13 December 2010

Sick of Getting Healthy

It's been some time since I've ranted. But today I am compelled. Point of Discussion: The Health Food Movement. Do I "buy" it, literally, or do I save my money and join the masses. I'd like to share my experiences and beseech you to offer a response.

I've suffered from lower back pain for as long as I can remember. It used to be debilitating, but now with Yoga, it's kept at arm's length. I'd recently decided after a couple of [what I lovingly call] "episodes" that arm's length is not far enough away. So I seek out a chiropractor. Within about a month I've handed over close to $2000.
  •  15-minute assessment: $80
  • $700 ergonomic chair
  • $55 per 6-minute appointment
Me: "Geez! Do I really need a  $700 chair???" He: "Absolutely. There's no way that back of yours will get better sitting in a non-ergonimic, non-light weight, non-gravity resistant, non-adjustable or cushioned, without lumbar supported chair. You need the Jetsons version." Man. Okay. Well I want to feel better.

Then I sought out a chiro who would spend more than 6 minutes with me:
  • 60-minute assessment with x-rays  $150
  • tri-weekly appointments at $37 a pop
  • vitamin regimen: $80 a month
Today I go in and now we're introducing "new toys." I left the office (not with a question of this costing $50, would you like to buy it?" No, with the assumption that I will be purchasing) with a "cervical spine traction device" that I might opt to hang myself with if the financial stress of "wellness" isn't alleviated soon. Basically, a rope that hangs over the doorframe. Oh, and we were introduced to "the spinal curve moulder" and the "rotation chair," the latter of which runs another $700 and the former . .  . God knows how much.

Me: "This is all so expensive. I just spent $500 on a chair." She: "But Eryn, it's your livelihood." [well, yah, she's got that right. It IS every cent of my livelihood paying for this stuff]. The guilt begins.

Then there's the nutritionist: "A healthy diet is imperative to healthy bones, mental acuity, defense against cancer, rebuilding lost cartilige in deteriorated discs. You need B1, B2, B3, Rejuvelac, Maca for energy, $30 hemp seed oil, organic bananna nut oil for dry skin and stiff joints, crazy-looking lettuce leaves shipped in from [where???? not a local Canadian farmer that's for sure!!!], organic tomatoes made in the USA for $6 a pop." Me: "Does it really make that much of a difference?" She: "Are you kidding? What you put in your body is EVERYTHING." Alright, give me the E3 live, dehydrator, vitamix, $80 vegan protein, $10 organic lettuce, water tap oxidizer or humidifier or cleansing purifyer of some sort (and here I thought our taxes paid for clean-water check every 45 seconds?). But I have to wonder, if the government is so corrupt that they'll inject vegetables and animals with hormones, isn't it obvious that they'd be less than honest about whether something is REALLY organic?

Or the Green world-conscious friend: "Do you know where those coffee beans come from? You know there's an 80-year old woman and a 4-year old little girl growing blind in the fields working 15 hours a day to get paid only 0.75 cents harvesting those beans for your sinful morning Nabob brew. You have to buy fair-trade, organic, unroasted, coffee at $25 a package. ($1 a day is also what I make at the end of the day at this point). And we should all be wearing $90 bamboo shirts that feel like you're wearing a piece of kleenex in -40 degree Ottawa winters.

Plus the massage therapist: "What do you expect! No wonder you're so tight! You haven't been here in a month. You need to come for regular massages, at LEAST twice a month if you want to stay out of pain." $90 a pop at twice a month is $180. I DO want to stay out of pain. But at what cost???

And the dentist: Me "well what happens if I DONT get this $1400 crown put on my tooth?" He: "Well, that tooth will slowly begin to decay and rot out of your skull and then spread to the surrounding molars, at which point you'll have to get this adjacent tooth pulled, and not only is that 6 times more expensive but also 15 times more painful, and you won't be able to chew on that side again and what kind of man wants to be with a one-sided chewer . . . so you'll also be alone for the rest of your life." 

I guess what I'm getting at is, since WHEN did health become yet another commodity up for sale only to the rich? Who can sustain this type of living? People who are well-off and very capable of yielding a condescending attitude towards those of us who make a modest living and are clearly "less interested, less motivated, less committed" to healing. Tsk Tsk. And what about the cost of rising debt, mortgages unmet, escalating Visa bills all in the name of "Good Health"? What impact does that have on one's state of mind? I'm starting to wonder if isn't all just a load of crap, packaged up in pretty little boxes called self-care and ethics and world-conscious and organic. With an underlying foundation of guilt that, if you don't invest, then naturally you'll be ill.

Does anyone have any thoughts or personal experience? Please, respond before Bankruptcy.


  1. what a great topic! i completely agree... since when did it get so pricey to take care of ourselves? my insurance that i get through work doesn't cover the things i REALLY need like (a) psychotherapist, (b) nutritionist, (c) and massage therapist. however, going to bikram yoga regularly has made me (a) mentally more stable and (b) more conscious of what i eat. the massage therapist, however, is the exception. i'll have to invest in that if i'm going to keep up the bikram :) then again, perhaps the soreness goes away on its own? hmm...

  2. Massage is indespensible......maybe we've become so disconnected from what it is we really need . . . .

  3. AMEN! I am very thankful that my insurance covers the Chiro and most important my massage therapist, Mike, without whom I would curl up within and never come out...ahhhh. But, it is so crazy that prevention is not part of most people's "health care" and that these "luxuries" are not available to them.
    That being said, I am SO GLAD you stopped by Yoga Addicted so I could come and find your truly amazing blog, I love it! (Follower number30! So auspicious!) I LOVE Dr.Frawley and have had the awesome pleasure of working with him over the Summer. I have not read the book you recom. yet, but will. And bring it on...I always need new book ideas!


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