service. A service where the majority of funds are spent on health education and health creation rather than treating sickness and disease when most often more prevails.
Taking responsibility for health doesn’t mean going it alone. My professional experience is that many people lack knowledge about basic health, immune function, nutrition, how to promote health, especially mental and emotional health. The perpetuated internal script and the one that is overtly and covertly encouraged is frequently:
“Work hard, play hard, push yourself to the max. Place little or no importance, emphasis or attention on self care, rest, nutrition, exercise and wellness.”
A shift in mindset is needed from where we expect to become ill to where good health is a possibility and reality with the right support. The constant messages about the inevitability of degenerative disease and aging are not helpful and many people believe that poor health is a consequence of aging.
Fact based information is hard to find in relation to health. Most tends to be biased towards the need for medication and medical intervention when very often a natural solution can be found.
Natural solutions usually take longer as they work to heal the root cause of the problem and not just alleviate symptoms. The root cause may be nothing directly to do with the presenting symptoms. Time, care and attention are needed to work out what is going on and how to restore balance and harmony in the whole person, mind body and spirit.
News of a vaccine is wonderful for the sick, frail, elderly and vulnerable groups in society. For everyone else, a lifestyle overhaul may be long overdue and time to reflect on what really makes you sick could be by far the best medicine.