Why This Portal’s Time Has Come
- Hundreds of millions of people worldwide now seek alternatives to the costly, sickness-based, traditional healthcare system – and are actively embracing prevention and integrative medicine.
- We now live in an era of consumer-driven healthcare, where people and patients increasingly demand facts: what’s proven to work, and for what conditions.
- There’s an ever-growing archive of medical evidence that numerous wellness approaches – from acupuncture to yoga – can have powerful health benefits.
Is there medical evidence that acupuncture is effective for migraines, tension headaches and osteoarthritis pain? That a 45-minute massage lowers stress hormones and boosts the immune system? That ongoing meditation causes positive changes in gene expression (“turning on” genes associated with energy metabolism, insulin secretion and telomere maintenance, while “turning off” those involved in inflammation?
Yes, yes and yes.
That’s why Wellness Evidence.com was created: so consumers and professionals alike can access the universe of evidence-based medicine and get their specific wellness questions answered. A wealth of research on wellness approaches has existed for years – but until this portal it wasn’t easily accessible.
The Costly, Ineffective Traditional Healthcare System:
The sheer cost of traditional (exclusively allopathic) healthcare systems, which narrowly focus on sickness, disease, pills and procedures, rather than prevention and lifestyle changes, has reached a tipping point for many people, employers and governments.
The facts about chronic disease are grim:
- Chronic, largely preventable diseases (like cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes, obesity and cancer) cause roughly two-thirds of all deaths globally (World Health Organization, 2013).
- The global obesity rate has doubled since 1980 (World Health Organization, 2012). In the developing world, overweight/obesity rates have tripled from 1980 to the present (Overseas Development Institute, 2013). Almost a third of the world’s population (2 billion people) is now overweight or obese (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, 2013).
- More than half of all Americans could suffer from obesity by 2030 – and that would cost a staggering $500 billion in lost economic productivity (Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2012).
- If globally-adopted targets (10-30% reductions) for curbing smoking, alcohol consumption and salt intake – and lowering high blood pressure and blood sugar and obesity – were met, the risk of dying prematurely from heart or lung disease, stroke, cancer or diabetes would fall by roughly 20% in 2025 (Researchers reporting in the Lancet Medical Journal, 2014).
The facts for governments and corporations are equally grim:
- Among OECD and BRIC nations spending on healthcare will grow 51% between 2010 and 2020, or more than $71 trillion (PwC’s Health Research Institute, 2010).
- Total U.S. healthcare spending is forecast to reach $4.8 trillion in 2021, up from $2.6 trillion in 2010 and $75 billion in 1970. Healthcare spending will account for nearly 20% of GDP, or one-fifth of the U.S. economy, by 2021 (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2012).
- In the U.S. only 3% of healthcare spending is focused on prevention, while roughly 75% of healthcare costs are due to obesity, smoking-related diseases and other preventable conditions (Institute of Medicine for the National Academies, 2012). Researchers predict a 42% increase in U.S. chronic disease cases by 2023, adding $4.2 trillion in treatment and lost economic output costs. (The Milken Institute, 2007)
Growing Body of Medical Evidence for Wellness Approaches:
People typically imagine that scientific evidence always sides with traditional medicine (i.e., drugs and procedures). And certainly far more clinical studies have been devoted to conventional clinical and pharmaceutical approaches. But doctors increasingly agree there is now much hard evidence for many integrative/alternative therapies and mind-body approaches. And all informed providers now agree that lifestyle, stress-reduction and attitude changes have an enormous impact on health.
Medical studies related to wellness approaches are growing fast: from those revealing lifestyle changes can prevent the vast majority of all heart disease – to those revealing diet, exercise and stress reduction does an equal (or better) job of preventing and even reversing heart disease than most drugs and surgical procedures – to new studies showing that stress is linked to aging and cancer.
Wellness and Alternative Medicine Adoption Exploding:
- Wellness (which spans alternative medicine, healthy eating and weight loss, preventative/personalized health, corporate wellness programs, fitness, etc.) is now a $2 trillion global industry (SRI International, 2013).
- There are 289 million active wellness consumers in the world’s top 30 industrialized nations alone (SRI International, 2010).
- More than 4 in 5 people worldwide are “extremely” or “very interested” in improving their personal wellness (SRI International, 2010).