Dr. Andrew Weil addressed the GSWS delegates in Aspen via modern technology as he was on an overseas trip at the time of the Summit. He made two important points relating specifically to our agenda:
1) Addressing the root cause of the US healthcare system and suggesting how spas can help and
2) sharing his thoughts on the goal of happiness. Here are some of his observations – largely in his own words:
• The U.S. spends more per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world—upwards of 16% GDP—and at the same time has poorer health outcomes.
• The root cause of the problem is that what is called healthcare, is actually a disease management system. All this money is spent to manage existing disease, most of which is lifestyle related and therefore preventable.
• The reason there isn’t a better job done with prevention and health promotion is simply that they don’t pay.
• The other reason for the expense is because of the reliance on technology to solve most all problems—this includes pharmaceutical drugs— and technology is very expensive. Health professionals are not trained in low-cost, low-tech ways of managing common ailments.
• The problem is that this dysfunctional system is generating rivers of money that are flowing into very few pockets – the pharmaceutical industry, the manufacturers of medical devices and the big insurers.
• Healthcare of the future has to be based on wellness and health promotion – the spa industry can be very central in this new kind of healthcare.
• The only hope is through education, raising awareness, and a grassroots movement that changes the political balance of power. Spas could help by educating people about the importance of wellness, health promotion and prevention.
• Regarding happiness – I’m not sure happiness is the goal of life. I think we should be open to the possibility of happiness but, it seems to me, it’s much better to work towards contentment.
• Contentment is an inner feeling of things being fulfilled that are relatively independent of external circumstances. When you’re healthy, a part of health is a feeling of wellbeing – that may not be the same as happiness.
Check out the video of Dr. Weil’s presentation here, or read through the entire transcript of his exact words. Since many who are reading this either know Dr. Weil personally or have read one of his many books, let us hear from you. Let us know where you agree with him, or where you disagree with him. cvs Kytril