Kumar, a 26-year-old business owner in Los Angeles, said his parents and brothers have always used herbs and certain foods when they get sick, and regularly see a local naturopath and herbalist. He’s only used antibiotics once, he says, when he caught dengue fever on a trip to India.
While the Kumar family pays for any treatments they need with cash -- the only payment both alternative providers accept -- they also pay for a high-deductible health plan every month to cover emergencies, like when his brother recently broke his arm falling off a bike.
Paying for a conventional health care plan and maintaining their philosophy of wellness is not cheap.
"We pay a ridiculous amount of money every month," Kumar said of the high-deductible insurance. "And none of it goes toward any type of medicine we believe in."
Even so, he said the family will continue to practice a lifestyle that values wellness achieved without a prescription -- a philosophy that Guiltinan also adopted in her practice.
As a young medical technician in a San Francisco hospital she decided that the traditional medical system was geared more toward managing diseases and symptoms rather than prevention. Naturopathic medicine, on the other hand, seemed to fit her idea of how a doctor could address the root cause of illness.
"The body has an innate ability for healing, but we get in its way," Guiltinan said. "Health is more than the absence of disease."
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Wed, Jul 24 2013