Medical Self-Care: The Seven Rules for Better Health

Medical Self-Care: Seven rules for better health, including access to health information, family as health resources, wellness-illness states, health and your belief system, and the human body and its healing powers.

| July/August 1985

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    Research shows that people provide their own illness care between 80 and 98% of the time.
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

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The Medical Self-Care column shares seven rules for better health. 

The First Law: You are already your own doctor.

Research shows that people provide their own illness care between 80 and 98% of the time. (The difference in the figures cited simply reflects varying definitions of illness.) In one recent survey, people were asked to list all the health problems they'd experienced within the preceding two weeks. The average turned out to be 4.5—which works out to 117 health problems per person per year! But the average individual goes to a doctor only two to three times a year. And the percentage of preventive care that is self-provided probably runs close to 99%.

These figures make it clear that self-care is—and has always been—our predominant form of health care.



The Second Law: Lay people could do even more for themselves if they had better access to currently available health tools, skills, support, and information.

Most people go to the doctor only when they feel that they lack the resources they need to deal with a health problem themselves. But there are many ways to obtain help without going to a health professional.



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