Broadening their definition of medicine, the Swiss government is announcing a positive shift toward alternative healing and complementary therapies. For far too long, health insurance has guaranteed a monopoly for a system dominated by synthetic drugs. The Swiss government is breaking out of that confining mold and allowing patients’ health insurance plans to cover five new complementary therapies.
In May 2017, health insurance plans in Switzerland will be covering a variety of healing modalities, including homeopathy, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine and holistic medicine. In this way, Switzerland will be bringing back the many healing arts that were used successfully in the past.
A shift away from the disease management, synthetic drug system
This shift toward integration will allow the Swiss healthcare system to heal, as it moves away from profiting off disease management. With the inclusion of these five eclectic healing modalities, Swiss healthcare will become more affordable. By legitimizing these true healing modalities, healthcare can compete to heal, empowering people instead of leaving them in an expensive cycle of side effects and negative outcomes.
Synthetic pharmaceutical “science” got its start in 1869, as experiments with coal tar were underway. The first drug was a sedative-hypnotic called chloral hydrate. Pharmaceutical companies got their start after experimenting with nasty coal-tar distillations. Many of the first drugs were modeled after textiles and dyes. The first analgesic and antipyretic drugs, phenacetin and acetanilide, were made from aniline and p-nitrophenol, which are just byproducts of coal tar.
Pharmaceutical “science,” for the most part, is an absolute abandonment of the healing modalities that have sustained humans for centuries. The good news is that many herbalists are still around today, passing on the trade of making real medicine using plants. Plants synthesize their own medicine and contain compounds that, when extracted and used correctly, work in conjunction with the human body systems, restoring its healing state.
Swiss people speak out, pressure government to include complementary therapies on list of paid health services
After Swiss health authorities blocked the alternative medicine fields from legitimacy in 2005, the people of Switzerland spoke out. In 2009, two-thirds of the Swiss voted to include these five important healing modalities on the country’s constitutional list of paid health services. When 2012 rolled around, all five complementary healing modalities were included in basic compulsory insurance coverage as part of a six-year trial period. At the end of the trial period, determinations would be made based on the alternative therapies “efficacy, cost–effectiveness and suitability.”
Holistic approaches are gauged through observation, in the progress of healing over time
Now the interior ministry has determined what many holistic practitioners already understand about the healing arts. It’s “impossible to provide such proof for these disciplines in their entirety.” The proof of their efficacy is in the individual’s own experience, initiative and commitment. Holistic therapies are not like synthetic drugs. The whole person is treated, not just a symptom. It’s impossible to gauge an alternative therapy on paper, in a perfectly controlled environment. The proof is typically in the observation, in the progress of healing over time.
And so, in this understanding, these five healing modalities will continue to be reimbursed by compulsory health insurance plans, as long as they are administered by certified medical professionals. This is an enormous step in the right direction for a healthcare system that is seeking to integrate more than just synthetic manipulations and suppression of the human body.
This shift toward integration of medicine will also allow questionable treatments within these complementary healing systems to face more scrutiny, so that the best holistic approaches can come out and be a success for people.