-- Oliver Wendell Holmes
The unfortunate subtext of modern medical care--that science knows better than mother nature, that unnaturally engineered chemicals are necessary for proper functioning of the human body--transmits directly to patients' expectations, perpetually reinforcing itself through most patient-physician interactions. People are accustomed to paying lots of money for expert advice from a well-trained physician, whom they implicitly trust to guide them towards a quick fix. When the doctor hands them a brand new, cutting edge drug sample, they think they've received the ultimate in modern medicine. "Take these," the doctor recommends, "every day for the rest of your life, and you will be well." The patient is impressed, the doctor has the satisfaction of providing an expert service, and everyone is satisfied. And thus the cycle perpetuates.
Because the doctor will spend precious time explaining the indications, administration, and side effects of the medicine, he/she will not spend adequate time on the most important medical advice the patient needs to hear: lose fifty pounds, exercise frequently, consume more fruits and vegetables, watch less television, eat less salt and trans fats, and meditate daily. These natural, risk-free, non-pharmaceutical interventions, if emphasized and followed, will cure the patient's diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, obesity, depression, and kidney disease at a stunningly higher rate than any other combination of drugs, all at a minimal cost.