As the Founder of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce, this is one of the most frequently asked questions that I hear… “Can I afford natural and holistic health care?” Sadly, some people aren’t even asking this question… They’re assuming they can’t. The truth is that these types of preventative health and wellness solutions will often SAVE you money! Plus, the quality of life questions that come up in this conversation add value to what you get when you consider the options available. Would you like to have the energy to enjoy more of your life? Integrated and complementary medicine recognizes the inter-connectedness of the elements of life, so that you can stay healthy in the first place. Paying attention to all of the factors that play a role in our physical health is much more affordable than taking tests designed to determine when you are already in the early stages of serious disease such as diabetes or cancer. On top of that, holistic health techniques help to speed up the body’s ability to recover quickly, without negative side effects, by treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms. After all, when your emotional or financial health is out-of-balance, it’s a challenge to keep your body healthy. Given the importance of your time, preventative health care is definitely affordable. Here are the best ways to get started today on your journey to better health: 1. DRINK more water (and less soda). Water is the key ingredient in many health care programs. Staying hydrated has been shown to keep headaches at bay and help with weight loss. For some, drinking filtered alkaline water has even led to surprising results such as reduced allergic reactions. 2. WALK regularly. For some, walking is the easiest way to begin an exercise program, assuming you are in a safe neighborhood and already own a comfortable pair of shoes. And it’s free! You may even be able to find a group to walk with, like the Forest Hill Walk Club run by Cheryl Millett in Toronto ( Once you are in the exercise groove, you can add power to your routine by working with a personal fitness trainer or joining a gym. 3. EAT healthfully. Each individual body is different so you may have different nutrition concerns than your friends and even family members. What will best support your weight and fitness goals? I drink cherry juice to avoid problems with gout and I know one man who reduces the effects of psoriasis by avoiding orange juice (which means he doesn’t have to buy prescription medications or deal with side effects). Find a nutrition counselor who can help you in finding what will work for you. In the long run, it is likely to save you money and give you more energy for doing the activities you love! 4. SLEEP. A good night’s sleep has been shown to relieve stress and even assist in your efforts to lose weight. While there aren’t many ways to help if you have a newborn at home, for some people, finding a solution to insomnia is as simple as getting a hypnotherapy CD. 5. REDUCE STRESS. MEDITATE. Yes, sitting still has been shown to have powerful results for the rest of our waking hours. By relaxing more and stressing less, you can increase your effectiveness in terms of decision-making which speeds up everything else. Get started by trying Float Therapy, Guided Visualization, Reiki or working with a Mindfulness / Meditation Coach. 6. EXPLORE more: More and more, consumers are finding that alternative medicine provides an affordable path to better health, even if it’s not covered by your insurance plan. By increasing your awareness, you can easily find a health care solution that fits in your budget and helps you, whether it includes recommendations from a Naturopathic Doctor or an Herbalist. One father reduces his daughter’s asthma by having her spend time in a Salt Therapy room. Another mother who has reduced her son’s Asperger’s symptoms with essential oils. There are many people who work with hypnotherapists and energy healers for help in improving their quality of life. What will help you? Just as there is no single “cure-all” pill, there are a variety of holistic and natural options for you to consider, from chiropractic and colon hydrotherapy to acupuncture or more esoteric techniques including sound/vibration therapy, it is time to review and evaluate holistic health solutions more seriously. It works and you are worth it! Camille Leon, Founder of The Holistic Chamber of Commerce, an international network of reference-reviewed holistic providers. Camille is available for speaking and consulting. Call 310-490-6862 for availability.