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Transition Healthcare

by Ian Watt

One of the things I've been pondering over the last few years is how healthcare is going to fare in the UK during the period of fundamental change just ahead of us - forced by peak oil, loss of resources and maybe financial collapse as well. Think of the colossal amount of energy the Health Service must be using: even just one hospital - the heat and light, the staff's own transport and energy use, the embedded energy of all the equipment, buildings, infra-structure, and all the energy of running it and maintaining it. There's really not much hope of sustaining it in its current form, is there?

The change is going to be really uncomfortable for many. Just thinking about the pharmaceutical element, what's it going to be like when we can't find the materials or energy to make all the anti-depressants, antibiotics and drugs we gulp down by the ton? When all that suppressed disease bubbles over...


I think the whole thing is long overdue for a re-think anyway, and I think the whole medication thing is driven more by the pharmaceutical companies' concern for making profit than by any concern they might have for peoples' welfare.

But the sort of complementary therapy work I have been involved in over the last fifteen years has huge potential to fill some of the gap that will be left. My dream is that in the long term a return to a more natural healthcare world is possible which has the potential, along with better diet and working life, to help people to lead much happier and healthier lives.

Since studying Permaculture recently I have realised I have been practising those principles when treating people without knowing it: here are just a few examples:

observing thoroughly before doing anything

always looking for feedback

using the minimum of work and intervention

treating the body as an integration of parts and systems rather than separate bits and pieces

taking time

using a multi-level approach - stacking several techniques together at once: working from obvious structure through to emotions, energy levels, soul, the energy of structure and empowering the patient's own understanding and healing process

being creative, eg giving distant treatments

using touch combined with focused intention -  the ultimate edge?

For the sustainable future, let's take the excellent training of many NHS professionals, their knowledge of the body and the disease process and the care for people they so often shown; then let's combine that with the best of the gentle, effective work of holistic therapists and make something better than either on its own.

As in so many other fields, we can "work together like brothers or fight together like fools".

read more about Ian Watt's work at:

eco work: ian's eco blog

permaculture: sector39

community gardening

cwm harry land trust

complementary therapy:

ian watt

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