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Business // Roundtable
MidWeek Staff

Reducing Medication

By Terry Shintani, M.D., J.D., M.P.H.
President, Hawaii Heath Foundation

What if you could reduce your need for medication in just10 days? What if, at the same time, you saw your weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and chronic pain decrease, and your energy increase while eating more food?

This is how I believe medicine should be practiced – with less medication rather than more – and a greater emphasis on a natural whole person approach rather than an artificial pharmaceutical centered one. (Go to HiDiet.org for our free seminars on how this is done.)

The problem is that our current health care system does not work that way. We have disease care, not health care. Health insurance pays enough for doctors to put you on medication, but not enough for the time it takes to teach you how to get off the medication.

Medications do help – by treating symptoms and the damage from disease – but little is done to remedy the underlying disease.

So you wind up taking medication for the rest of your life. The problem with this is that medications are now the fourth leading cause of death, according to JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association).

When I first started to practice medicine, I wanted to help people who needed it most, the Native Hawaiian community.

When our program won a national award from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, I started a nonprofit organization, the Hawaii Health Foundation, in 1996 with Kenneth F. Brown (then chairman of The Queen’s Health System) along with members of the Hawaiian community. Our mission is to promote health through traditional values, diet and lifestyle. Basically, I wanted to spread the message of health and aloha throughout Hawaii and the world, and in doing so help change the way medicine is practiced. Until then, the Hawaii Health Foundation offers a solution for people and doctors to help reduce the need for medication.

Dr. Shintani, a Harvard-trained nutritionist, is licensed to practice medicine and law, and is board-certified in preventive medicine. He is formally designated a “Living Treasure of Hawaii” and is offering a free seminar Aug. 3 and 4.

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